Friday 18 October 2013

Autumn Days

For the past few days I have had the song by Phil Collins "I can feel it coming in the air tonight" in my head, and whilst the song has nothing to do with the seasons, I have certainly started to feel the throes of autumn coming in the air recently.

The nights are becoming colder and really misty. As we left the kids school from parents evening the other night I was hit by the delightful smell of wood burning fires coming from the cottages - which always reminds me that Autumn is here. At home we have dusted off the slow cooker and have started indulging in home-made soup and stews to try and ward off the autumn bugs which seem to be rearing their heads. We are also in the midst of our yearly routine of preparing our house for the colder weather which comes around again so quickly each year.

The kids have been reminding us that Autumn is here too. Although it doesn't seem five minutes since the summer holidays, last week was the kids Harvest Festival at school where we revelled in all of the autumn produce which filled the church (well - the tins of tomatoes and beans, and packets of cereal which make up harvest offerings these days anyway). We also sang that well known Autumn classic song "Autumn Days" - you know the one which everyone used to sing at school. Did you used to sing it in primary school? If not (or if you did) Here's a reminder:

Whilst the trendier songs for Autumn and Harvest Festival now include songs about "collecting 100 conkers" and "broad beans sleeping in a blankety bed", for me "Autumn Days" will always will be one of those seminal songs that reminds me of the joys of Autumn and would probably feature in a soundtrack to my younger years.

For some reason, I only have to hear the opening bars to Autumn Days and I am transported straight back to the drafty school hall at junior school - we sang that song a lot! I particularly remember being in assembly, singing "Autumn Days" with the sun streaming through the tall glass green-house like windows of the hall. I remember the smell of the freshly cut grass seeping through the open windows (they steamed up if you left them closed), and the cold nip in the air as summer started to turn to Autumn. The song also reminds me of that smell of a mixture of paint, plimsolls and stale school dinners which permanently hung around in the air at my school and is not dissimilar to the smell of my children's school. I remember my lovely music teacher plodding merrily away on the old piano,  and the rickety old projector with the hand-written words of the song on ageing acetate. I remember looking outside over the wood that our school backed onto and seeing Autumn literally transform the trees from their green pastels to rich gold, reds and browns. I also remember playing with the piles of leaves which filled the playground each playtime, and the excitement as the nights got darker and darker as we left school.

Sadly my primary school has been knocked down now to make way for a housing estate, but last week at the harvest festival, as we sang the song, I closed my eyes and saw a sea of red jumpers (our old school colour) shouting out "and a win for my home team" at the top of our voices. I always look back on my primary school days with fondness (mostly). I think that our kids don't realise how lucky they are to still be in them! "Autumn Days" takes me straight back to being about seven or eight years old again and remembering the promise that each new school year and each new Autumn used to bring, and also the excitement that the events of the close of the year bring.

Now as an adult, I think that excitement becomes quite child-like once again when you are a parent to young children and you join them in remembering the anticipation of all thing Autumnal such as Bonfire night, Birthdays and Christmas.

So a very reflective post from me for the start of Autumn!

What song reminds you of your school days?

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