LAUREN BRAVO Hurrah for autumn

AUTUMN is here! Autumn, autumn, autumn!

Ok, it isn’t. But it almost is, and the anticipation is sweet enough. Soon there will be coats! And hot-water bottles! I bet you’re thinking about buying a new pencil case already, aren’t you?

There will be stew for dinner, and we will no longer have to waste 1.5 hours a day staring at the sky and saying ‘ooh, I think it’s brightening up’. It won’t brighten up now, because it’s autumn, and that’s fine. Have some stew.

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My feelings towards summer have been well documented on these pages over the past eight years, so I won’t bore you with more of the details (sweat! Smell! Blisters! Flip-flops and their far more offensive cousin FitFlops!), except to say I’ve always regarded autumn as the prize for surviving summer. You stagger into it bitten, peeling, frizzy of hair and swollen of feet, wearing a guileless combination of clothing items plucked from under a moist laundry pile with Solero stains down them, and as a reward for your endurance you get showered with brown leaves, in a manner not dissimilar to the confetti you get when you win X Factor.

It’s refreshing, and lovely.

And speaking of X Factor – well, yay for X Factor! The advent of the wailing unhinged is as sure a sign of autumn (the event that must not be named, Christmas) as crisp night breezes and the faint niggling feeling there may be some holiday homework you haven’t done.

It’s back, and this year nobody even has the energy to pretend they won’t watch it.

But the main reason I’m looking forward to autumn is our office air-con wars can finally end.

For weeks now, we have been embroiled in a silent, highly political battle with The Other End of the Office over our air conditioning. They turn it on. We turn it off. They turn it back on. We turn slowly blue around the lips. It isn’t even hot outside. It’s raining outside. We turn it off again, and open a window “for natural breeze”.

They turn it on again, and put on bikinis. We close the window, and learn to type wearing double layers of slankets. It does not end.

Naturally, nobody has thought to discuss the problem openly with the offenders. That would be insane. Instead we mutter, compare goosebumps and glare at the button-happy blighters through the dividing bookcase. We surreptitiously turn the air-con off on our way to the kitchen or toilet, fleeing the scene of the crime immediately so no-one can start pointing fingers.

But, thankfully, before I lose a toe to frostbite and the problem has to be escalated to managerial level, it will be autumn! Nature will be on our side. “It isn’t right,” says Nature, “to have to go to work in August with a cable knit sweater in a carrier bag.” And the office can unite once more, at a mutually comfortable temperature level.

So hurrah for autumn, it is great. As Mark E Smith once said, 50,000 Fall fans can’t be wrong.