Autumn is only nature’s beginning

Charlie Adley
Charlie Adley

Double Vision with Charlie Adley

It starts with the car windows veiled in morning dampness. Then flower beds show more seed heads than petals. The rains came exactly when they always do, just as festival season hit Galway, and by Race Week we were into that humid damp air that meets hot sunshine breaking through thunderclouds.

Before that though, we had a long dry spring and summer. A friend of mine grades summer by how often he leaps into Lough Corrib, and this year there wasn’t the heat for more than four swims.

Not good by his standards, yet I’m always amused by the Irish ability to eradicate the memory of months of good weather with two wet mornings.

I’m already hearing that autumnal old chestnut:

“Ah sure, we never had a summer at all!”

But yes we did. We had no winter last year, which was strange and deeply disturbing, but spring came right on time, with the sweet peas planted into containers on Paddy’s Day.

Despite the seemingly driven Irish desire to see bad weather in good, I know it was dry for months because I have a dog who loves walking, and from March to August I did not once don my waterproof leggings.

During most summers I become obsessed with the weather forecast, trying to spot a window of dryness so that I can mow the lawn, but this year it was easy.

Well, until the Arts Festival. But you’ll have that.

It took me decades to truly understand that the seasons here are a month apart from the ones in my native London. Regular as clockwork, on August 1, my farmer landlord in North Mayo used to say: “Well, that’s it now, Charlie. That’s it gone.”

At the time I’d refuse to believe him. Back in England, August is seen as high summer, but this year on August 1st, as I stood on the front lawn with Lady Dog, waiting for her to do what dogs do, I felt a turn in the wind; a different rustle to the leaves on the trees; the slightest whiff of growth oozing into decay.

To read Charlie’s column in full, please see this week’s Galway City Tribune.