For most of us, spring is associated with hope, renewal, poetry, daffodils, longer evenings, blossom, birdsong, newborn lambs and, of course, the Eurovision Song Contest. This is my favourite time of year, but recently I have started to have mixed feelings about the warm weather.
In many ways I'm a very lucky bookseller, as I work in a seaside resort only a minute's walk from the beach, but there is a downside to this. As soon as the temperature hits the 20s, hordes of people are seized by the urge to feel the air on their skin. In Saint Tropez this wouldn't be a problem, but in Sussex the reality is rather unpalatable...
And this is accompanied by the incessant flap flap of flip flops, which I find particularly offensive when worn by men. I don't know why. I don't like looking at people's feet at the best of times, but men's feet are especially unpleasant. Apparently some people derive some erotic pleasure from feet, which must be why some women adorn their toes with rings. Yuk. But worst of all, the other day a rather dull, middle-aged man came in my shop - he had a pot belly, short trousers and flip flops, which revealed a ring on one of his toes! I can just about understand some airhead backpacker wearing a toe ring because it's a bit tribal, but a short, plump man in his 40s?
It's strange how the hot weather makes northern Europeans go a little mad. In really hot countries they do the sensible thing and cover up. You will never see Spaniards walking around town wearing thongs. Indeed, visit any southern European country and you'll learn how to look cool in the heat.
I realise that I'm beginning to sound like Calvin. Next I'll be stopping people dancing and banning laughter. Although I'm not a religious person I was raised as a Christian and I sometimes wonder whether my distaste for self-adornment - tattoos, jewellery and attention-seeking clothing - stems from from my upbringing. I'm not consciously aware of feeling like that but nevertheless, I don't feel comfortable in my body and feel an irrational anger when I see people confidently displaying their rolls of fat in public. I'm of a relatively average weight and appearance, but I could never happily walk along a beach in Speedos. Perhaps I'm the one who has the problem?