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Paper Monitor

11:20 UK time, Tuesday, 22 March 2011

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Spring has now sprung. Contrary to what some seem to think, spring does not arrive in early January with the snowdrops.

One snowdrop does not make a spring. Nor one daffodil, one chiffchaff or one cherry blossom.

One vernal equinox, however, does - the day on which the sun sits directly above the equator, causing day and night to be of equal length. This year it fell on Sunday at 2321 GMT, marking the arrival of spring for traditionalists like your humble correspondent. (Paper Monitor has always been a bit, well, some* might say, nesh.)

And with it comes photographs of spring-like things in the newspapers, such as the Guardian's big picture of hatless toddlers amid blossom trees.

Equally reliable - and traditional - signs of spring are the lurid banners for holiday tokens on the front pages of the tabloids.

"£3 SPRING HOLS FOR EVERY READER" shrieks the Daily Star, of its Pontins tokens. The devil is, as ever, in the small print on page 42 - it's £3pp "based on a minimum of four persons sharing a one-bedroom budget apartment.

"CAMPING FOR 95p" bellows the Daily Mirror ("per pitch, per night").

"MAGICAL FAMILY HOLIDAYS FROM JUST £20pp" barks the Daily Mail (that's for four in a caravan, and bed linen is extra).

And finally, regular readers of this column may like to know that Diana is on the front page of the Daily Express. Again. Although it's not Monday. And there's no mention of laser beams or mysterious white Fiats.

While not a sign of spring, this usage of Diana's photo can be taken as a sign of an approaching spring wedding. No prizes for guessing the couple in question.

(*The word "some", in this case, denotes Paper Monitor's close personal friend who hails from the northern reaches of this green and pleasant land. And who is no longer wearing a scarf.)

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