Autumn is here in all its glory! Falling leaves, muddy wellies, flammable fancy dress and rotten teeth. Rachael Smart takes stock.
Autumnal Walks in peachy dazzling light, foraging for conkers, leaves and acorns. Encouraging the children to throw leaves and photographing them lying down in a beautiful pile of earthy reds, yellows and oranges. Crying later when you can’t wash the stench of dog shit off the collar of their good school coat.
Wearing tights in the chilly morning and having a tropical groin climate by noon.
Digging out your boots, the tatty old pair that you haven’t had time to re-heel. You know if you took them to the shoe donation box, you’d be doing the needy a ‘hole’ disservice so you wear footwear with leather the texture of burnt sausages until the following winter.
X Factor is back on with the same hammed-up lines, the inexplicable feeling of love threatening to bust open your heart when the sob story comes on and another talentless individual gets picked for being either weird, a call centre operator, recently bereaved or all three.
Nottingham Goose Fair brings the gentle peck of being pick-pocketed by a true pro. The taste of crushed peas and mint and panic. Rock hard candy floss rotting in a plastic bag that you can’t bin because it’s your child’s ‘memory’ even though they concur that it tastes of evil and gave them lockjaw. Rip-off rides and the fear on the children’s faces when you put the smalls on adult Waltzers in error and some shameful sort of pride stops you asking the operator to hit the emergency button.
Harvest Festival in the mildew-scented church where the children pick their noses, oblivious to any thanks given and you lip sync badly to hymns about crops and bounty. You resolve to be more thankful, to eat a more vibrant rainbow of home-grown fodder whilst feeling good about your donation that will warm the insides of a hungry stranger.
As you pour out healthy liquid grapes to celebrate your small act of kindness, you realise the tins of marrowfat peas you donated to the hostel were seven years out of date. You google the effects of out of date tins, perspiring profusely. You conclude that you are comparable to worthless scum and unworthy of a place in God’s House.
Halloween comes round with the contentious issues of trick or treating in a predominantly Christian community.
Concerns about the children’s teeth + candy excess + if a bloke might open the door yelling ‘Get off my property, spawn of Satan’, brandishing a disused air rifle for shock effect.
Those spooky kids outfits that flare up within a 4 mile proximity of flames and the maternal lottery of whether it’s worth dressing up for the bonfire just in case somebody at the party smokes Rothmans.
Guy Fawkes is next when the bonfire always gets cancelled because someone nicks the armchair for their new flat and the villagers mob over the limited firework display tickets in the local Co-Op.
Then there’s the rain. Incessant, siling down rain. Wondering if your wellies will get sucked so far into the marshy field that you’ll be slurped underground and out the land’s muddy sphincter into some Otherworld.
Wine in plastic cups. Warm beer in plastic cups. Flashing Ninja swords with faulty electrics which are used to cause injuries to passers-by and whilst darkness means you can deny it was your child, the edgy fear of losing a child in the crowds leads to more wine in plastic cups.
Kids coming out of their mud-sucked wellies and going head first in to black deep puddles. You on your fourth cup of wine and going head first into black deep puddles and wandering around with soil on your eyebrows for the remainder of the evening.
The kids not watching the fireworks. The adults saying ‘Aah’, ‘Look!’ and exclaiming at the colours, remembering better ones their dad let off from a five pound multipack in a terraced garden.
The kids smashing each other up with the Ninja swords. Swearing you won’t buy tickets next year. Arguing about who carries the buggy over the mud flat whilst the kids cry that the Ninja has lost its capacity to light up by 10pm. Swearing you’ll never buy another extortionate trouble-causing fucking Ninja sword.
Tucking the kids in after, and promising that of course they can have a much better sword next year and a mega bucket of pink tooth rot to boot.
Rachael Smart is a writer. She also wings it as a mother of two gorgeous boys and is frequently found writing about the mystical world of child-rearing where grown-ups frequently lose their shit (but manage to hide the brown stains remarkably well.) You can follow her on Twitter
Image Credit: Rachael Smart