And so here it is. At long last! After weeks of teasing, it has finally arrived – and not a moment too soon. What? I hear you cry. The warm weather, of course. Or, at least, the not-so-freezing-I-feel-like-my-toes-are-about-to-fall-off weather. Bar a few hiccups, the past fortnight has been positively tropical in comparison with the rest of the year. There has been actual sunshine. Temperatures have reached 20C. I haven't had to wear a coat every single day of the week.
Of course, this is only to be expected. It is, after all, spring. It happens every year. But it's so easy, isn't it, to lose sight of the seasons' inevitable change when immersed in the depths of winter gloom. Which, if you ask me, merely serves to make the sunshine's eventual arrival that much better. It pounces on you, unexpectedly, only to remind you just how good it is; the bright evenings and early mornings; the rising temperatures and clearer sky; the relief at not having to wear 12 layers every time you want a pint of milk.
Naturally, there's more to my excitement than natural wonder. It's not just longer days and balmier temperatures that make this time of year an exciting one. Spring also signals a new chapter of the spending calendar. A new, better chapter. Everything is more affordable in the warm. There's no need for central heating, so your gas bills go down. The lights don't need to be on 24/7, so electricity use reduces. And, is it just me, or do all sorts of other costs vanish out the window?
Socialising in warm weather is – without doubt – cheaper than socialising in the cold. Suddenly parks, street markets and gardens become the desired destinations, replacing the pubs and cafes that dominate in winter. Without a proprietor's roof over your head, there's no need to buy endless cups of tea, glasses of wine or pints of beer to make your presence acceptable. And shopping – by which I mean recreational shopping, not the obligatory trip to the supermarket type of shopping – becomes a lot less attractive. Who wants to be trapped indoors, sweating with a bunch of strangers when the sun's out? Ditto the Tube: why pay to travel underground, when it's the perfect weather to walk, run or cycle?
So, welcome to the UK, sunshine. Long may you last. Just don't get too hot, or else I'll need a new wardrobe. But that's a whole different story.