Tomorrow is St Valentine’s Day, which got me thinking about the day’s origins.
Valentine’s Day has been marked in liturgical calendars for centuries. As a Christian feast day, Valentine’s Day actually commemorates two Saint Valentines: Valentine of Rome and Valentine of Terni.
But Valentine’s Day only became associated with romantic love during the late fourteenth century, when Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1343-1400), author of The Canterbury Tales, made the association in his poem ‘The Parlement of Foules’ (written to honour the first anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II to Anne of Bohemia- both fifteen years old).
The poem features a parliament, or assembly, of birds, which have gathered together in order to choose their mates:
‘For this was on seynt Volantynys day / Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.’
Since literature seems to be the origins for modern Valentine’s Day, then it is still the perfect medium in which to talk about love, and here are two of my favourite literary love quotes:
“You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how”
Gone with the wind by Margaret Mitchell
“I’ve never had a moment’s doubt. I love you. I believe in you completely. You are my dearest one. My reason for life”
Spent the weekend in Antigua, Guatemala immersed in the dangerous world of the CIA and Latin American drug cartels. Quite a complicated plot and I had to re-read bits to make sure I was understanding it, but this was a cracking, fast paced narrative with an explosive ending. Its the first in a trilogy featuring CIA agent John Carpenter. Had a job getting past the fact that it was Antigua Guatemala, not Antigua West Indies, but got over that… Seriously, I enjoyed it when I didn’t expect to.
Storm Ciara hit the UK with a vengeance today 9th February. Billed as the Storm of the Century, gales reaching over 70 mph in places have disrupted air, sea, rail and road travel.
It’s not been all bad though. A British Airways flight made the fastest subsonic New York to London journey. The Boeing 747-436 reached speeds of 825 mph (1,327 km/h) as it rode a jet stream accelerated by Storm Ciara.
It’s been spectacular on Eastbourne Seafront, where Ciara combined with a full moon and spring tides to give a pretty amazing weather picture.
A spring tide is a tide after a new or full moon, when there is the greatest difference between high and low water. A spring tide or ‘King Tide’ refers to the ‘springing forth’ of the tide during new and full moon.
A delicious mix of fantasy and reality. Funny, clever and engaging. Greek gods living in the twentieth century. Gods behaving badly- gods causing chaos. The Greek gods trying to maintain their influence in a world where no one believes in them any more. All still omnipresent and omnipotent: swift Artemis, Hermes the messenger, arrogant and beautiful Apollo, the warrior Ares and the all powerful Zeus.
My diary tells me that today, Sunday 2 February 2020 is Groundhog Day in the USA and Canada. I didn’t really have any idea about what this meant, apart from a vague notion of a film and the same day happening over and over again, so had to look it up.
Groundhog Day is a popular tradition celebrated in Canada and the United States on February 2nd. It derives from the Pennsylvania Dutch superstition that if a groundhog emerging from its burrow on this day sees its shadow due to clear weather, it will retreat to its den and winter will persist for six more weeks, and if it does not see its shadow because of cloudiness, spring will arrive early.
The official groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, lives at Gobbler’s Knob near Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Here thousands of people will gather to watch a rodent predict the weather at the end of winter. So, will the USA see six more weeks of winter? I would love to hear from any USA followers what happened today?