It’s time to nudge aside all those traditional prejudices and presumptions stirred up like autumn leaves in a frantic whirl and extend a warm welcome to the magnificently moody month of November.

I have an extra incentive this time round to attract new members to an unlikely fan club. Poorly feet have left me several laps behind the ongoing marathon to retain a measure of fitness with regular exercise.

Cromer clifftop rambles of the more leisurely kind are an essential part of that programme.

I want to open the gateway to winter by resuming my impression of a latte-day Heathcliff looking for his café amid buffeting winds and withering heights.

Yes, it can be mighty bracing ambling towards the lighthouse as white horses  charge onto sands below and scurrying clouds threaten all kinds of icy cocktails from above.

Warming refreshments and fireside reads provide a perfect end to any brave November adventures,

I accept a few well-clad rehearsals could be needed during the next couple of weeks , a bit of fine tuning on the pier and along the seafront. The target is to be able to scale the north face of Poppyland’s main peak again before end of  the month.

It may remain an uphill struggle to convince some that November is the best time for such character-building sessions. It has received a bad press over the centuries and continues to be reduced by many to no more than a warm-up session for the Great Season of Too Much now advancing at such an alarming rate.

Some bright spark told me years ago how November can be such a disagreeable month, acting as if the year has suddenly found out it is growing old and can do nothing but weep and fret over so bleak a discovery.

Then a friend with a strong line in depressing quotes claimed reclusive American poet, Emily Dickinson said: “November always seems to me the Norway of the year.”

Apart from being a nasty slur on that fine country, I think she just went for the alliteration and could just as easily have picked  Novia Scotia, Northumberland or even the chilly North Pole. 

Joseph Addison, laugh-a-fortnight essayist, poet, dramatist and politician, pointed to: “The gloomy month of November when the people of England hang and drown themselves.” He must have been a riot at literary dinners.

Thomas Hood did his bit to keep a growing reputation in vogue with a memorably sombre salute culminating in: ”No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds, November!,”

You could always count on Charles Dickens to lend a hand when it came to “misery month” descriptions, especially when he wanted a suitable backcloth for something like Bleak House;

“Implacable November weather. As much mud in the streets as if the waters had been but recently retired from the face of the earth.” And we all know what happens if you throw enough mud.

Thankfully, I m not alone in finding aspects to embrace at a time  when cold grey hands can stretch out in the morning and darkness creeps up well before teatime. Peasant poet John Clare wrote: “Day seems turned to night and tries to wake in vain.”

Yet there is a haunting quality about the Norfolk countryside during the 11th month. Sugar beet piling up again waiting for lifts to the factory.

Starlings darken the sky over fields just cleared. An old barn crumpling to pieces but still defiant, a cathedral of labour with no-one left to worship.

Peer through fog across a landscape you took for granted last week. Trees turn into strange creatures raising crooked limbs in either threat or supplication. You love the bleakness all the more when  it’s time to forsake it.

Then there are deepest autumn’s heartwarming acoustics in city, town and hamlet. Swish and rustle. Crunch and crumble. Leaves of all shapes and colours ready for a downtrodden symphony you learnt as a child and still hum as days shorten and memories stir.

After sorely missing so many coastal and country treats on summer’s final miles, I’m determined to make the most of this November’s course whatever the going.

I particularly like the sound of the seven-furlong geriatric wander for those who want to stay clear of shopping shenanigans until they’ve all sold out.

Every month has its charms. Every month has its reasons for being on the calendar. So it has to be best feet forward ….big toes permitting.