Talk to us here at Rochford Life : 0786 342 7294 or E-mail us. For other numbers see individual pages.
Make a point of visiting us weekly!        Tell a friend about us.
Seasonal Reflections:  February

So there you are, we don’t know! We could be very negative and mutter on about card manufacturers, florists and confectioners boosting the national economy, but perhaps it is better that love is expressed on one day a year rather than none! (Now that is a jaded view!!!)


My desk diary also tells me that Sunday 6th is Waitangi Day in New Zealand – oh my goodness! Thank goodness for Google:


“New Zealand’s national day commemorates the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi on February 6, 1840.  Waitangi Day thus marks the coming together in friendship of the Maori people and the white European settlers. Under the terms of the Waitangi Treaty, the Maori people agreed to accept British sovereignty. They in turn were granted citizenship and land rights. The treaty, however, has never been officially ratified by the New Zealand Parliament (although it did pass a Treaty of Waitangi Act in 1975 which sought to honour the terms of the agreement) and has been a source of dissension and discord, particularly in relation to land rights.”



And that is a day to celebrate? Well perhaps it brightens up life somehow. So, anyway, welcome to February, a month of surprises!




(Writing in the last week) Seven Days and Counting?  Well if you agree that December, January and February constitute ‘Winter’ we’ve only got 7 days of Winter left. Hooray! Of course that would also mean that in 7 days’ time it is Spring. However Wikipedia spoils that thought:


“The specific definition of the exact timing of "spring" varies according to local climate, cultures and customs. At the spring equinox, days are close to 12 hours long with day length increasing as the season progresses..... Astronomically, the vernal equinox (usually 20 March in the Northern Hemisphere), should be the middle of spring (based on the angle of the sun)... but daytime temperatures lag behind insolation (solar radiation energy received on a given surface area in a given time) by several weeks because the earth and sea have thermal latency and take time to warm up..... In spring, the axis of the Earth is increasing its tilt toward the Sun and the length of daylight rapidly increases for the relevant hemisphere. The hemisphere begins to warm significantly causing new plant growth to "spring forth," giving the season its name.


As someone else puts it more simplyWhen going from winter to spring, the sun is moving north; as soon as the sun crosses the equator, we call it spring,” and that happens on 20th/21st March.


So OK, 1st March may be Spring if you simply divide the calendar up equally, but on the basis of when the sun passes over the equator it will be late March. Rats! Another four weeks to wait!


So why should Spring be important to us? Because it signifies moving out of the cold of Winter (which could yet drag on into April, let’s be honest) into days where warmth gradually returns to the day. Have you ever noticed that people who live in tropical or semi-tropical climates are often brighter and more full of laughter and lightness? Moreover the further north you go in the northern hemisphere the harder people seem to be, able to cope with the tougher climate.  I wonder if one day we will beat the problem of fossil versus nuclear fuel and have sufficient power that wherever we live on the planet we will always have sufficient warmth both inside buildings and just under the surface of roads so that snow and cold no longer impacts us in the way it does today.


I checked that out on the Internet. Maybe that’s not such a good idea on its own. Look at this: “Staying longer indoors in winter and turning up the heating may be contributing to the rise in obesity in the UK, the US and other developed countries, according to new research led by University College London.”

(from Ooops! It’s a no-win situation!


It gets worse. On the same site I clicked on other “effects of winter” and got this:


“Why does a baby born during the winter months have a higher risk of developing bipolar depression, schizophrenia, SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and other neurological disorders compared to one born during the summer? Scientists from Vanderbilt University, USA, wrote in the journal Nature Neuroscience that exactly when a baby is born can have a dramatic and lifelong effect on the functioning of their biological clocks.”  


How unfair!  This would suggest it’s a good idea to try to avoid conceiving in February through May! Are you beginning to see this? My negative feelings about Winter have a good scientific basis to them!


I have to confess I didn’t feel like this about Winter 20 years ago. No, perhaps it was slipping over in the ice a couple of years back and finding I no longer fall so well as I did thirty years ago, that has made me feel negative about this season. And OK, I’m venting it now as we start to ease away (we hope) from the coldest months. I’ve had enough of the white of November and December, and the grey and wet of January and February. I’m with Eric and Ernie – “Give me Sunshine!” Roll on the Spring, whenever it comes!


Top of Page



THE SEASONS: February Reflections originally written in 2011
So here we are in February!   A Funny Old Month!  I always think of February as a surprise month.  January you expect cold, maybe snow and quite probably frosts. If December, January and February are the months of Winter, January is smack in the middle and you don’t expect much of it. January, as we have said in abundance in past weeks, has a measure of expectation about it, simply because of the New Year. When we get to March or April we’re really starting think ‘Spring’ in a very clear way – but February?  
I don’t know why I tend to be a lone voice in the wilderness, but I am a self appointed publicity officer for February.  Oh yes, February has been known to be one of the worst months for snow, and certainly frosts can still abound in February, but here’s the sneaky thing that most people forget or don’t even notice – February sometimes pulls out days that almost make you think Summer has arrived. I can’t guarantee it, but just watch out! I have actually been swimming in the sea in February (and OK, it was cold) because the sunshine and air temperature was so good that it lured me into the wet stuff.

I think it must have been eight or nine years back that we had a drought here in Rochford – and  being someone who keeps three or four rain barrels, I notice these things – and it started in February. From about mid-February, to late October, I believe it was, we had no rain at all. So yes, February can be the very end of Winter in more than name.

So what else does this season herald? Well before I write on this page again, Valentine’s Day will have come and gone – Monday 14th, men!  According to (a nice simple and straight forward web name):
“The history of Valentine's Day — and its patron saint — is shrouded in mystery. But we do know that February has long been a month of romance. St. Valentine's Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. So, who was Saint Valentine and how did he become associated with this ancient rite? Today, the Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men — his crop of potential soldiers. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons where they were often beaten and tortured.”