Batten down the hatches for autumn

A few weeks ago we couldn't believe our luck. After people up and down the country thought summer had well and truly done one, the sun made a fleeting, yet glorious, return to our shores.

The brown leaves of autumn have arrived in abundance

How glorious it was, too. We wandered the streets in T-shirts; we had barbecues and went to parties in the park, all the while mouthing 'October' to one another, pulling incredulous faces.

But it was as fleeting as it was glorious, and after a week or so the sun shuffled off miserably to be replaced by something altogether grimmer: Rain, and lots of it.
With the rain, temperatures also took a nose dive, and dark nights seemed to have arrived in a matter of hours.

There was no mistaking it: autumn was here. But how do you make those long autumnal nights and cold, biting mornings that little bit more bearable? Well, everyday tech can help.

There's nothing like a home-cooked meal to help you thaw-out after walking home from work through freezing, rain-sodden streets. Opening the front door to the delicious smell of a casserole is heavenly, and it's when the temperature drops that a range cooker really comes into its own.

Something else that's really appreciated at home when the weather turns is a decent kettle. We may all be climbing out of bed in the pitch black, when it seems like the middle of the night, but a well-made cuppa and a slice of Chris Evans on Radio 2 soon brings people around. That is provided you don't end up putting your foot in your cup while stumbling around finding socks in the half-light!

Feeling miserable after work? An evening in front of the TV has boosted many a dark-night mood. Draw the curtains, settle down and cuddle up in front of your favourite soap for a slice of weeknight escapism.

If you've lost track of the EastEnders plot, or can't tell Dot Cotton from Dirty Den, why not switch on your DVD player and sink into a movie instead; preferably something with lots of sun and sand and not an anorak in sight.

Another way of keeping yourself busy on cold winter nights is playing a games console, if that's what floats your boat. Immerse yourself in a full season on FIFA 12 and by the time you come up for air it'll be spring again and the sun'll be shining!

It's not all bad though.

The arrival of colder weather brings many positives too: strolls in the park on bright afternoons in scarves and duffle coats; the slow turn of the leaves to a rusty brown; the joys of unearthing a shiny conker from its knobbly green case; and the beauty of an undisturbed blanket of snow.

Think of all these things next time a car drives through a puddle and leaves you soaked, or when you're trudging through the icy sludge to work in December.

Are you an autumn dweller or a sun seeker? Comment below…