Spring is most definitely in the air on Long Island. This time last week there was still thick snow on the ground; I was still wearing a hat and gloves every time I left the house; the Littleboys were trying to turn parts of the garden into a luge track.
Now, the snow is all but gone; the birds are singing; I went for a run this morning and actually felt hot, rather than just not-as-numb-with-cold-as-when-I-started.
On Saturday we took the Littleboys to a local beach. In our stoic British way we have continued to frequent this beach all winter, but we've been, on most occasions, the only people there, save the odd grim-faced dog walker. But this weekend, all change - there were cars in the carpark, rowing teams putting their boats into the water, even a few other children playing in the sand. As we walked along, an elderly couple beamed at the boys and said, as if emerging from a lengthy hibernation: "Isn't it nice to be OUT?"
Yesterday we went for a walk on the beach at the beautiful Sunken Meadow State Park (pictured, with Littleboy1 in the far distance) on the North Shore of Long Island. The boardwalk was swarming with people; children were eating ice creams and adults sipping coffees.
Back home, I was looking forward to sitting down and watching the Oscars - something I would never normally do in the UK, but the thought of watching them live was rather appealing (and despite hardly having seen any of the nominated films, I've read so much coverage of them in the media here that I feel as I have....).
But there was just one problem. ABC, the network that shows the Oscars, had pulled their channel from our cable provider, Cablevision, in a dispute over fees at midnight on Saturday. That meant three million New Yorkers lost access to the Academy Awards; you can imagine the outrage.
The Doctor, despite not being particularly thrilled by the prospect of the Oscars (he has no interest in celebrities, as proved by his comment about Sarah-Jessica Parker the other night: "Never heard of her"), was wonderfully helpful, setting up my laptop with speakers and wifi so we could watch it online sitting on our sofa. But at 8.30PM, when the show started, we still couldn't actually find any coverage of the actual ceremony on the internet - it was all rubbishy red-carpet interviews.
Just at the point when I was starting to spit and curse about ABC, Cablevision and American TV in general, I happened to read on an obscure TV blog that at 8.50PM the two parties had finally reached an agreement. ABC was restored, and I was able to watch the rest of the Awards (which were suitably self-congratulatory and smug, but the dresses were amazing and it's always fun to see so many celebrities packed into one room). And, long after The Doctor had gone to bed, I saw history being made as Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win as best director.
Some things are definitely worth staying up for.