Long summer and water charges will leave the lonely vulnerable

Paddy is confused. He's known something has been wrong for the last while, but he just cannot put his finger on it. He wakes up in the morning and there it is, the bright shining light in the sky since 6 am. And he groans cos now it's getting him down. He feels like going to the window in his striped pyjamas and string vest and shouting out at the land outside a la Sarah Miles in White Mischief – Oh no, not another effin' beautiful day.' Cos like Miles , he is now begging for it to end. Or cool down at least. Or make up its bloody mind.

Back in the spring, Paddy prayed for a good summer, and a good summer he got.

So good in fact that he got two cuttings of the top field, and 400 cuttings of the acre of lawn around his house. He watched as the daisies he’d just decapitated rose again just seconds after the mower passed over them, mocking him, with their little yellow faces and their white necklaces, laughing at him saying “we'll be here for the long haul, Paddy, Give us what you've got.”

And he enjoyed the summer, got the tan up to the shoulder where the tee-shirt ended, walked the roads with the sun on his back and on his front. Even the sunsets were warm and spectacular. He enjoyed it. But now he's had enough of it. He basked in the sun like a Cheshire cat. Felt the glow on his face.

Now he just wishes that the weather would make up its mind and act like it's supposed to act. Ya see, Paddy likes his weather to be like his dinner — uncomplicated, unaffected by foreign factors, and with everything in the right place.

He knows that something is wrong when the sun is shining outside and The X Factor is on the telly. X Factor is for cold Saturday nights when you’d be throwing turf on the fire and throwing abuse at Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh. Sure how could you be inside watching The X Factor where there is turf to be brought home and hay to be saved and daisies to be mowed into submission.

Summer was grand, but he's afraid that we'll skip autumn altogether and go straight into pre-Christmas mode.

He now longs for the autumn when he can wear his heavier jackets and his scarves and hear the plonk plonk of the conkers falling from the trees. He wants to experience the thrill of wet leaves on a slippery surface, to get the smell of the drying leaves as they crinkle under his feet. He wants to see the light through the trees in the wood near his house. He just wants the autumn. With its smells and sounds. And he wants it when it's supposed to be here, in August, September and October.

He looks at the calendar and sees that he's rubbing on sunscreen with October just a week away. He's seen the chocolate Selection Boxes in the supermarkets. He's heard that people are booking their Christmas parties and their New Year's Eve balls. All this is going on and Paddy is standing there with a bottle of Factor 50 in his hand, rubbing it into his bald pate wondering where the year went.

Paddy knows that in a few months time when the swans are swimming above in the top field and when the dogs are rubbing the frost of their paws, that he'll be ruing the day that he wished it all ended. But least then it’ll be winter and act like winter is meant to act. Not like that greedy summer season that wanted to stay and stay and not care a whit about how autumn would feel about it.

So where is this actually going, I hear you say? What the hell is this eejit on about in an editorial obviously written as the presses were beginning to roll? Ok, here’s the Father Trendy bit, the moral at the end of the never-ending sermon. Everyone has been skimping on the home heating, the oil, the timber, the turf. Everyone has been pushing their winter sustenance out as far as they can what with water charges and the likes to come in next week. The people who can least afford to take this chance with the weather are the elderly, the lonely, the vulnerable. It is hoped that in adapting this new frugality they will not leave themselves exposed to the cold weather that will eventually come. It is ironic that in this longest running summer for years, the effects of the winter could yet be the most harsh on those who need our help. Watch out for your neighbours in the months ahead.


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