You can forgive a person for becoming a tad confused about the seasons of the year, bearing in mind that I recently departed 31 degree sunshine in Spain (with the odd stormy day in between) and suddenly found myself immersed in the grey skies and persistent rain of the East Sussex environs. As I’ve said before, adjustment from wearing spaghetti-strapped tops to the imminent prospect of smothering oneself in scarves and wool tights to keep the chill at bay isn’t an instant process. In Blighty, we have the slight compensation of carbohydrate-heavy food to generate warmth (what on earth possessed me to eat that reconstituted Bernard Matthews turkey escalope last night – sheesh) but, even after a portion of cod and chips with curry sauce this evening, the drizzle and dark makes me feel like curling up under the duvet.
At the weekend, just when I was getting used to the idea of venturing outside into the greyness for “fun”, Halloween was upon us and the bus from Poohaven to Brighton was full of freakish characters wearing dodgy green make-up and outfits the cast of Rocky Horror would reject. In Brighton centre, two ill-advised girls were striding around in Anne Summers basques and knickers, and nothing else. They were being openly giggled at by the assembled people in the off license and the taxi rank. One girl was unsuccessfully trying to hide her bottom behind a bottle of wine. “Why didn’t she put a coat on,” I muttered grimly. Don’t get me wrong: I’m no prude but chilled meat on display isn’t especially enticing.
Halloween night progressed with a great party in Hove, which was spoilt only by disgorging on to the seafront the next morning to find that the driving rain and wind were battering anyone who ventured outside (this drew a few wails of annoyance en route home). In fact, it was monstrous – the weather, I mean.
OK, so we’ve finished with Halloween now and Bonfire Night is swiftly upon us. We can focus on the prospect of fireworks while wondering if the bonfires will be rained off tomorrow night.
Or can we?
Here in Blighty, people are “doing winter” now, for sure. In fact, they are doing Christmas. Argh! I’ve already had one rant on the topic of Christmas coming early and now I’ll indulge myself in another.
Come on now... why can’t we experience one seasonal occasion at a time? These days, we’re not allowed to do them in date order. On the BBC News last night, a policewoman was beseeching a runaway 30 year old man to contact his family. “Please give them the best Christmas present they could want,” she said. But... errrr... it’s not time for a Christmas present yet. What’s wrong with a bonfire night surprise? Do the police really want him to remain incommunicado for another seven weeks and then climb down the chimney on December 24? This broadcast was followed by a plethora of TV adverts for festive ‘delights’, ranging from party outfits at George at ASDA to a variety of pre-Christmas sales at major stores. Sigh. And that’s not all. This evening, after rescuing my son’s stroller from the car-crushing company in Hailsham that cubed my poor Passat (and, yes, I saw the stripped-off vehicle parts they were selling for profit – grrrr), I ventured into the nearby branch of Argos to check out kids’ bedding. Ah but what’s the piped muzak playing in the background? On no! It’s our worst musical nightmare: namely Cliff Richard with his, err, festive classic ‘Mistletoe and Wine’. Come on guys... do we really need to be force-fed our maiden Aunt’s favourite Christmas tune before the sparklers have even been burnt tomorrow night? It was enough to send me scuttling out of the store without buying anything.
In Spain, we were having a burst of late summer in late October / early November. Meanwhile, here in Britain, we’re firmly in Christmas mode. Culture shock abounds. Perhaps I should wear a Santa hat tomorrow night and take a turkey with me so I can insist on cooking it on the bonfire? Maybe it will help rectify my seasonal adjustment issues? Or perhaps I should go out dressed as a scantily-clad Sun Goddess and roast my exposed bottom on the bonfire? Just fooling – I’d rather remain safely beside my radiator with my trousers in place, thank you very much.