The transition from summer through to autumn is always an exciting time for me. The memories of hot and busy days shearing and baling on the farm, to filming in short sleeves and welcoming thousands to Countryfile Live on TV, are slowly fading in the rear-view mirror.
I find this time of year tantalisingly cosy and I’ve always noticed a difference in the feel of the programmes that I work on as the nights draw in and families congregate around the television for some good old-fashioned communal viewing.
I remember, many moons ago, sitting apprehensively at this time of year outside the Blue Peter studio in a Model T Ford. There was a chill in the air as I waited to drive in through the double doors, live, to start the show. I had a feeling then that has since stayed with me, a feeling that as it’s getting dark outside, I’d love to be like the viewers at home, lying down on the floor in front of the television in a warm house, watching the adventures that are about to unfold.
We Bakers love the turn of autumn, as far as excuses to party are concerned. We end up with quite a full Countryfile calendar! The countdown to the destination of Christmas is a big deal for us, as the days are packed with reasons to get out and feel the bite of the weather. First, there’s the new addition of the Countryfile Ramble to celebrate, and then we’re in pumpkin-carving mode, arranging local Halloween parties that seem to stretch to a week in our neck of the woods. This flows seamlessly into Bonfire Night, with which I have a love-hate relationship. I spend the majority of this week not focusing on how spectacular gunpowder can be, but on how much terror it can spread through the animal community.
Completing the cycle
Just as the weather likes to make its presence felt, it’s into the Lycra, to set off on another Rickshaw Challenge. This is, without doubt, a highlight of my year. Since I set of from Edinburgh six years ago, the Rickshaw Challenge has covered more than 2,500 miles and raised over £12 million for Children in Need, the perfect incentive to keep going and celebrating.
So autumn, in a nutshell, is pretty full for us. I hope that when you’ve made the most of the nippy autumn days, you’ll lie in front of the TV to see what we’ve been up to on Countryfile and sense the feeling that I had, as I trundled along in my trusty Model T.
Watch Matt on Countryfile on Sunday nights at 6.30pm on BBC One.