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At 40, Franz Kafka (1883-1924), who never married and had no children, was walking through a park one day in Berlin when he met a girl who was crying because she had lost her favourite doll. She and Kafka searched for the doll unsuccessfully.
Kafka told her to meet him there the next day and they would come back to look for her.
The next day, when they had not yet found the doll, Kafka gave the girl a letter “written” by the doll saying “please don’t cry. I took a trip to see the world. I will write to you about my adventures.”
Thus began a story which continued until the end of Kafka’s life.
During their meetings, Kafka read the letters of the doll carefully written with adventures and conversations that the girl found adorable.
Finally, Kafka brought back the doll (he bought one) that had returned to Berlin.
“It doesn’t look like my doll at all,” said the girl.
Kafka handed her another letter in which the doll wrote: “my travels have changed me.” The little girl hugged the new doll and brought the doll with her to her happy home.
A year later Kafka died.
Many years later, the now-adult girl found a letter inside the doll. In the tiny letter signed by Kafka it was written:
“Everything you love will probably be lost, but in the end, love will return in another way.”
Embrace change. It’s inevitable for growth. Together we can shift pain into wonder and love, but it is up to us to consciously and intentionally create that connection.
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IT is quintessentially English – and yet the scone is something the country as a whole simply can’t agree about.
So, is it Scone (sc-own) for you, or Scon? I know that it’s always been a Scone for me and my family.
Living in Devon, as I do, it’s always clotted cream on first, followed by a huge dollop of strawberry jam. And that is how it is. Unless, of course, you live or come from Cornwall. Then, it’s jam on first, followed by cream.
Is it that important?
It’s not just the argument about whether to spread the cream or jam first. Now, there’s an even more contentious question – how to pronounce the word scone.
If one isn’t from a posh background, it seems to be scone (sc-own)! If one is posh, it’s definitely scon; as in gone! Where a person is from, or their social standing, also determines how we pronounce our English scone. So, which is it for you?
Thank you for dropping by today. Before you go off for a Cream Tea, buy my books! Amazon Author page
Valentine’s Day, also called Saint Valentine’s Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, is celebrated annually on February 14. It originated as a Christian feast day honoring one or two early Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine and, through later folk traditions, has become a significant cultural, religious, and commercial celebration of romance and love in many regions of the world. Valentine’s Day 1909 Valentine’s card. Also called Saint Valentine’s Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine observed by people in many countries.
There are a number of martyrdom stories associated with various Valentines connected to February 14, including an account of the imprisonment of Saint Valentine of Rome for ministering to Christians persecuted under the Roman Empire in the third century. According to an early tradition, Saint Valentine restored sight to the blind daughter of his jailer. Numerous later additions to the legend have better related it to the theme of love: an 18th-century embellishment to the legend claims he wrote the jailer’s daughter a letter signed “Your Valentine” as a farewell before his execution; another tradition posits that Saint Valentine performed weddings for Christian soldiers who were forbidden to marry.
There is a tradition that the Feast of Saint Valentine was established by Pope Gelasius I in AD 496 to be celebrated on February 14 in honour of Saint Valentine of Rome, who died on that date in AD 269. The feast is found in the Gelasian Sacramentary (which was compiled after Gelasius), meaning that is has been observed since at least the eighth century. The day became associated with romantic love in the 14th and 15th centuries when notions of courtly love flourished, apparently by association with the “lovebirds” of early spring. In 18th-century England, it grew into an occasion in which couples expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as “valentines”). Valentine’s Day symbols that are used today include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards. In Italy, Saint Valentine’s Keys are given to lovers “as a romantic symbol and an invitation to unlock the giver’s heart”, as well as to children to ward off epilepsy (called Saint Valentine’s Malady).
Saint Valentine’s Day is not a public holiday in any country, although it is an official feast day in the Anglican Communion and the Lutheran Church.
Numerous early Christian martyrs were named Valentine. The Valentines honored on February 14 are Valentine of Rome (Valentinus presb. m. Romae) and Valentine of Terni (Valentinus ep. Interamnensis m. Romae). Valentine of Rome was a priest in Rome who was martyred in 269 and was added to the calendar of saints by Pope Gelasius I in 496 and was buried on the Via Flaminia. The relics of Saint Valentine were kept in the Church and Catacombs of San Valentino in Rome, which “remained an important pilgrim site throughout the Middle Ages until the relics of St. Valentine were transferred to the church of Santa Prassede during the pontificate of Nicholas IV“. The flower-crowned skull of Saint Valentine is exhibited in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, Rome. Other relics are found at Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin, Ireland.
Valentine of Terni became bishop of Interamna (now Terni, in central Italy) and is said to have been martyred during the persecution under Emperor Aurelian in 273. He is buried on the Via Flaminia, but in a different location from Valentine of Rome. His relics are at the Basilica of Saint Valentine in Terni (Basilica di San Valentino). Professor Jack B. Oruch of the University of Kansas notes that “abstracts of the acts of the two saints were in nearly every church and monastery of Europe. The Catholic Encyclopedia also speaks of a third saint named Valentine who was mentioned in early martyrologies under date of February 14. He was martyred in Africa with a number of companions, but nothing more is known about him. A relic claimed to be Saint Valentine of Terni’s head was preserved in the abbey of New Minster, Winchester, and venerated.
J.C. Cooper, in The Dictionary of Christianity, writes that Saint Valentine was “a priest of Rome who was imprisoned for succouring persecuted Christians. Contemporary records of Saint Valentine were most probably destroyed during this Diocletianic Persecution in the early 4th century. In the 5th or 6th century, a work called Passio Marii et Marthae published a story of martyrdom for Saint Valentine of Rome, perhaps by borrowing tortures that happened to other saints, as was usual in the literature of that period. The same events are also found in Bede’s Martyrology, which was compiled in the 8th century. It states that Saint Valentine was persecuted as a Christian and interrogated by Roman EmperorClaudius II in person. Claudius was impressed by Valentine and had a discussion with him, attempting to get him to convert to Roman paganism in order to save his life. Valentine refused and tried to convert Claudius to Christianity instead. Because of this, he was executed. Before his execution, he is reported to have performed a miracle by healing Julia, the blind daughter of his jailer Asterius. The jailer’s daughter and his forty-six member household (family members and servants) came to believe in Jesus and were baptized.
A later Passio repeated the legend, adding that Pope Julius I built a church over his sepulchre (it is a confusion with a 4th-century tribune called Valentino who donated land to build a church at a time when Julius was a Pope). The legend was picked up as fact by later martyrologies, starting with Bede‘s martyrology in the 8th century. It was repeated in the 13th century, in The Golden Legend.
There is an additional embellishment to The Golden Legend, which according to Henry Ansgar Kelly, was added in the 18th century and widely repeated. On the evening before Valentine was to be executed, he is supposed to have written the first “valentine” card himself, addressed to the daughter of his jailer Asterius, who was no longer blind, signing as “Your Valentine.” The expression “From your Valentine” was later adopted by modern Valentine letters. This legend has been published by both American Greetings and The History Channel.
John Foxe, an English historian, as well as the Order of Carmelites, state that Saint Valentine was buried in the Church of Praxedes in Rome, located near the cemetery of Saint Hippolytus. This order says that according to legend, “Julia herself planted a pink-blossomed almond tree near his grave. Today, the almond tree remains a symbol of abiding love and friendship.
Another embellishment suggests that Saint Valentine performed clandestine Christian weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry. The Roman Emperor Claudius II supposedly forbade this in order to grow his army, believing that married men did not make for good soldiers. However, George Monger writes that this marriage ban was never issued and that Claudius II told his soldiers to take two or three women for themselves after his victory over the Goths.
According to legend, in order “to remind these men of their vows and God’s love, Saint Valentine is said to have cut hearts from parchment”, giving them to these soldiers and persecuted Christians, a possible origin of the widespread use of hearts on St. Valentine’s Day.
Saint Valentine supposedly wore a purple amethyst ring, customarily worn on the hands of Christian bishops with an image of Cupid engraved in it, a recognizable symbol associated with love that was legal under the Roman Empire; Roman soldiers would recognize the ring and ask him to perform marriage for them. Probably due to the association with Saint Valentine, amethyst has become the birthstone of February, which is thought to attract love.
While the European folk traditions connected with Saint Valentine and St. Valentine’s Day have become marginalized by modern customs connecting the day with romantic love, there are still some connections with the advent of spring.
While the custom of sending cards, flowers, chocolates and other gifts originated in the UK, Valentine’s Day still remains connected with various regional customs in England. In Norfolk, a character called ‘Jack’ Valentine knocks on the rear door of houses leaving sweets and presents for children. Although he was leaving treats, many children were scared of this mystical person.
In Slovenia, Saint Valentine or Zdravko was one of the saints of spring, the saint of good health and the patron of beekeepers and pilgrims. A proverb says that “Saint Valentine brings the keys of roots”. Plants and flowers start to grow on this day. It has been celebrated as the day when the first work in the vineyards and in the fields commences. It is also said that birds propose to each other or marry on that day. Another proverb says “Valentin – prvi spomladin” (“Valentine – the first spring saint”), as in some places (especially White Carniola), Saint Valentine marks the beginning of spring. Valentine’s Day has only recently been celebrated as the day of love. The day of love was traditionally March 12, the Saint Gregory‘s day, or February 22, Saint Vincent’s Day. The patron of love was Saint Anthony, whose day has been celebrated on June 13.
Connection with romantic love
Possible ancient origins
No evidence has been demonstrated to link St. Valentine’s Day and the rites of the ancient Roman purification festival of Lupercalia, despite persistent and sometimes detailed claims by many authors to the contrary, nor to any otherwise unspecified Greco-Roman holiday supposed to have celebrated love or fertility. The celebration of Saint Valentine is not known to have had any romantic connotations until Chaucer‘s poetry about “Valentine’s Day” in the 14th century, some seven hundred years after celebration of Lupercalia is believed to have ceased.
In Ancient Rome, Lupercalia was observed February 13–15. It was a rite connected to purification and health, and had only slight connection to fertility (as a part of health) and none to love. Lupercalia was a festival local to the city of Rome. The more general Festival of Juno Februa, meaning “Juno the purifier” or “the chaste Juno”, was celebrated on February 13–14. Pope Gelasius I (492–496) abolished Lupercalia. Some researchers have theorized that Gelasius I replaced Lupercalia with the celebration of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary and claim a connection to the 14th century’s connotations of romantic love, but there is no historical indication that he ever intended such a thing. Also, the dates do not fit because at the time of Gelasius I, the feast was only celebrated in Jerusalem, and it was on February 14 only because Jerusalem placed the Nativity of Jesus (Christmas) on January 6. Although it was called “Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary”, it also dealt with the presentation of Jesus at the temple. Jerusalem’s Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary on February 14 became the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple on February 2 as it was introduced to Rome and other places in the sixth century, after Gelasius I’s time.
Alban Butler in his The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Other Principal Saints (1756–1759) claimed without proof that men and women in Lupercalia drew names from a jar to make couples, and that modern Valentine’s letters originated from this custom. In reality, this practice originated in the Middle Ages, with no link to Lupercalia, with men drawing the names of girls at random to couple with them. This custom was combated by priests, for example by Frances de Sales around 1600, apparently by replacing it with a religious custom of girls drawing the names of apostles from the altar. However, this religious custom is recorded as soon as the 13th century in the life of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, so it could have a different origin.
“For this was on seynt Valentynes day Whan every foul cometh there to chese his make Of every kynde that men thynke may And that so huge a noyse gan they make That erthe, and eyr, and tre, and every lake So ful was, that unethe was there space For me to stonde, so ful was al the place.”
In modern English:
“For this was on Saint Valentine’s Day When every bird comes there to choose his match Of every kind that men may think of And that so huge a noise they began to make That earth and air and tree and every lake Was so full, that not easily was there space For me to stand—so full was all the place.”
Readers have uncritically assumed that Chaucer was referring to February 14 as Valentine’s Day. Henry Ansgar Kelly has observed that Chaucer might have had in mind the feast day of St. Valentine of Genoa, an early bishop of Genoa who died around AD 307; it was probably celebrated on 3 May. A treaty providing for Richard II and Anne’s marriage, the subject of the poem, was signed on May 2, 1381.
Chaucer’s Parliament of Fowls refers to a supposedly established tradition, but there is no record of such a tradition before Chaucer. The speculative derivation of sentimental customs from the distant past began with 18th-century antiquaries, notably Alban Butler, the author of Butler’s Lives of Saints, and have been perpetuated even by respectable modern scholars. Most notably, “the idea that Valentine’s Day customs perpetuated those of the Roman Lupercalia has been accepted uncritically and repeated, in various forms, up to the present”.
Three other authors who made poems about birds mating on St. Valentine’s Day around the same years: Otton de Grandson from Savoy, John Gower from England, and a knight called Pardo from Valencia. Chaucer most probably predated all of them; but due to the difficulty of dating medieval works, it is not possible to ascertain which of the four may have influenced the others.
Court of love
The earliest description of February 14 as an annual celebration of love appears in the Charter of the Court of Love. The charter, allegedly issued by Charles VI of France at Mantes-la-Jolie in 1400, describes lavish festivities to be attended by several members of the royal court, including a feast, amorous song and poetry competitions, jousting and dancing. Amid these festivities, the attending ladies would hear and rule on disputes from lovers. No other record of the court exists, and none of those named in the charter were present at Mantes except Charles’s queen, Isabeau of Bavaria, who may well have imagined it all while waiting out a plague.
“To-morrow is Saint Valentine’s day, All in the morning betime, And I a maid at your window, To be your Valentine. Then up he rose, and donn’d his clothes, And dupp’d the chamber-door; Let in the maid, that out a maid Never departed more.”— William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act IV, Scene 5
All the Ayre is thy Diocese And all the chirping Queristers And other birds ar thy parishioners Thou marryest every yeare The Lyrick Lark, and the graue whispering Doue, The Sparrow that neglects his life for loue, The houshold bird with the redd stomacher Thou makst the Blackbird speede as soone, As doth the Goldfinch, or the Halcyon The Husband Cock lookes out and soone is spedd And meets his wife, which brings her feather-bed. This day more cheerfully than ever shine
This day which might inflame thy selfe old Valentine.”— John Donne, Epithalamion Vpon Frederick Count Palatine and the Lady Elizabeth marryed on St. Valentines day
My guest on the blog today is international author, business mentor and inventor Lizzie Chantree!
Lizzie is here today to tell us about her new book: Networking for Writers. I’ve already downloaded my copy to my Kindle. Make sure you get yours too.
Hello Caz, thank you so much for inviting me onto your blog today.
Hello everyone. My name is Lizzie Chantree and I am a romance author of nine novels, who is about to publish my first non-fiction book! I ran my own award winning business for over fifteen years before I began writing books as a way to reduce stress and found a beautiful new career that is full of excitement and fun. My latest book is called Networking for writers and I talk about how to help writers build a support network and hopefully find new readers for their own work. I suggest tips on how not to waste valuable writing time, offer ways to simplify your marketing plan, how to make your marketing more effective, ideas for apps that might help save time in scheduling social media posts. I work as a business mentor and have included simple techniques that can be applied to author branding, book marketing, book signings, media planning and more. I also talk through how I grew my social media platform from scratch and filled it with avid readers and creatives.
International bestselling author and award-winning inventor, Lizzie Chantree, started her own business at the age of 18 and became one of Fair Play London and The Patent Office’s British Female Inventors of the Year in 2000. She discovered her love of writing fiction when her children were little and now works as a business mentor and runs a popular networking hour on social media, where creatives can support to each other. She writes books full of friendship and laughter, that are about women with unusual and adventurous businesses, who are far stronger than they realise. She lives with her family on the coast in Essex.
Are you swamped with book marketing and looking for a way to find new sales? Whether you are a new or experienced writer, self-published or traditionally published, Networking for writers, will help you learn simple and effective networking techniques, to grow your readership and connect with other authors and book lovers, today!
This book will show you:
How networking can help you sell more books.
Why author branding is important.
How networking hours work.
Specific Facebook groups for writers
How to utilise social media to grow your readership.
How not to waste valuable writing time.
How to make our marketing more effective.
Throughout Networking for Writers, we will explore running or attending book signings, hosting seminars, finding a writing buddy or mentor, author networking groups, social media planning and so much more.
There are certain warning signs in nature that may be easy to miss, at least at first. J-Shaped trees are a potential sign of dangerous landslide activity in the area. These trees signify that a landslide is on the way. How do they signify this? Well, before a landslide is fully triggered, the ground begins to shift. As the ground shifts, these trees begin to bow from the movement. If you see trees beginning to bend into a J-shape, it’s time to move!
You might consider yourself a very rational person, but then something as simple as a calendar date or a number makes you feel differently about things. You might think twice about boarding a plane on Friday 13th or taking a flight number 13. I once worked with a fella who was so superstitious he stayed in bed all day…apart from a quick dash to the loo for a pee. Every Friday 13th, I think of Roger; wondering if (a) he’s still alive and (b) if he is (alive) would he be in his pj’s snugly tucked up under the duvet covers. Probably!
I avoid walking beneath ladders whatever the date. Simply because I would feel stupid if a pot of paint fell on my head. Or worse, if heavy scaffolding knocked me out cold on the pavement. Otherwise, no I’m not at all superstitious.
Some people, like my work colleague of yonks ago, Roger, are really scared of the date. He booked every Friday 13th off as holiday in the Office Diary. We were all – well some of us more than others – (well, yes moi especially) made many attempts to book the 13th off before Roger could get his hands on the new diary. You guessed it, it was never going to happen! We (I) tried ringing him on his house phone in an attempt to get him out of bed to answer it. No chance of that either. He confessed once that he always pulled the phone cord from its socket just to make certain it didn’t ring downstairs in his hallway. Had it all covered, did our Roger. A pinned notice on his front door ensured parcels were redelivered the next day.
Such fear has a rather long name: ‘Paraskavedekatriaphobia’ now try and pronounce that after a couple of G & T’s.
Why are we so scared of it?
‘Tis said that the fear is likely rooted to Christianity. Jesus was crucified on the cross on a Friday 13th and ever since, the day has been associated with ‘general ill omen,’ according to Michael Bailey, a history professor at Iowa State University who specialises in the origins of superstitions.
Weddings in the Middle Ages, for instance, were not held on Fridays and it was not a day someone would start a journey. Thinking about that for a moment, I always liked to travel midweek on a Wednesday. Maybe I have hidden superstitions, after all.
Thirteen guests are believed to have attended the Last Supper, the night before Jesus was killed. And, Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed Jesus, is considered to have been the 13th guest.
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