Autumn’s well and truly settling in and I love it. A few years ago it was the time of the year when I’d get grubby and covered in leaves because I was falling down all the time. Now, though, my wheelchair means that my relationship with the season is less intimate.
That is until this afternoon, when my carer Ana and I had to rush past an old horse-chestnut tree. It’s a big tree, hanging over the pavement not far from the castle. In winter its bare branches carve into the sky, in spring it brings the hopeful sight of new leaves, and in the summer it’s the bearer of shade and dappled light.
But in the autumn, its large spiky seed shells encasing hard shiny conkers plummet down from an alarming height onto the pavement below.
I can’t avoid feeling the tree’s trying to get me as I go by and I find this very exciting. My tics went berserk as we hurtled past, doing our best to dodge the barrage.
We made it through safely this time and my tics’ immediately goaded the tree:
“Better luck next time, tree.”
“Horse-chestnut, you’ve got the aim of a drunken donkey.”
“I wasn’t even worried, conker tree.”
Maybe I should stick to the other side of the road until winter comes. But where’s the fun in that?