When I am unhappy and alone in the house, I have a terrible habit of wandering around, moving out of whichever well lit, cosy room I am in to rootle about in the darkness, as if looking for something or someone in one of the other rooms that might comfort me.

I don’t know why. I know there is nobody here, intellectually, but there is that awful gurning fear, the sort you get when your parents move into the next aisle of the supermarket when you are very small. If only, you think, calling up your small cache of imagined transgressions, if only I hadn’t done those things.

I don’t know what I would do if I did find her, or the figure I imagine to be a female. Consolation, perhaps, sitting ample in worn blue robes and offering a cup of tea. Or Wisdom, whom I always envisage looking a bit like that tree/woman in Disney’s Pocahontas. I would probably scream, and swear: even a year spent immersed in allegory is probably not enough to persuade me that a stranger in my house is not only not a thief, but that they are, in fact, only figurative.

But I needn’t worry, there is nobody there. Or perhaps that is why I ought to worry. Perhaps it is more awful, more lonely and tragic (and simultaneously a bit weird and pathetic) that I am only crying into emptiness.

Edinburgh is donning a mantle of beautiful colour at the moment, and it is still warm enough for me to flee the office for the entirety of lunch hour, and to sit warming my legs in the sun like a contented feline. But it is October, and October, for the last bazillion years of my life, has brought a change, a return to learning, a new term or a new year or a new place. Not so this year. I have itchy feet, and an itchy brain, and temping is not as close to tempting as that single ‘t’ would indicate. Best foot forward, into autumn, I suppose . I reckon there is nothing else for it.

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