Shrove Tuesday, famously preceding Ash Wednesday, is the last day of gluttonous delight before the fasting period of Lent in the Christian calendar. For those of us not practicing, it’s the day that supermarkets sell frying pans and bottled lemon juice at double the usual prices, and we all set our smoke alarms off.
‘Why Moomins?’ I hear you ask, and I respond simply; why not.
Of course, as with all the best traditions, the roots of pancake day lie well beyond one single religion. Different peoples and nations around the world celebrate similar holidays at similar times of the year- there’s something about this transitional point in the calendar that calls us to use up the last of the fatty winter food and empty our larders in hope of spring freshness and lighter diets. It’s the cosmic version of having one big treat before you finally start a diet.
It’s a real change of pace today- I don’t often do On This Day posts, but this one really stood out to me. Not least because it’s one of those fact-and-dates that is clinging on from my GCSE days (the exam flashbacks are looming), but because it’s startling relevant now.
The burning of the Reichstag building is a real history-mystery with dubious blame and potential cover-ups. It was a fundamental rung on Hitler’s ladder to power, and another part of the story of anti-communism in the 1930s. Today I’m going to briefly outline the event and talk about it from a modern perspective, what with the rise of fascism being a frequently trending topic on twitter. Let me know what you think about this new format, and if you like the slightly more narrative structure.
Romance novels get a bad rap, and it is entirely possible to find good, heart-warming stories that aren’t poorly written or saccharine sweet. However with Fifty Shades and its brethren being the most often donated texts to charity bookshops, you might assume that the reading public are looking for something with a bit more substance (and a bit less bite?).
Last year the QI Elves reported that one Oxfam shop had received so many copies of E. L. James’ work, that they had constructed a creepy book fort:
So here is a list of six much better books for you to check out on Valentine’s Day- and if you’ve got someone for whom you need to buy a last minute present, don’t say I haven’t given you plenty of great ideas.
No seriously, there’s a facebook event page and everything.