Spring started ten days ago and days have gone so quickly. The first ones were warm, but the air was so polluted that people started complaining. They had allergy and breathing problems. It was unpleasant indeed.Then we had cold and wind on the Sunday and it was possible to feel better.
I have read the article I wrote last year for the beginning of this season and... it was the same weather.
Daffodils are blooming but it is nearly the end of this in our area. We can see a lot of buds on fruit trees, It is still too early to have anything growing in gardens. Some people have already planted potatoes, peas and onions but they are not showing yet.
The coming week will be cooler and also wet, but no frost is planned. Easter week end won't be very sunny, let's hope it won't be too bad.
We have heard about the partial solar eclipse for three weeks. This morning it started over Lorraine around 9.30 am and, for once, we were lucky. There was no cloud (apart from pollution mist), no rain and no wind, so we were able to watch it in most places of the region.
I didn't remember where I had put the special glasses that we used in 1999 for the total solar eclipse. I had to ask the children who knew exactly where they were. We had not damaged them at all so I was able to use them.
Then I had to try several times to take pictures with my "simple" camera with the glasses in front of it. I don't have any special filter so it was my DIY trick. The result is not perfect but it worked.
Of course journalists speak a lot about it. The next partial solar eclipse over Lorraine - worth watching - will happen in 2026 and the next total solar eclipse in 2081.
This first day of spring was a bit unusual and a real spring day, at least in Lorraine.
By hearing about St Patrick's Day this morning, I thought about another saint we used to speak about in Lorraine : saint Joseph.
Saint Joseph is celebrated on March 19th. This day meant for all people owning gardens and fields in Lorraine that it was the right time to plant potatoes.
Before this date, it is too early. The frost would kill the plants. From this date, the risk is lower but sometimes we have frost till the first days of May. So the idea is to be cautious, and perhaps a bit lucky.
Then the main risk will be Colorado beetles. Some years there are only a few, but for other years they are a real problem. I was told they have arrived in France during WW1 in crates full of food brought by American soldiers. During WW2, German soldiers used to ask French children to "pick" them and kill them to try to protect fields of potatoes, my father has told me.
I saw this poster when I was in Pont-à-Mousson. An association of Moselle département was explaining about the life of people of this département during WW2, when they were considered as being in Germany. There were food tickets, tins, food on display and this poster was hanging on the wall. I think that all people who have lived in the country make the link, Colorado beetles and potatoes.
The two days of regional culinary and history heritage organized in the Abbaye des Prémontrés were the opportunity for me to discover more of the buildings. The first time I went there I only saw the abbey church, called Sainte-Marie-Majeure, and a long corridor which allowed me to look through windows. This time I was able to enjoy the exhibition and the place at the same time.
I particularly noticed the different staircases. The first one I discovered was the oval staircase. I didn't walk up (it was possible) but took pictures from the ground floor.
Then I saw the round staircase. It is the only one which was not destroyed in 1944. Some people feel it is like a bottomless pit when they look from the top of the stairs. As far as the shape is concerned, I found it was the most impressing, maybe because it is also the narrowest one of the three.
In spite of the numerous visitors, only a few walked upstairs to discover the architecture of the whole stairwell.
The last staircase I want to show you is the square one. I went three times near it in the same afternoon, once when visiting the exhibition, once to make my husband discover it, and one more time with members of my family which we met there.
The square staircase has got an asset : the big chandelier made with more than 1400 pieces of Saint-Louis crystal. It weighs 650 kilogrammes. It is really beautiful. My cousin told me that, from just under it, it looks like a giant snowflake.
Abbaye des Prémontrés is a big and beautiful place to visit. These staircases are something not to miss and really help to remember the place.
This week end the Comité d'Histoire Régionale of Lorraine organized two days about the culinary history and heritage of the region. It was happening at Abbaye des Prémontrés in Pont-à-Mousson.
About 40 associations were involved and made us discover food and cooking, of course, but also crockery, old recipes, old kitchen tools, famous people and food in their lives. Luckily we arrived at the beginning of the afternoon and I had time to enjoy things before the crowd was present.
The theme of the days A table en Lorraine (At the Table in Lorraine) was fully illustrated in the abbey church where four tables were laid : one for Middle Ages, one for King Stanislas court, one for Belle Epoque and one for WW1 time. People wearing costumes of each time were sitting or standing at the table where we could see food and crockery. Several times in the afternoon tasting was offered to people watching, it was very popular.
When we arrived, people gave us different leaflets. One shows four recipes linked to the exhibition in the abbey church. In the end I tasted the one of WW1 time : corned beef and mashed swede. It was really good (I don't say I would like to eat it every day, but it was simple and good food).
These special days are organized each year with a different theme. This week end was the 10th one but I had never heard about it before. It was really interesting and in an interesting place too.