If there were ever an exception to prove the rule, it would be the "start" of spring.

September 1 is a mental milestone for all of us after a long winter, and especially so when this year winter has been dominated by power cuts, record downpours and road closures across the country because of snow.

But just like good things, all bad things come to an end and when the seasons officially switched over I felt my spirits lift along with the temperatures.

Bright sunshine came out and my stock of scarves, hats and gloves stayed in. We were moving on, people. The warm weather had arrived.


But if there's one thing I should have learned by now it is that what Mother Nature giveth, she taketh away just as swiftly.

Today I am hunkered down in the winter coat that I haven't needed until spring.

The ferries were not running and ski fields have been shut, trees are toppling and it's snowing in some city streets.

If this is spring, give me back winter, please.

The trouble with spring and anything good coming in the wake of something less fabulous is that it's burdened by the weight of expectations.

And whenever there are expectations there are inevitably failures to meet them.

But while some things are a sure-thing (ice cream after dinner, a hot bath after a long run) others - like spring - carry the burden of a delivery that can seldom measure up.

Because the only thing different about the end of winter and the start of spring is what we expect.

The date ticks over from August 31 to September 1 and all of a sudden we expect thermometers to soar and everything made of merino to stay in the wardrobe.

Spring herself will seduce us like a new relationship, coming over all flirty and warm, promising things in the first few days she can't possibly hope to commit to long-term.

And then right at that point where we've put our trust in her and packed all our layers into the hard-to-reach places she'll slap us right where it hurts with a "cold snap" that destroys our trust permanently.

Shakespeare once wrote that expectation is the root of all heartache.

And so the secret to spring - and one could say happiness generally - is to have low expectations.

No one need ever rise to low expectations and there's no possibility of disappointment.

From now on (well at least until after the inevitable disappointment that is the Christmas Day weather forecast) I'm not leaving home without my coat. I'm keeping the winter layers on because stripping them off one by one when the weather is good feels so much better than adding them when it's bad.

If I extrapolate that theory out beyond the boundaries of weather, I could even start expecting my son to wake up early, the milk to have run out, my morning coffee to be burnt and the last sausage roll to be sold by the time I'm hungry for lunch.

Yet somehow although this is bound to lead to constant pleasing surprises, living a life of low expectations just doesn't seem right.

When did you last hear someone talk up the benefits of seeing the glass half-empty?

And so I suppose I'll continue to see it half-full and just endure the setbacks when they come as part of the deal of life.

Sometimes you win, and sometimes there's a cold snap in the first week of spring.

Eva Bradley is a columnist and photographer.