It only happens once every four years, and it is the first time that it has happened while I have been writing this blog, so it deserves a whole write up to itself. As you may know the leap day is an extra day added to most years that are divisible by 4 (except, of course, ‘end of century‘ years that are not divisible by 400). This is to take into account the fact that the Earth does not take 365 days to revolve around the Sun. In fact, the Earth takes 365 days, 5 hours, 49 minutes and 16 seconds to complete its journey around our local star hence the need for the additional day to keep our fragile grasp on notional time in sync with nature. Therefore our calendar repeats itself every 400 years, which is exactly 20,871 weeks which includes 97 leap days. These 97 days are divided thus: 13 times on a Sunday, Tuesday or Thursday, 14 times on a Friday or a Saturday and 15 times on a Monday or a Wednesday. In 2012 we find that the leap day is on a Wednesday, which I suppose is statistically most likely.
This is also Éowyn and Amélie’s first leap day and thus the first one I have celebrated as a father. I have celebrated nine previous leap days and have not given them much thought but as I enter double figures and because this website is all about our children and our growing pains of parenthood, momentous occasions, like a leap day should be celebrated.
So what happened on Wednesday 29th February 2012?
Our first family Leap Day found this Bagnall enclave in four different places. Lucinda at work (Heathrow airport), Amélie at Nanny and Granddad’s (Stanwell Moor), Éowyn at pre-school (Staines) and once I had dropped the girls off I headed to work (Chiswick). Lucinda had a 0530 shift start so was up at 0430 and out the house by 0500. Amélie decided that the house should all be awake at 0400 so Lucinda missed out on 30 minutes of sleep and I on 3 hours. Amélie seems to have fallen into the habit of waking up early and then crying. We have tried the controlled crying (which is difficult because listening to your child crying is never easy and her cot is still in our room) but Amélie notches it up a gear when that doesn’t work and issues forth the most piercing scream that is only usually heard when you trap your fingers in a collapsing deckchair. There is nothing wrong with her, she just wants to be cuddled. We need to address this before the lack of sleep causes us severe problems! We have a plan!
The dull overcast sky did nothing to help with the monotony of the drive into work and the heavy eyelids fighting those missing three hours of sleep however as I came off the M3 onto the A316 ahead I saw a Honda Civic. I recognised part of the registration plate as one of my colleagues and a quick hands-free conversation later he realised who was tailgating him and we continued the journey in convoy. I like the coincidental nature (possibly even synchronicity) of this seemingly mundane occurrence. For not only were our cars half a second apart (and in the same lane), we both drive the same make of car and we sit on adjacent desks (and until recently did the same job on opposite shift patterns). He drives in from Southampton and thus doesn’t really have a choice regarding road into Chiswick but I have 3 main roads I could chose from and the M3/A316 combination is the longest of the three. However, I had heard that traffic was particularly bad (it is always quite heavy heading into London at rush hour) on the alternatives so I went for the long way round, trusting that it would be the quickest, I wasn’t expecting to see anyone I knew. I have no idea of the odds involved but I would hazard a guess that they are exactly one million to one for as everybody knows (thanks to Terry Pratchett’s novel Mort) that million to one chances happen nine times out of ten.
Unfortunately nothing quite as exciting happened for the remainder of the day and after a very meeting-centric day at work I headed home really feeling the continuing lack of sleep. So once the girls were abed (after I had to play fairies and Peppa Pig with Éowyn – she has taken to wanting us to play with her and her toys before going to bed rather than having a story read to her) myself and Lucinda sat down for about an hour before heading to bed ourselves. It is all glamour and parties in the Bagnall household on a Leap Day, don’t you know!
This is a bit of a diversion from the usual write up and so there are no photos I’m afraid especially since it is only a couple of days since the last update and 18 photos! (Hey, it only happens once every four years). I will leave you now and go and put some of The Monkees’ tunes on to celebrate the life of Davy Jones, who died of a heart-attack at his Florida home on this Leap Day aged 66. Our thoughts are with his family.
Peace and Love