Good morning to you all and I am delighted to relate that we have had splendid weather for most of the week. The temperatures even crept into the 70s (i.e., the 20s in Celsius) and although it’s not quite shorts and t-shirt-type weather, it’s getting close. Apparently, the wind has been from the south which is blowing warmer air over the British Isles along with sand from the Sahara. Haven’t noticed the sand, I have to confess (except that the car windscreens are fairly dusty, now that I think about it) but we’ll gladly take the warmer weather.
Last Sunday, I neglected to point out, was Mothering Sunday in the UK and much of Europe (and presumably in many of the former British colonies, I guess). I neglected to point this out because, of course, I forgot that it was Mothering Sunday until Nick and Lucy arrived with the fixings for a splendid meal which was their gift to the mother who lives at 23 Banbury Road, Byfield. Having been reminded by the considerate actions of our middle son, I did telephone my mother in the evening to wish her a similarly splendid Mothering Sunday.
Mothering Sunday is, of course, not to be confused with Mother’s Day although somewhat confusingly, Mothering Sunday is increasingly being called Mother’s Day which, if you ask me, is simply annoying! Wikipedia has the usual exceedingly accurate explanation of the derivations and differences between the two but, in a nutshell, Mothering Sunday derives from the Roman festival of Hilaria held in mid-March in honour of the goddess Cybbele. As the Roman Empire and Europe converted to Christianity, it became part of the Christian calendar as Laetare Sunday, the fourth Sunday in Lent, to honour the Virgin Mary and the “mother church”.
Children and young people who were in service were given a day off on that date so they could visit their families (or, originally, return to their “mother” church, i.e., home). The children would pick wild flowers along the way to place them in the church or to give them to their mothers as gifts.
Mother’s Day, in contrast, is a late nineteen, early twentieth century invention, what a cynic (not me of course!) might refer to as a “Hallmark Holiday”. In 1870 Julia Ward Howe wrote a “Mother’s Day Proclamation” as a pacifist reaction to the carnage of the American Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War. Soon afterwards, Anna Jarvis began a national campaign for a Mother’s Day in the US which was finally established by Congress in May 1914. Interestingly, the proclamation by Woodrow Wilson on 9 May 1914 called on Americans to show the flag in honour of those women whose sons had died in war.
Still, I suppose it’s good to have two Mother’s Days – it gives idiots like me the opportunity to remember all the wonderful reasons why I am grateful to my mother not just once but twice a year!
And, speaking, as we have been, about mothers and Mother’s Days, most of you will already have heard the splendid news from Nick and Lucy that we are due to have another mother in our family. Lucy is expecting a baby in early October and the prospective grandparents are absolutely delighted.
With the weather exhibiting a warmer trend this past week the Spring blossom and bloom has continued to show itself. The following were taken round and about the garden and on last Sunday’s stroll around Edgecote. Enjoy (and, if you want to, you can click any image for a larger version).
Finally, Ms Playchute took this photograph of me yesterday and insisted that I include it in this Weak’s News. She wanted it entitled “Another Illustration of Men’s Inability to Multi-Task” and insisted that I point out that it is me (obviously) watching my bread dough rest. In truth, of course, having just spent five minutes kneading it and then forming it into a perfect ball of dough, I was simply admiring what was soon to become a delicious loaf of sun-dried tomato and parmesan bread. Let’s see if she gets even the merest sniff!
Love to you all,