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The fall of autumn
The fall of autumn
Scott Dunlop

Good morning, awesome parents,

Have you noticed something chilling recently? Yes, it’s an actual chill in the air (well, in Cape Town there’s one, anyway). For some families, it’s time to have a funeral pyre for those summer braais and dips in the pool. For others, it’s a chance to catch up on their favourite TV series over popcorn, hot chocolate and steaming bowls of soup. Don’t forget that most important tool, though: the marking pen.

My children aren’t just warm-blooded; they seem to have fire in their veins. So they head off to school in layers including blazers, jerseys and shirts, but return wearing t-shirts and socks. The two younger ones are allowed to change for aftercare. The problem is, their clothes seem to be branded by David Copperfield. They disappear faster than a ten rand note into a magician’s sleeve. The problem is compounded when as they have two houses, their mom’s and mine, so the three pack horses have loads to keep track of.

I’ve heard of the pocket money means of tracking clothes: your child has to replace an item that goes missing with their own pocket money, but, to me, that seems a bit silly. So we use money we’ve given them to replace items we bought for them. Hardly an effective method.

So out with the marking pen and the incantations- don’t forget this, have you got that, no we can’t go back to school to get that, it’s 8pm…

I spent a few years of my childhood in the UK, where seasons follow the traditional system of autumn (leaves go red and fall), winter (rain and snow) spring (flowers and new leaves appear) and then summer (rain and snow). Just kidding about the latter. Seasons are sneaky here in SA.

Leaves seemed to get fried off the deciduous trees in mid-summer, and winter is either very rainy or completely dry, depending on which province you live. Spring seems to be marked by howling winds in the Cape. And yet pre-schools (sorry, Karen!) throughout the country present the northern hemisphere seasons when teaching kids about them. I wonder if that’s something that will ever change?

Three good things about “autumn

  • Being able to garden less. Not that I do much, until it threatens to take over the house like the forest of thorns in sleeping beauty, but still, there’s less to do in autumn.
  • Daylight disappears, so your children don’t argue with you when you tell them it’s bedtime. “But dad! It’s not even dark!”
  • Comfort food! I refuse to be comforted with a salad, but roasted, baked or stewed dishes are a fantastic way of feeding an army of children wanting something warm in their bellies. And log fires, my extra good thing, just for fun.

Send us an email to and tell us what your favourite family season and why?

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