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In lands I never saw -- they say
Immortal Alps look down --
Whose bonnets touch the firmament --
Whose sandals touch the town --

Meek at whose everlasting feet
A myriad daisy play --
Which, Sir, are you and which am I
Upon an August day?

Emily Dickinson
Learn English in July

Your diary in LE forum

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Comments

  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 44,388 ✭✭✭✭
    I am pleased by how lucky I have been with the weather in the UK during the past week. Though it wasn't very warm, at least it didn't rain. And it wasn't too cold. I am very happy back in Nice however. It looks like summer has already arrived with 18 degrees and sunshine.
  • YellowtailYellowtail Posts: 890 ✭✭✭✭
    It's 29th February, the day we have once four years!
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 44,388 ✭✭✭✭
    @Yellowtail this means that 2020 is a leap year. The 29th of February is called a leap day.

    There are lots of customs association with leap years.

    Women Propose to Their Men
    According to an old Irish legend, or possibly history, St Brigid struck a deal with St Patrick to allow women to propose to men – and not just the other way around – every four years.

    12 Pairs of Gloves
    In some places, leap day has been known as “Bachelors’ Day” for the same reason. A man was expected to pay a penalty, such as a gown or money, if he refused a marriage proposal from a woman on Leap Day.

    In many European countries, especially in the upper classes of society, tradition dictates that any man who refuses a woman's proposal on February 29 has to buy her 12 pairs of gloves. The intention is that the woman can wear the gloves to hide the embarrassment of not having an engagement ring. During the middle ages there were laws governing this tradition.

    Leap Day Babies World Record
    People born on February 29 are all invited to join The Honor Society of Leap Year Day Babies.

    When do Leap Day Babies Celebrate Their Birthdays? My friend's birthday is today and he tells me that he usually celebrates it on the 28th.

    According to the Guinness Book of Records, there are Leap Day World Record Holders both of a family producing three consecutive generations born on February 29 and of the number of children born on February 29 in the same family.

    Unlucky in Love
    In Scotland, it used to be considered unlucky for someone to be born on leap day, just as Friday 13th is considered an unlucky day by many. Greeks consider it unlucky for couples to marry during a leap year, and especially on Leap Day.

    St Oswald’s Day
    Leap day is also St Oswald’s Day, named after the archbishop of York who died on February 29, 992. His memorial is celebrated on February 29 during leap years and on February 28 during common years.
  • PaulettePaulette Posts: 28,868 mod
    Curiously, many Leap Day customs have revolved around romance and marriage. According to traditions holds that women were not allowed to propose marriage to men. So legend has it that St. Patrick designated the only day that does not occur annually, February 29, as a day on which women would be allowed to propose to men.And according to this tradition could a men who was asked not refuse it.

    This tradition hopped the Irish Sea to Scotland and England, where the British added a twist—if a man rejected a woman's proposal, he owed her a debt of several pairs of fine gloves, perhaps to hide the fact that she did not have an engagement ring.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 44,388 ✭✭✭✭
    The weather forecast I saw yesterday said it would rain on Sunday, so I thought about visiting Menton today, which is not very far away, to see the end of the Lemon Festival. When I woke up to a cloudy day, I was pleased to see that the rain predicted for tomorrow has now moved to Monday and it will be sunny tomorrow. Fingers crossed as I am now hoping to go tomorrow.
  • YellowtailYellowtail Posts: 890 ✭✭✭✭
    @mheredge
    I didn't know that there are so many traditions on the day. It's very interesting. Especially I love the gloves part.
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,701 ✭✭✭✭
    edited February 29
    A small blackout at the weekend house today. At 5 p.m the missus waked me up, then I spent 20 minutes to have the backup generator rolled out filled and connected just for 15 min long running time before the power was restored. What was it for? For an exercise?
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 44,388 ✭✭✭✭
    It was to keep you on your toes @Practical_Severard. And the plus is that you know that if it happens for real, you're prepared. I find having a constant supply of power is something we so easily take for granted, When I return to Nepal, I forget how erratic the supply is there and power cuts never cease to surprise me, when before I took them for granted.
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,701 ✭✭✭✭
    edited March 2
    mheredge said:

    It was to keep you on your toes @Practical_Severard. And the plus is that you know that if it happens for real, you're prepared. I find having a constant supply of power is something we so easily take for granted, When I return to Nepal, I forget how erratic the supply is there and power cuts never cease to surprise me, when before I took them for granted.

    I presume it was @mheredge! in the 2018's November we had several night blackouts, and therefore I had a backup electric supply installed. But I have had only two blackouts 15 minutes each since I did that. However, a petrol generator has to be run monthly to be available when a time comes. So I've made another chore for myself.

    There are automatic options, but the price tag is considerable higher. And I seriously thought about connecting it to the gas reservoir.

    It doesn't cover all the needs, only the essentials: the heating, the fridge, the water pump, the overhead lights and a couple of wall sockets in the boiler room.
    Post edited by Practical_Severard on
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 44,388 ✭✭✭✭
    Of course if you have enough people staying there @Practical_Severard, maybe bio-gas might be an option! I jest :) but in rural areas and especially if you have animals to help, this is something I am seeing more and more.

    In the earlier years when I was living in Kathmandu, power cuts of up to 5-6 hours were not uncommon, usually for twice a day. But after years suffering ever increasing blackouts, getting worse until May, the end of the dry season, a new director of the Nepal Electricity Corporation revealed that it was mainly due corruption and poor management. Since then too, there have been countless hydro projects that now mean apart from unscheduled but short cuts, the city now has power pretty well 24/7. Of course the price has been that now nearly all of the rivers in Nepal have dams and this is causing all sorts of other problems.
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,701 ✭✭✭✭
    edited March 2
    mheredge said:

    Of course if you have enough people staying there @Practical_Severard, maybe bio-gas might be an option! I jest :) but in rural areas and especially if you have animals to help, this is something I am seeing more and more.

    This is much more fascnating, @mheredge, just a liquified petroleum gas (LPG) reservoir. In Russia there is at least one area where electricity is dirt cheap: 0.012EUR. That's near the Bratsk hydrostation in Siberia which main customer is an aluminium plant and they don't have customers for the whole of the output. Actually, there are quite a lot of hydro power stations in that area, albeit all of them are in plains. Their main purpose is aluminum making which requires 15-20 MW*h of electricity per tonne.

  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 44,388 ✭✭✭✭
    Even with so much water coming down from the mountains, Nepal has not much capacity for producing electricity @Practical_Severard. It suffered badly from political insurgency for perhaps twenty years until 2006, but since then development has been very piecemeal and disorganised.

    Reports say the country has the economically viable potential to put in place over 40,000 megawatts (MW) of hydro generation capacity. However even though the country's peak demand is around 1,240MW, Nepal's capacity is less than 1,000MW. It has to buy electricity from India.
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,701 ✭✭✭✭
    mheredge said:

    Reports say the country has the economically viable potential to put in place over 40,000 megawatts (MW) of hydro generation capacity. However even though the country's peak demand is around 1,240MW, Nepal's capacity is less than 1,000MW. It has to buy electricity from India.

    Quite probably that the Nepalese mountainous terrain could become the advantage of becoming an electricity supplier for India, though the capital costs would be soaring, so they may not afford that.

  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 44,388 ✭✭✭✭
    India would like to control the water from the rivers that eventually reach the country @Practical_Severard, so as you can imagine, the politics between the two countries can sometimes get complicated. Bhutan sells most of its electricity to India. It has a tiny population but lots of water.
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,701 ✭✭✭✭
    mheredge said:

    India would like to control the water from the rivers that eventually reach the country @Practical_Severard, so as you can imagine, the politics between the two countries can sometimes get complicated. Bhutan sells most of its electricity to India. It has a tiny population but lots of water.

    Oh, I see. The relationship with powerful India is most important for Nepal. Though they might seek some help from China, I guess.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 44,388 ✭✭✭✭
    India and Nepal used to be much closer and culturally have many things in common @Practical_Severard, not least religion and ethnicity (about a third of the population are Indo-Aryan). However in 2015 Modi made a very bad mistake in blockading the country that was still reeling from the devastating earthquakes earlier in the year. He wanted to apply pressure on the government to amend the new constitution that they were drawing up, to give more power to people in the southern area of Nepal, who tend to be much more pro-Indian. It backfired seriously, as instead of crumbling to India's demands, the Nepal government stood fast and so suffered for five months, when all supplies that come into the country by road from India were blocked. China offered help, but this was all hot air as there are only two very small roads from Tibet into Nepal going through the Himalayas, in practice, were unable to give much practical aid. However as a result, this pushed Nepal into the arms of the Chinese. In gratitude, Nepal waived any visa requirement from Chinese visitors to the country (India and Bhutan were the only two countries where nations don't need a visa and as you might expect, it is not reciprocal, as Nepalese need visas to enter China). Many Chinese people have abused this by coming to Nepal to work illegally. It probably also has encouraged Chinese tourists too. Even though they come in large numbers, they do not spend very much and tend to stay in hotels in Kathmandu that are owned by Chinese and where the money goes directly back to China. Tax evasion is rife. The Nepal government is so corrupt and disorganised, they are being taken for a ride.

    Needless to say, China is doing a very good job to 'colonise' Nepal, offering funding for all kinds of projects, not least roadbuilding and even proposing to bring the railway down to Kathmandu. Somehow the shops in Kathmandu now seem to be just full of Chinese goods, when maybe even just ten years ago, they were mainly from India and other areas of Asia.
  • MichouxeMichouxe Posts: 9,461 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 11
    My Diary,

    The effects of the corona virus can also be felt in Belgium, Mechelen!
    In the afternoon we were called by a girlfriend, her mother-in-law who was operated on a broken hip was just returned from the hospital in the care centre. She told us that the cafeteria would be closed and the planned fashion show was canceled. Every visitor had to write his name in a book and a meeting was going on.That's why we decided not to go to Philomena in the care centre. The family who is in holiday in Portugal returns during the weekend. Hopefully it won't take this situation too long!
    Post edited by Michouxe on
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 44,388 ✭✭✭✭
    I spent an other enjoyable day getting my hands dirty, gardening at the local communal kitchen garden. This afternoon we also went around trying to identify all the plants growing in the garden.
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,701 ✭✭✭✭
    edited April 5
    A fifth of April!
    snow0504
    Full size
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 44,388 ✭✭✭✭
    I'm glad to say that here the thermometer on the balcony says 23 degrees C and it is sunny. Last week was a bit chilly however (14-15C).
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,701 ✭✭✭✭
    mheredge said:

    I'm glad to say that here the thermometer on the balcony says 23 degrees C and it is sunny. Last week was a bit chilly however (14-15C).

    Oh, warm and tender Mediterranean!
  • lisalisa Posts: 2,360 ✭✭✭
    @Practical_Severard I am a bit curious about how do you conduct your activities when the weather is so chilly?
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 44,388 ✭✭✭✭
    Gloating - today promises to be 19C according to the internet but I am sure this will mean 24 C at least on the balcony! I might go sunbathing for all of five minutes before I get bored... @Practical_Severard.
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,701 ✭✭✭✭
    edited April 7
    lisa said:

    @Practical_Severard I am a bit curious about how do you conduct your activities when the weather is so chilly?

    Well, at first that's not so cold (according to this place's measure) after all. Secondly, there are great temperature swings both within a day (e.g. it was -7C at 5 a.m. today while the today's forecast is +11). We also had drastic weather changes between couples of days in the recent weeks. That's typical for a season change here. Some trees' buds are breaking (though, not of the fruit ones) and there are new grass shoots.

    That snow didn't stay put @lisa.
    Post edited by Practical_Severard on
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,701 ✭✭✭✭
    mheredge said:

    Gloating - today promises to be 19C according to the internet but I am sure this will mean 24 C at least on the balcony! I might go sunbathing for all of five minutes before I get bored... @Practical_Severard.

    I begin thinking that in your situation one needs to take care to avoid a sunburn...
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 44,388 ✭✭✭✭
    Never fear @Practical_Severard, sitting in the sun bores me stiff. But it will be nice to open the doors to the balcony and let some air in.

    I have just identified the seeds I brought back from Sri Lanka that I have managed to grow into a couple of small plants. Know as Asian pigeonwings, bluebellvine, blue pea, butterfly pea, cordofan pea and Darwin pea, in India, it is revered as a holy flower, used in daily puja rituals. However the blue flowers are also good to make a tea and it has medicinal uses.


  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,701 ✭✭✭✭
    mheredge said:

    Never fear @Practical_Severard, sitting in the sun bores me stiff. But it will be nice to open the doors to the balcony and let some air in.

    I have just identified the seeds I brought back from Sri Lanka that I have managed to grow into a couple of small plants. Know as Asian pigeonwings, bluebellvine, blue pea, butterfly pea, cordofan pea and Darwin pea, in India, it is revered as a holy flower, used in daily puja rituals. However the blue flowers are also good to make a tea and it has medicinal uses.

    Hve you grown them in Nice as pot plants or outdoors?
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 44,388 ✭✭✭✭
    My friend in Sri Lanka gave me a pod of seeds. It looked a bit like a pea pod, and there were about half a dozen seeds that by the time I brought it back home, had been tucked in my bag for just over two months. So I was not very confident that they would survive @Practical_Severard. So far I have been growing it in sunny spot in my living room. It might be still a bit early to leave it outside as at night temperatures drop to around 12 degrees. As it is a tropical plant, while it might enjoy the summer here, I most probably will have to bring it inside during the winter. If the other two tiny seedlings come to anything, I could try to experiment by leaving one outside to see how it survives.

    I have been studying where I should put the three little Carnival Squash plants that I have managed to grow from seeds that I saved from one of these little round specialty pumpkins I got in the market a while ago. It seems these need full fun, so they will go out on the front balcony that receives sun all day.

    I discovered that basil prefers sun to shade, so I have moved this from the back terrace which doesn't get much sun. However all the other herbs I'm growing, like mint, coriander, parsley, thyme and rosemary all seem a lot more tolerant to shade.
  • PaulettePaulette Posts: 28,868 mod
    I am very proud of two of my oldest granddaughters because they work at easter holiday in a care center to help with cleaning and as kitchen help. The reason of their effort is to relieve the other people who working so intensive in the battle against corona.
  • MichouxeMichouxe Posts: 9,461 ✭✭✭✭✭
    @Mheredge @Paulette :) This morning there was a session with Marianne and the topic it was about self-confidence.
    It was not easy to speak in another languages without the knowledge of the necessary words, certainly because I had no control about my emotions. I hope no one has heard it! I was before this session a bit afraid of this topic! but it gave me the courage to move on, and I am happy to have participated. I had also given a bad example about being insecure : I want to say : don't worry, I can cook, but it was my first thought , about whether or not the egg yolk should be in a certain sauce ;) . I have learned that there are still people who are insecure, and that we are all friends who support each other. Thanks to everyone!
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