It's mid-October. The weatherman has been telling us that the temperatures are dropping. They are predicting possible snow in the far north of Scotland. The wind here has an edge to it. So why have I seen so many men in shorts out and about in the town centre today?
Not all of them were young men either. Very few of them looked as though they were on the way to the gym.
My daughter says it's men refusing to grow up and feeling comfortable in their shorts. As evidence of the men refusing to grow up business, she cites the number of 30+ year old males who go skate boarding. She even knows of one who straps his sixth month old child into a sling and takes him skate boarding with him. Provided daddy does not fall off the skateboard and squash him, the child will perhaps develop an excellent sense of balance.
Just in case anyone should think this is turning into an anti-men rant, let me say that I have seen examples of women dressed in an inappropriate fashion as well. On Saturday I saw two women - they looked like mother and daughter - both sporting those off the shoulder tops that you normally see at the beach. This was in the middle of Uppermill village centre on a Saturday afternoon in October! Maybe they felt a burning desire to show off their suntan before it fades. Or maybe it was the autumn sunshine that led to the exposure of flesh. I must add that other people were wearing scarves and, in some cases, gloves!
I have grown used to young people going out half dressed in the evening: girls in skimpy, strappy dresses and boys in t-shirts, all with goose bumps. We saw a number of examples when we were in Manchester on Friday evening. During the daytime, however, when they are not going to be in a hot club without a cloakroom, people usually dress according to the weather, even young people.
Does this inappropriate dressing happen in Mediterranean countries, I wonder? Do Spanish and Italian girls go out for an autumn evening dressed in flimsy frocks and without a coat? If they do, then they must do an radical re-think at some point because as a rule the more mature ladies get their fur coats out in the late autumn. And judging by the surprise with which people greet my sandals in April or May, they clearly expect you to wrap up warm in the north of Spain at least.
It must be a British thing!
Out and about in the shopping centre, I noticed a certain confusion. Shops do not seem to know whether to promote Hallowe'en, only a couple of weeks away, or Christmas, a bit more than a couple of months away. And so Hallowe'en masks and spooky skeleton suits jostle for space with Christmas cards and advent calendars. And mince pies are suddenly ubiquitous.
If you start eating them now you will be sick of them by the time Christmas comes round properly. Not only that; you will have already put on the extra weight that Christmas almost inevitably brings.
Never mind, we can look forward to them all disappearing (magically, overnight) by Boxing Day.
And then we can start on hot cross buns and Cadbury's cream eggs.
How the time does fly!