YOU'RE probably already aware of this and have made a dutiful note in your electronic diary, but next Tuesday, the 21st, is Squirrel Appreciation Day.

That said, it is observed only in the States, which should spare 64-year-old Margaret Bousfield the need to express her appreciation of squirrels.

Mrs Bousfield, of Hartlepool, was left with a £7000 repair bill after her home was trashed by a squirrel overnight. Having fallen down her chimney and found itself locked in her living-room it attacked, and soiled, Mrs Bousfield's curtains, furniture, sofa and carpets. It even tried to escape by clawing through the plastic double-glazing on her window frames.

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She was only made aware of the squirrel's presence when it set off the burglar alarm.

A neighbour made his way into the room and was greeted by a scene of devastation. "The squirrel," Mrs Bousfield reported later, "was going wild but managed to open a window. It was covered in dirt and shot from the house like a bullet."

All of which probably means that Mrs Bousfield is not too well disposed towards squirrels at the moment.

A glance at the UK awareness days website makes interesting reading. Many of the events are eminently sensible and promote good causes: there's prostrate cancer month (March), a Youth Homelessness Matters Day (April 1) and the Drowning Prevention Week (June).

Others seem slightly offbeat but are still for charity: Old Stuff Day (in which you donate your, well, old stuff to a good cause) and the Day of Awesomeness (in which you can microvolunteer your services for a day).

If, on the other hand, and for no readily identifiable reason, you would like to hug a medievalist, there's a day for that (March 31).

If you have an impulse to take photographs of cloud formations and submit them to the Cloud Appreciation Society, you'll have to wait until April 14.

If you'd like to talk like a pirate, there's a day for that, too, though not until September 19. And if you're in Illinois on July 10 and want to help preserve bees, there's Don't Step on a Bee Day.

Finally, Think About Sex Day is on February 14, which may or may not be linked to the fact that Valentine's Day is also on February 14.

Then again, to most blokes, every day is Think About Sex Day ...