On Thursday (30th April) I bought two little plastic stem pots of lily-of-the-valley to give to Valentin’s mum (Valentin is only 10 so I don’t think he’d appreciate flowers) and to Adal (&, by proxy, Pascale, his wife) – my two students. The reason being that on May 1st, La Fete du Travail, it is traditional to give little posies of lily-of-the-valley to those we love, to bring happiness for the year ahead.
Pascale gave me a sprig in return, saying that one should reciprocate – that’s a new one on me! – but I had already bought myself a little plant potfull, so on the way home I called in to see Cathy and passed my sprig from Pascale onto her.
Yesterday, 1st May, Mr FD went to see our friends across the square (something computer related) and returned with a little glass vase stuffed full of lily-of-the-valley for me from Monique. It is sitting on my desk, but of course, the cats are interested in it! While the cat pictured above is not George, it could so very easily be!! I must be careful though as I think it is poisonous for cats, as for humans.
I’m hoping I can plant my potfull under the trees in the courtyard – I believe lily-of-the-valley like shade – and that they will return next year. Lily-of-the-valley always reminds me of my Nana, who had a very shady patch of ground in front of her terraced house in Liverpool. It was paved mostly with little cracked tiles, and the only plant I remember growing there was lily-of-the-valley. The scent reminds me both of Nana and Mum, who used to wear Muguet de Bois perfume by Coty
I didn’t know why France had this tradition though, until somebody posted a link on her FaceBook page to this article which explains the story behind it.
So, to all my dear readers I offer (a day late!) this little bouquet of happiness:
Just don’t put it in your soup!!