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Happy April Fools Day from France

Eclairs with fish transfers - a French April Fools joke!

In France, it’s not called April Fool’s Day but April Fish Day though they still love an April Fool’s joke here – hence the top photo – fish flavoured éclairs? No, they’re not really fish flavoured, it’s a trick!

But why do they call it April Fish Day you might wonder. April Fool’s Day is said to originate from the 16th century when King Charles IX changed New Year’s Day from 1st April in France, to 1st January – but not everyone got the message and some people continued to celebrate on the 1st April – the fools!

But why April fish Day? It’s said that when New Year’s Day was in April it was customary to dress up and celebrate, and gifts of fish were popular! Now, one of the favourite pranks on April Fool’s Day in France is to stick a paper fish on someone’s back, hope they don’t notice and walk around like that all day! One of my neighbours came to our house with his family one April 1st with a fish on his back and his kids thought it was wonderfully funny. Of course we kept the secret and waved him and his kids and his fish off at the end of the visit!

Talking of visits, Charlie the hedgehog has left us… We found him, very young, starving and disoriented at the end of last year and we took him in. We kept him in the house, warm, fed and watered, and watched him grow from a skinny little thing to a rather large, very prickly hedgehog! This week, with the weather warmed up and all the other hedgehogs in our garden clearly being very active, we put his little home outside next to where we feed all the hedgehogs. I sat waiting for hours to wave him off, but he didn’t move so I eventually gave up watching and went to bed. I was half convinced he loved it so much at the hotel I appear to be running for rescued wildlife that he would be there when I got up. But no, he’s gone, leaving me with one final mess to clear up!

Doris the rescue dove will also move out this weekend, she has an injured wing, but is getting stronger, so into the chicken infirmary at the bottom of the garden for her! Bread Man, who delivers bread to my village each week, says that no doubt there is another animal with my name on, waiting to fill the vacant spaces, maybe a deer or a wild pig – that made him laugh out loud at the thought, he would love to be sharing that gossip on his round.

In the next few weeks, I begin my travels around France, I’ll be starting off in Burgundy and make my way to Marseille by train, stopping off at several beautiful towns en route for gourmet adventures and to discover secret places! Come with me on Instagram where I’ll share photos and videos as I go…

Bisous from my little corner of France,

ps new podcast out – welcome to cheese land – weird, stinky and ‘dangerous’ fromages – you don’t need to sign up for an app to hear, just click the link to play!

Janine Marsh is Author of My Good Life in France: In Pursuit of the Rural Dream,  My Four Seasons in France: A Year of the Good Life and Toujours la France: Living the Dream in Rural France all available as ebook, print & audio, on Amazon everywhere & all good bookshops online.

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