I don't know what it's like round your way, but many of the trees around here are already turning colour and losing their leaves. Given the rather dull and dreary summer we've had I'm not entirely surprised, but I was wondering if this is a sign of something - perhaps a cold winter to come?
Maybe there is some old country saying - similar to the red sky at night - that could tell me, but I can't be bothered to look. What I am bothered about, however, is the blase reaction of the government to what is, by all accounts, a crisis in our energy supply.
The era of cheap energy is over, a senior cabinet minister warns.
John Hutton, the Business Secretary, admits households will struggle to pay their heating bills this winter due to rising costs.
I don't know what planet Mr Hutton lives on, but for most of us the "era" of cheap energy ended some time ago as we've been struggling with rising fuel bills for some time. I guess living in expensive, tax payer funded opulence insulates our ministers from the reality of having to pay bills.
Hutton has ruled out imposing a windfall tax - a stupid idea as all that would happen is that the energy companies would recoup that loss through customers in some way - but offers no solution to our impending crisis. And that is exactly what it will be for thousands of people who will have to balance the budget choosing between ever increasing food bills and rapidly spiralling fuel costs.
To be fair to Mr Hutton, he is saying some of the right things as he refers to "energy independence" - something which can not be achieved by switching to nuclear in the medium term as this is something which we lack skills in and is therefore dependent on foreign (French) resource. We lack the skills because of the ridiculously short sighted further education policies which place media studies degrees as highly nuclear physics - this is a problem that will come back to haunt us in the future in other ways, but not one I wish to dwell on here.
Hutton also makes the right noises about Britain's most plentiful and cheap energy resource - coal.
[W]e cannot turn our back on any proven form of technology. We cannot afford to say no to new coal, new gas or new nuclear.
Coal is key in my opinion. We need to dig more of it and build more coal fired power stations as a matter of urgency and it is the government's responsibility to ensure that happens, but this government - and any future Tory government - are hamstrung by their belief in man-made climate change and the fear of ruining their environmental credentials.
Meanwhile, the (unofficial) predictions for the winter of 2008/2009 is that it will be a cold and harsh winter. Should this be true then millions will struggle to pay their bills and thousands of vulnerable - mostly the elderly - will die as a result of a severe winter. This could all happen within a few months. That is what I would call a crisis.