Autumn stoneMany years ago an accident put me in hospital at the beginning of February. When I was discharged a month later, the grey, wintery world had burst into life. My eyes had never seen trees so green, and I suspect never will again. At least I hope not. Not under similar circumstances anyway.

At the moment I’m experiencing the same thing in reverse. When I fell ill we were having a warm, dry sunny mid-September and although lots of plants were looking far from their best, there was still a warm decadent fizz about many of them. Having been pretty much housebound for five weeks I’ve emerged to find everything dying. And not in a fine, crisp, autumnal blaze either, but rather a wet, mouldering, cold slump of leaf-fall.

The contrast between this miserable decline and my own, albeit slow, return to vitality is not lost on me, but the former is not helping the latter.

There is so much to do in the garden and down the allotment that for the first time ever I am considering paid help. Certainly for the latter. The last thing I need at the moment is the Site Stasi giving me grief over the state of my plot.

For the first time in my life I feel old. I know it will pass, just as I know what I really need to do is get outside and connect with plants and gardening and it will reinvigorate me, as it always does when I’m feeling down. But at the moment my slow recovery and autumn’s rapid decline are stopping that happening.

Nevertheless I am not sad.

The man sat opposite on this train is wearing wrap-round shades even though he is indside and outside it’s a gloomy October day. He is also wearing a baseball cap back to front even though he is 55 if he is a day. He seems to think he’s a biker, but he’s on a slow train, not a Harley. Wanker.

Now HE is bloody sad.