This evening we’ve been invited next door for crepes – just a day late – it’s Cendres (Ash Wednesday) today; yesterday was Mardi-gras, Carnaval, or Pancake Day.
Strange the names and customs for the start of lent. Carnival goes back to the latin – “farewell to meat” – but means so much more these days. There have been carnival clothes available in the shops for weeks now, and many “carnivals” particularly involving children at the end of their spring holiday locally. And of course, the great “carnivals” in Venice and other Italian towns and cities.
Then again the Spanish and South American traditions of Mardi-gras or “fat tuesday” as seen in the Carnival celebrations in Rio and other places.
The English affair is a little tame – Pancake Tuesday compares poorly with Carnival and Mardi-gras, and perhaps reflects the Puritan influence of “Shrove Tuesday”, the traditional English name which refers to being ‘shriven’ or confessed and forgiven one’s sins.
One could be forgiven for thinking that these are a reflection of pagan spring festivals rather than the approach of the penitential season of Lent. Especially on such a day as today when the sun is shining, the spring flowers in bloom, the catkins on the trees, the birds are singing (we are of course well past St. Valentine now!). Such a contrast from our last few postings of just a fortnight ago. Is spring here at last? Do we have a good summer to look forward to?
“Hope springs eternal…” !!!
It’s continued all day – and now we have a really thick blanket of snow –
to this –
And this –
to this –
Already the icicles are starting to form, and more snow (flurries!) forecast overnight and tomorrow.
We’ll have to wait and see what happens: in the meantime we’ve stoked the fire and the central heating, brought in a pile of wood and knocked the snow off; and helped the neighbours clear their stairs, and get some wood in. Time to batten down for the night I think.
Yes, here it is. The holidays are over – very cold, but clear and bright for most of the last few weeks – and as people return to work and to school, here comes the snow. Pretty spectacular it is too –
We were promised snow flurries overnight, and awoke this morning to a dull grey day; no sign of snow, just very wet.
At one point it seemed that it might just brighten, but the grey, cold wet continued. Then the snow, at first a little sleet, “won’t settle” but soon changing to the biggest snowflakes we’ve ever seen -you might be able to get an idea from the pictures.
The TV news from England this lunch time was about the coldest winter for a decade continuing; our next door neighbour says here is the coldest winter for over 40 years. Seasonal weather, even though it missed the holiday itself, perhaps boding well for seasonal weather throughout the year ??
Best wishes for the New Year to all our readers and guests.
Bob and Marjory
Easter 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