Harriet Walker: It may sound trite, but sun and smiles are natural partners

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The Independent Online

Spring – and the advent of the wedding season – and such a fluttering of new feeling that I hardly know what I'm about any more. Now that I regain consciousness to Radio 4 in the morning rather than the American high-school guitar strains which used to permeate slumber when I was about 16, getting up rarely feels like a scene in the film of my life any more. But when the rays filter through the curtains, they can't but make waking up a bit more special.

It's incredible how the sun can make even getting out of bed an adventure, changing the scenery between acts so we know that things will be all right again. I forget this every year. And every year, I have a goldfish moment of happiness at it all anew.

People's faces split open in the street, they look above their collars and expose their chins again. It means all the more after that winter of discontent we've just survived – a dragged-out winter of Arctic snow on valiant blossom even at the beginning of April; of wind chill that made you feel like you'd left the house naked and with wet hair; whose extended chilly embrace seemed to encourage everyone to look out for themselves and themselves alone. A winter of rich versus poor, the haves against the have-nots. Of bedroom tax and the "vile products of welfare UK".

Surely we are ready to like each other again. The sun is an excellent excuse. Those first balmy days where you could go outside without a coat, I cycled home through Bloomsbury streets littered with laughing people and colleagues on hiatus from being in competition for jobs that are dwindling fast and pay rises that won't come, but who were content in blue-sky drinking and letting the sun dapple their pint as they talked about Game of Thrones.

At the wedding I went to last weekend, everyone liked each other very much, not least the bride and the groom. They floated about with dizzying smiles (by the end of the night, they were just dizzy – but then so was everyone else), talking freely and openly about how much they loved each other. Speeches were devoted to it, the dancefloor made ready. And everyone lapped it up.

Why don't we act like this all the time? Judging by the photos which cropped up a few days later – most of which feature the bride and groom, beaming into the lens, backed by a murkily lit crowd of other couples snogging away – acting like this is infectious. Love begets love.

So no wonder we hated one another all winter long. There was very little to be cheery about. It may sound trite, but people respond to this stuff: when the sun shines, we're nicer and life is easier. When the sun shines and people get married, it throws a spotlight on how much we all think of each other.

I know what I sound like – and trust me, this isn't easy. My usual shtick is about how frustrating life is when you're surrounded by idiots who stand on the wrong side of the escalator and think Les Mis is high culture (no, I can't forgive that). So now that I'm being all, "Let's bake a cake and flavour it with rainbows and dance with unicorns," it feels a little disingenuous. I may need to bathe in acid later on and watch an episode of The Cube to remind myself how much I hate my fellow man.

But I can't help it – I was struck last weekend and on my daily tussle through London's busiest tube station, how differently we act when we have something to smile about. Banal, fine, but there aren't many reasons to do that about at the moment. That's why I'm chasing the sun and grinning like a fool this week.