Last Sunday. Glorious, wasn’t it? A properly warm, sunny September day complete with little puffy white clouds floating in a deep blue sky. Sunglasses weather. Made life seem all worthwhile for a change, didn’t it?
I imagine that by the time you’re reading this, hurrying past on your way to the telly page to check what time that film’s on, we’ll have gone back to the usual rain and damp and grey skies that appear to go on forever.
And that’ll be the weather situation until, oooh, next May, probably. Summer’s well and truly over and now all we’ve got to look forward to is months of grey. And wet. And cold. And dark.
Apparently, there are ex-pats living in places like Los Angeles who complain about the weather. Honestly, they say, day after day of warm sunshine isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, you know. You miss the seasons and the rain and the cold and the snow.
Of course they do. That’s why they choose to miss it in places like Los Angeles, where the sun never stops shining.
If they hate it that much they can swap places with me. I’ll take the risk of some gangsta-type popping a cap in my bottom (yes, my homies, I know the lingo) and go and live in their house and they can have mine. It’s got a view of the canal and everything.
And while we’re talking about the seasons, can somebody please stop the nights drawing in so quickly? It only seems like a few weeks ago that I was out in the garden at 9.30pm and it was still light. And that’s because it was only a few weeks ago that I was out in the garden at 9.30pm and it was still light.
Now it’s getting dark at 7.30pm, and that’s no good to anyone, frankly.
It’s easy to see why many people report feelings of depression as we march unstoppably into winter. It’s called seasonal affective disorder – or SAD.
SAD is said to affect around seven per cent of the population – around two million people in the UK.
According to the NHS website, the exact cause of SAD “is not fully understood, but it is thought to be linked to reduced exposure to sunlight during the shorter days of the year”. This lack of sunlight affects brain chemicals, apparently. Resulting symptoms include depression, sleep problems, lethargy, over eating and mood changes.
Blimey, that’s me to a T, that is. I can sympathise. I know exactly how those two million people feel.
Although, apparently, I don’t. And neither do you. For according to boffins who have looked into the matter, there’s nothing wrong with the vast majority of those who claim to suffer from seasonal affective disorder.
No, after studying 800 people’s moods over a number of years and comparing them with local weather conditions and sunlight intensity, researchers at Oregon State University concluded that cold, miserable weather had much less of an effect than previously thought.
Instead, those who claimed to be SAD were suffering from nothing more than a dislike of the cold.
“We found a very small effect during the winter months,” said Dr Jeff Shaman. “But it was much more modest than would be expected if seasonal depression were as common as many people think it is.”
So, for example, if it’s cold outside and you choose to spend your weekend slumped on the sofa watching repeats of CSI, it’s not the weather that’s getting you down, it’s the lack of activity.
Which brings us on to this weekend’s forecast: some bright or sunny spells, apparently, but with an increasing risk of showery rain on Saturday and Sunday.
And that’s probably the best we can look forward to until spring arrives.
Life in Los Angeles has never looked more appealing.