Lost: One Summer. Answers to the name of Mr. Biggles.

The last couple of nights have shown a downturn in the only aspect of the weather that has been remotely summery. The heat and humidity have gone, to be replaced by a cold Autumnul nip in the air. So that was our Summer then? I think we had no more than half a dozen days over the entire year where you could safely say the weather was like a real Summer.

Last night I slept wearing a jumper. It’s something I do when the weather gets colder, and it works. I have several big comfy jumpers that are really comfortable to wear to bed and not too hot or scratchy either. When the weather gets even colder still, I leave my socks on as well. It works. Especially in this climate of gas being ridiculously over priced, it means in more practical terms that we can probably last an extra month before the central heating is required again.

I think we had a barbecue or went to a barbecue no more than three times, and at one of those the weather turned a little damp in that traditional British way as soon as we lit it. Where did the Summer go? I think it decided to take this year off and go out to Abu Dhabi to top up on its tan? After all, it must be nice to get a change of scenery. It’s like when there’s a bank holiday, why don’t the banks head off to the beach with a creak of masonary and a jangle of those pens on chains they have? I certainly would.

We were going to go into Manchester today, but a quick snap poll (involving looking out of the window and seeing the weather) meant that we’ve cut things back to just going into Bolton. I have an eye examination there at just before four anyway (just routine, no need to worry) so we decided we can probably do everything we want within walking distance of home. At least then we won’t get quite as wet. Or at any rate; that is the plan.

I want a particular piece of what Zoë laughably describes as my ‘train porn’. That is, I collect model railway stuff. It was something my Father managed to get me interested in when I and my sisters were very small. I suppose faced with three girls, he had to try really hard for his excuse to have a train set to play with. Luckily for him I took the bait and have been interested ever since. There is a small yet expensive shop in Bolton, but these days it works out cheaper than the cost of petrol to drive to the cheaper shop in Burnley or paying for it to be posted from Liverpool or Sheffield. In my office there is an oak chest (family heirloom – it’s made from timber salvaged when a tea clipper was broken up in the 1930s in Hull). It is literally full with model railway locomotives and wagons. Occasionally I get them out to play with them. More often I add bits to them. The chest is long since full, and I have crates on top of the wardrobe now. There is also a small model railway which was photopgraphed for an article in the magazine ‘Model Rail’ though I have yet to see it in print.

We also want to browse books (you can never have too many books!) and I need more underwear. I realised the other day that some of the stuff in my smalls drawer dates from as far ago as 1998 (though, I should add, not all). When I was 19 I suppose some of this stuff was considered pretty sexy when I was out doing the student thing on the pull at parties in short skirts. But I tell you; red lace knickers are a tragic sight when they’ve spent ten years travelling intermittantly through the fluff cycle on the washing machine.