What’s Happening this February

For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, February is usually a grey month. But with Chinese New Year, Carnival, Valentines Day, British Yorkshire Pudding Day and plenty of other events around the world, there’s no excuse for sitting around feeling glum.

What will tempt you this month?

Caminito del Rey is due to reopen in February, following renovation and the addition of safety rails.  It is said to be one of the scariest walks in the world.  I’ve seen it from below and would agree with that – too scary for me, even with safety rails I think.

BC Negra 2015 – the tenth Crime Fiction Festival takes place across Barcelona in February. There will be talks, round table discussions, music and film.  The highly regarded prize,  El Premio Pepe Carvalho, will be awarded this year to Alicia Giménez
Till 7 February 2015.

BERLIN, Germany
65th Berlinale Film Festival.   400 films, mostly international or European premieres, will make up the largest public film festival in the world.
5-15 February 2015.

LES ARCS, France
Dinner in mid-air on the double-decker Vanoise Express cable car that conects Les Arc to La Plagne.  The thirty lucky diners will be randomly selected from those who register their interest when buying a Paradiski lift pass between February 7 and 10. The winners, who can be individuals or couples, will be notified on February 10 and the dinner takes place on February 12.  The menu will be created by the French chef Stéphane Froidevaux, of Michelin star restaurant, L’Antidote, in Serre Chevalier.  Could make a wonderful pre-Valentines treat.
12 February 2015.

LONDON, England
Drawn by Light – photography exhibition bringing together over 200 highlights from the collection of the world’s oldest surviving photographic society, the Royal Photographic Society (RPS), by some of the greatest names in photography, including Roger Fenton, William Henry Fox Talbot, Julia Margaret Cameron, Don McCullin, Terry O’Neill and Martin Parr.
Till 1 March 2015, £8.  Science Museum, Exhibition Road, South Kensington.
Then transfers to the National Media Museum in Bradford from 20 March to 21 June 2015.

Annual Flamenco Festival
Some of the finest artists from across Spain will present five jazz shows showcasing different flamenco styles.  Highlights include famous soloist Estrella Morente, who sings flamenco and trendy Spanish songs and was newly listed for a Latin Grammy as well as the bacclaimed Antonio Gades Company and their passionate Carmen.
Sadler’s Wells, Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R 4TN.  16 February – 1 March 2015.  £12-£40

Academy Award Nominees in the categories of Best Animated Short and Best Live Action Short.
Two feature-length programs will be shown—one for the live action nominees and one for the animated nominees.
30 January 2015 for 2 weeks.

Whitworth Art Gallery reopens at 10:00 on 14 February, after a £15 million redevelopment.  The gallery has doubled in size and new spaces have been opened in the park itself.  Even if you can’t get there for its opening party weekend, do get there soon if you possibly can.

Chinese New Year – Manchester’s celebrations are set to be one of the biggest in Europe.  There will be a Dragon Parade and Fireworks in Albert Square and Chinatown and a Chinese Food Market in St Ann’s Square.  There will be a spectacular series of large-scale light, art and film projections each evening from 6pm – 10pm on St Ann’s Church.
February 19-22 2015.

The Festival of Candlemas, or Fete de la Chandeleur, is celebrated across France but seems to be particularly popular in Marseille.  Here, the celebrations start with prayers on the Eve of Candlemas, after which the wooden statue of Our Lady of Confession is carried up to the Abbaye de Saint Victor, where Mass is held.  It is traditional to eat crepes at Candlemas, and legend has it that if you hold a coin in one hand and successfully toss a pancake in the other, you will have a prosperous year.
2 February 2015

Valentines Day Marriage Marathon. Over 100 people get married at the top of the city’s skyscrapers in a civil ceremony officiated by a New York State Supreme Court Justice.

Why not spend this year’s Groundhog Day at the home of Punxsutawney Phil in Pennsylvania? Pop along to Gobbler’s Knob and join with many hundreds of others to hear Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction for the length of winter: if he sees his shadow when he emerges from his burrow there will be six more weeks of winter weather, whereas no shadow foretells an early spring.  You can see the full schedule of events here.
2 February 2015


Carnival in Santa Cruz. This is regularly voted best Carnival outside Rio.  This huge party has a long, long history; this year it’s theme is “The Future”.  In 1980 it was declared “Fiesta of International Tourist Interest” and in 1987 it made its way into the Guiness Book of Records for the largest number of people (over 200 thousand) at a dance held in open place.
Santa Cruz de Tenerife, 11-22 February 2015.

Tet Nguyen Dan, or Tet for short, is the biggest and most popular festival of the year in Vietnam.  Taking place on the first day of the first month in Lunar Calendar, the celebrations themselves typically start a couple of weeks before the day itself and run for several days afterwards.  Preparations include cleaning, decorating, shopping, cooking and paying off debts.  The celebrations are focused on family and ancestors, starting with immediate family and then visiting relatives and graves.  In 2015 Tet will be celebrated on 19 February.


I hope this has given you some inspiration for travel and entertainment this coming month.

Do feel free to leave your own suggestions in the comments, and if you have any suggestions for March let me  know now and I’ll do my best to include them in next month’s selection.

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Floral Shutters


Floral decoration on shop shutters in Amsterdam


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Cold Hands

Someone in Edinburgh has got at least one cold hand:



Linked to Cee’s Odd Ball.
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Silent Sunday



Part of Silent Sunday and Sundays in my City.


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No Smoke without Fire


Millennium Bridge to St Paul’s Cathedral through the smoke of roasting chestnuts


Linked to B&W Inspirational, My Sunday photoPodcast B&W and Check out that view.


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At the River’s Edge

a_DSC9283_6_7_painterly2 orange

Shadows at the edge of the Thames, slightly “orangified” for Mandarin Orange Monday and a closer up shot for Texture Tuesday.

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Can’t Draw, Won’t Draw!

I hated art at school.  I had lots of ideas but things never turned out as I wanted and my teachers didn’t help – if you didn’t have obvious talent they weren’t interested.

I wanted to put that right and decided to join a drawing course – drawing for dummies, if you like.

It wasn’t easy to find something suitable but I eventually tracked down a beginners adult course in Manchester, at the Lowry in Salford Quays.  They only run it a few times a year and it wasn’t until late in the year that their dates coincided with a free slot in my diary.  But it was worth the wait.  The teacher was patient and fun and we all produced things we were pleased with.


A selection of finished pieces by the class


If you fancy learning to express yourself with pencil, ink and charcoal, keep an eye on this website.  The next course is in March.  I enjoyed it so much, I’m eagerly awaiting the follow up course, Can Draw Will Draw.

And if you feel like drawing right now and need a bit of inspiration, enjoy this light-hearted art tutorial by Moose Allain.

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