In all the excitement of the new desk etc this week I completely forgot about Groundhog Day! I am mortified to have committed such a deplorable sin of omission, as GD is always good for several hours of displacement activity.
Ok, so, the two main prognosticating groundhogs of note are Wiarton Willie in Canada and Punxsutawney Phil in the US. If your only frame of reference for Groundhog Day is the film with Bill Murray then that's only because you're not Canadian or American.
Willie and Phil are major rodent celebrities in their respective homelands with the crescendo of homage peaking on 2 February each year. To give you an idea of the scale of their influence, Groundhog.org the official web site of Punxsutawney Phil was overwhelmed with a 4 fold increase in visits with 3.641 million unique visitors, 6.5 million visits and 14.4 pages viewed on February 2, 2010.
That's a very lot of weather-forecasting groundhog aficionados.
You'll have to browse their respective websites for the full lowdown, (they easily rate 10/10 for displacement activity) but in a nutshell, on GD if they see their shadows there will be six more weeks of winter. However, if they doesn't see their shadows, there will be an an early spring.
Obviously there's a lot more to it than that but you'll have to check the hows and whys yourself.
Happy belated Groundhog Day.........