You can always tell it’s autumn. For a start, the sun comes out, the temperature rockets above 17°C for the first time since March, and you get a chance to wear the shorts you bought back in July when you still optimistically thought you were in with a chance of a tan.
Other signs of the changing season are more subtle, but nonetheless telling.
A text arrives from a certain teenager on his first day of sixth form, asking what time school starts.
A certain dad wonders if there are evening classes in how to avoid becoming a helicopter parent.
An email arrives from the alma mater, reminding former students that Christmas is only four months away and that the college online store will soon be open for the sale of cards, souvenirs and other festive knick-knacks.
At least one former student nearly succumbs to the temptation to (a) dig the degree certificate out of bottom of the filing cabinet; (b) ceremonially burn it; and (c) post the ashes back to said alma mater without a stamp.
But logic and good reason prevail. It might still come in useful in the event of a career change. (Fat chance of that, mind you, this far into middle age. But you’ve got to be prepared for anything these days.)
On a jollier note, there’s a funfair in Victoria Park this weekend. And not your ordinary disco-blasting diesel-fume-belching type of funfair either.
No, this is a steam funfair, Carters by name, and it offers such nostalgic delights as the Yachts, the Chair-o-Planes and the Galloper.
Plus white-knuckle attractions like the Wall of Death, Carters Rock’n’Roll Dodgems and the Victory Dive Bomber.
Which comes complete with RAF roundels and a beautifully painted warning that “pregnant ladies, customers under the influence of drink or drugs, people with weak hearts, or a nervous disposition should not attempt to ride”.
There’s the Mini Octopus for the tinies and the Sensational Giant Octopus for the not-so-tinies.
And if those don’t tickle your fancy then you could try the Lightning Skid, Jollity Farm or the Scenic Electric Dobbies.
They’re all original fairground rides, some dating back to the 1920s or even before, lovingly maintained and restored and full of nostalgic charm.
One of the payboxes that was going up in the park on Wednesday bears the legend “A Show for Young and Old that Never Fails to Please”. And if that doesn’t beat the autumn blues then nothing will.
Except perhaps the Dixon family’s showing at the Weston Flower Show.
If you read last week’s offering you may well be interested to know how the cake got on. If you didn’t, then you may not, but stick with us.
It won a Highly Commended, which isn’t bad for a second foray into the arcane world of sponge baking, although it was probably the inclusion of Mrs D’s strawberry jam that swung it.
Her runner beans and sweet peas carried the day.
You had to be there, really.