This whole country is rapidly heading for a fall

The leaves are turning I see; turning all soon to fall.
LEP Columnist Barry FreemanLEP Columnist Barry Freeman
LEP Columnist Barry Freeman

Don’t actually mind ‘the fall’ as an occasional name for the imminent season, by the way, which isn’t like me one bit.

Most times the merest hint of Americanisms creeping into English discourse propels me into a sputtering rage which only an hour or so of soothing impotent whinge will still.

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And yet, while remaining forever ‘autumn’ to my bone marrow, ‘the fall’ does to my mind possess a certain literal beauty it is imbecilic to try and deny.

For indeed, the flaming lot is coming down. Every fragment of our green summer canopy, all the fruit, every nut, the spinning jenny – that whole kit and kaboodle, sharpish, whoooomph.

The fall. Great band too. And a life-changing novel, if you’ve a mind for such angst.

Already a golden carpet is forming, thin now, but thickening, and soon to get soaked through, some to be mashed turning stretches of pavements into lethal skid-pans, some to flow into the gutter and block our drains.

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Amid the crackling foliage, you might have noticed, conkers too have begun their descent, but nothing you’d waste your puff bidding to pry from its tough spiky green kevlar jacket.


Bide your time. Those all-conquering conkers remain on the tree, growing fat, brown and rubbery, awaiting the gales which will fling them to Earth and onto the end of a bootlace. Assuming, of course, that anyone – apart from the few mature zealots who organise and contest the various conker championships, leagues and cups – still swings a nut in anger as the nights close in.

Maybe not. Maybe killed by the ‘Health & Safety Gone Mad’ conker bans at schools across the country which almost certainly never happened or, if they did, got exaggerated out of all proportion by right wing lunatics like the Daily Mail.

They were never actually banned but people became convinced they had been and kicked the habit. A self-fulfilling prophecy?

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Ah well, suppose if nothing else it means there’ll be no shortage of conkers to pick up and wistfully pop in your pocket for a while on long autumnal shuffles through the red, gold and brown leaves.

Just remember to keep an eye out for dog mess and syringes.

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