Liv Hambrett

Germany + Australia + Culture + Motherhood + Home

Life in Kiel, Travel + Life Abroad


February is a miserable month, grinchy and bad tempered. She is mean with her little purse of sunshine, keeps it tightly drawn until you’re on your knees begging for a colour other than grey. She’s a cruel mistress in a colourless cloak, her shoulders dusted with snow, her boots full of water, her hands cold and clammy. She has none of December’s festive spirit or January’s encouragement to take cosy cover. She is the boring one with nothing to recommend her, and bitter because of it.

February keeps the trees bare, their black, knotty branches all the more spooky against the clouds. She keeps the lakes just that little bit frozen, so as not to bestow the pleasant rush of warm-weather anticipation upon you – Spring seems so far away when the birds can still walk on the lakes. February, should you spend the winter in a northern European country, or indeed, just in north Germany, is the month in which you start going mad. The month in which your scarves and hats itch, your coat feels like shackles, you hate every single one of your pairs of boots.* February is the month you feel inexplicably frustrated, your fuse halved, your energy evaporated. You snap and grizzle and start making plans to move to the Mediterranean forever.

Yesterday, there was talk of this winter being north Germany’s darkest in 43 years. If the clouds persisted and the sun resisted until Thursday the 28th, the record would have been snaffled, swallowed up by the yawning grey sky, the vicious, black Baltic.

But then, today? The sun came out. The sky shook off its coat of white and shyly, very shyly, gave us a glimpse of its brilliant blue skin. The people, brought to their knees by months of cold, months of darkness, walked to work with the sun beaming weakly (apologetically). Just one more day and the record would have been had and the people driven truly mad. But no. A little sun, a little blue sky, a little hope that the buds are not far from the trees.

Because that’s just the sort of thing that makes February laugh.


* Having skipped most of winter, I am still deeply in love with my boots, particularly the new pairs I have treated myself to.


  1. Dom

    28 February, 2013 at 7:30 am

    Couldn’t agree any more! God, I hate February!! (Not here in Oz though, although it has been very grey and wet throughout the month…)

    1. Liv

      28 February, 2013 at 5:13 pm

      Feb can be pretty rainy up north, right? I think Sydney got a lashing this month as well.

  2. Diane

    28 February, 2013 at 7:49 am

    Very descriptive writing. Have been in Munich in January and all the gloomy faces every grey day was quite depressing but just a little weak sunshine and there are smiles all around 🙂

    1. Liv

      28 February, 2013 at 5:13 pm

      Yes! The difference it makes is unbelievable. When it’s grey, everyone frowns and tucks their chins into their scarves. Then the tiniest ray of sunshine and it’s like magic.

  3. Jo Hambrett

    28 February, 2013 at 7:51 am

    its not only Germany – I well remember a UK February! ……….same desperate feelings……..

    1. Liv

      28 February, 2013 at 5:12 pm

      ’tis true, the greyness pervades. Just didn’t want to run the risk of angry Brits braying about their blue skies in winter …

  4. Amanda

    28 February, 2013 at 9:29 am

    Lovely use of personification.

  5. Isa

    1 March, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    February definitely sounds like someone I know! (giggling)

  6. Isa

    1 March, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    ps. Seen as you’Re on a Baltic swing, try the Baltic states in Feb – just mind the icicles don’t fall on your head. Skate on the icy roads and uh, climb the pile of snow on the footpaths. Ukraine, on the other hand, or anywhere further east or north (I love to state the obvious) is even better or worse, depending on your demeanour. Take a trip to Tromso. As the Germs say: es gibt kein schlechtes Wetter, nur die falsche Kleidung. Say that to the uh North Pole ‘adventurers’. Brrrrr.

  7. Kate (@shoegirlinDE)

    2 March, 2013 at 12:23 am

    This month was exactly the time we started questioning our sanity for choosing Berlin over Barcelona for our next city to live in. We must be nuts. Here’s to sunshine and spring – even in northern Germany!

    1. Liv

      3 March, 2013 at 12:04 am

      Good God … probably a more pragmatic choice economically but do you KNOW THE SUNSHINE YOU ARE TURNING YOUR BACK ON? February is usually when I start thinking ‘why the feck did I leave Australia?’

      1. Kate (@shoegirlinDE)

        9 March, 2013 at 11:56 pm

        Coming from CA, I am familiar with that feeling… 😉

  8. Peruvian Mangoes & Needle Rain – Liv Hambrett

    3 February, 2017 at 10:35 am

    […] of the Northern Hemisphere year; February. Ooh she is a cruel mistress, February. And oh how I have so very often bemoaned her cold, grey ways. She does it to me every year, drives me up the walls of the apartment she […]

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