Autumn – Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness – the best time of the year. At least I think so. You can keep Spring with its sprouting new life and itch in the blood and the nagging feeling that it’s time to be doing something, if only frantically spring cleaning. Summer is usually a long-drawn-out disappointment. Either too chilly, too hot or too wet. In summer you are expected to say how wonderful it all is, even if you don’t particularly enjoy sweltering heat. But Autumn – now that’s something else. The world wakes up after the long drowse of Summer. Life begins again. it can’t be just coincidence that school terms start in September – new start, new uniforms, new books, pens and pencils – though I suppose nowadays it should be tablets and laptops. The days get fresher and the nights start to draw in. Love that phrase “the nights are drawing in”. Autumn, ripeness and fruitfulness, time to gather apples and pears, to bottle and freeze, to make jams and jellies and chutneys. A mellow time. A time for the middle-aged to come into their own. Chopping apples till my hands ache and the smell of onion lingers on my fingers despite my best efforts to remove it. A time for counting the rows of jars in the kitchen cupboard ticking off the jobs that have been done and making a list of those still to be done. A time for starting new projects too. Evening classes, courses of study all start about this time of the year. I admit, though, that a web-based course of study appeals more as I get older than going out on dark nights to a sit in a chilly classroom or lecture hall. Of course my good resolutions to learn all sorts of useful skills often don’t last beyond the first flush of enthusiasm, but the projects I begin in September have a better chance of survival than those I start in January. New Year’s day is absolutely the worst time of the year for good resolutions.