It's cold outside. I have a love/hate relationship with this time of year, and being outdoors for a while on this relatively chilly evening reminded me of this.
I hate it, because I like the summer. I have fond memories as a child making the most of the six-week summer holiday, playing football, building dens, exploring the local area, pretending to be Robin Hood with bows and arrows we made ourselves, going on long bike rides, and more. As I got older the archery and harmless trespassing gave way to evenings sat outside pubs with a pint of cider or days spent in fields watching bands at a festival, but summer stayed entertaining.
Recent years have had disappointing summers. Obviously the UK is not known for its consistent or pleasant weather but even so, the last half decade or so has seemed to be especially bad. The amount of sunshine has been below average every year from 2008 to today except for 2009. This summer was the wettest in 100 years and that's saying something, with rain also significantly above average in 2011, 2009, 2008, and 2007 too. So in recent times people like myself have noticed the end of August approaching and start feeling disappointed that yet again there was little in the way of prolonged sunshine, the long and dry summers of our youth seeming like an illusion.
And yet, looking out over the Nottingham skyline and breathing in the autumnal air, I also remember some of what I love about this time of year. Ever since I turned 16, the end of summer has brought with it a sense of promise. To begin with, that was leaving school and starting at college, and two years later I moved here to begin university. Each academic year would bring new people. Most of my friends, and indeed girlfriends, I met for the first time in the autumn. Most years I'd just have moved into a new house too, and any problems with the old house and its inhabitants were banished (and new problems, though a certainty, would be yet to arise).
Some of this has faded now, of course. Acquainting myself with the latest bunch of eighteen-year-old new students doesn't interest me as much as it did 5 or 10 years ago, for example. And I have not moved house for about six years. But still, that sense of possibility lingers: the feeling that there are new things to do, new people to meet, new places to go. I guess I'll see over the next couple of months whether that's true or not.
I have memories, clouded by sorrow
Of a time in life when blood ran through my veins
- Winter is coming