September's Golden Return
Opaques. This is my signifier for the turn of the season: the return of opaques. I'm clearly a bore about this, because my Facebook 'On This Day' shows a roll-call of early-September status posts about getting my black opaque tights out of retirement for Autumn. But it does feel like change, doesn't it?
As someone who has a deep love for this time of year, it fills my heart up to see crisp, bombastic blue skies twinned with the first chill in the air. My Mum is WhatsApping me progress pics of her crocheted pumpkin decorations for next month. I have a cold. We put the heating on for the first time.
The last late shows of the season can be staggeringly beautiful. Jo and I rented a beach hut for the weekend and, while it did rain on two out of the three days, we saw such diverse weather that is unique to this time of year. On Friday, it HAMMERED down. We went with my parents and wrapped in jumpers and blankets, we ate lunch in the beach hut, hugging cups of tea from the stove, watching the tide come in. My Dad took stylish photos of the raindrops on the hut windows, and we called it a day. On Saturday, though, in that typical change-every-minute September way, it was roasting. I lay on a deckchair on the beach hut's decking, slapped Factor 50 on and dozed, the heat making me feel full of love for the sun which I've been admonishing for months. Jo tinkered about in the kitchen making us lunch, and we had friends over for prosecco, a barbecue, and to watch the sunset on the beach. I went up to the hut to wash up and looked down on Jo and our pals, who were bathed in the most beautiful golden light. You don't get light like that in the summer; it felt autumnal and special. The estuary mud was tinged gold and lilac, and we marvelled at the view (wrapped in blankets and throws).
Sunday it was different again: cloudy and windy but not altogether unpleasant, and my nephews marauded around the beach hut clutching bourbon biscuits like it was their tiny kingdom: spotting ships, waving at people going past, later picking up driftwood and paddling in the shallows. They're hardy little fellas: raised on camping from birth. No sun? No problem. There are always stones to throw and shells to find, no matter what the weather's doing. As the day moved towards its end, the wind kicked up a tantrum like you've never seen. The tide came in alarmingly quickly and waves smashed against the hut, coming up higher than I've ever seen it before. A boat got washed up at the shore a few huts down. Another blue sailing boat lost the battle with the wind, and the RNLI and coastguard appeared: it makes you realise how quickly the sea can turn. We watched through binoculars drinking more tea, cosy in the protected hut but still feeling vulnerable to the elements.
Only at the turn of a season do you have to pack suncream but hot water bottles, sunglasses but blankets, swim shoes but also leggings to put under your trousers for when it gets nippy. I love it. It signifies cosy evenings in (watching Strictly, omg you know I love it), warming dinners and tots of whisky. Sun still, of course, those golden evenings of endlessly Instagrammable skies; roaring sunsets begging to be snapped, but coats and jumpers and, yes, my favourite: opaques. September, I have missed you.