Wednesday 21 March 2018

Melanie Morris: Strictly, X Factor, Late Late - it looks like summer's over

Nicole Scherzinger
Nicole Scherzinger

Melanie Morris

It's a feeling I get every year on leaving Electric Picnic. The feeling that, 'that's it, summer is over', and all of a sudden we've changed season.

It was never so tangible as this year. As we drove away from Stradbally, I looked at Twitter to see that others were also saying goodbye to a summer of fine weather and good times, and buckling down to a new season.

Schools went back last week, the roads have inevitably started to fill up again and the evenings are getting shorter and darker.

To cap it all, last Monday morning was the first time since May that I've had to throw on a fleece for my early-morning constitutionals with our dog -- such was the dawn chill.


Flumpy (the dog) is beginning to notice the change in seasons himself, loving to run through the piles of dried, dead leaves beginning to fill the pavements.

Yes, summer has slipped by, and there's already a massive hint of nostalgia in the air this week, because this year we had a 'real' summer. One with trips to the beach, outdoor gigs sans wellies, 99s, SPF, beer gardens and exposed shoulders.

Now there's a distinct "back to school" feeling; work has cranked up a notch or two, everyone seems to be dressing a little bit more formally, and lunch has reverted from al fresco, back to al desco.

But if ever I needed a hint as to exactly how I know we're hurtling into autumn, it must be by the television on offer. The new season has been unveiled and we're ready to roll.

The celebrities have been revealed for 2013's series of Strictly Come Dancing, starring Sophie Ellis Bextor; the trailers are playing for Friday's return of The Late Late Show; Pat Kenny has taken to commercial airwaves and, yes, X Factor is already on the box with the first double helping already served up.

And much as I tried to resist, I found myself helpless when faced with an extended episode as I attempted to unpack my festival kit on Sunday.

The laundry was put to one side and dinner got the puncture-and-ping treatment as I felt the show take its hold. After last year's shambles of a series, I didn't think I'd any love left for the programme, but how wrong I was.

There's something of a relief to know my Saturday and Sunday evening entertainment is sorted for the rest of the year. No need to stick a nose outside the front door after 7pm at weekends now, just sit back and watch the cleverly constructed 'reality' TV wash over us.

I have to confess, though, as a monthly magazine editor, I've been living a wintery life for a few months already. We call it "mag lag", when the season we're working on and reality conflict and confuse. It gets very befuddling looking at dark berry lips, and the new 'smoky eye' while planning a weekend BBQ, or debating the fashion-forwardness of faux fur when everyone around is in maxi dresses and flip-flops.

Right now, from 9 to 5 I'm actually past autumn and into the depths of winter . . . looking at options for skiing holidays, party outfits and planning Christmas gift guides. It won't be long before I'm writing about New Year diets, before I've even had a festive binge.

So it's a relief to come home and see I haven't really wished my life away. I am, however, acutely aware that the time to light the first fire of autumn is just weeks, if not days, away and salads will soon be swapped for soup. Bring it on, I'm ready.


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