Remember the very funny Bill Murray film Groundhog Day which was released in 1993? When it hit movie theatres who in the UK would have believed that one central figure was real?
Well few in the U.K. but maybe all viewers in the U.S.A.?
The conclusion has to be the U.S.A. is as eccentric as the U.K. after all. In the movie a groundhog called Punxsutawney Phil predicts when spring will arrive.
In Pennsylvania the real-life groundhog does just that, but in February 2013 he got it wrong and there was talk of indicting the four-legged critter!
Monday February 2, 2015, Phil reportedly "saw his shadow" which translated meant six more weeks of winter.
Tuesday February 2, 2016, Phil is at it again - yes it's Groundhog Day.
USA Today is reporting "spring is coming! At least, that’s what Punxsutawney Phil says. The groundhog did not see his shadow as he emerged from his burrow in western Pennsylvania at sunrise on Tuesday, thus indicating springlike conditions sooner rather than later."
So how does Phil predict spring?
In February the critter comes out of hibernation. Whether or not he casts a shadow determines when spring will arrive, or at least it should do. In early February 2013 the groundhog miss-forecast of an early spring when we did not see his shadow led to tongue-in-cheek, we hope, Prosecutors in Ohio's Butler County accusing Phil of deliberately misleading the public. They demanded he pay the ultimate price of death.
"Punxsutawney Phil did purposely, and with prior calculation and design, cause the people to believe that spring would come early," wrote Mike Gmoser, Butler County prosecutor, in an official-looking paper, adding that the wrong prediction amounted to a felony "against the peace and dignity of the state of Ohio".
A lawyer represented Phil who lived to see another day and cast more shadows.
And in 2014 Phil got it right.
The U.S.A. experienced a long winter that dragged on well into what should have been spring.
2016 has already been a mix of weird and extreme weather with the UK still waiting for winter to arrive.
But if Phil has it right this year Spring is on its way in the USA.