I woke the other day and left for work with the morning looking suddenly far more dark and feeling suddenly far more cold that it had been. This is normally a sign that autumn’s on it’s way. I know. I’m a genius. Just call me Michael feckin’ Fish.
Another sure fire indicator of autumn is that the football season has begun and we have gone past ‘deadline day’. This farcical modern invention starts about a week before the actual time as football fans across England worry that either they won’t buy anyone or that they will sell their prized asset. The day itself makes me fume as team’s message boards are flooded with false rumours, the BBC site is flooded with comedy texts about seeing Lionel Messi on the M6 (who does these things?) and Jim White spends the night cutting away to gangs of prepubescents in Mackenzie sportswear who have nothing better to do than hang around their team’s training ground in the vague hope of getting on the telly. I could write about this particular sweet hell all day but I’d better get back on topic.
Autumn sucks big hairy infected rodent bollocks.
There are people, including friends of mine, who love autumn. Who long for a clear freezing morning admiring mist and reddy-brown leaves. Who like snuggling up in front of the fire with a bowl of stew when the first truly horrid rain storm comes in. Who ENJOY frost. I am not one of them. There are three reasons.
The first is that I commute by train and the very mist, frost, storms and reddy-brown leaves so beloved of others are the kind of thing to make the train service I use fuck up in the most inexplicable manner possible. It’s not a secret that autumn comes every year yet every year it is met with ever longer delays due to ‘adverse weather conditions’ and ‘poor rail conditions’. Every year the platform staff look more and more confused at what’s occurring and every year the commuters get wetter and colder and angrier. This year someone may spontaneously combust. It might be me.
Then there’s the fact that Boy is now at school and soon, one of his school mates will catch a cold. In a heated classroom full of 5 year olds with quite basic grasps of personal hygiene this means that his classmates will start getting the cold. One of the little buggers will give it to Boy, Boy will give it to me and I will be sick until April, going about my business breathing through half a nostril, coughing like Dave Allen and talking like Barry White. Fucking awesome. Yay me.
But worst of all, any day now, the Bastard Tree That Hates Me will start shedding its leaves on to my garden. Our garden backs on to a graveyard (sneer if you want but they’re bloody quiet neighbours and no-one’s suddenly going to build a tower block that overlooks our garden) and the tree is enormous and is the only thing that lives in the graveyard, save a couple of urban foxes. It’s sprawling branches provide much needed shade at the back of the garden in summer but in autumn they shed all over every bit of the lawn.
One tiny gust of wind can make the Bastard Tree That Hates Me cover every inch of the lawn in leaves to about the depth of the Olympic swimming pool. OK maybe not quite that deep but deep enough. Deeper than a deep pan pizza. Deeper than a Jethro Tull record. Deep. This will happen when I am away working and because the bastard trains will also have gone wrong and I will have man flu from hell I’ll arrive back wheezing in the pitch black and my wife will take pity and make me a drink and only half mention that THE ENITIRE LAWN IS THREE FEET DEEP IN FUCKING LEAVES AGAIN.
At the first weekend I will go out and rake them in to a pile. This is where I must thank my mother for buying Boy a boy sized rake as he comes out and “helps”, helping generally involving raking the leaves back on to the lawn that I had just piled up or jumping in to the pile. Want to know why Peppa Pig jumps in muddy puddles? Because Daddy Pig has told her that if she jumps in a freshly raked leaf pile he’ll turn her in to so many gammon joints. Eventually we have a pile but the fun is only just beginning. I now have to get them in bags and take them to the dump which has a three mile tailback emanating from it because every other male with a tree and garden is doing the same thing.
Eventually I will leave the dump and come home to find the Bastard Tree That Hates Me has newly covered the lawn in even more leaves. Reluctantly I will rake again but this time I will not be able to clear as the dump is now closed and so you will just pile. On Sunday I repeat the dump step. On Monday I go to work and the Bastard Tree That Hates Me will produce a 4 foot deep covering. Twice.
At this point you have lost the battle. By Saturday the garden resembles a brown crunchy mattress and I will chase the leaves hopelessly with the leaf blower I bought that has never quite worked. The pile I vaguely created will be left to bio-degrade. Next door’s children will be invited round for a leaf fight. I will down another Day Nurse and think about writing an angry letter to my M.P. before realising that would be totally insane and that I might as well eat stew and drink scotch and watch football till May and that the leaves are fine so long as they don’t actually get higher than the house.
The next day they will get higher than the house. Roll on summer.