It must be Autumn because…

Things that tell a Midlifer summer’s over:

Baking plum, damson and greengage crisp from the Nigel Slater book just because you are so excited that you live near a greengrocer that sells more than one variety of plum

The butcher’s counter heaving with game, sparking a pheasant casserole (Hugh F-W) v stuffed pigeon (Angela Hartnett) dilemma

Reluctantly accepting that another year has been and gone without it being hot enough to brave the lido

The cosy slippers in the new Boden/Toast catalogues, and the brushed cotton pyjamas are already looking tempting. Not to mention the stripy scarves

Succumbing to the new Uniqlo merino wool range

Realising that all the big summer exhibitions you wanted to see are about to close and you’ve still not found time to get to see them: Alice Neel, The Surreal House, Bold Tendencies, Franks Cafe and Campari Bar, Serpentine Pavilion

Ditto that none of the diy jobs you thought you’d get done while having to look after the kids all summer instead of earning money have in fact got done. And still not finding the clarity to work out quite why that is

Finishing the last of the holiday wine bought direct from that nice producer from the bourgogne

Buying whisky instead of gin

Moths and spiders instead of flying ants and wasps

The Archers getting ready for the annual flower and produce show – always a major storyline

The return of good tv

All your friends who don’t have children (or have grown up ones) disappearing off for relaxing, sunny, off-peak holidays just as you get stuck into the autumn term while trying to recover from the family campervan trip round Spain

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