I tell you one thing that really freaks me out at Halloween, even more than killer clowns: the smell of freshly cut grass. Yes, I know it’s normally a pleasant smell, drifting through our window as you work on a warm summer’s day. But the smell of cut grass freaks me out properly when it’s the end of October and into November. Why? Because it reminds me of a time – not that long ago – when grass stopped growing in the north of England sometime around the end of September. Those days are gone, and with climate change induced ‘season-creep’ now in full effect, I’m off to give the lawn yet another trim, once I’ve cleared away the dead sparklers and burnt out fireworks from last weekend of course.
It is cold and frosty today, and the trees are looking absolutely stunning in their autumn colours. It’s the cold, clear, calm sort of day that makes me feel glad to be alive. Just a week and a bit ago we were on holiday, contemplating having a halloween barbecue on the beach. We were much further south in Cornwall, where the gulf stream warms the Cornish coastline in a wonderful way, allowing the palm trees to flourish. The farmer was cutting the grass in the field on the clifftop behind our holiday cottage too – and maybe that is normal for that part of the world, I don’t know. The growing season is obviously longer in the south west, but given how quickly our climate is changing, it made me wonder how long it would be before Halloween barbecues became a north of England tradition.
The blurring of the seasons (season creep) was identified and forecast with reasonable accuracy twenty years ago by scientific models looking at the impacts of human-made climate change. Regardless of the forecasts, it can still be cold, and I’m hoping for a proper cold winter this year with a bit of snow and sledging – and no wishy washy warm days in January, or yet more horrendous flooding. Let’s see.