Farewell Summer

It’s no good, I can’t ignore it any more. Summer is nearly over. The weather is getting cooler, the evenings are getting darker, the blackberries are starting to appear, and the shops are full of Back To School signs.

All of my life I’ve greeted the end of summer, and the beginning of autumn, with glee. Autumn was always my favourite season, and I didn’t even mind winter. But the last two winters have been….. difficult. Challenging. And I must confess, I’m not looking forward to this one at all. I’m getting a bit experienced now at SAD, I know the stuff I need to do (get outside as much as possible, exercise daily, use a lightbox), but I still can’t help being a bit daunted by the prospect of winter.

So, I need your help. Tell me all the good things about autumn/winter, all the things you look forward to, and what tricks you employ to make the dark months pass easier. Help me find my winter cozy again.

Over to you……..

26 thoughts on “Farewell Summer

  1. Hi Dee,

    just one tip from our surgery: start taking St.Johnยดs wort (capsules or pills), but you have to start quite well in advance (now !) and take them regulary and in a sufficient amount (at least 425 mg twice per day). You may take them throughout the winter until the first rays of spring will kiss away the blues. Please keep in mind that you will need an extra protection from UV exposure, especially when you are a fair english rose , so please use a good mineral sunscreen every day.

    Another suggestion: try to get a hol in midwinter, when the days are at theirs shortest and the darkness greatest. Just one week in the Mediterranian or Canaries/Egypt, something like that with lots of sun,sand,sea, service.

    Dye a lot of sunny yellows, blazing reds and flaming oranges and make other co-sufferers happy , too ;-))

    Do yoga. It helps with everything a lot.

    Try to switch your psyche to the positive things of winter: a Christmas meal for friends/family, sitting at your fire place, snuggling with your cats, knitting heavily complicated Aran sweaters for Tony, getting a new warm wintercoat in a really upliftig colour…

    You live in such a blessed, beautiful part of the world, you are able to do a job that you seem to like a lot and have sucess with , you are married to a quite handsome guy (I suppose) and you have little angel souls, your kitties, as companions.Just imagine someone who suffers like you and who is locked up in a city appartment, alone, without all this. Maybe you might think about helping in a charity, animal rescue etc., the reward is immense and will let your spirits rise far higher than sitting hours in front of a UV lamp does.

    Keep your head up !

  2. Hi Dee

    One thing my husband and I did before kids was take a city break in january/february time when the UK is so dark and dismal. We went to Paris, Barcelona and Genoa – all fabulous and great for lifting the spirits. I remember walking round a park in Barcelona, baked in sunshine in January – in a t-shirt while all the locals were wearing huge fur coats and padded jackets. Glorious.

    Exercise is the other good thing. Swimming, running, walking – whatever tickles your fancy.

    Take care.

  3. Here it’s the opposite, the days are slowly getting longer and warmer and Spring is definitely on its way. It’s my least favorite time of year as I get the worst hayfever of anyone I know. Unfortunately both my birthday and my wedding fall in September so I hope to be not too stoned on antihistamines to enjoy them.

    I’ll tell you the things I most enjoyed about this last Winter, maybe you like these too:
    – snuggling on the couch with knitting and kitties and my love, watching Dr Who
    – lots of soups and stews and potjiekos (kind of a stew cooked in a cast iron pot over a fire)
    – being warm and snuggly in bed with a giant book and cats
    – lots of rain, filling up our dams and ensuring no water restrictions for the coming Summer
    – thunderstorms over Table Mountain, and the resulting waterfalls
    – the soccer fields near my home being flooded and used as a lake by waterbirds
    – knitting hats and gloves and neckwarmers to actually wear in the cold
    – the mountains just a bit inland covered in snow
    – driving along the mountain, looking at Cape Town covered in mist with just the harbour cranes sticking out, very spooky ๐Ÿ™‚

    The best thing about Winter for me is snuggling, Cape Town summers are far too hot for that sort of thing.

  4. I have a husband who suffers from SAD ( he’s started early as the summer has been so bad here in south Wales) and so I do sympathise. He did find St John’s Wort helpful but can now no longer take it as it clashes with other medication he has to take. We too have found that a winter break can work wonders. We have travelled round the Alentejo in February in glorious sunshine – on that trip we were watching several girls swimming off the beach at Milfontes when our son rang up to say he was stuck in a snow drift on the way home from college and my, did that make us feel smug. This year we went to Barcelona for a few days ( again wonderful weather) and Portugal is often very sunny in January and February as we know from trips over the last few years. However, we are retired and can afford to take the time off which you may not be able to do. But I do know that it is great to have something to look forward to after Christmas which is why I shall be planning and booking our winter jaunt soon.

  5. What helps for me is having something to do in winter that I look forward to – for example, I lovelovelove to ski and snowboard, and last winter I tried nordic skiing which is also a good workout and a great way to see some lovely scenery.

  6. I have to say, Autumn is my favourite season. Maybe due to having a birthday in early September, so as a child it was always ‘my’ time of year, but I also grew up on a farm, so it’s all the harvest stuff: wheat fields and combine harvesters; apples in our orchards, one of which was my own personal because I loved that particular variety so much (I’ve now got one in my own garden!) and they are ripe just around my birthday; the colours, the smells, the activity on the farm which we all helped with (can you actually help on a farm when you’re a child, or are you more of a hindrance?) … just all of it.

    I guess as well that most of my favourite activities now are indoor ones anyway, like the knitting, reading and computer, so I don’t mind not being able to go out as much.

    Oh, and open fires!

  7. Oh, I love this time of year. It is a time of hunkering down, and I get the urge to be all housewifey. There is jam and chutney to be made, stewed apples to be jarred, the house gets a pre winter going through so that it is nice being inside lots during the winter. The logs get chopped and stored ready for roaring fires, the garden gets a going through and I look excitedly to sitting in my nice sitting room with a roaring fire, watching Owen play on the floor, knitting with a nice cake and a pot of tea.

    This year you have a lovely house that is all re-done and spending time in it is going to be a pleasure!

  8. You’ll have a much nicer autumn and winter if the home improvements are 100% done! ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. In no particular order….

    Being able to have a real fire without over heating,
    Being able to snuggle under a lovely soft duvet & feeling comfortable instead of sweaty
    Seeing the colours of the leaves and the shininess of new conkers
    Crisp bright mornings with either a touch of crinkly frost or just so very clear you could see for miles
    Being able to wear gloves you’ve knitted and scarves and jumpers (although I’ve not yet knitted a jumper!)
    A glass of deep dark juicy burgundy by the fire (see above) – I always find heavy reds too much in summer but delicious in winter
    The knowledge that there is spring with all of the little shoots pushing up to look forward to (I like to plant some bulbs in pots by the door to look for)
    Candlelit services of nine lessons & carols – either on radio or better still live (St Davids must do some lovely Christmas services – the choristers there are fantastic!)
    The possibility of copious use of candles from early evening.
    Ice. I love it.
    Playing puffa trains with your breath on cold days
    Getting wet & cold outside & knowing that you can have a hot chocolate to warm up after
    Wrapping presents – deciding on colours & how to play with ribbon & what bows to use.
    The smell of winter hyacinths
    Jumping in puddles.

    … right, that’s 15, one per week should see you through a fair bit of winter, let me know when you run out & I’ll come up with more ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. -long hot baths (have just bought some bathoil called Grumpy Cow!!!)
    – make sure you’re wrapped up – in all your handknits, natch – when you go out so you don’t freeze
    – get some dvds of favourite films/series to look forward to on those long evenings
    – give yourself a treat every day, it might be a cookie, or a frothy cappucino, or just a trashy magazine ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Amen on the blackberries. Off to pick some this morning with the chillens and make blackberry ice cream. Quick, before the weather turns too cold.

    About dreading the dark and cold of winter, my brother and sister-in-law swear by full-spectrum lights. Another friend who fights SAD every year has a sunlamp she sits under everyday. May be a bit expensive, but worth it if it makes you feel better. I completely understand, I think I am solar powered myself.

  12. It’s the crisp smell of an Autumn morning with the sun low in the sky shining through the mist as you crunch through the leaves on a conker hunt just for the sake of it. The spring in your step as you quicken your pace because you haven’t yet put on your winter coat and really you should have. It’s nearly my birthday. It’s the way the seasons revolve and the certainty that one follows another and that winter may be coming but that also it will be over and there will be another spring to look forward to. It’s the hope of an Indian summer once the kids are back to school so that you can still squeeze one last beach walk out of the year late in the evening. It’s that golden hour pre sunset when the light is just right for photograph, see the year end through your camera to appreciate it’s beauty. Thin layers of frosts patterns and the very barest of ice on the path which will burn off once the sun is up and the shadow rolls back from this patch of early winter. It’s getting out the big box of handknits and rediscovering the mittens I made last year and was sad to put away when the weather got warmer. Wrapping up in the scarves and hats and cowls when your breathing turns into clouds of white and you need to breathe through a wooly layer to inhale comfortably. It’s the colour of all the leaves that warm your heart when you’ve been forced to get up early to commute. It’s cobwebs covered in that dewy mist looking so beautiful they’re awe inspiring and you have to stop and stare at them. It’s really the natural world in all it’s glory, mists of mellow fruitfulness to coin a phrase. I love it and I’m full of anticipation, once we stop waiting for our summer, which never was, we can get on with and really enjoying the weather we do have.

    Chase away the blues? Hot chocolate, evenings spinning/knitting/planning, light a fire, draw the curtains, choose a favourite film and enjoy the relative solitude, it’s a season to pull up the drawbridge and gather your family round you, Halloween, bon fire night and Christmas. January/February are hard because the festivities are over and it’s still a long time until spring, that’s where you need to get ingenious and I agree with previous posters it’s the home comforts that see you through. The hunkering down of pre January is over so now it’s making plans and beginning new schemes so that when the sun creeps back into the garden you’re ready to burst forth with the spring bulbs. Try some new recepies in the kitchen, start a new craft venture, weaving? An early spring clean of the stash to assess the possibilities. It’s all good. And sleep, your body wants to sleep, sleep is good, sleep is your friend, millennia of evolution sent you to bed with the sunset and had you rise with the dawn, I am very bad at getting enough sleep but I really will try harder to get a full quota as it has a huge impact on how well I cope with life ๐Ÿ™‚

    And remember your friends are still your friends even when you’re sad and it makes them happy to help. Every year I feel a little less ready to face the winter but it occurs to me this year that next month I am 45. Even if I live to be 90, half my life is over – I have so many things I want to do, I intend to make good use of every minute whatever the season. I have all those patterns in my queue for one thing! Oh my, I’d better get knitting!

  13. i always feel i belong more in winter, knitting just seems right at that time of year, fire on, lamps on and snuggled on sofa witha good film and tea and biscuits! Plus the christmas season allows fairy lights everywhere, and them twinkling away can chase away the blues, works for me

    If all else fails, chocolate!!!!!!!!!

  14. I think I must be very lucky not to get SAD as the days get shorter.

    I’m also from a rural area originally. I love the slowing feeling as summer and the frentic pace slows down to a stroll. Once the harvest is in everyone has a little time to catch their breath. It’s like the countryside takes a long slow deep sigh as we wander into autumn. The days are getting shorter, but the weather can be glorious. Sharp bright days with crunchy leaves. And a murky day means you can stay indoors curled up on the sofa with an old favourite DVD and the knitting.
    And even in winter getting outside is the best thing. The air might be chilly but a walk in the outside makes you feel taller, fresher and cleaner.

    I don’t know about “proper” medicine for SAD. The only thing that I know I need is enough sleep. You’re going to be fine. All you friends are here when you feel down, and what better medicine could you possibly get?

  15. Summer is always a disappointment.At least in Autumn and Winter you know what to expect and a lovely sunny day is such a bonus.
    I love snuggling under the duvet when it is wild outside.
    I love wearing all those socks I have knitted with Posh Yarn.
    I will settle down earlier in the evening and knit more!
    I really don’t mind Autumn and Winter especially now we have a new central heating system which is fantastic.

  16. My birthday is in October so I look forward to that and then Christmas. I have always loved Christmas. Also we do have some lovely bright sunny weather. The sort where my sister says it is nice to be outside all wrapped up.

    I notice some people have suggested a break. In January we sometimes go to Brighton and in fact strangely enough have had some fabulous weather. It is sunny and quiet warm.

  17. Crunchy frost across a field of hay stubble or grass in the back garden. Apples fresh off the tree. Rosehips. Late chrysanthemums bursting into colours. Seeing breath clouding when I exhale. Catching snowflakes. Warm woollens coming out of storage. Baking bread and cakes and muffins and not needing to open the window. Rich, hearty stews and casseroles. Maple candy poured onto snow, or caramel if you don’t have sugar maples nearby. Holidays and birthdays and gifts and surprises.

  18. I came up with another suggestion! Get a desktop wallpaper cycler (or if you have a Mac, it’s built-in, on a PC I use the free version of Wallpaper Master) and put in a bunch of summery/springy pictures, like gorgeous flowers (deviantART has a great selection of wallpapers and a nice categorization system/search engine) and summer landscapes. That way whenever you’re inside feeling all gloomy your computer can be a window into the sunny seasons!

  19. Blimey, I am desperate for winter after reading all of these.
    Here here to all of them ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. Drinking hot tea (with just a dash of milk) while curled up under a blanket while it rains outside! Book, knitting, or other entertainment is optional.

  21. It always rains where I live (Oxford), all through Autumn, and I find that the most depressing thing when it threatens to keep me indoors. So in order to get my daily dose of light and fresh air, I swear by a good pair of wellies and a waterproof and just getting out despite the downpours! I now really like wandering along the canalside with my hood up, jumping in puddles, looking at the pretty boats and watching the leaves change colour… and then going home, baking and knitting (with autumnal coloured wool – all my favourite colours tend towards a russet/orange palette!)

  22. I love winter, being able to hibernate without being thought antisocial! The nip in the air. The sound of kindling being split, gathering fir cones for the fire and the smell of woodsmoke. Cashmere socks, scarves, fingerless gloves, permanently on. Sleeping on sheepskins! I’m blanking out the chattering teeth, cold in the bones, i wish i had a bathtub part. One of my wee rituals this time of year is bristling oranges full of cloves, then hanging them up to fill the house with a sweet spicy smell all winter long. Another winter treat is… well, i’ll pop in the post for you later this week ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. Take a tubby at night when you’re down in the winter. I love the smells of autumn, so I try to surround my home with them. I also live in a very rainy part of Washington state (my mom says it’s very similar to the UK), and I like to get Tetley my wee dog dressed up in her hot pink raincoat and walk around a bit. We also have movie nights on the weekend.

  24. All such wonderful suggestions! I have to ask, though, what’s a conker? As in…

    “as you crunch through the leaves on a conker hunt just for the sake of it”

  25. I too love autumn and winter. Although I can get a touch of the blues, treat it by getting a stash of new books and then curl up on the sofa, in front of the sofa reading them. Or just watching black and white movies.

    On horrible wet weekend afternoons I just love being in the kitchen, listening to Radio 4 and making pies, bread, casseroles, soups or just baking. There’s nothing like the smell of freshly baked cakes. I too have a strong urge to prepare the house for winter, getting in lots of candles, making jams and chutney, freezing loads of things.

    I love love love the sea and prefer it in winter to the summer. There aren’t other folk around, it’s a good exscuse to get wrapped up, the wind blows cobwebs away, there’s nothing like big rough seas and all those negative ions make you feel better. If there’s a bit of sun it’s even better. We’re landlocked and sometimes in the middle of winter just have to drive over to the coast for a dose of sea air and always feel it’s totally worthwhile, even if it’s too cold, windy or wet to stay more than an hour.

    And finally I love Xmas, for the candles, twinkly lights, mulled wine and lots of early music that we get out and play then. Whether you’re Christian or not there’s something wonderfully uplifting and familiar about Carol Services.

  26. years after years, I am starting to become the same…I don’t enjoy getting into winter so much…at least until Christmas (or 21st December…shortest day).
    This year, apart from all exciting knitting I can plan, I will enjoy decorating my home again. Nobody sees my remote house, but my 3 year-old son will enjoy coming back from school with all funny nice lightings around the house. This is my motivation: lighting decorations (from December to end March …usually)