AS NIGHT temperatures drop and red wines replace the whites, the perennial problem of adjusting back to the real world arises once again. The end of daylight saving and the return of Eastern Standard Time.
This year threw up an additional challenge as my partner and I flew back from a different time zone and home to an army of untruthful clocks. It's not just several that require attention. I counted 12 all up and am certain to have missed one or two. They will be the ones I consult when setting out on some important meeting to arrive an hour late*.
Years back, on the first day of the return to standard time, I recall with some embarrassment arriving an hour late at a large family reunion at Barwon Heads. The sound of my sister’s laughter and cries of "I knew it, I knew it" as we entered the gathering still ring in my ears. Shortly after, I'm sure I saw money change hands between her and a family elder.
There is a lot to be thankful for those self-adjusting clocks that inhabit our mobile phones and computers. The tricky ones that I inevitably overlook are those in the car.
Yet I embrace the approaching winter. Birds are thinning out, as are the leaves on many trees, but the worry of snakes and bush fires is behind us for another year. The garden compensates with the ornamental grape vine a riot of red and a scattering of deciduous trees and shrubs making a gradual and colourful exit to the season. It's back to buying eggs as the chooks go into a chook state of hibernation and the vegetable garden is looking deserted. Well, that's a bit of a relief, says my ageing back.
The footy is back, as is jostling with the dog for front spot by the fire side, and so are casseroles and that red wine. Cold mornings give an excuse to stay in bed without feeling guilty. That's if, like me, you don't have to front up at the office any more. The water tanks are starting to fill up and the hordes of flies have gone to wherever flies go in colder times.
Life doesn't always make sense, only now and then, but the seasons seem to retain a comforting pattern even in the face of climate change. Well, for now at least.
* Editor’s note: Probably an hour early.