The summer spell is finally being broken

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Write Away ... Leighton Buzzard Writers’ Column. This week by Claire Matthews

I seem to be living in a parallel universe. A place of endless summer, the creation of a benign sorcerer queen designed to keep the inhabitants of Leighton Buzzard in a reverse Narnia. But lately, cracks in the illusion are beginning to appear.

Back in May, I planted a pot of lobelia and it stands beside my front door. It looks beautiful; masses of pretty blue and white flowers erupting all over the place. I have lovingly watered it and enjoy its cheerful display every time I return home.

Now it looks spectacular, like the prize exhibit at the Chelsea Flower Show and I’m growing suspicious. Is it too good to be true?

The other day, I was wandering around my favourite shop, coatless and flip-flopped, when I came across a large Christmas tree unashamedly decked out in large baubles. So surprised was I at this strident icon of winter that my sunglasses fell off my head. What is going on?

Last week, I was sitting out on the decking, warming my cockles in the sunshine and reading. “I’m in my garden, but it feels like I’m on holiday,” I said to myself. “Lovely”.

All at once, I became aware that a dusk-like darkness was falling. It was only 4pm by my watch. What strangeness is this, an eclipse? Witchcraft?

Then came the most terrible harbinger of winter doom. I broke my SAD alarm clock. (SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder affects many people and is characterised by depression during the darker months of winter.)

Thankfully I don’t suffer from SAD, but I do enjoy the benefit of a SAD alarm clock. Every morning, I am awakened by the gradual brightening of the lamp, culminating in the sound of a gentle dawn chorus. In my bleary effort to switch off the birds and switch on Chris Evans, I pushed it off the bedside table. Why am I now waking to cruel, unexpected darkness?

I fear the breaking of this summer spell. It’s going to explode into arctic Armageddon soon, the signs are there.

Please, sorcerer queen, make the spell last longer. Don’t make me wear a coat. Bring back the light mornings. And please don’t turn my lobelia into a blackened, frost ravaged heap.