Autumn, meaning September (21st/22nd) to December (21st), is my absolutely favourite season in London. There’s just so much going on and it’s all so magical, that I cannot get enough of it. I’ll tell you all my reasons why, and I bet at the end you’ll either agree or will want to come and live here next autumn.
Reason One: the colours
Towards the end of September/ beginning of October the trees start dressing up in their orange, burgundy and reddish colours. Now you’re probably thinking ‘trees? In London?? Isn’t it a city?’ Yes it is, but as every big city London has tons of parks, and ‘green spaces’ all around the city, all turning colours with the new season.
I also love the leaves on the ground on dry days, as you can step on it and revel in the ‘crunchy’ sound of fall.
Reason Two: Halloween
I love Halloween! Absolutely love it! And the fact is that in London, despite it being an American tradition, it is far more celebrated than in Lisbon. There’s kids trick or treating, there’s pumpkin carving, decorated houses, parties, and much and more.
I love buying my pumpkins, printing the templates, roll up my sleeves and carve. I love setting up the decorations and think what we’re going to dress up as for the party. Also not too upset about all the candy.
To top it up, this year we went on a Jack the Ripper tour, and it was absolutely brilliant. Not only you get to learn about the creepiest serial killer in London, but also you learn loads of interesting facts and history of the city. Here’s a few pictures of this year’s Halloween:
Bonfire Night or Guy Fawkes Day is a massive commemoration usually celebrated on the 5th of November and the weekend before or after (depending which falls closer to the actual day).
Basically in 1605 there was a plot to kill the king and this guy, Guy Fawkes was busted guarding explosives beneath the Parliament. So now to celebrate the fact the kind survived, there’s bonfires lit and firework displays everywhere. Hey, don’t ask me, I am just happy to join in the fun!
Usually there’s little fairs, with dirty-yummy-junk-food, bonfires and fireworks display – what’s not to love?
Oh there’s also rhymes and chants which makes it all the more fun, especially the one ending with “and what shall we do with him? Burn him!”
Reason Four: Poppy Appeal and Remembrance day
Now I didn’t really learned about the appeal until I moved to London, but I did know about the poem “In Flanders Fields“. Don’t worry if you’re not getting it, I’ll fill you in.
Remembrance Day is a memorial day, observed on 11th November (Armistice Day) to remember those who have died combating. At the 11th hour, of the 11th day of the 11th month – the day that marks the end of hostilities of the First World War (1918) – usually a two minute of silence is held in memory of those who fought and perished in the line of duty. In the UK there’s also ceremonies held on the second Sunday of November (Remembrance Sunday – yesterday) to remember and honour those who have lost their lives.
In the weeks leading up to this day, the Royal British Army distributes this small ‘badge poppies’, in return for donations supporting all current and former British military personal and their families – this is the Poppy Appeal (going around since 1921!). All around London you see everyone (well pretty much everyone) proudly wearing their red poppy.
Why poppies? At the end of the First World War only poppies grew on the battlefields in Northern France and Flanders, and John McCrae (who served in the war) wrote the very famous poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ (at the bottom of the post*).
My great-grandfather fought in the First World War, in the trenches of Flanders Fields. Gladly he survived, and I’ve heard many stories, and seen all the medals and documents. I’ve also heard endless stories from my grandparents about the Second World War, and will most certainly never forget the museums and places we visited in Flanders about the wars… war is a terrible thing, and I really hope that one day we learn to live together, in peace; Till then, I proudly wear my poppy for my great-grandfather, for those who fought beside him and for all who lost someone at war.
Reason Five: Christmas
I really don’t like it when Christmas starts too early, particularly don’t like it when it hasn’t been Halloween yet and they’re already making us listen to Christmas carols in the supermarkets. But after bonfire night I am all in! Bring on the songs, the mulled wine, the lights, the trees, the singing, the ice skating rings and the Christmas markets!
Christmas in London is just all out! There’s lights everywhere, markets and fairs everywhere, it starts getting proper cold and really feeling like Christmas. Ah and we always host a Christmas dinner for our friends, which I can barely wait for… Oh and don’t get me started on the Christmas ads! Honestly, last year John Lewis’ Christmas ad with the penguin? Literally cried a river! I didn’t think they could top it up, but this year’s ‘man on the moon’ is just beautiful (yep, more tears)!
Yep, it’s that crazy that people actually look forward for the Christmas adds! Getting super-duper excited already!
#ManOnTheMoon – John Lewis Christmas add
And that’s it, those are my reasons why living in London September to December is the best (and also why January sucks so much afterwards)…
*Oh before I forget, here’s the poem, ‘In Flanders Fields’:
“In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.” – by John McCrae