I wonder if we dare hope that spring has sprung. All the signs have been evident this week: sunshine, blue skies, birds singing their little tonsils out, swathes of pallid human flesh, pub beer gardens overflowing with good cheer and gardens bursting with all the full-of-promise growth and colours that must surely mean we’ve left winter behind us.
I even had the aircon on in my car at the weekend, which seems ridiculous, especially as I’d taken a scarf and gloves with me on my journey – just in case.
It would be an acceptable sort of compensation to be treated to some of the warming yellow stuff after the hellish rain of the past three months. Not compensation in full, of course, because nothing could properly make up for what so many have suffered and lost in the floods, but a start, at least.
Judging by the breadth of the smiles and the cheerfulness that are provoked by the sun’s appearance, I fear it is only a matter of time before one of the political parties adds a promise to their election manifesto. It could do them the power of good.
I can see it now, being announced by some heavily pan-sticked chap casually dressed down in a shirt and no tie, melting fast under stage lights and the heat of the moment, flanked by two potted plastic palms and a ‘Vote For Us or You’ll Regret It’ banner behind him.
He treats us to a leery half-smile, half-smirk as he proclaims (not easy when you’re reading a script you’ve not seen until this very second): “Daily sunshine will be provided for all for a guaranteed minimum of five hours. It doesn’t matter if you are a hard-working family, if you’re in receipt of any of the 452 state benefits or happen to have your own solarium at home in Oligarch Mansions, Kensington. We’ll bring it to you all, no matter who or where you are.
“Special daily top-ups of sun, between the hours of 6pm and 7pm, will be available to any taxpayer who sends me a personalised cup cake and a signed photograph of themselves, preferably sunbathing.
“The cost of this exciting new measure, which I have no doubt will be welcomed by one and all, will be borne by a tax on bankers’ bonuses. As will all the rest of our manifesto, but please don’t ask me about it because I didn’t write this speech and anyway it’s time I went home. To my second home, that is. Thank you and goodnight – and don’t forget to vote for ME and my party! We put the sunshine into your lives!”
Or something like that. I think we can trust our politicians to squeeze whatever capital they can out of the feel-good Sunshine Effect. Cynical, moi?
In the meantime, as and when the sun shines, let’s all enjoy it, free of charge and political encumbrance, and never forget those for whom, just a short while ago, it must have seemed that it would never shine again on their miserable, waterlogged world.
All my past columns can be seen at www.sallyhillsjournal.wordpress.com. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org