Marie’s Feburary Article


February, 2023

How did you cope with the cold weather we had last month?  It certainly was the coldest I can remember for many years, but we survived and the nights are getting just a little lighter and we can look forward to Spring.

Years ago the people of Dent in the Pennines found they could make a living from knitting.  It meant a lot of hard work, knitting by day and far into the night.  In fine weather they sat knitting on their doorsteps, or in groups on the flat tombstones in the churchyard.  In winter they sat around the fire, knitting to the rhythm of their special songs.  They knitted on the way to market and they knitted on their way to church and even during the service.  The Parson didn’t mind.  I would have been in my element among these knitters, as I love knitting.

When I read about the first English lottery, I thought I had read it wrong because it was held thanks to Elizabeth the 1st, but it was right and the date was 11th January 1569.  The aim was to secure funds by raising taxes to pay for shipbuilding, repairing the country’s coastal defences and incentives for clemency for some crimes.  However, only 10% of the 400,00 tickets were sold, so it didn’t last very long.

Where does “on the breadline” come from?  Well in the 1870’s an Austrian baker, Louis Fleischmann emigrated to America and made his fortune with packaged yeast.  His Vienna Model Bakery was probably the first chain restaurant in America.  Fleischmann started to hand out unsold bread at midnight to those in need; distributing up to 500 loaves each night with a long line forming on Broadway, so his breadline could be seen as the precursor to our food banks.

The trees of silver, the grasses too, everywhere white with heavenly hue. Dotted with modules of ice like fine lace, beauteous to eye but cold to face. This is the scene of February we face at morn, but sunshine later to light the dawn.

Marie Cove