Sydney boasts a ‘temperate’ climate, which means plenty of sunshine all year round, temperatures that rarely (if ever) drop below freezing and a fair bit of rain along the way, sometimes torrential.
One by-product of this climate is that Sydney’s seasons are far less pronounced than in many other places in the world. Like the UK, for instance.
Sure, the Sydney winter is comparatively a bit colder and the summer is a bit hotter (ok, a lot hotter), but beyond the temperature variations, I did not generally notice many overt signs from mother nature to indicate the time of year during my many seasons spent in the Harbour City.
If I was to wake one day in Sydney with temporary amnesia and stick my head out of the window to take in the blue skies and sunshine, I would probably be unsure which of the four seasons was actually taking place that day.
Why do I mention this? Well, over the last few weeks I have witnessed a definite change in the seasons here in England.
The days are becoming shorter and there is a definite nip in the air, but beyond that, nature is also ringing the changes in a big way.
At this time of year, the countryside takes on a bare, stripped-back appearance as recently harvested fields are ploughed and left fallow over winter.
Leaves fall from the trees at a rapid rate, opening up views that were obscured by lush canopies of leaves over spring and summer and depositing a thick, albeit temporary new carpet on paths and pavements.
But for me, the best feature of autumn is the colours produced by the UK’s largely deciduous tree population.
Today we went to a 100 acre National Trust property in Surrey called Winkfield Arboretum, a location proudly showing off a wide range of different trees.
I went there expecting an autumnal palette in tones of brown, tan and fawn – not unlike the clothing in a high street fashion store, come to think of it – but I was not quite prepared for what I saw.
More than 1,000 different species of trees and shrubs, displaying a spectacular and vibrant range of colours, from reds to pinks, from yellows to oranges, from purples to mauves…oh and with a bit of green and brown thrown in for good measure.
(If these are the colours of the high street, then I reckon it must be a high street in downtown Milan at the height of fashion week).
I’ve been back to the UK on holiday many times during my time down under, but never in autumn and I’d forgotten just what a beautiful season it is.
In a few weeks, the colour will be gone and the trees will assume a more stark appearance as they stoically prepare for the winter months ahead. But for now it is truly a sight to behold.
And looking ahead, whilst the majority of the local population are, no doubt, dreading the onset of winter, I’m perversely quite looking forward to the subtle changes over the next few weeks that herald its imminent arrival.
I didn’t realise that I had been missing the changing of the seasons quite so much, but now I’m back home, I’m appreciating it all the more.