AUTUMN can be bleak. Trees bereft of leaves. The sun playing hide-and-seek behind a bunch of gothic clouds.

The only thing that appears to be blooming is a murky meadow of umbrellas.

Which can leave even the most optimistic of souls feeling psychologically deflated.

But despair not, for we’ve got ten excellent ideas for axing those angsty autumnal blues…

Gleeful gulps of granny-style grub

The Duke’s Umbrella, 363 Aryle Street,

IT’S a sad fact of life that many frisky young haggises are evicted from their nests (made from the shavings of unicorn horn) then slaughtered by heartless haggis huntsmen.

As cruel as this may seem, it’s somewhat mitigated by the fact that the haggis does tend to bring it on itself, by being so darned scrummy.

If you don’t believe us, saunter down to The Duke’s Umbrella, a gastro pub where the upmarket scran is every bit as mouthwatering as the liquid refreshment on tap.

The haggis, neeps and tatties is just the way your gran used to make ‘em. If your gran was a cordon bleu chef, that is.

This is the sort of scoff that even Gordon Ramsay wouldn’t scoff at.

And will it fill you with feelings of joyous optimism?

Heck, yeah. (As long as you don’t start thinking about the fate of the poor haggis, cut off in its prime...)

The Herald: The Duke's Umbrella, 363 Argyle Street, GlasgowThe Duke's Umbrella, 363 Argyle Street, Glasgow (Image: free)

The High Life

Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh

LACK of exercise and natural light can lead to depression.

So why not clamber up that knobbly lump of mud, stone and weeds, otherwise known as Arthur’s Seat?

You’ll enjoy a healthy workout which will take you above the murk and mire of central Scotland, allowing you to (possibly) glimpse that big ball of fire in the sky.

A Tale of a Tub

Lush, 78 Buchanan Street

AFTER all that muddy larking about in Edinburgh, you’ll be ready for a hot soak. Turn it into a spiritual experience with candles round the tub and soapy bubbles frisking the water.

Lush in Argyle Street has enough bath-time bubbles and bliss-filled baubles to leave you feeling pampered and in the pink, including handmade soap and bubble bath bars.

P-p-p-pick up a pumpkin

Pumpkin Patch at Drumlanrig Castle, Thornhill, Dumfries & Galloway, 14th-29th Oct,

AS mentioned previously, one of the most dispiriting aspects of the season is the absence of a flaming orange sky-ball.

Though autumn does provide us with something equally orangey, though sadly not quite as toasty hot.


At Drumlanrig Castle and Country Estate you can grab a wheelbarrow and head over to the pumpkin patch to pick your own edible hunk of happiness.

Gone For a Song

Sunshine on Leith, King’s Theatre Glasgow, 31 Oct-4 Nov

THE world is full of terrible occurrences.

A pal may tell you: “A lorry broke down in Glasgow city centre.”

“Frustrating,” you say.

“It was carrying ripe watermelons to the supermarket,” continues your friend. “They tumbled out the back and trundled down a hill.”

“Unfortunate,” you admit.

“Every single one of the watermelons rolled over an unsuspecting pet chihuahua, who happened to be loitering with his owner at the bottom of the hill.”

“How awful!” you gasp.

“The squished pooch, showing flickering signs of life, was rushed to a nearby vet, who wasn’t in, because he’d popped out to the supermarket to buy himself a watermelon snack…”

And on it goes, with scant respite from the trauma.

Or so it often seems. But even when you’re at your lowest ebb, musical theatre will provide the perfect pep pill.

This month Glasgow’s King’s Theatre is staging Sunshine On Leith, which is as bright and breezy as it sounds, with songs from Scotland’s very own twin tonsil-ticklers, The Proclaimers.

It’ll leave you feeling as ebullient as an unsquashed chihuahua.

The Herald: Sunshine on LeithSunshine on Leith (Image: free)

In the soup

The Scottish Soup Bible by Sue Lawrence

WHEN you’re feeling meh, it often helps to reach for the bible. On this occasion we don’t mean the Good Book.

Instead, we’re prescribing a slightly slimmer volume… The Scottish Soup Bible by Sue Lawrence, available in all good bookstores. (Or the internet, if you don’t want to leave the house and would rather huddle under the duvet, patiently waiting for spring.)

The book has oodles of recipes for tasty soups popular in Scotland.

Flick to page 38 where you’ll learn how to prepare Scotch Broth, which is essentially a hug in liquid form.

Laugh & a half

The Glee Club, 11 Renfrew Street, Glasgow

LAUGHING is good for the soul, though perhaps not the ribs, which tend to ache a bit when you indulge in an overdose of chortling.

But forget the ribs (they’re easily the grumpiest part of the human body) and indulge in a full frontal assault of silliness, courtesy of The Glee Club, where garrulous gag-merchants roll out jokes by the yard for your predilection.

Drinks and nibbles are available, which you’ll be spluttering out your mouth and down your chin when the witticisms start flying.

Mind yer language

Glasgow University Short Language Courses

AUTUMN can leave you feeling in a rut.

Defeat dubious emotions and give your brain a welcome workout by learning a foreign language.

Better yet, learn the lingo spoken in the destination you plan on visiting next summer. (Unless you happen to be caravanning in Drymen. In which case local lingo-learning might not be terribly useful.)

Glasgow Uni offers short courses, providing an excellent grounding, thus ensuring that you don’t become that pugnacious plonker in the Spanish restaurant, screeching at staff: “Oi! I know you speak English, pal. So gie us broon sauce fur ma tortillas. Pronto, likes.”

Gone to pot (pourri)

Rouken Glen Park, East Renfrewshire

CONQUER the blues by collecting conkers.

Not only are they shiny and pretty, in a subdued sort of way (not like those brazen buds, the screechingly yellow daffodils), but they remind you that autumn is the “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,” as some rhyming Johnny once described it.

And, hey, if a poet praises a season, it can’t be that miserable, right?

There are plenty of places to nab conkers. In Rouken Glen Park you’ll stumble upon enough horse chestnut trees to satisfy your needs.

When you return home you can plop your collection in a fancy-schmancy bowl, along with twigs and leaves also found in the park, and – clever you! – you’ve invented potpourri. (Well, you would have done, if some rotter hadn’t invented it first.)

Keen on green

Rogue Flowers, 5a William Street, Edinburgh,

GARDENS tend to become a tad barren over the autumn and winter months.

Gazing out your living room window, you wouldn’t be surprised to spy a camel chowing down on a dusty outcrop of cactus leaves.

Take no heed of the garden gloom.

For you can fill your house with lush vegetation. Or at least buy a bouquet of pretty flowers to display in a vas.

It’s almost impossible for a house decorated with flowers and plants to be a cheerless place. (Unless you’re packing your rooms with triffids, which we don’t recommend.)

Rogue Flowers in Edinburgh’s West End provides petals a-plenty. Whether you’re after a delicate posy or a flamboyant bouquet, they’ll have your joint jumping like a jungle jamboree.