Monday, February 5, 2007

February Flora and Fauna and general tittle tattle


Feb.6 1811: His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales (Prinny) was sworn into office of Regent. This is actually the day that the official period known at The Regency began. I suppose all of us Regency lovers should celebrate this day, but somehow, while we love the era, the man himself is not quite so popular. I sometimes feel a bit sorry for him. But I haven't found many sympathetic to the man.

Tittle tattle is Regency speak for gossip.

February seems to be much like January, although one sees snowdrops appear later in the month, which is a lovely early sign of spring..

The Naturalist Diary has this to say:
“This month frequently presents a most wintry appearance; the ground is covered with snow; all Nature is wrapped in a robe of dazzling whiteness; and the ‘bitter-biting cold’ showers of sleet, and sudden gusts of wind, drive us to our homes for shelter,
against the inclemency of the season. The sudden thaws, also, which take place in

February, --the return of frost and snow—and the change again to rain and sleet, render this month particularly unfavorable to the pedestrian and the lover of out-of-door exercise and amusements.”

Hmm. Sounds pretty grim to me. I think I will move on to something more pleasant.

Timelines. What was happening in those long ago February months that might be of interest.

Well of course there is Lent. England being a protestant country, did not have the madis gras of the Catholic countries, or Carnival as we know them today in such places as Trinidad and Brazil. The day I most remember is the day before Lent. Shrove Tuesday. Pancake day we always called it. Did they celebrate Pancake Day in the Regency?

Yes they did, since it is the day before Lent on which all fats must be used up, and that was a church requirement stemming long before the 1800’s

But did you know that Shrove Tuesday used to be a great day for cock-fighting in England? I didn’t. Apparently so. Here are a couple of pictures. Can you believe that the one pictured indoors was to celebrate a betrothal? Now I am not condoning this sport. It is history. Our ancestors did it and enjoyed it, whether we like it or not.









Shrove Tuesday was also the day that a church bell, called the the ‘Shriving Bell’would have been rung signalling the start of Lent and to call people to church to confess their sins. The church bell was rung at eleven o’clock in the morning, as a reminder to housewives to prepare their pancake batter and so the bell became known as the ‘Pancake Bell. Of course in those days many ordinary people did not own watches or clocks and so the church bell was a way of keeping track of important times.

I should also mention, that pancakes in England are more like what North Americans call crepes. They are eaten with lemon squeezed on them then sprinkled with sugar and rolled up.

February 1, 1804 the Concert of Ancient Music was held at King's Theatre, Haymarket. (A composer had to have been dead twenty five years before his works were played.)


Feb.23 1811: A decree by Bonaparte ordered prisoners of war to be employed as laborers. Not very well thought of by the British as you can imagine.

Feb.26 1811: John Liles sentenced to seven years transportation, for bigamy. An interesting commentary on the British justice system I think.

February 1817, Princess Charlotte is expecting a child. The British populace is wildly elated. Poor Princess Charlotte was bled frequently to keep her calm. Can you imagine? Thank goodness they don’t do that any more. I do feel for the poor princess, who was thought to be rather spoiled. Who knows what Britain would have been like had she lived. Just think, no Queen Victoria. Now there is an interesting thought!

Happy Rambles