It seems most of January has been dour and grey, but February looks to be brighter. After all, so much more happens this month.

The 1st, marks Imbolc, celebrating the commencement of spring and falls halfway between Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. Judging by my daily walks, the season is definitely on the way. Daffodils are blooming, crocuses peeping through the soil. Above, fresh buds add colour to foliage ready to flourish in months to come.

I love the sound of the word Candlemas which is on the 2nd, and the end of the broader Christmas season, a time when festive evergreens remaining in the home after Twelfth Night are removed. Its name originates from the blessing of candles and light – a worthy sentiment, indeed.

Year of the Ox. The Chinese New Year is celebrated on the 12th and another reason why our second month is important. It’s observed by millions across the globe and based on the lunar calendar. It will certainly be uplifting to see and hear fireworks which are meant to keep evil spirits away.

Always a romantic, Valentine’s Day on the 14th, evokes warm feelings and the heart shape symbol is one I’ve always been drawn to, and has been popular since its appearance in the Middle Ages.

Originally, it was a day for declaring love anonymously with a card, flowers or chocolates, and could lead to something more meaningful if the sender’s identity was ever revealed.

The ancient tradition goes back to the Roman festival of Lupercalia when fertility rites were performed around the middle of the month. St Valentine was believed to be a Roman priest but was adopted by Christians, although his association with lovers remains a mystery.    

This year, Shrove Tuesday falls on the 16th. Pancake Day, a preferrable name by some, is a great favourite to many. Who would have thought this time last year, with pancake races going on up and down the country, that they would be banned in 2021? At least we can look forward to feasting on the egg, flour and milk delights. Topped with maple syrup, honey, fresh fruit, or sugar and lemon juice; my mouth is watering thinking about my favourite, which is probably the least healthy option.

It’s also my birthday month, I won’t be going far to celebrate, but it’s always a happy feeling to be made a fuss of by family and friends.

Coincidentally, when I was researching a writing project, I discovered an old birthday present on my bookshelves.

‘The Country Diary Of An Edwardian Lady’ is a reproduction of nature notes written and illustrated in 1906 by Edith Holden. Thinking about February, I flicked through the relevant pages and took a photograph – I do hope you find them appealing.

Until next time.
Sue. X