“Summer’s lease hath all too short a date.” William Shakespeare
And suddenly summer is gone. Here in Melbourne I wonder if it ever really came this year. It was very mild for Melbourne. None of those really, really hot days one after the other so that we craved the cool change. None of that fear of bush fires which is always there lurking in my mind throughout the summer months. I have not worn half of the summer clothes which I rescued from storage. Which is good but also a little sad. Heightened of course by the COVID thing which has prevented large gatherings in gardens with friends and family, sipping wine and eating delicious multicultural spreads of meats, vegetables, salads and cake. We have not eaten much cake this summer. Or ice cream either.
Yesterday was both literally/technically the last day of summer and also the metaphorical last day of summer, in that it was the last day of real warmth - I think it got to 28 degrees. And there is no more hot weather forecast. I mean it's only going to be 16 degrees tomorrow! And so we decided to mark the occasion by eating outside which always makes us feel that we are on holiday.
"If it’s science that is going to lead us out of the pandemic, it’s also going to get us through it. The latest neuroscience tells us that rituals and small celebrations really do soothe us, easing the bells in our heads that toll, over and over: The End is Nigh. Light a candle, fold a napkin, pour wine into a glass. Even before the food is on the table, you’ll start to feel better: a convivial, hopeful, outward-looking person rather than a grunting, Lycra-wearing troglodyte who hasn’t been further than the park in six months. Oh, and one other thing. There’s no shame in fish fingers, supermarket chicken kiev and frozen Yorkshire puddings. There is no shame in anything, if you ask me. In the right light, on the right plate, at the right moment, such things are more delicious than ever: quite literally, life savers." Tony Naylor
Well I didn't quite go as far as the candles and the napkins but there was wine, and the birds sang as they began to settle for the night. The cockatoos flew overhead searching for their evening roosting site, screeching and cawing as they flew. So we raised a glass to the summer that was with a mingled sense of relief and sadness.
We ate a quiche assembled from leftovers - a corn based dip, chard stalks, mixed with fresh corn, frozen peas and some wilting broccolini which really needed using up. And yes red wine - an Aldi award winning Shiraz, didn't quite go with quiche but it was open and it was good so we drank a glass to feel special. It was the weekend after all. We endeavour not to drink during the week.
Tony Naylor was, of course, writing about food in the time of COVID but what he was saying applies to all times that one is feeling down I think. Life can be boring. Life can be depressing. Life can be downright miserable on a rainy day, but do as he says - napkins, candles and all - maybe even flowers - and all will be well. Even if you are eating fish fingers, or take-away pizza. As it was with us and our leftovers quiche.
Besides Autumn has its own glories. It is after all "the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness."
"food matters more than ever in these times. Here is warmth, goodness and punctuation.” Rachel Cooke - The Guardian
Punctuation being the full stop at the end of summer and the capital letter of Autumn. Although really it's just a slide into Autumn, not a clear break. More a ...