There's a new sound on the streets of London. It's a sound which has many colours attached to it. It is a sound you can predict as you see it fall through the air and land on the pavement before you step on it.
Autumn is in full swing. When the skies are blue, the reflections in the canal and park lakes are those of jigsaw pictures: a stirring scene of green, yellow, red, amber, orange, chestnut all mingled together against the shining sky and again in the water below. When the skies are grey and churning with rain, those colours glisten in a patchwork quilt on the pavements. Leaves are caught in headlights as they drift down; Autumn's baubles.
There are two things about this autumn in London, my first in England for quite some time, which are having a huge impression on me: firstly, how beautiful it is. Gardeners really have nothing to do right now as they let the trees turn these brilliant shades and create a carpet of colour on the paths and lawns of the city. The second, however, is how cold it is. It is cold enough for toffee apples, bonfire night, for hats, gloves and scarves. And I keep having to remind myself 'It's only autumn!'
There is no doubt that this winter is going to be a challenge. Whereas the plunging temperatures of Buenos Aires were bone chillingly cold, they lasted a mere three weeks at their lowest. Here, we are staring into some four to five months of dark nights, thick duvets and waking up to frosty mornings. It's enough to make you shiver in your cosy apartment.
I have to thank Nature for letting me down gently and rather beautifully. Walking the streets with the crunch, crunch, crunch or swishing through the piles of leaves which have amounted is delightful and exhilarating.
I just have to forget what come after crunch time.