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Yes, it’s the season of mists and yellow fruitfulness again, and these are early days, Brian, because we’re still settling down in midfield, but we’re growing in confidence the whole time and I’m happy with the way things are going, because it’s


And the late crops are settling down in midfield, but the farmers are quietly growling in confidence, and unhappy with the way things are growing, and the fans of autumn can be heard crying, Come on you browns, and greens, and oranges, and reds, because these are the colours of


Yes, gone are the bright blues and flaming yellows so fashionable in summer, with the new season’s range of dull mud brown and off-beige now in the shops. And in the hedgerow the last fruits of the season are being offered at a knockdown price, come on ladies, lovely blackberries and elderberries, everything has go to go, everything is reduced to clear, who’ll buy my lovely autumn fruits? Look at these berries, plump, juicy and delicious, come on, ladies, you’ll be sorry when you get home. Tell you what, I’ll throw in an extra mushroom free! As you were, it might be a toadstool, after all a toadstool is only a mushroom to die for! Just my little joke, ladies, either way it’s a bargain, because that‘s how I feel today, ladies and gentlemen, a bit frisky and a bit daring, because it’s


Which is why there are so many remaindered racks in the undergrowth, hangers in the hedgerows, last season’s fashions waiting to fall off, this season’s new ones just coming through, branches full of hazel nuts, branches full of walnuts, branches full of cobnuts… Go on, sir, try one, try a walnut, there you are what did you think? You thought it was green and unpleasant? Course it’s green and unpleasant, course it’s unripe, that’s what nuts are like NOW, but come the spring they’ll be lovely, that’s how you know they’ll be lovely, through their being green and unpleasant now, Lord bless you, sir, I wouldn’t buy a nut now if it was edible, but that’s because it’s


Season of mists and mellow chestiness, I’ve had this cough on my poitrine now for weeks, and simply can’t shake it off. I’ve tried everything, bonfire smoke, stubble burning, but it’s still there... The doctor told me to go for long walks and plenty of exercise, but they’ve put the cows back in the lower field and what does the old song say...?

“Cow pat, cow pat,

Baker’s man,

Pat me a cow

As quick as you can.

Pat it and prod it,

As much as can be,

And when it charges you,

Turn and flee...”

Tell you what the new look for autumn is, ladies, it’s the spider’s web look! Just leave everything out overnight and in the morning it’ll be covered with beautiful, shimmering, gossamer webs, dancing in the dewshine! Don’t ask me how it’s done, ladies, I’m just here to bring you the latest fashion, because the old summer fashions are gone now, the swift look, the swallow look, the long hot evening look, that’s all old hat now, what we’ve got now is the new autumn schedules, something old, something new, lots of repeats on BBC 2, something dead, something live, and a funny smell on Channel Five…

I love this time of year, don’t you? It’s so, I don’t know, autumnal, so melancholy and sad, what was it Keats wrote?

“Where the woodbines, there bine I,

In a pile of leaves I lie.

Lost my footing, lost my hat,

Now I lie here, flat on my back...”

I couldn’t believe it, I saw the first bit of Christmas decoration the other day, and I have seen pubs telling you to book now for Christmas lunch and office parties! Well, for heaven’s sake, have people gone mad? It’s nowhere near Christmas yet! It’s ... it’s ... the month after next. That’s quite soon. Yes, time to start thinking seriously about Christmas. But not too late to enjoy


Season of Hallowe’en and mellow foolishness, with the prize pumpkin being fattened even now to be slaughtered at the feast, mark you, I don’t hold with these American customs, trick and treating, give me an English custom any day like harvest festival, with the traditional tins of baked beans laid at the altar to celebrate the safe bringing in of the tomato sauce crop from the field with permitted colouring, and every kind of colouring is permitted when it’s


Coming soon to a field very near you.

The Independent 6th Oct 1998