I've long disliked February
It's the shortest month of the year but never fails to feel like the longest
It has the highest death rate of all the months of the year despite its brevity
February weather is usually dreary in the South West, but as a child growing up in Yorkshire it was always the month when the snow appeared - you know snow, that horrid white stuff that causes life to grind down to slow motion and all manner of accidents to happen - can't you tell I'm not a fan?
In our family February is usually the month where if it can go wrong it will do
Among other things, I've been made redundant (as has Nigel), had a car accident, found out we would have to return from France despite having moved there only two months previously, and the saddest of all been widowed all in February in years gone by.
So strong is my superstition about this month that when we were trying to conceive our youngest Louise I was desperate not to have a baby due in February
As is often the case with best laid plans we conceived her the month before we were scheduled to start trying - hence the 14.5 month gap between her and her elder brother
She sneaked in under the wire and arrived two weeks early on the 10th February, thirteen years ago
So I guess you could say that February doesn't only bring bad things
However I'm still very uptight each year as 31st of January clicks over into February and equally relieved when it hops over into March at the other end of the month
This year I've felt no different
I'm particularly uncomfortable with the concept of any of us having to do a lot of driving in February
But life keeps throwing curved balls at us and several long distance expeditions had to take place this last month - longer even than our usual trecks to places like Bristol and Plymouth for rugby training
Sarah hopes to go to Uni in the autumn to train to become a physiotherapist
Competition for places for this course is always stiff but this year even more so - 700 applicants for the 71 places on the UWE course in Bristol for example
Checking out her UCAS tracking was becoming ever more disheartening as no-one seemed to want to make her an offer
Until the University of Hertfordshire called her for interview - in February!
As Nigel had taken her for the Open Day it made sense for me to accompany her on the interview so we'd both seen something of the campus
A 380 mile round trip in a single day is not an experience I'd like to repeat often - before I had the children I'd think nothing of driving that often several times a week - now I'm more of a potterer and this sort of long distance driving doesn't feature in my resume too often
But I got her there and back in one piece - despite it being February - and more to the point she really loved the place, better than anywhere else she'd put in an application for
Thankfully since her visit they've made her a very achievable offer so God willing, with a following wind that's where she should be studying from September
I guess I shall have to get used to that drive!
This last weekend it was Nigel's turn for a mammoth taxi role
Sarah was selected to play for England Colleges Ladies Rugby squad once again and this year was old enough to travel north of the border to Edinburgh for a fixture against the Scotland Ladies U21s
My 380 mile trip paled into insignificance in the light of the 900 mile trip they took from Thursday evening to late Saturday night
But again it was most definitely worth the trip as our girls beat the Scots nil-5 at the hallowed Murrayfield ground, the home of Scottish rugby - even if they did play on the rubber crumb because snow made all the neighbouring pitches unplayable.
She's back row, dead centre with her usual stupid grin - she obviously thought it was worth the journey too
But yesterday March arrived with a strange yellow orb hanging in a beautiful blue sky - the sun had arrived accompanied by a little warmth. It may not last, we're forecast lower temperatures again later this week
But for now - hello March - you're most welcome