Autumn again. My favourite time of year. Being a runner I am clearly marginally mad, but there is nothing quite like running up Portsdown Hill at dawn on a blue-skied autumn morning.
The silent view of the city, beautiful from a distance in the milky light, is a sight of wonder.
Pavements crackle underfoot with the first thin, fragile frosts that hint at a winter yet to come, and you have the sense that you are looking down on the entire world.
September heralds a new year for me, and I credit this with being a teacher. The childhood memories of crisp new stationery and the spindle point of freshly sharpened pencils never quite leaves you. It’s a creamy new page to start again, full of promise and possibility.
It also signals the speed at which the seasons pass. My daughters are another year older, their independence ever-growing, and each new school year pulls them further away from the pool of childhood.
I do not miss the stretches of lonely nights awake with a newborn, but I do ache for the days when my girls were tiny.
The sweet boredom of afternoons with nothing to do but coo at each other; the firm weight of their bodies in my arms; the smell of baby that is tucked away in the creases of their newly minted skin.
I find it hard to comprehend that I will never again experience this as a mother. As a grandmother perhaps, if I am lucky, but not as a mum.
My favourite memory is of an autumn afternoon, nearly 11 years ago, sitting on our sofa holding my youngest daughter in my arms. She and I used to spend hours simply staring at each other, and as I held her I looked into the garden at my husband, who was raking the leaves that were spilling from the oak tree.
An old Waitrose ad was playing in the background, with Keats being read over it to the strands of Golden Brown by The Stranglers.
My eldest daughter was safe and happy at pre-school, and all was well with me and mine.
Time is so transient; we must try to treasure it.
Hold on to your marbles, you’re going to need them
You know the world’s gone mad when you ring up your car insurance company to change your address, and they charge you a £26 admin fee for the pleasure of typing a different post code into a laptop.
You’d think in the age of the internet that just about everything can be done online when changing address and, for the most part, this is true.
However, it requires approximately 50 passwords, each with a different set of rules about how many numbers, how many capitals, how many special icons, and how many marbles you’ll lose trying to remember them all, or even think of new ones.
I will obviously forget all of the above within an hour of turning off my laptop and be back to square one next time.
Coming back to ‘home’ after work is the best feeling
Seeing your life packed and bound in boxes is a strange thing. It makes you realise just how much your environment anchors you and makes an emotional difference to how you feel day to day.
As humans we are adverse to change, even if it’s change we have chosen. Stability and a bit of control over things makes us happy and settled – we have a nest to return to.
Coming back after a day at work to ‘home’ is just the best feeling. Coming back to ‘house’ is not quite the same. We’ve made our house a home but now that it is stripped back, it simply isn’t the same.
Hopefully this is useful, because it should help to sever the emotional ties to the place on the day we leave.