The crab apples are beginning to rot on the trees and so far there has been no sign of the Redwings or Fieldfares that descend on the tree when there is 'real' winter weather. There still hasn't been any 'proper' snow and the days are steadily lengthening. The forecast charts occasionally hint at a blast from the east but without much conviction, although there is still hope. Some of the coldest Februaries have been proceeded by average, or even mild, Januaries. In 1947, the coldest February since 1900, was preceded by fairly mild weather up until mid January. In 1986, the second coldest February since 1900, the preceding December was less snowy than December 2011! There were just 2 days with a few blobs of sleet. January 1986 was a wet month with temperatures close to average. Sleet or snow fell on 8 days but it didn't settle. The last week of January became rather cold and winds swung to the northeast and then February! The first few days of the month were dull and drizzly although a little snow settled on the evening of the 2nd. Real winter began on the evening of the 5th. Snow fell followed by a frost, and snow then remained on the ground until the 5th March with every night during that period having a frost. Time will tell!