The end of February in England is a lot like a mouldy bathmat that has been dripped on and then left, damp, on the chilly floor overnight, ready for you to step on first thing in the morning. You reach for the tap to start a hot shower running as you feel the clamminess soaking slowly into your socks. Cold water sprays on your sleeve. You wait, shivering, in soggy pyjamas, but lukewarm is the best you’re going to get. You will have to wait another three months for it to be hot enough to restore life back into your miserable skin.
Where I come from, February is the hottest time of year and the summer air scorches and bakes; our feet are pricked by burrs or burnt on the bitumen. In February the easterly wind blows straight from the desert and, just like the English, we pray all month long for it to end. We are dried out and tired, like a capsicum you meant to roast which fell out of the baking tray to be left on the bottom of the oven, overcooked and forgotten. You don’t discover it for another two weeks, subjecting it to long blasts of brutal heat until, sliding in a tray of sausages, you finally hear a crunch. You extract a pitiful black shell of fragile carbon, shut the oven door and give thanks for your air-conditioner.
From this I have concluded that there is a reason it’s the shortest month. No good can ever come of February.