Fleetingly, and not a moment before the start of March, we Londoners are being given a tantalising taste of the end of winter. My, but this winter has dragged. It's been winter in London since last August! We Londoners have been swathed in layers of scarves, bulky coats and furry boots for many months; each of us only a four-dog husky team away from full Arctic-exploration chic.
But slowly there are hints of change. A distinct smell of new growth and damp, rather than frozen, soil. A quiet chirrup of birdsong in the mornings, on the marginally less painful commute to work. A rise in temperature which has ushered in the Spring-Summer wardrobes. For the first time in months I have braved a jacket rather than my long coat. My feet feel surprisingly dainty in my flat ballet pumps, released from my rarely-removed, clumpy sheepskin boots. I can feel the tips of my fingers for the first time in months.
We have reclaimed the evenings. Day now slowly transitions into night, by way of peaceful dusk, instead of the wintery shutter slamming shut on the day's business before 5pm, leaving the city in instant darkness. During the day long-forgotten sunshine creeps out of hibernation, changing the face of the city entirely. Like a misbehaving lover who crawls back for forgiveness, and who makes you forget all the anger and fury with sweet words, so too London bathed in sunlight after a prolonged dingy winter erases all memory of harsh cold and miserable greyness. A simple smile of sunlight and all transgressions are forgotten.
But I'm not getting too overexcited. Of an evening, there is still a nip in the air which causes one to tighten a scarf about one's neck, and bury hands deep in pockets. The evenings of alfresco drinking and dining, and Pimms and barbeques are still some way off. Sunglasses may not be entirely silly now (a sentiment not shared by the Accidental Chum who told me off for wearing them yesterday), but anyone caught wearing flip-flops (like the chap sauntering down my new road earlier as if he were on the Cote d'Azur) in March remains either mad, or struggling to let go of their gap year travels.
Who knows if it is my change of scene, a different side of the river, a new space in which to live, but change is in the air. I shall remain quietly welcoming of any sunshine which bravely ventures out into this crisp March, but not dust off my bikinis just yet, for fear I might scare it away. But if I wait, and make no sudden movements, I may just witness the seasons changing.