My mum has a saying for this time of year – “The nights are fair drawin’ in.” It’s basically Ulster slang for “the days are getting dark early”. You always know it’s officially the end of summer when the mornings are not as bright and the walk home in the evening gets darker.
A lot of people I know moan constantly about this phenomenon. “It’s so depressing”, they say. “End of summer, back to reality.” But I feel like they just can’t see all the beautiful parts of autumn/winter. So let me enlighten:
- Darker evenings mean more excuses: “I’ve got to get a taxi because I don’t want to walk home in the dark”; “It’s too dark to go out running now-best just run myself a bath instead”; “Look how dark it’s getting! I’d love to stay and study more but I’ve got to put on the dinner” and so on. Darkness is offering up so many excuses for you to shed your stresses. Take advantage.
- Dark, cold evenings mean less smart summer salads and more hearty, warming comfort food. Soups, stews and squash casserole recipes pervade the weekend paper, just waiting for you to try them out. These dishes come without guilt due to the fact that it’s two degrees outside and you need a big bowl of chowder to warm you up after coming in from the cold.
- Candles can be lit earlier. Does this need elaboration? Treat yourself to one of those expensive candles that smell like vanilla dessert in a forest. I love this one from Anthropologie.
- It is officially too cold not to study in your bed with the electric blanket on. All the blankets. All the time.
- Long walks in the park, wrapped up in your cosiest winterwear, walking through the piles of autumn leaves, tickling your nostalgia bone and getting brought back to when you were eight years old, searching for conkers with your best friend, still in your school uniforms.
- Dressing in as many layers as you can, not worrying about being too warm, because you know it’ll be baltic outside every day. Velvet, chenille, cashmere, Aran-wear it all, because it’s all seasonally appropriate.
- There’s a romance about the colder months that I can fully appreciate as a single woman – walking past couples wrapped around each other for warmth, the atmosphere of tall lanterns lighting up the park, gloved hands ceremoniously clasped together.
- The holidays – Halloween, Guy Fawkes, Christmas – they all bring us different memories and we all bemoan the decorations coming out too early in the shops. But we all not-so-secretly adore them.