St. Valentine and the stars.

What did you do for St. Valentine’s day?  Far from it’s “christian” name, the festival is a mixture of spring-time fertility rituals originating in the ancient pagan festival of Lupercalia – little overtly christian about any of this.

Of course the French claim the first Valentine card – allegedly sent by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife, from the tower of London following his capture at the battle of Agincourt.

An interesting French custom follwed the usual sort of lottery for a partner. However, if the process of pairing up went wrong and the man didn’t like the girl he ended up with, then he could desert her, and she could burn his image on a bonfire and call him names. This fascinating tradition was banned as it led to too much unpleasantness.

Ludiver, the planetarium at Tonneville celebrated St. Valentine among the stars, with a special viewing incorporating the romantic music of the spheres, and the stories of lovers associated with the stars and the names of stars. Ludiver is open all year round, and well worth a visit at any time for anybody interested in astronomy and the natural world.

Bob and Marjory

An early Spring?

slovak-primula-sp.jpgEaster might be the earliest it can possibly be this year; but is Spring going to be early too?

We’ve just had an absolutely glorious weekend; in fact last week wasn’t bad. Clear blue skies, hour upon hour of sunshine, and warm with it. Daytime temperatures are around 12 or 13. Glorious sunsets – We’re basking in the red glow of tonights as I write this – giving way to clear night skies with the stars shining brightly – no light pollution here; the moon and stars are bright and clear in the sky. Payback is in the nightly temperatures dipping to just above freezing, but that again gives clear frosty mornings.

Everything is bursting in to life with this unaccustomed warmth.  The primulas cover the banks at the roadside, the grass is growing, catkins have appeared, and white blossom. Yesterday afternoon doing a little work in the garden we were surprised by bees buzzing round the heather, and midges dancing in the sunshine.

If you want to enjoy this early Easter and warm spring in Manche, why not contact us for details of Spring special offers?

In the meantime we’re off to enjoy a glass of kir as we watch the sunset.

Bob and Marjory