The Third Leader: Unseasonably silly

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The Independent Online

Sun shining, mellowness, but a certain something else in the air: I am intrigued to see that a phenomenon I first noticed last year is back: the Late Silly Season, an Oktoberfest of giddy oddities usually reserved for when there's nothing else going on. Only this time, it seems even bigger. No one is safe, as Australia, New Zealand, Lewis Hamilton, the post and the Prime Minister can all testify.

A proliferation of fascinating surveys is another sure pointer, and if there's been a more fascinating survey this year than the one revealing that 65 per cent of drivers put their shopping on the back seat rather than in the boot, I haven't seen it.

And now, because,of course, such a season demands it, Marks & Spencer has fresh vegetable news: round carrots. Splendid. And, of course, there's a fundraising calendar featuring the carefully preserved modesty of good-hearted people: well done, the staff of Bedford Hospital radiology department.

Elsewhere, a runner from Newton Abbot has turned up two weeks late for a half marathon in the Lake District, Cristiano Ronaldo has confided that he has a joint bank account with his mum, Jade Goody is registering her name as a trade mark and a large shark has beached in East Lothian.

But, for me, the essence of the moment is best caught by the news from Great Billing, Northants, where engineers are confident they have solved the problem which meant that when Mrs Sally Barnet, 73, turned on her kettle, the street light outside turned off. Excellent. We say: enjoy all this while you can: winter in two weeks.