For those of you who are interested in seeing this year’s trooping of the colours live (or almost), here is a small extract, courtesy of the BBC.  Enjoy!

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While in England, the month of May brings up images of May poles and Morris dancers, for people in France, lily of the valley is what springs to mind.

Do you know where this tradition comes from?Lilyweb

The tradition is rumoured to have started when King Charles IX was offered a lily of the valley as a token of luck and prosperity for the coming year on the 1st of May 1561.  The king rather liked the idea and decided to present the ladies of the court with a lily of the valley each year on the 1st of May.

From around 1900, it became traditional in France for men to present a bouquet of lily-of-the-valley flowers to their sweethearts to express their love and affection.

At the beginning of the 20th century, it became custom to give a sprig of lily of the valley, to family and friends on the 1st of May.

On that day, the government permits individuals and workers’ organisations to sell them tax-free.

 

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Sleeping in the computer bag ... waiting for the mouse to return.

Sleeping in the computer bag … waiting for the mouse to return.

Here are some fantastic facts for all you cat lovers !

  1. On average, cats spend 2/3 of every day sleeping.
  2. A group of cats is called a “clowder.”
  3. Cats make about 100 different sounds. Dogs make only about 10.
  4. During the time of the Spanish Inquisition, Pope Innocent VIII condemned cats as evil and thousands of cats were burned. Unfortunately, by killing lots of cats, it led to an explosion of the rat population, which helped develop the Black Death.
  5. The first cat in space was a French cat named Felicette (a.k.a. “Astrocat”) in 1963.
  6. In many parts of Europe and North America,  black cats are a sign of bad luck, but in Britain and Australia, black cats are lucky.
  7. A cat lover is called an Ailurophilia (Greek: cat+lover).
  8. A cat has 230 bones in its body. A human has 206.
  9. A female cat is called a queen or a molly.
  10. A cat usually has about 12 whiskers on each side of its face.

I bet you didn’t know that !

 

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