Shifting our minds to autumn writes Andy Mitchell

As we get into September, I’ve had to concede defeat on the summer, and the large paddling pool in the back garden has been put away.

Wednesday, 15th September 2021, 12:30 pm
Blackpool Illuminations

This is up there as a symbol of darker days to come, along with memories of trips around Orry’s in town for outsize school blazers I was promised I’d grow into by Easter (Mother didn’t say which Easter).

There’s something about that September shift in our minds, especially for us here in Blackpool. It heralds the start of the Illuminations season (pictured), busy hotels and windy autumn nights as the town pushes on towards its busiest fortnight at half term.

The paddling pool was much more than an outsize 12ft wide oasis of fun, it was a symbol of the summer. Indeed at one point in July, it was joined on the grass by a small tent, which I took to sleeping in on very hot nights. Life it seemed, had changed very little since 1973.

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The pool was an impulse buy at one of the high street’s cheaper shops three years ago, so no one can’t say we haven’t had our money’s worth out of it. I got it home and instantly recognised the look of despair on Mrs M’s face. “Where on earth are you going to put that?” came the obvious question.

“On the lawn of course” I replied, and so that became its home for the next three years. It’s created a large circle of mud in the middle that never seems to recover or regrow the grass, and I’m more than aware the whole lawn may need relaying in time, as Mrs M battles to regain the splendour of the lawn from what now looks like a small, mud laden helicopter landing pad.

This circle on the lawn never quite recovers fully in time for the next arrival of the paddling pool, and is destined to always be there as a reminder of happy summers and muddy grass for years to come.

So now as autumn days get shorter, and memories of beers in the pool become distant, I look out of the window in the living room at how the grass is recovering.

I get the impression we’ll still be able to see the outline of mud by the time July comes around again.

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