Saturday, 22 November 2008

feast day of St Cecilia

Today is the feast day of Saint Cecilia, patron saint of great musicians, poets and church music. Excited though we were by the prospect of a C15th banquet we had to settle for a fine rendition of 'Hymn to St Cecilia, Op27' by Britten and a finger buffet of roast palombe and peppers. Not a bad compromise. Throughout France, villages celebrate with music, bonfires and fireworks (any excuse for a party).
Saint Cecilia is celebrated throughout the Catholic world as a friend to all. She didn't have a friendly end though. Story has it that after her capture by the prefect Turcius Almachius (great name) she was locked in an overheated sweat-house. This didn't work so it was ordered she be beheaded. After three attempts the executioner ran away. She survived a further three days before her martyrdom commenced - nice.
Once again the rain was unrelenting. Incoming reports show far colder weather on higher ground. Further inland, beyond La Rhune in the Pyrenees Atlantiques some of the ski stations opened their slopes today. There are some 37 ski stations in the French Pyrenees and we are looking forward to exploring them in the coming weeks for some pre-Christmas skiing.
We cooked up a fabulous Rick Stein recipe for prawn linguine this evening. Though we are still not being overly adventurous with the local seafood catches we have become a dab hand at peeling prawns!