November 25th is the feast of St Catherine. One of the students called Catherine received a text in the middle of an English lesson, saying Bonne fete. This led to a question about how you would say it in English, and suddently a huge cultural gap opens up. “Well, you don’t say it, because England isn’t a predominantly Catholic country so the saints’ days aren’t celebrated.” Silence! And then someone mentions a rhyme linked to St Catherine’s Day,
à la Sainte Catherine, tout bois prend racine….
Trees planted on 25th November take root. The implication is that trees planted on 24th or 26th November may not. We had come across this idea before but it always comes as a shock. It also explains why a friend who is giving us a walnut tree is desperate for us to have it straight away – we’re already a week late! “Make sure you have a hole dug ready” he told us. We wondered whether the date still stands when it has been such an exceptionally warm autumn. The answer is most definitely Yes.