20 January 2011

Letters, a Bit of Trivia and Love

When we go off island I usually have a long list of things to do and even a longer things of things to pick up. Since we are bound by a ferry schedule it means pretty much a nonstop day and whilst we look forward to those days, we are always happy to be back! Island life you see!

Like most "organized" people these days I have a day planner and I use it often if only to remind me of one thing or another during those... senior moments! And I have no excuse not to write a list since I just received a lovely pad printed with lilac branches for such!

And yes, there is always something I (we) forget or even better, we forget the list!

So yesterday was no different (eggs and bread storage bags!).

The best part however about yesterday was to see all the window decorations for Valentine's Day! We like to stroll in a nearby harbour and their tiny shoppes including Antiques and Collectibles of all sorts held a real attraction since it was sunny, dry - not something that happens a lot on the Pacific West Coast at this time of the year - and perhaps we just need to shake those cobwebs!

So we wandered around and noticed the garlands, flowers, cards and assorted nick knacks available for the occasion! Quite an industry as my husband quipped! What happen to Romance?
I decided here and then I would explain to him how important this day truly is - for us Romantics - of course only to realize how little I knew of the subject!

It would appear that Ladies in the Middle Ages credited Geoffrey Chaucer for the first mention of Romantic Love on this day particularly at a time when Courtly Love flourished:

For this was on seynt Volantynys day
Whan euery byrd comyth there to chese his make.

Or in the English of today:

For this was Saint Valentine's Day, when every bird come there to choose his mate.

The Young Man's Valentine Writer was published in 1797 in the UK with much sentimental verses for any lover unable to write his own. By then Printers had already begun the practice of producing some cards with verses called Mechanical Valentines. They became so popular in the early 19th Century that soon factories assembled them, mostly with paper lace albeit real lace and ribbons were used for fancy cards.

In England alone 1.3 billion pounds (Sterling) is spent yearly on cards, flowers, chocolates and other gifts, with an estimated 25 million cards being sent! Wow!

I even discovered something I missed (again) in the British Museum: a 1790 Valentine card, an absolute gem! It is a handmade puzzle, or "rebus" which unfolds to reveal poetic messages.

In the front it reads as:

My dear the heart which you behold Will break when you the same unfold Even so my heart with lovesick pain Sure wounded is and breaks in twain.

I leave you to discover the rest or shall I say to dream the rest...

I am told that in the USA more than 1 billion cards are sold and exchanged each year for Valentine's Day alone, many by children! Quite an industry indeed!

So we came home after stopping by the candy shoppe for a bit of allsorts (licorice) and picking up Valentine cards for family and friends and of course Lina, our sponsored child in South America...
Doing our bit as my husband says...

The best thing however that happened was finding a letter from Lina in the post..

Dreaming away of course as always...

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