The post-Easter atmosphere in the office is pretty sullen. Email boxes are swollen like our chocolate-filled tummies and there’s plenty of work to be done, but no one wants to be back from their break.
Now that the hot cross buns are gone, the fruit bowl is a stern reminder of how much we let the diet slip over Easter. The bill for four days of lying-in and eating chocolate for breakfast (and lunch and dinner and as a late-night snack) has come through and people are clearly suffering from sugar hangovers and feeling remorse for gym visits not taken.
In the canteen, a colleague pokes at their stomach and pulls morosely at the bulge they find there. “I look like an Easter egg.”
“Ugh. Don’t even mention them.”
The days after Easter feel a bit dark in more ways than one. Unlike the Northern Hemisphere – where Easter usually means spring has sprung and the long balmy nights of summer are on the way – here in Australia we have a hour of evening light cruelly stolen from us. No wonder that it’s tempting to curl up with the leftover chocolate and refuse to come out until October.
But instead of curling up with comfort food this year, I’m curling up with a comfort book. When the nights start to draw in, I love to curl up with my comfort books – it’s catching up with an old friend. I first read Gerald Durrell’s sun-drenched and chaotic account of his childhood in Corfu, My Family and Other Animals, when I was in my teens and I alternate between blaming it and thanking it for sparking my life-long interest in travel and zoology.
Likewise, Peter Moore’s travelogue The Full Montezuma is at least partly to blame for the fact that I will be spending two months later this year in Central America with my backpack and well-thumbed copy of the book. Bill Bryson’s travel books have all been read so much their spines are split and anything by the humourous fantasy writer (or should that be fantastic satirist?) Terry Pratchett is lucky to still have a cover. This is the time of year when I dig out a few old favourites and, once again, enjoy and get inspired by them.
Some of my friends agree with me. One reaches for the Austen when she is feeling down, and another simply can’t get enough of Lord of the Rings. Others think I’m mad to waste time re-reading when there are simply so many other shiny new titles out there. But now that the nights are getting longer, I’m looking forward to reacquainting myself with some old friends.
So, this Autumn will you be joining me in your comfy chair with a comfort book, and if so, which one?