Pegging the washing out in the garden the smell on the breeze of early-morning rot and decay left me with my first sense of autumn. Those who get disappointed about such things will say we've had no summer but they are probably only counting sun-bathing days which have indeed been few. We certainly seem to have had disappointingly few meals on what we laughably call the patio this year. August 30th is maybe a bit early.
I don't particularly like summer. For me it means insect bites, sweaty nights and hay fever. Often, before I go to sleep, whatever season, I lie on top of the bed reading. This conversation ensues from time to time:
Liz: Aren't you cold?
Liz Why don't you get into bed?
St. I'm happy being cold.
If there's anything in it then my genetic background is almost certainly Scandinavian and Liz's Mediterranean. It would make quite a nice movie if two different conquering races found unity through the love of two people. Pity about the 400 year time lapse. It would have to be an American movie for that not to matter.
Second disappointment is that whilst Liz's pleasant curves and full lips are convincingly Latin I would have made the northern hemisphere's most laughable Viking. 'This rowing is giving me such blisters. ' Perhaps I could have founded a small, horned-hat cleaning company or Rape and Pillage - Longship Renovation Services. I wouldn't have done any of the work myself of course. (Lars, if you read this it's nothing personal.) My name would probably have been St Stson (requires some thought but very funny when you get there).
There is a lot to be said for Viking planning. Management consultant Bryn Hughes describes it as the simplest form of planning there is, revolving as it does around two fixed points.
Point 1. Fjords melt. Take ships, sail away, plunder
Point 2. Get back in time for fjords freezing over. Clean boat. Spend booty.
As he said, many churches still operate Viking planning systems but the fixed points are now called Christmas and Easter.
So I am happy it is nearly autumn. September is one of my favourite months with the annual reminder that I no longer have to attend school. This year it also includes 9 days in the Mediterranean - the only place Lizzie truly relaxes while I cover myself in anti-insect spray and dream of fjords.
Meanwhile it is Holiday Club week and we have turned the church into a mediaeval castle in order to tell children about Jesus. A Premier-league time lapse truly, compared to my marriage. I am the piano player (so don't shoot me) and the theme song is to the tune of Amarillo.
Katey: Don't you hate it?
St: I hated it the first time round.
Katey: You're that old?
Let the indoctrination (oops I mean teaching) commence.
Joke of the week (by Jo Brand)
How do you know if it's time to clean the house?
Check in your pants. If there's a penis in there it isn't time.