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Best value MAPS of FRANCE, and keeping the children amused

5th May is Consoude day – in the French Republican calendar !

Consoude’s (comfrey in English) traditional names of knitbone, boneset and the derivation of its Latin name Symphytum (from the Greek symphis, meaning growing together of bones, and phyton, a plant), speak to its longstanding reputation as a therapeutic herb.

Comfrey was historically used to treat a wide variety of ailments ranging from bronchial problems, broken […]

1st December is Cire Day . . .

A day to recognise the importance of wax !

Obviously wax candles were core to lighting in Republican France, but furniture and ormolu decorations were designed to make best use of the candle light. During dark evenings the gilt-bronze sparkled brilliantly embellishing the rooms.

Sealing wax was used to close important documents.

Waxes impregnated and […]

5th November is Dindon Day

We all know that turkeys originally came from the New World. They were eaten for the annual thanksgiving day dinner. We therefore have a lot to thank the foundling fathers for . . . even though we’ve let them keep our colonies (for the moment !).

More useful at this time of year is the […]

1st October is Pomme de Terre Day . . .

We all know what a potato looks like so we’ve chosen Mr Potato Head for to illustrate 1st October . . . a very different toy to what was available to French children at the beginning of the 1800’s.

We only have a record of toys that were made for the rich. The poor made […]

Today the 6th September is Hotte Day (well it was in the Republican calendar)

There’s definite confusion here, it’s nothing to do with the weather, but just what is a ‘hotte’? Has anyone guessed yet?

Its a gathering basket. Any sort of gathering basket,

Because le vendange is taking place now across the french vineyards from early September is a great time to recognise the importance of the process […]

14th July is Bastille Day . . .

July 3rd is the day of the Chamois.

According to the Republican Calendar July 3rd is the day of the Chamois. These sure footed tiny antelope inhabit the mountain ranges in Europe.

You might have seen mounted sets of horned skulls with the date of shooting beautifully inscribed in dark ink.

These were souvenirs from the last century’s hunting fraternity.

Today, end though […]

June 3rd is Caille day

According to the Republican Calendar June 3rd is the day of the Quail or Caille if you are buying them from the market caravan.

Fois gras is wonderful served pan fried, but stuffed into a Quail, it can’t be beaten.

Season the quail, stuff the cavity with Fois gras, wrap with bacon secured with toothpicks […]

“Publish and be damned” A pot pourri of the Iron Duke

June will see Waterloo mania, events on a battlefield in Belgium, on a London station, music all over London and probably the odd memorial service in France.

Here we cover some of the more unusual aspects of the Duke.

“Publish and be damned” was Wellington’s reprise when a London publisher threatened to print the […]

4th May is Ver a Soie Day

According to the Republican Calendar May 4th is the day of the Silk Worm (Bombyx mori). We don’t often get to see the adult moth because before they pupate the cocoons are boiled alive and the silk is spun.

Silk was a prized commodity in France. Apart from embellishing the clothes of the court it […]