IF you’re reading this, then it’s a tribute to Christine, the Journal content manager’s, forgiving nature. In a heartfelt e-mail on Friday she pointed out that it was a bank holiday weekend and that the staff at the Journal would have one less working day to put the paper together and implored her contributors to submit the columns in good time.

I failed. And the only mitigation I can plead is that I was a victim of the unseasonable and fabulously warm weather that we had this weekend. When I woke up on Sunday my intentions to get straight down to work went out the window the moment I threw back the curtains.

Instead, an impromptu lunch in the garden saw five almost-teenagers running in and out of the sprinkler like they were back at nursery school. Regrettably (?) the contents of half a bottle of port and rather too much cheese prevented their parents from rediscovering a long distant childhood. Lunch finished around 5pm – by which time I was in no fit state to start work…

Monday was no more promising. Determined to make the most of the sunshine and with a houseful of boys to entertain, we headed off to Wilton House in the morning (along, it seems, with half of Salisbury), a trip to the Forest in the afternoon (where we shared a picnic with the local abundant fly population) and the garden of one of its pubs rounded off the weekend, making the prospect of an evening’s writing daunting.

There’s something about the sunshine that changes the British character. People smiled, the lad serving the ice creams looked cheerful, people in the queue were chatting. We talk about a ‘sunny disposition’ but I think it’s the sunshine and warmth that transforms people’s disposition.

And in the spirit of that transformation, Saturday was celebrated the world over as World Naked Gardening day. According to the organisers, besides being liberating, nude gardening is “…second only to swimming as an activity that people are most ready to consider doing nude.” I have to say that while I found the warmth liberating, to the undoubted gratitude of neighbours and the houseful of children, it didn’t extend to gardening in the buff.

My brand of gardening is reminiscent of armed warfare: shears, a powered hedge trimmer, secateurs, loppers and an industrial strength lawn mower all serve to battle against the intractable army of unruly roses, thorned thickets and triffid hybrids that masquerade as my garden. The cuts, scratches, embedded thorns and Shakespearean English that result from my occasional forays into enemy turf whilst armoured in as much protective clothing as possible would be eye-wateringly near fatal if attempted nude.

No, my weekend was liberating but not revolutionary. Still, I did find myself wondering whether Brexit would thwart the possibility of retiring to warmer climes…