I hadn’t given much thought to 29th February, I have to say. I’m certainly not going to be proposing to anyone, for one thing. Well…maybe to Cumberbatch, but very quietly, in my head. But that’s incidental. No – the 29th of February seems to be somewhat sidelined as a date in the calendar. Probably because, as a nation, we have a collectively short attention span, and celebrating something every four years doesn’t offer a great deal of income to card manufacturers, those arbiters of tradition.
I decided to consult the fount of all knowledge, Wikipedia. I wasn’t disappointed. After an awful lot of mathematical gymnastics used to explain how the day happened, I learnt that it was introduced as part of the Julian reform, that both Aileen Wuornos and Ja Rule were born on the day, and that it is also the feast day of ‘Oswald of Worcester’. Marv. From other websites which were not Wikipedia, I learnt that any ventures started on this day will apparently be successful, that – famously – women were allowed to propose on this day, and would get a free dress if they were turned down (win win!), and that Greek tradition dictates a couple will have bad luck if they marry in a Leap Year.
Phew. Well, that’s all marvellous, but what should it mean to me? I took enough of a beating over my love of Valentine’s Day – did I dare to speak up for a day that isn’t even remotely acknowledged as something special? Yeah, why not? As if I’ve ever needed any excuse for a party. So, what to do? How should I interpret the day? I heard an item on Radio Four about how people were planning on using the day to do completely different things to what they’d usually do. Apparently, the National Trust are also giving their staff the day off to volunteer for charities, which I think is extremely admirable.
I haven’t totally nailed down my plans yet, but I know I want to do something that’s different. So for a start, I am going to have an utterly technology free day. Nothing. I will be away from my laptop. No texts, no Facebooking, no Tweeting, no emails. This is a huge deal for me, and hopefully it might help me think about the obscene amount of time I spend looking at a screen. To go along with the National Trust idea, I’m going to sit down and start ploughing through some of the ideas I have for my charity work. I’m going to sketch. I’m going out for a walk.
Those are some loose plans at the moment, but I’d like to do something really different. If you have any ideas, or you’re planning on having an ‘opposite’ day to what you’d usually do, let me know!