Trying to avoid the lament as darker days start to call

Shades of Autumn as October nudges us all into the darker days.
Shades of Autumn as October nudges us all into the darker days.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

The arrival of October days normally sends me into a period of temporary lamentation. It’s a month that emits a series of grey and dreary messages that our season of light and heat is drawing to a close.

Searches have to be undertaken to locate that high-powered Winter torch that cost a small fortune a few years back on Amazon, its recovery normally coinciding with the realisation that the charger either cannot be found or has been badly chewed up by the dog.

The signs of our impending Winter season have been rearing their heads over recent weeks with advertisements for evening education courses ringing in my ears, leaving me with something of a Hobson’s Choice between trying to smarten myself up over the coming months or resigning myself to a sulky viewing of Coronation Street, Eastenders (do they ever stop crying?) or Fair City.

Already the usual words have been exchanged between family members as to whether it’s too early to start turning the oil on, while on one of the recent frostier nights, the grim discovery was made that the ageing electric blanker had finally decided that it had nothing more to give in terms of easing Winter chills.

So far, I haven’t seen the swallows gathering in their hundreds along the telephone wires for their annual exodus to the warmer climes of South Africa: it does only seem like yesterday when they arrived and built their usual Summer houses in quaint little corners of my sheds. But, I know in my heart of hearts, that they’re already hatching plans for their departure dates as the first of the autumnal frosts begin to arrive.

The strange thing about Winter, is that when it arrives, in its essence of darkness, cold and gloom, I can seem to reconcile myself to the comforts of a warm fire, whether that be at the home hearth or at a local hostelry where a friendly barmaid can deliver a pint close to a table beside the flaming sods.

There’s a realisation too, through the first days of October, that if an extra hour or so is worked on in the city, then the time is just too short to get the lawns cut or to get the cattle moved across the road without darkness calling a halt to proceedings.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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