Alice-Azania Jarvis: An Indian summer that will save you money

In The Red

There are few things in life I dislike more than unseasonable weather. Come March, I expect spring. So, when my birthday eventually slinks around in the final week before April, I expect sunshine, moderate temperatures, and the sound of lambs bleating in the distance. Invariably, what happens is this: it pours with rain, temperatures hover in single figures and the whole event turns into a wash-out. Lambs? All I get to hear are the sirens which blare past my Bethnal Green flat with alarming regularity.

I feel the same about autumn. More so, I think. If a damp squib of a spring day is disappointing, an Indian summer of an autumn day is pure misery. I can't bear it. I don't want to be outside, firing up the barbecue. It's autumn, for goodness sake! I want to be indoors, nursing a class of red wine, the smell of a roast wafting through my flat. Or sheltering in a cafe, dunking a chocolate biscuit into a cup of peppermint tea. Or wrapping up in a scarf, enjoying the new wardrobe possibilities that seasonal change permits. So today, while the rest of London basks in a predicted 27C heatwave, I'll be indoors, sulking at the sun and its unseasonable shine.

I know I'm alone in this. Or alone-ish. The words "Indian summer" are rarely deployed in a bad way: just look at the over-excited newspaper headlines that greet it. Everyone likes a bit of sunshine – their last chance to grab a bit of vitamin D before the fog sets in. I also know that it's not logical. I shouldn't dislike these sunny autumn days. I should embrace them. Not just because I might get a tan – but because they are cheap.

That's right: cheap. It doesn't take a genius to work out how much warm weather can save you. There is none of the heating bills, for a start. You need to eat less, wear less, consume less. You also don't need shelter – so instead of rushing to cafes for lunch breaks, you can venture to the park, where space comes free. This time last year I was already in possession of a winter coat. I'd switched my meals from pack lunches munched outdoors to the canteen's more convenient offerings. And I'd be well on my way to clocking up the mega energy bill that, come January, would bleed my bank balance dry.

So I'm trying to see the bright side. The sunny side, as it were. True, it may not be how I want to spend my autumn – but basking in the sunshine has some financial rewards. Enjoy them while they last.

a.jarvis@independent.co.uk

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