It’s Autumn in Melbourne, and the great deciduous trees in the streets and parks are sloughing their superficial splendour to gather strength for the coming chill. The evenings are warm for now, but the ever-hastening dusks are casting more than a shadow over the gentle cigar connoisseur. Playful licks of wind become biting squalls, clouds darken, and park benches develop a pervasive, dewy glaze, while the lay smoker, long banished from sheltered comforts, adapts or desists. Thus, with the below update, the inaugural season of Fitful Fires must conclude. Spare a thought for your host as he sits sadly in a threadbare armchair, playing scrabble against the computer, and sending text-messages into the merciless ether. Sure, there’ll be good times: I might save my shekels and order the occasional take-away Chinese dinner, and every now and again I’ll rent a Steve Martin DVD. My employer, usually equator-bound for warmer climes at this point, might offer me some lay occupation, but my hopes aren’t high. And so, like a twisted silver birch, I chuck the charge of excess and retreat into torpid isolation.
I will return, of course, in the summer, when beauty and light re-enter the periphery of my existence, where I’ll once again squander away my earnings on smoke and drink in the sunshine. Until then, friends, may all of your fires be fixed.