This morning I woke up to this:
and realised that February is quite possibly my favourite month. It turns up in the depths of winter, I usually spend half of it in New York, there is Valentine’s Day, then my wedding anniversary and Pancake Day (most of the time!) and much as nature may seem asleep if not totally dead, the Christmas tree under my bedroom’s window starts to sprout and plenty of little birds begin their songs when the weather permits. February has a lot going for it, including a sense of relaxation before everything is set in motion again. I don’t know if you ever noticed but it is also a great time to hit the shops; there are hardly any people around, there is the tail end of the sales (and Presidents’ Day sale in the USA, certainly my favourite sale-day ever), new collections have already hit boutiques and department stores, yet there is none of the pressure associated with big holidays or indeed with ‘the season’ as we call it in England. February is also a very good month to get the New Life into gear. You know the resolutions that we usually draw up in January but are too bleary-eyed to even consider only a few days later? February brings clarity of mind and none of the sluggishness associated with the immediate post-holiday drag. The year has well and truly started and this is the time when I need to act on my plans. Kindly of my prolapsed discs and the hideous pain that they have caused me in the past week, I have been able to make a start on my knitting and crocheting, something that I had delayed for a long, long time, especially following acquisition of a horse. Now that I can barely move around the house (although I am getting better) and that both work and horsey are entirely out of the picture, I have had the opportunity to read my knitting books without sense of urgency, finally able to re-read the same passage ten times if needs be, without watching the clock ticking. It’s good to be ill sometimes, even though it’s fair to say that I would have preferred a simple flu to the excruciating pain I’ve been in. But hey, I am not really one to complain! I have to fly under the radar for a while, I may as well make the most of it and do something I really love. Rich will be coming back from work very shortly and we will be able to have a hot chocolate with ice-cream, one of my favourite treats at this time of year (or indeed at any time of year). I like mine seriously chocolatey and seriously thick, the sort that is served at Patisserie Valerie or Laduree. The secret to thickness is cornflour; my secret to thickness is Ciobar, pre-packed hot chocolate that I get shipped. I kid you not, it is The Best Hot Chocolate there is and it is a little shocking considering it comes in sachets and does not have the looks, nor the price, of a high-end product. But, trust me on this, it is au par with Laduree’s and for that alone I am extremely grateful.