Spring. Don't you just love it? The very word sounds optimistic, like a little leap into the air. Today, on the first day of the season (that's according to the Met Office – officially spring doesn't start until 21 March but what's a vernal equinox between friends?) I bring you five reasons why this is the best time of year.
1. Those blooms: As my husband will gladly attest, I barely know what I'm doing in the garden but even I know that the effort of digging up the cold earth in those crazy weeks before Christmas will be worth it. Just when it feels as though winter might never end, there come those green shoots poking out of the ground like little miracles. And when the daffs and tulips and crocuses and snowdrops show their colours? All is right with the world.
2. The birds return: At the risk of turning this into a gardening column, what can be more magical than the return of the dawn chorus? All those birds who have sensibly spent winter in the African sunshine are suddenly back and they're not shy about letting us know it. This year I've noticed them more than most because my daughter is obsessed with them. I've never spent so much time looking up at the sky.
3. A fresh start: Even more than September or New Year, this time of year brings with it the feeling of a new beginning. If buds can sprout from bare tree branches and bright spring bulbs from the still-chilly ground then surely anything is possible? Even the air smells different. And then there are the days getting steadily longer which always makes me think of summer evenings outside (without the realisation that comes in actual summer that we live in a country where "summer" is pretty much just in our heads and certainly not in the weather).
4. Shopping: Okay, enough already with the wildlife – what I'm really excited about this season is the chance to indulge my rampant materialism. Having spent what feels like a lifetime encased in grey, navy and black, this time of year brings a flutter to my girlish heart like no other. Spring equals thoughts of ice-cream shades and skirts and if funds permit a whole new grown-up-yet-flirtatious wardrobe. Well, a girl can dream. And the best bit? No-tights, bare-your-bits summer is still far enough away to pay no attention whatsoever to those irritating "get bikini fit" articles in women's magazines.
5. Easter: A festival we celebrate by eating chocolate and baked goods and looking at fluffy bunnies – what's not to love? Also, it's near my birthday. Although given that I will be bidding goodbye to the box marked 25-34, that might not be a reason to celebrate. But I will have presents!
So there you have it. Five definitive(ish) reasons why spring is the best. Officially. Enjoy!