The nights are drawing in now - by tea time it is hard to see very far down the garden, and the hens have tucked themselves away for the night. As the darkness increases, we start to realise how much we value the light.
We had a bonfire party with some friends last week. It was a good old-fashioned affair, much inspired by the Enid Blyton that is essential reading in our house at the moment. There was a glowing bonfire; hot, salty, buttery jacket potatoes and home-made toffee apples, with crunchy and spectacularly shaped sugar coatings. Fireworks shot into the sky and danced around the garden. Sparklers crackled and wrote names of fire. We even had a home made Guy, something of a rarity these days (especially as we live in Mr Fawkes home town), who went up in flames briskly and very satisfactorily; with only the metal button from his jeans to be found the following morning.
Speaking to friends from other countries I was interested to discover whether or not they celebrated Bonfire Night - surely they must not care very much about a failed attempt to blow up our politicians over 400 years ago? It seems that for many the fireworks element has moved to join up with the Halloween celebrations, maybe a joint rally against the forces of darkness.
This week the children have been learning at school about Diwali, a Hindu celebration known as the "festival of lights". It celebrates the victory of good over evil, light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance.
It started me thinking about how each culture had found a different path to bringing bright lights into the depressing darkness of these early days of winter. The days where we feel the seasons turning and need something to remind ourselves that the light is still there.
I used to love this time of year as a child when, out walking round the streets, you would see the lights shining from the windows and catch a glimpse of each house's inner life: families eating tea, playing games, or watching the flickering light of the tv screen.
But it makes me wonder; for during the day, those same scenes wouldn't have the same fascination. It is the darkness that makes the light shine out.
Is the same true for us in life? Is it the dark days that make us appreciate the shining, light filled moments of happiness even more?