Editorial: Autumn leaves and MPs are falling

By Roger Moroney

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Rain showers are never far away, and rain and a thick layer of leaves is not a good mix, writes Moroney.
Rain showers are never far away, and rain and a thick layer of leaves is not a good mix, writes Moroney.

I daresay there are a few MPs who are now taking stock of how things stand and who may be beginning to accept that perhaps the autumn of their careers in "the House" is upon them.

A time to think about going into a period of hibernation and then, as the spring and warm air return, take up the task of doing something else.

I touch on this as autumn is a time when the leaves fall from the trees, and just lately there have been a few politicians who have fallen from once secure branches like a descending leaf.

At least their seasonal timing is right, even if their decisions and activities have been wrong.

Maybe that's why they tend to have elections in the spring.

New growth, a fresh start, the promise of a sparkling new world ... well now there's a one-liner for a particular billboard promoting a certain pale ale.

Oh but enough of politics, for the activities within "the House" are merely a poorly written situation comedy with too many equally poorly placed laughter tracks.

Or they are like a serial with lots of red herrings along the way and no satisfactory, or logical, conclusion.

The only satisfactory conclusion I am pursuing at this interesting time of the year, when summer is a memory and winter is beginning to peer over the horizon like a grinning demon, is removing nature's debris.

Leaves.

I actually don't mind it.

It's sort of like the story which went around about Ronald Reagan who, in his retirement, and sadly ailing of mind, enjoyed removing the leaves from the pool because it gave him a task to achieve.

And, every night, the security lads would put them back in so he could do it again tomorrow.

For this is the time of year when an afternoon spent raking up three sackfuls of leaves is effectively pointless ... because two days later the green landscape of grass will again be speckled with decaying brown.

So I go out and do it all again and two days later ...

But I take a practical view here.

If you decide to stand back and let the trees unload every last leaf and then set to work, you will be there for a fortnight.

And, of course, at this time of the year the weather is like the toss of a coin.

Rain showers are never far away, and rain and a thick layer of leaves is not a good mix ... the whole backyard can end up resembling a huge plate of well-watered muesli.

So I take the "keep up with it" approach and hum away as I rake up the leaves into equal piles ... equal in content and exactly the same distance from each other.

There was a time, if there had been a spell of very clement weather, that I would burn the leaves, but it took one unanticipated wind change one day to call a halt to that.

I do like a good fire but the wind that day turned on me (literally) and applied a smoky coat to the washing on the line (and the neighbours' I suspect) and helped set fire to a nearby trellis. It was like a scene from Dad's Army.

Frantically trying to untangle the knots in the long unused hose, I was declaring: "Don't panic. Don't panic."

My son, a teenager at the time, simply thought the great sweeping blaze was "cool".

So now it is carefully managed little piles of leaves, which go into sacks and get taken to the green waste pit to meet similar companions. I sort of feel for the trees.

They start looking sad as their lush green coats fade away.

In two months' time, they will be skeletal but, a few weeks after that, I begin taking closer notice of them as I seek that first glimpse of new shoot.

That tiny speck of budding green - a most delightful sight.

In the meantime, I will just keep scraping together these falling autumn leaves, which once upon a time were tiny specks of budding green, all the while staving off the threat of winter for, as I have mentioned in the past, I live in denial of the climatic effects of June, July and August.

I buoy myself by noting that while it is late autumn we are warmer today than London, Berlin, Amsterdam and Rome ... where they are just three weeks from summer.

And hey, even in mid-July when the frosts slowly melt through the clear afternoons, our skies are always bluer.

And we've got more leaves too.

Roger Moroney is an award-winning journalist for Hawke's Bay Today.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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