I love September. It is and always will be the start of the year for me, from those many early years of schooling where it was drummed into us that that was the case.
It’s like new year, just without the expanded waistband from weeks of overeating and drinking, plus we still have the fun of Christmas ahead and the bleak and financially challenged months of January and February are not imminently looming.
It has always felt like a good time to make changes and get organised.
I become filled with the urge to buy new storage containers, pens and writing pads (what is it with us women and stationary?) and of course the new term wouldn’t be complete without new clothes and shoes – though I think most of us manage to conjure imaginative reasons for the latter at any time of the year.
My son’s not old enough to need his own stationary at school yet, but I cannot tell you how much I wait with baited breath for that day to finally come when I can retreat to the nearest WH Smith’s, cheerfully skipping down the aisle – just me, my credit card and a smile.
Stationary suppliers must rub their hands in glee over daft women like myself with a perchance for pretty decorative note pads and folders with plastic dividers (oh, the plastic dividers!).
I am yet to work out what thrills me so about a brand new piece of wood-bound lead, but as the late Nora Ephron said about this time of year: ‘I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address’.
Aside from the obsessive purchase of new stationary supplies, I love this time of year for another reason. It is like the calm before the wintery storm.
You can feel the seasons changing by the sudden chill in the air and, after a summer of shorts and sandals, I start to think about slipping my feet back into a pair of warm socks – if I can find a matching pair – and have the surging desire to close the windows, cook a family-sized roast dinner and apple crumble and huddle up under a blanket with a steaming mug of hot chocolate. It all seems really quite appealing right now.
But, as often is the case, reality is a far stretch from the versions we create in our minds and by mid-November I guarantee I will be grumbling with the rest about painfully numb toes and colossal gas bills.
In a matter of weeks I will find myself battling with my son over hats and scarfs and be back to my daily hunt for the ‘other glove’, while repeating for the umpteenth time: ‘Yes, you do need to do your coat up today!’
I will, once again, lack the power to drag myself out of bed to confront the dark and freezing morning, thinking surely it can’t be time to get up yet?!
But for the time being, I can safely revel in thoughts of the imminent comfort from slippers and fluffy jumpers and not having to worry whether I missed my knees again after shaving my legs.