Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Boadicea and Bader...

It’s the twenty-first of February one of those unremarkable days that pretty much go unnoticed. It’s no Candlemas Day (Feb 2nd), or Valentine’s Day (Feb 14th) and it certainly isn’t Leap Day (Feb 29th once every four years). So all in all it’s not much of a day at all and the grey damp weather does nothing to add to its lack of importance.

Of course every day becomes important sometimes. Things happen to even the most unimportant ordinary of days, even February days.

In 1431 Joan of Arc was accused of heresy in Rouen. That didn’t end well. Three hundred years later in 1741 Jethro Tull – the inventor not the musician – unveiled the seed drill and saved the backs of hundreds of thousands of farm workers. Mind you, he doomed a lot to impoverished starvation to boot. In 1804 Richard Trevithick demonstrated the first steam train in South Wales. In 1910 Douglas Bader, the flying ace, was born. He went on to lose both his legs in a daring flying accident but still managed to shoot down twenty German planes in the Second World War despite his new legs of tin. In 1952 we all became anonymous when Winston Churchill’s government abolished identity cards. In 1961 The Beatles – a new-fangled beat combination band – appeared for the first time at the Cavern Club in Liverpool. In 1998 Boadicea turned up; buried under Platform 8 at King’s Cross railway station. And just last year on this day Mevagissey council in Cornwall had to abandon plans to name a thoroughfare Hitler’s Walk as a result of a protest by town residents. Both Douglas Bader and Winston Churchill would have approved of that, Boadicea too probably.

So, maybe February the twenty-first isn’t as glamorous as Valentine’s Day, but it’s had its moments. I wonder what the next one will be? 

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