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It's February 29. Look before you leap

Generally I like the security of a monthly pay cheque, but today I'd rather be paid by the hour. My employer gets an extra day's work out of me for no extra pay. Not fair. The Telegraph suggests that we make this day really special:

If it's your 18th birthday today, you'll already have exceeded the biblical "three score years and 10" lifespan.

Those born on February 29 only have a birthday each leap year. Theirs are like years in a dog's life, deemed to be a multiple of the calendar year. Leap-year babes can marry at four and buy a drink before they're five. For them, life begins at 10.

Women are encouraged to propose today, and other once-in-a-blue-moon activities are contemplated too, as our Features pages suggest. But it is hardly novelty enough to take a day off from work, as some want.

Think instead of Christopher Columbus, who on this day in 1504, landing in Jamaica and, wanting help from the natives, announced that he would darken the moon. And, lo, it darkened. He knew a lunar eclipse was due. That really was an unusual trick.

It might be wise to plan now for something special next leap year.