I was walking with a friend recently, when there was a real nip in the air though the sky was bright blue and the sun was beaming.

She turned to me and said: “Autumn is absolutely my favourite time of year”.  And, in that moment, I totally agreed with her. 

But of course, there are days – the damp and dark ones in particular – when it doesn’t feel so great. However, there are so many bonuses to the season that I thought I would write this week’s column in praise of it, so we can focus on the positives. 

I’m going to start with the topic of exercising out of doors, which can be fantastic in the autumn and a great boost to our Vitamin D levels before winter arrives.  

Now admittedly, it may take you longer to find your get-up-and-go at this time of year. It certainly does me, But I find once out in the open, there is a real energy buzz to be had. Almost certainly, you will find you walk faster and further than in the summer when hot temperatures deplete your vitality – and you rarely have to worry about sunburn or becoming dehydrated. 

Obviously, there are days at the moment – Storm Babet comes to mind – when it’s so wet you don’t want to go out, though I personally try to remember the old adage that there’s no such thing as bad weather only inadequate clothing!

However, with luck we will have plenty more dry days in which to stride out along woodland paths, or enjoy a set of tennis, or kick a ball around in the park with younger relatives.  

Talking about younger relatives, one of mine is relishing autumn because she has begun to collect unusual, colourful leaves, pinecones and conkers. Looking at what she’s assembled is a joy because of the way she’s noticing and embracing nature’s seasonal abundance. This has made me more aware of it too, and I have found myself keeping an eye out for more treasures I can share with her. 

Another of nature’s treats is an increase in the number of bird murmurations. I understand that Lowestoft pier is a great place to see these. But they happen in many areas.

Along with friends, I discovered one by chance when we were driving near Halesworth the other evening at dusk. It was a display by hundreds of crows, which was utterly spectacular. So much so, that we stopped the car to watch more closely.

I’ve since learned that in the case of crows many people refer to this phenomenon as a “murderation” rather than a murmuration. But whatever you call it, it’s breathtaking.  

A further plus point of autumn is that television companies reserve their best shows for this time of year because more of us are at home. So, dip into your TV listings and make sure you’re not missing anything you’d really like.

Also, make sure your evenings in front of the box are as comfortable as possible. I know we’re all watching our fuel bills, so instead of turning the heating thermostat to its highest and most expensive level, we can save money and keep warm by wearing some base layers (what we used to call vests) and maybe a fleece and a blanket-wrap, or full-length dressing gown. 

I do appreciate that if you’re single you can feel quite bleak and isolated during the long, colder evenings, but wrapping yourself up in an assemblage of colourful, warm garments will boost your spirits.

And if you’re feeling cosy you may then be in the right mood to seek out some remote company. We see fewer people in real life as the nights draw in but that should not stop us being in contact with them by Zoom, Facetime or phone. Bringing special folk and their voices into our own environment is very cheering.  

And how about using the autumn evenings to make an early start on your Christmas cards? I know our younger friends and relatives often don’t bother with them, but I think that many people of our age who celebrate the festival, enjoy both sending and receiving cards – and taking the time to add little notes to those individuals we care for but haven’t seen for a while.   

Finally, a real benefit of autumn is that many of us sleep deeper and longer now that there is no early light flooding into our bedrooms and disturbing us before we’re ready for the day. The dawn chorus is much delayed as well.

Many of us go to bed earlier too because often it seems the warmest and most comfortable place. I see no disgrace in that. It makes good sense to catch up on sleep and relaxation while we can. It’s a time of hibernation after all.