Where can you go on a Sunday afternoon in November when the weather is ... let's say "changeable" ? I asked my Husband if he was interested in going to the Salon du Chocolat (Chocolate Fair) in Ludres and he answered : "Maybe at the end of the afternoon." But he was ready at 2 o'clock, changeable as the weather !
When we arrived near Espace Chaudeau we saw all cars going the same way. People are really attracted by chocolate !
It was already crowded inside but we managed to see all the chocolate makers. Most were from Nancy and surroundings. They were showing classical chocolates, rochers, truffles, but also Saint-Nicolas to buy for the 6th of December, chocolates with insects on the top for an exotic touch, chardons à la liqueur for the tradition... It was possible to taste chocolate at each place we stopped !
There were also a big chocolate sculpture of Place Stanislas (I will show it to you later) and people selling champagne, others dehydrated fruit. Clearly it was possible to get ready for the end of the year.
We left the fair with five different chocolate bars to enjoy in the evenings when it is cold outside. Not too bad, is it ?
We always go to the local cemetery on the first of November. And, of course, we bring flowers with us to put on family graves.
As far as I can remember we have always bought chrysanthemums for this day. When I was young, everybody had the ones with big flowers. The yellow ones were my favourite. Then we also found the ones we called Tokyo with petals which are sort of pointed (they are also called Spider). The main problem for these big flowers is frost. Sometimes they are all destroyed by the cold the following morning.
About twenty-five years ago we started buying chrysanthemums with small flowers. We call them pomponettes. They are better to face low temperatures. And nowadays flower shops sell flower which can resist to frost.
Yesterday I heard on the radio people started putting chrysanthemums on graves on All Saints'Day just after WW1 to offer colours to all the young soldiers who have died during this war.
About fifteen years ago shops in Lorraine started offering on display different products for Halloween. As children were enjoying mid-term holidays at this time of the year, it became very fashionable to wear costumes, prepare black and orange decorations, ask for sweets and even carve a pumpkin to show Jack O'Lantern on the 31st of October.
Nowadays we see less of these, it is more or less disappearing and shops get only a few things in a corner. Why ? It was not our tradition, especially using pumpkins.
But who knows there was a tradition in Lorraine before this ? And that pumkins were not used ?
Pumpkins didn't grow in Europe, Irish people discovered them in America and started using them for Halloween.
But carving vegetables was a tradition in Lorraine. People used mangel-wurzels, rutabagas or swedes, turnips, all roots which were prepared to celebrate the beginning of winter. They put candles in them and kept them on window sills or put them near crossroads to frighten passers-by. These carved vegetables were called Rommelbootzen in the local dialect of Moselle, they also existed in the Vosges mountains.
When Halloween "fashion" arrived in France, some people decided it was the right time to bring back to life the celebration of Rommelbootzen, especially in Freistroff in Moselle. It is a good opportunity to have a good time before days are cold and dark.
As I parked my car on the side of the castle of Lunéville and used the stairs in the wing, I didn't see it at first. I only discovered it when I arrived at the end of the pumpkin exhibition, near the gate.
People growing all sorts of cucurbitaceae have used them to create a character in the manner of Arcimboldo (He lived in the 16th century and is known because of his paintings, portraits using fruit and vegetables. He is one famous painters of the Italian Renaissance).
The character in Lunéville looked quite funny, a sort of colourful little man children enjoyed to look at and to comment about. They were all coming to see it. A sign on the left reminded us about the Italian artist by playing on words, "Art-Cime-Bol-D'Eau".
Arcimboldo was welcoming people and inviting them to walk around and buy pumpkins and other vegetables. And it worked.
Six o'clock, Saturday morning, perfect time to stay in bed when it is still dark. Suddenly, a noise in the bathroom ! Who is up ? Nothing is planned so early.
So, after calling and getting no answer, I got up and found nobody around ! I noticed the bath mat was at the bottom of the bath, it had slipped from the side. Maybe.
Back to bed. Five minutes later, noise again. This time I didn't call. I went to the bathroom, it was still noisy. Have I missed a mouse in the bath ? No, nothing, but I realized that, in fact, the noise came from the attic.
Back to the bedroom. "There is something moving in the attic." "Yes." The answer means I'd better deal with the problem alone. Torch in hand I went up there. Nothing on the floor, nothing near the chimney and, suddenly, on the wall near the roof, two green eyes ! We observed each other. I decided it was not a cat and moved a bit. The eyes slowly disappeared behind the wall.
No way in going back to bed. I looked on internet : green eyes in the dark. Answer : nocturnal animal. I think it must be a dormouse, not aggressive but noisy and causing damages, but so cute !
BUT I had forgotten, Halloween is coming ! Could it be one of these frightening spirits wandering, exploring the area before raging ? One with green eyes. I'd better be careful before going to the attic, at least till the beginning of November. You never know !