Legends from our own lunchtimes

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Labour Day - May 1st

Today is Labour Day which over several centuries has become intertwined with “La Fete du Maguet”, a day on which one gives those one loves a little bouquet of Lily-of-the-Valley (Muguet), to wish them happiness and good luck in celebration of the arrival of spring.  King Charles IX started it all in the sixteenth century and declared that on this day anyone in France can legally sell flowers without a license.

In honour of this great public holiday we invoked our “rule of ten” this morning, not rising, as is our custom until either the time or the temperature reached that convenient number.  As it happened in the absence of artificial heat, the clock ticked over to match the thermometer at exactly the same time this morning and we rose refreshed and ready to face our still lengthy list of after-winter things to tidy up.  We thought given the weather, that before we did that perhaps a stroll between the showers to see what was happening in this holiday stricken city would be nice.  

As we walked through the wonderful square, almost deserted but for a handful of people selling small posies of flowers, one of them enquired as to whether we’d like one.   

“No thanks” was our automatic response.  “They’re free!” he replied “and they are from the forest”.   Naturally we enquired why he was not selling them.

“Normally I sell them” he said, “but I am happy and I like to make everyone happy.  It’s a happy day, we don’t have to work!”  

So we didn’t.

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