Sunday, 28 September 2014

Something Wicked This Way Comes

"Christmas Time, Mistletoe and..." slipping over every sodding thing...

We're officially into Autumn now and that can mean only one thing. Winter fast approaches. Okay, it can mean a few things - Summer's gone, Cliff will release a new single, Slade will re-issue a certain ditty, the temperatures will fall (in this hemisphere, anyway), and the ever-elegant me will no doubt find himself nose down on a pavement somewhere. And that is not a reference to office parties.

The season of mists and mellow fruitfulness is one of those times of year when the only promise it brings is slippery slopes (and flats). For the vast majority of MS sufferers, the coming cold months bring relief from heat-induced pains but swap those for cold-induced ones. 

This is especially true when deep frosts and then ice and snow appear. I find it hard enough to walk in a straight line without tripping over things like dog hairs or fluff, but when those admittedly highly dangerous items are covered with a blanket of frozen water the troubles multiply madly.

I try so hard to avoid finding my former love of skiing in any way ironic. This is because I genuinely used to love skiing, but for the past couple of Winters I have spent more time picking myself up from level roads and greens than I ever did on a precipitous Alpine slope with two waxy tripping hazards clipped to my feet. Mind you, I can finally really appreciate how the ski sticks might come in handy these days.

Then there's the dogs to consider. Our pets adore water. At the first sight of a stream they're straining at the leash to leap into the wet stuff and will happily spend hours chasing each other into and out of water courses of all descriptions. But when it comes to baths... it'd be easier persuading certain female celebrities to keep their knickers on when confronted by a dozen male strippers. It's this canine bath-aversion that means that in Summer the dogs get bathed outdoors. One garden, one hosepipe, two leashes and some shampoo and they end up smelling if not of roses, then at least something much more pleasant than stale dog. But in Winter they have to be manhandled into the bath filled with water that they apparently loathe. Not easy.

At least in the UK we don't have to change the tyres on the car, though. I used to live in Luxembourg and every Autumn the Summer tyres in all vehicles are switched to grippier Winter ones. Back here, we just leave on the ones we used all Summer and skid off the road at the first sign of a heavy frost.

Another annual ritual for me used to be preparing for the last haircut for a few months - longer hair being equal to a warmer head in my admittedly small mind. This year though I'm not bothering. It's got to the point where I have names for each hair because there are so few of them. Damn, Bert just took a nose dive off my left ear. And talking of noses, I think that means I now officially have more nose hairs than those left on my scalp. Anyway, I was sheared by a daughter yesterday and now look a lot like a hedgehog with alopecia. Her cut is just fine, but there's only so much you can do with a couple of dozen hairs and a prayer.

Christmas is another dread of mine. These days it seems to last all year round and I recall the lack of a sense of humour in people come the start of January as being particularly annoying. Last year I remember mentioning to a pub landlord something about the decorations getting earlier every year - on New Years Eve - and he didn't even crack a smile. Okay, very few people ever smile at my tired joke, but there was no need for him to pour my whisky away.

It's no wonder Santa's got a red face - he's probably sunburnt from the all year-long holiday season.

I will raise a glass or two in celebration though - but I'll be the one wishing 'Roll on next Summer'. Cheers!

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