The Dancing Plague of July 1518

Die_Wallfahrt_der_Fallsuechtigen_nach_MeulebeeckEngraving of Hendrik Hondius portrays three women affected by the dancing plague

An engraving by Hendrik Hondius portrays a similar outbreak in the 1560s.

In July of 1518, dancing mania – a phenomenon that occurred across Europe for several centuries – hit Strasbourg, Alsace (France). Approximately four-hundred people danced themselves to exhaustion, and even to their deaths.

The plague began when a woman named Mrs Troffea began to dance in the street.

At the time, it was decided that the people could be cured with more dancing, and so musicians were hired to encourage them – which resulted in more deaths.

One modern-day theory suggest that consumption of fungi containing psychoactive chemicals (similar to LSD) was to blame. Mass hysteria has also been suggested.

The Week: 15th – 21st April

Red Autumn Leaves Autumn Colours Canberra ACT Australia Sonya Heaney 17th April 2019 Garden Blue Sky Nature

Mid-autumn in Canberra, and it’s still summer dress weather. And I saw on the news that it is snowing on the other side of the country! What is going on?

Ibis Queanbeyan Lawn Cemetery New South Wales NSW near Canberra ACT Australia Autumn Heatwave Bird Sonya Heaney 17th April 2019

A random ibis at the cemetery in Queanbeyan on Wednesday afternoon. Actually, there were quite a lot of them around – but no kangaroos for once!

The tragedy of the loss of Notre Dame in Paris

Poor Notre Dame…

Happy Easter! I also have Ukrainian Easter next week.

Happy 203rd Birthday to Charlotte Brontë

NPG 1452; Charlotte BrontÎ by George Richmond

The Mister by E.L. James. Just… no.

The Mister by E.L. James. Just... no.

Recently Reread

devil-in-spring-ravenels-book-3-by-lisa-kleypas-uk-cover

“Dutch Artists Paint Giant Bookcase On An Apartment Building Featuring Residents’ Favourite Books”

Dutch Artists Paint Giant Bookcase On An Apartment Building Featuring Residents’ Favourite Books

Love & Desire at the National Gallery

John William Waterhouse The Lady of Shalott 1888

107 Years Ago: Titanic survivors rescued by the Carpathia

153177-004-E74B054C Survivors of the sinking of the RMS Titanic being helped abord the RMS Carpathia 15th April 1912

Notre Dame…

I’m sure everyone has seen the footage of Notre Dame in Paris on fire.

I have spent a lot of time in Paris – much of that time on my own. I used to walk to Notre Dame on many days, and simply sit in the cathedral for a while, occasionally attending a service, even though I’m not religious.

I thought it was terrible when far-right “activists” would go in there and shoot themselves at the altar to protest abortion or whatever. I thought that was as bad as it would get.

There was scaffolding on the part of the building that caught fire. Restoration work is so, so dangerous for historic buildings. Something very similar happened in Belfast when I was there last year.

On this day: Bastille Day during a war

In Times Gone By...

The commune of Courseulles-sur-Mer in Normandy, France was liberated early after the D-Day landings in 1944. It is believed to be the first town in the region to be freed.

On the 14th of July the same year, a Bastille Day service was held, with locals as well as Allied troops taking part.

British and American troops with locals at the ceremony at the War Memorial. X

Bastille_Day_in_Courseulles,_Normandy,_14_July_1944_TR2000French, British and American troops join with local inhabitants of Courseulles-sur-Mer in the ceremony at the War Memorial

A brother and sister lay flowers. X

Bastille_Day_in_Courseulles,_Normandy,_14_July_1944_TR2003

A local fireman holds the French Tricolour. X

Bastille_Day_in_Courseulles,_Normandy,_14_July_1944_TR2001A local fireman holding the French Tricolour during the ceremony at the War Memorial to celebrate Bastille Day. Courseulles was

A British marine (left), who played the Last Post, stands with local children who wait to lay flowers at the service. X

Bastille_Day_in_Courseulles,_Normandy,_14_July_1944_TR2006

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Bastille Day

feu d'artifice du 14 juillet 2014 sur le sites de la Tour Eiffel

I’ve been trying hard to come up with some French-themed reads to recommend for Bastille Day, and then realised: I can hardly think of any! Many authors make liberal use of English, Italian, Spanish etc. characters and skip over France.

The Counterfeit Mistress by Madeline Hunter

the-most-dangerous-duke-in-london-decadent-dukes-society-1-by-madeline-hunter

After coming up with books such as The Counterfeit Mistress and The Most Dangerous Duke in London, where there’s a French character returning to England, but not a great deal of action in France, I’ve decided I’ll have to look harder!

I’ve spent one Bastille Day in Paris (in 2007). Hopefully everyone stays safe this year, after the Nice truck terror attack that killed dozens at the Bastille Day celebration last year.

Travel Book Charm Necklaces

A few hours ago we booked all the flights for our return trip to Ukraine in a few months.

We’re travelling via Hungary and Poland (spending time in both countries), and then we went and threw in a completely random (but always welcome!) week or so in Paris too. It’s been years since I’ve been to Paris, and it’s one of my favourite places in the world!

So, in honour of this upcoming trip, here are some book charm souvenir necklaces for various places I’ll be visiting soon. By Thistle & Bess.

Paris

Hungary

Krakow