This has nothing to do with the New Zealand diary. Apart from anything else, 1982 wasn’t a leap year. On the other hand, I couldn’t pass up the chance to write something on a day that only occurs once every four years.
My problem is that I can’t remember anything truly interesting happening to me on any 29 February, ever. I did once greatly annoy one of my trainees by entering into her diary that she should propose to her boyfriend on that day; well, how was I to know that she was planning on splitting up with him?
Instead, then, I’ve tried to think back to what I might have been doing on each of the leap days I have lived through:
1968 – Not very much, as I was only a few months old!
1972 – I was still at playgroup two days a week, but I have no way of knowing if this Tuesday was one of them or not.
1976 – In the intervening years we had been to Scotland and back. I was now living in Leamington and as this day was a Sunday there’s a good chance that we had roast beef for dinner. In my mind, Sunday always featured roast beef and Yorkshire puddings. Mum used to make curiously flat and crunchy ‘Yorkies’. Even though it is much easier to just buy them nowadays, I still have fond memories of Mum’s version.
1980 – My final year at Telford Middle School. I was in Miss Spawton’s class, sat next to a boy named John O’Neill. I’ll be writing about this class and teacher later, as it was an odd sort of year for me and one which, in some ways, I have largely chosen to forget.
1984 – The day was a Wednesday and I would have finished school at 2.30pm. The school arranged the timetable so that the fifth year – as we were known in those days – had the weekly two hours of games lessons scheduled back to back. The idea was that you left after the first hour and went home to do some revision. It was a good plan which only broke down if there was a sports fixture scheduled for later that day, and in the fact that there was no way of knowing if any pupil actually did any extra work in that extra hour. I know that I didn’t.
1988 – This was almost certainly a day when I woke up at home in Warwickshire, was driven to the station and got on a train back to university. I did that a lot in those days and I had carefully scheduled my week to avoid Monday morning lectures so that I could travel when it was less busy.
1992 – This was probably a day spent at home as Helen was almost certainly working. In which case it was spent cleaning the house, changing the beds before settling down to an afternoon of sport on our little black and white television.
1996 – An exciting Thursday in the offices of Shoosmith & Harrison.
2000 – An exciting Tuesday in the offices of Rowberry Morris
2004 – This was a Sunday, which means that Helen and I may well have been visiting her parents in Coventry. We often found ourselves headed up there for the weekend for one reason or another. We usually went to a Chinese restaurant in Birmingham for lunch, followed by a trip to the market or a Chinese supermarket and then dashing down the M40 to try and beat the traffic home.
2008 – Another Friday at work, this time in the offices of Seth Lovis & Co. I was bored and anxious to get home to my wife and my lovely baby boy. Nowadays the boy isn’t a baby, the work is more interesting and the location different, but the wife and child are still lovely and I’ll still be anxious to get home.