Sunday 14 February

Valentine’s Day! Not that anyone could celebrate in style, but it was an excuse for dreamy poems and music in the media. Originally St Valentine’s Day, but as with many festivals, probably associated with an even more ancient celebration. One of my loyal blog followers has told me that it was Lupercalia. No, I had never heard of it either. So here you are: Lupercalia was an ancient, possibly pre-Roman pastoral annual festival, observed in the city of Rome from the 13th to the 15th of February to avert evil spirits and purify the city, releasing health and fertility. I have found some pictures illustrating the activities but they are not exactly family viewing so you will have to look for yourself.

It was again bitterly cold, with snow still remaining in the garden. This afternoon we went to Oaks Park for a walk, and in fact meandered round the Oaks golf course which is adjacent, as it was less crowded than the park itself. There is a little cafe serving take aways which is a big draw. Kids eating icecreams did make me shiver though. We bumped into a young friend who we have not seen for a long time: she and her husband have been struggling with 3 little girls aged 8, 6 and 4, with no school and no nursery, and no extra curricular activities. They are staking all their hopes on schools reopening on 8 March.

I feel I need a joyous piece of music today, and I suggest Vivaldi’s Gloria. I may have used it before. Emma and Richard called it “the going home music” because I would blast it out full volume from the tape recorder (!) in the car. Listen to the first 3 minutes if no more, it is just lovely.

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