But the spring does seem to be bringing the first tentative shoots of an improvement in business. Our end user market report describes a still rather patchy outlook for the industry, but shows that the most important indicator for the sector, the mood in construction, is pointing strongly upward. In fact, it says, the building sector in February experienced a 22-month ‘high’ in confidence. The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply’s housing sector activity index also shows an upturn for the first time since September.

This week we also have plenty of news to underpin the embryonic recovery in market optimism. BSW, for instance, has confirmed that it plans to relocate its Fort William mill to a nearby 67-acre former paper factory site. The end result will be a bigger plant, higher output, 45 new jobs likely to be created directly and 100 more in supply and distribution. It all adds up to an investment of over £25m.

Meanwhile Clearwood Joinery has continued its expansion with the acquisition of Devoran, Arnold Laver is also investing heavily in new technology and plans have been unveiled for two huge biomass plants to use wood co-products.

Further good news to lift the industry is the launch of the latest wave of marketing from wood. for good. This includes adverts in leading construction press titles, including Building and RIBA Journal. The focus is timber’s sustainability and a further campaign is planned to highlight how the wood sector can contribute to developments surrounding the 2012 London Olympics, heralded as the “carbon neutral” games.

Finally, our own positive news is that Weinig Group has agreed to be our new Gold Sponsor at the TTJ Awards in September – the perfect event to cheer people up before the onset of another winter.