Some will argue with that statement, no doubt. Winter and Summer in this country are generally miserable. They have their positive attributes, but Winter is often bitterly cold, windy, wet, and an interminably long and dark period. Summer has a tendency, in Scotland, to be dreich, humid, overcast, and unbearably disappointing.
There is an argument for Spring. It’s hard to beat the bright optimism that rises like sun out of the freezing fog when the first shoots pierce the earth and promise of the coming days. At what other time of year is there such a riot of floral colour and a feeling of emerging from a long sleep?
Autumn, though, is about harvest, and a certain abandon. The light is achingly beautiful. It’s the final heartbreaking days of a perfect holiday, knowing that it’s all soon to be over and the return to cold grey normality (Winter) is inevitable. Autumn is crackling fires and piles of golden leaves kicked in the air. It’s whisky warming your belly after a hard day’s work; picking fat brambles and staining your hands purple with the juices; making stock with the roast chicken you’ve just devoured, to provide the base for soups for the coming months. It’s about pulling on those friendly jumpers and hats and creating your own warmth in the cooling, sinking sunshine.
Today, it was about working at the Stockbridge Market, helping the lovely Alexis sell her gorgeous jewellery to Sunday-happy strollers in the dappled September sunshine. It was about freshly cooked Paella eaten in the open air (yes, that’s it in the pan in the photo). If you live in Edinburgh and enjoy food, then you should absolutely come to the Market and eat the incredible, varied food and buy the all the pretty things.
Autumn has also always been a fruitful time for writing for me, for some reason. I enjoy the feeling of hunkering down in the house when the weather is inclement, positioned in front of the glowing screen, creating universes with the tips of my fingers.
But nothing beats eating outside at this time of year. Freshly baked bread. Roast meats. Apples. Most people spend the summer barbecuing the life out of poor innocent sausages and burgers, to lie in the sweaty humidity and consume them, because that’s what everyone else does. Crisp Autumn days, such as today, when the sun is brighter, lower in the sky and dazzling, and you can smell the frost in the mornings, are days to cook outside with a ridiculous jumper on. Then you can savour the warmth of the food against the chill air and your taste buds come alive.