The long, hard and seemingly never-ending winter from which the UK and Europe finally emerged was an unwelcome, if
appropriately gloomy backdrop to the ongoing economically depressed conditions facing businesses of all kinds.
However, as much of the UK basks in its first uninterrupted, gloriously sunny and hot weather, seemingly for well over half a decade, and Europe too enjoys similar heatwave conditions, the mind of the would-be tourist turns gratefully towards the holidays - and travel.
As if to go with the improved meteorological conditions (could it be purely psychological?), commentators and radio presenters are daring to begin to talk, in the most cautious of ways, of whether the very early stirrings of the very first of those mythical 'green shoots' of recovery are starting to be seen. It's very much open to debate, certainly.
Europe's economic powerhouse, Germany, is approaching a general election on 22 September, with the likely outcome far from
certain, and the Merkel-led government continues to face intense opposition over its Energiewende policy - the shift away from conventional energy generation and towards renewables. The cost of that energy to businesses continues to rise rapidly, and it is a major stumbling block, both commercially and politically - a problem that is echoed in economies around Europe.
Given that background, perhaps a fitting way for packaging industry executives and engineers to ease back into the new trading
round, once the main holiday season is out of the way, would be to head to Nuremberg, to check out the latest developments in
technology, processing and logistics for the packaging industry, set out over the nine halls of the annual FachPack exhibition (see our
Kicking off on 24 September, this year's 34th edition of the show will be taking place amid the German post-election fervour, so visitors and exhibitors alike will certainly not be short of potential talking points.
It has to be good news that, following a successful event in 2012, FachPack organisers this year expect attendance figures of around
37,000 to match last year, with exhibitor numbers up from 1,466 to about 1,500.
Despite the continuing stream of downbeat economic news in the mainstream press, it seems plenty of companies in the packaging
sector are still keen to invest the time and effort to hunt down the opportunities that are undoubtedly to be found - led by the sector's
constantly innovating minds.
Perhaps a 'green shoot' or two will be spotted in Nuremberg this September...