We’ve had a sizzling summer, and whilst summer is not technically over, it does appear to be drawing to a close with the nights slowly starting to draw in and the clouds taking place of what was once a scorching hot sun.
We still have the Bank Holiday weekend to look forward to, but this marks the wrapping up of the summer holidays, and shortly the kids will be back to school.
In fact, there’s a Stereophonics songs that sums up the feeling of this time of year, as the leaves begin to fall and there’s a certain buzz in the air amongst children as the school year begins, conkers begin to fall, and we look forward to the cosy celebrations of Halloween and Bonfire Night.
The song goes like this…
“There’s no mistake, I smell that smell
It’s that time of year again, I can taste the air
The clocks go back, railway track
Something blocks the line again
And the train runs late for the first time”
It captures the essence of autumn in England, and whilst it does mean the days are getting shorter and the weather is getting colder, there’s something about this season that can feel very magical.
Indeed, autumn is a time to get cosy – whether that’s from wearing a nice warm scarf, lighting your open fire, or snuggling up in front of some good TV with a warming bowl of soup and a blanket. There’s something wonderfully warming about autumn, that said, it’s also a time we need to prepare for, particularly when it comes to our homes.
In this article we’re going to take a look at a number of ways to get prepared for autumn.
TEND TO YOUR GARDEN
Spring seems to be the season most of us tend to our garden, and summer is the time we enjoy the fruit of our labours – in the sense that we get to enjoy the fragrant flowers and tasty produce, basking in the sun, having picnics and barbecues with friends and family. Autumn, is essentially the clean up phase after the party is over – making sure things are all tied up for next year.
Also, autumn is a time to plant many bulbs in preparation for spring and summer next year. In this vein, it could be worth getting a half barrel planter or two in order to add character to your garden, which come spring will be brimming with vibrant colours from plants such as daffodils and tulips.
It’s wise to cut the grass one last time, before autumn kicks into gear and nourish your lawn, particularly after such a scorching hot summer. See, the summer sun can put a strain on the health of your lawn… dehydrating it and scorching it to the point it is likely to be depleted in vital nutrients and moisture. It’s therefore a good idea to use fertiliser, be that specific fertiliser for the lawn or your own homemade compost, in addition to grass seed to encourage new growth and replace any damaged patches of grass.
The other aspect you’ll want to consider before autumn sets in, is to trim your hedges but also take a look at the trees surrounding your property. In the UK the weather is getting more and more extreme, summers are becoming hotter and winters are becoming much stormier with gale force winds, floods and snowstorms starting to feature much more commonly in our climate.
It’s therefore a good idea to look to see if any trees pose a threat, should there be a storm, as if there’s a damaged branch it would be better to take care of it now, in the dry, light and warm summer months than having to deal with it on a damp, dark and dreary autumn day. When it comes to this aspect, prevention is much better than cure, as you don’t want a stray branch falling through your conservatory for instance.
Now, talking of wood, it can be a great idea to start gathering firewood at this time of year – in part, because the wood will be much drier, meaning it will dry out quicker (though wood should be seasoned for a number of months before burning it in a wood burner, or open fire). Moreover, at this time of year, firewood tends to be cheaper as there is less demand, meaning you can often find people willing to give unwanted wood away, whereas in winter, they might see this as a way to make a quick profit.
Finally, you might want to write a list of all the maintenance tasks that need to be done prior to winter and then work your way through them over the coming weekends, for instance, you might need a new garden fence or to repair your gutters to make sure they won’t freeze and burst when it comes to the colder weather.
ORGANIZE YOUR SHED
In summer, our sheds often get filled up with all sorts of items, making it a good idea to have a clear our and get things in more of an organised order, after all you don’t want to have to fight through deck chairs, barbecues, and inflatable pools in order to get to the antifreeze or snow shovel.
PREPARE YOUR HOUSE FOR THE COLDER NIGHTS
We’ve talked about firewood, but there are many things you can do to prepare your house for the colder nights. In particular, one aspect you might want to consider is getting additional insulation and/or double glazing.
It’s much more pleasant to undertake this type of work in the summer months, when the light is still available and the rain isn’t incessantly pouring.
If you do have an open fire, then you’ll want to consider getting your chimney swept now, rather than in the winter – as this way you can rest comfortable in the knowledge you can light the fire whenever it’s needed, and also, chimney sweeps tend to have much more availability in the summer months than in the winter months. It’s imperative you do get your chimney swept on a regular basis as otherwise, it can cause chimney fires, which can have fatal consequences.
GET READY FOR GOING BACK TO SCHOOL
If you have children, then now is the time to go uniform and equipment shopping; getting ready for a brand new academic year can be an exciting (albeit expensive) time. You’ll want to ensure your children have all they need in terms of equipment and stationery, as this way, they will feel much more confident and organised when it comes to their classes.
START PLANNING FOR CHRISTMAS
It might seem far away, but we’re only a few months off Christmas, and for most families this is an expensive time of year that puts people under a lot of financial pressure. In this vein, it can be helpful to save some money each week, and put it into a seperate account or metaphorical jar under the kitchen sink, so that when it comes to Christmas you have some additional money to splurge on presents, party food, and a decent turkey.
That said, many people find themselves feeling so stressed about Christmas, nowadays, that it takes away the magic and celebration of a time of year that is all about family and connecting with loved ones. If you have travel plans, in this sense, then it’s a good idea to book your trip way ahead of time (i.e. around about now) in order to find the best deals and greatest availability – as Christmas and New Year is one of the busiest and most expensive times to travel.