What is it about the 31st of August? Almost exactly two years ago I wrote this - a little article on my ambivalence towards the dead time of the year (i.e., fall and winter). The article was inspired by the sudden change from summer to autumn that took place between August 31 and September 1 in the year 2000 in Germany.
Two years on, in England, it seems the same thing has happened. It’s funny - as Jeremy and I were sitting at the dinner table tonight, I remarked that it would soon be the season for roasted vegetables again: potatoes, yams, squash, turnips, all tossed in olive oil, garlic and rosemary and roasted to fluffy-on-the-inside-crispy-on-the-outside perfection to ward off the damp autumnal air. I was thinking ahead to October and November, when they’d start selling pumpkins and chestnuts and acorn squash, and I’d start craving all those heavy, hearty meals that make winter bearable.
To my surprise, after I got up from the dinner table and left the cozy warmth of the kitchen, I walked into the living room where the window had been open - and there it was. The smell of autumn. I don’t know what the smell was, exactly - some combination of that typical coal-fire smell, and the smell of fish and chips, and the smell of sea - but it had drifted into the room on the cool evening air and, in a flash, I felt the end of summer.
It’s not really quite the end of summer, not yet - but almost. The days are still fairly warm, but they’re winding down earlier, and the breeze off the sea is slightly less forgiving than it was a month ago. I guess the cafes along the seafront will be closing up shop soon, and the deck chairs will be put away, and Brighton will go into its grey winter hibernation - as will I.