Groundhog enthusiasts have their best opportunity yet to introduce the quirky Pennsylvania Dutch celebration to Britain, and Boris Johnson could play the part of groundhog with his announcement of six more weeks of lockdown.
For those of you who’ve never seen/ heard of groundhogs or Groundhog Day the premise is essentially this: in early Feb the little groundhog, which has been tucked up in its winter hibernation, comes out of his nest, and takes a look at the weather.
So the legend goes, if he scurries back inside, it means six more weeks of winter.
The film of the same name encapsulates the mood of our times nicely. Bill Murray is a TV reporter sent to the wonderfully named Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to cover the Groundhog Day celebration. But in a maddening twilight-zone turn of events he is forced to relive the same day over and over again.
Something in me feels we’re all Bill Murray in Punxsutawney now, and Boris Johnson is the groundhog. Having just appeared out of his burrow in No.10, he’s declared at least 39 more days of winter, instead of lifting some restrictions in mid-Feb as originally planned at the start of Lockdown 3.0.
Of course, not everyone has been fortunate enough to just stay at home working. And in fairness to Boris, there does seem to be a kernel of a ‘roadmap’ out of Sisyphean purgatory. Time will tell whether its six more weeks of winter or more.
Despite Groundhog Day falling on 2 February (mark your calendars) there is plenty else happening next month.
It is National Sickie Day on the 1st of February, the day of the year where statistically more than any other day workers call in sick to work.
On 2 February is the gloriously named Trial of the Pyx, where the Goldsmiths Company test the weights of the Royal coinage, while also being the day the shortlist for the British Kebab Awards is announced (I wonder which will prove more newsworthy).
Elsewhere on 5 February Ofgem is announcing its new energy price cap levels after a year of turmoil in energy markets, and on 6 February the Six Nations rugby tournament begins.
On 11 February, extraordinarily, it will be one year since coronavirus received its official designation as ‘Covid-19’. That grim milestone is followed on 12 February by Chinese New Year, the year of the Ox. Chinese financial markets will be closed until 18 February as a result (bull market jokes on a postcard please).
Also, on 12 February is the first Q4 GDP estimate from the ONS. An update on the UK’s inflation rate is next on 17 February, while employment figures are revealed just under a week later on 23 February.
Meanwhile, don’t forget the usual suspects in February – Valentine’s day on the 14th, Shrove Tuesday – Pancake Day – on the 16th and Ash Wednesday on the 17th.
Finally, on 26 February, G20 finance ministers will be meeting virtually to discuss issues of the moment for economies and financial markets.
We’d also like to welcome Fiona McAra as a senior consultant to the MRM business. Fiona joins with a wealth of PR agency experience across a range of sectors. You can read our interview with her here. All the best from us here at MRM and CCM, and stay safe.