Punxsutawney Lucy 

Now I appreciate that your standpoint may differ, depending upon which hemisphere of the planet you live in, but after either a long cold winter in the North, or a long hot summer in the South, the one thing we all can probably agree on is a mood for change.

I believe Phil made his annual outing at Gobbler’s Knob recently and predicted an early spring to much delight. I am not sure how I feel about using a Groundhog to predict the weather and attract tourism dollars – I do know I loved the movie Groundhog Day and will pretty much watch it ever time I come across it, but that is because it is a very smart update of the Scrooge story, even if it does contain some cheating with the plot and some jazz. I have never seen the real event live so am not sure how much distress the actual groundhog experiences, although the pictures seem to suggest they take it all in their fat furry stride.

For the last month, I have been complaining unremittingly about the relentless heat, because the Australian summer lasts FOREVER, especially on the west coast. It is not so much the heat in the day that gets extreme, but the fact that it just will not cool down at night. This year has been particularly unpleasant because there was even more humidity than there has been in previous years (and it seems to be growing- Perth always used to have a summer of almost exclusive dry heat). I have scientific proof of this because even my dogs abandoned the bed to get some cooler air, wth one sleeping on the couch in our room and the other the floor.

But I know that the seasons are changing, because I have my own Punxsuatawney weapon of my own: Lucy.Possibly smarter than a groundhog and certainly whiter, Lucy will stay cool in summer, but come winter she will burrow. There is no warning. One day she will feel that summer is done and before winter gets a look in, she will walk up the bed, chuck a 180 at the pillow an dip her head under the duvet, tunneling straight back down to a position at the bottom of the bed.

Since she has been doing this, my husband has not used a water bottle, as she tends to sleep on his side and keeps his feet warm. She is unerringly accurate, and the minute she goes under the duvet, summer is officially over. She is escaping her shadow and we are heading for winter.

And so it happened this morning. Since I had my knee op, I have not walked the dogs early but got up and had a cup of tea in bed while the panadol kicked in. Four weeks ago the alarm would go at six and it would be light. Now it is just getting light, soon it will be pitch black.

This morning, my alarm went off and Punxsuatawney Lucy walked up the bed, turned around at the pillows and burrowed under the covers to escape her shadow. It is official:  Autumn is here and the winter is less than six weeks away.

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