Hope to cope this Autumn... | Jack Marshall's column
Autumn is about coping mechanisms.
It’s about looking for the best in things just as the weather starts to bite and the days get darker. Because Autumn has an inevitable whiff of ‘the end’ and even death about it, we get primordial in our hunt for comforts.
You wake up. Summer daylight is electric and buzzing with energy, but Autumn mornings are drenched in watery light and a faint sun. You shift your feet under the duvet and realise just how warm a cocoon you’ve created. That warmth is coded into your DNA. It’s perfect.
Summer in Britain arrives gradually, the mercury inching up painfully slowly, but it vanishes quickly. Almost from one day to the next, it’s suddenly 9°C, half the leaves on the trees are rusted, and you can smell darkness coming at 6pm. Panic stations.
Knitwear, hoodies, thick socks, cups of tea for warmth rather than the caffeine hit. Bobble hats, boots, thermal gloves, and catching a glance of your breath on the air. Blankets on the sofa. Low lighting. Endless hours of television. Hibernation.
Pubs in summer are about beer gardens, the bit of the pub which patently isn’t the pub. In Autumn, they’re about open fires, stouts on tap, brass on the walls - all the most ‘pub’ features of a proper pub: places with have a pub dog curled up in one corner and a curled poster for a quiz night on the wall.
Food is a big part of the winter hibernation and the main part of the food is carbohydrates. Carbs get a bad rap these days, criminalised for making people gain weight and for, heaven forbid, bringing people culinary joy. Sack that. Indulge in some carbs this Autumn. Be truly happy.
Toast slathered with marmite or blanketed with scrambled eggs, porridge so hot you have to use a tea towel to carry the bowl, bacon and sausage sizzling away as you brew up. Thick soups with bagels, stews, pasta heavy with veg and cheese and sauce. Custard at every opportunity.
Read a newspaper lying on the sofa with a brew; extra points if you have a grandfather clock. Have a shower so hot it steams up the bathroom to the point of invisibility. Pro tip: old Italian film soundtracks are great calming background music.
Be comfortable and cosy and embrace the small things which make the cold and dark warmer and brighter. Not to get all ‘social-media-influencer’, but - more than Summer, Winter, or Spring - Autumn really is about being kind to yourself.
And it’s about carbs.