A frequent question during my month off drinking is "Why February?" January makes more sense to a lot of people - the excesses of December need to be shirked from one's body and I have quite a few friends who do choose January. But January is cold, bitter, and (most importantly) TOH's birthday, so I can't choose January. Plus, why go cold turkey? Foolish.
My usual blithe (and honest) answer is that February is the shortest month. Yes, I give myself a day off for VD so that TOH and I can enjoy a bottle or two of plonk. So, in fact, it's only 27 days. But that seems enough for me.
Some people suggest March, however, little preparing themselves for the horror that suggestion inspires. Frankly, March is already dreadful enough without prohibiting myself from a warming glass of bourbon, a comforting spicy red wine or something along those lines. I have grown to loathe March since moving to the US. At home it's nippy and windy and rainy, it's true, but it's somehow offset by the blossom and blooms and sense that the year really is progressing to warmer, nicer weather. By this time of year the magnolia tree on my road is in near to full bloom, Mum and I hopefully will have already had a trip out to see the bluebells, and there will be crocuses and daffodils everywhere, with the air often heavy with the smell of hyacinths.
Days like today solidify my loathing. It's extremely gloomy; the clocks having changed made no odds this morning with the murky light barely penetrating my windows, making it seem as if I were up at half five instead of closer to eight. It's just above freezing, and raining, although we're promised by the weather people that this will all clear up this afternoon and be positively warm starting tomorrow. But, not trusting March, I can't quite believe there won't still be some sting in the tail, some snow left to come. The mini gardens along the route to work are still scrubby and brown, there's hardly any foliage anywhere as of yet. There are daffodils poking their green shoots out in the garden but they won't arrive fully for another couple of weeks yet.
Many people complain about the "summer" in Britain, whether from there or overseas, but for me, it's a very close run thing as to whether I'd prefer the NYC summers (which are often filled with disgusting humidity, thunderstorms and insect bites beyond belief) or an earlier, longer spring, rather than the four weeks we get in April/May before it becomes sweltering.