It's October in Ambridge. Well Ok, it's October pretty much everywhere else too, but I'm in Ambridge, and it's October here. So with that established we shall move on. Here, as in the rest of Dear Old Blighty, and indeed much of the rest of the northern hemisphere, October heralds three things.
First we see the arrival of the brandy cream in the supermarkets. After all it's nearly christmas you know. Never too soon to stock up on all those festive essentials like brandy cream! (?) I believe Santa has already put in an appearance at some of the more entrepreneurial stores. Soon we shall be heralding the onset of the festive season before the kids have ended their summer holidays.... but I digress.
Second, all the same supermarkets fill with the tacky paraphernalia for haloween. Skull masks and scythes line the shelves, along with additive laden fluorescent orange pumpkin shaped "novelty" sweeties. Teachers must lie awake at night dreading the first week in November when the schools will be full of tiny whirling dervishes hyped up on sugar and e numbers after the outbreak of communal poisoning that is "trick or treat".... but I digress again.
Third, and of more relevance in GP land, the days get shorter and shorter. It seems to start happening all of a sudden. The sun drenched joy of the morning drive to work becomes a gloomy trek through stygian lanes, rain lashed, gale buffeted, and dismally dark. The trip home, instead of a drive westward into the setting sun becomes a night ride into the very jaws of hell itself. (Well, ok, Borchester, but you get the picture). The upshot of this is that a number of my regulars start to get a bit S.A.D. (that's seasonal affective disorder -- not just the ususal random Dr J typing skills).
It starts with a sort of "fin de siecle" ennui, a nameless, free floating dissaffection, but left unchecked can turn into a full blown dose of the moodies, with bleak unremitting depression as the year spirals down the plug 'ole to the shortest day. It can take two or three years to recognize that this is what's happening, but I now have a small cohort of punters who know to "book early to avoid dissappointment". They are all now trotting in to start their antidepressants in readiness, like transylvanian villagers stocking up on the garlic and the holy water before the snows of winter leave them stranded at at risk from the nameless horrors that lurk in wait in the castle on the hill.
Perhaps it's no coincidence that we fill the streets with tiny horrors at the end of the month after all. Or that we try to bribe the same horros to go away with little candy morsels.