French Origins of April Fools Day*
Although the origins of April Fools is obscure and debated, the most widely accepted explanation actually credits the “holiday” as starting in France. The most popular theory about the origin of April Fool’s Day involves the French calendar reform of the sixteenth century.
The theory goes like this: In 1564 King Charles XIV of France reformed the calendar, moving the start of the year from the end of March to January 1. However, in a time without trains, a reliable post system or the internet, news often traveled slow and the uneducated, lower class people in rural France were the last to hear of and accept the new calendar. Those who failed to keep up with the change or who stubbornly clung to the old calendar system and continued to celebrate the New Year during the week that fell between March 25th and April 1st, had jokes played on them. Pranksters would surreptitiously stick paper fish to their backs. The victims of this prank were thus called Poisson d’Avril, or April Fish—which, to this day, remains the French term for April Fools—and so the tradition was born.
enough with that… here’s one of my favourite places.
off camera to my right and down the slope there’s a gorgeous wee stream with plenty of lovely little brown trout surrounded by all sorts of flowers and bees, caddis, ticks (ughhh) and at least two local roe deer.
behind me there’s la Montagne Noire, a quick 15min. drive from home and escape from civilisation with a lot more of the same but everywhere’s a little bit different, just enough to make each area worth visiting over and over again over the different seasons.
straight ahead across the valley, a more ‘serious’ mountain range, the Pyrenees, the natural border that separates France from Spain. the other playground, the one that would take several lifetimes to discover without seeing all of it.
was a lot more interesting than what was inside.
last time i visited the small town was about three lives ago, not having noticed neither the shop nor the little dust-riddled sign in the window stating fly fishing and tying tackle until today.
i hadn’t been planning on doing any shopping but you know, a fly shop is a fly shop and… ya just can’t walk by pretending you’re not hopelessly addicted and always seem to need something you probably already own but forgot about, and, and, and, of course, creaked the old door open, walked in, said bonjour and enquired about the fishy stuff.
’round the back’ grunted the old man.
round the back went this guy only to find what has become the norm in any fly shops within at least a three (perhaps five ?) hour drive from home: mounds of dust on really-really old supplies that where pretty much crappy low-end fluff when they where new ten, twenty, thirty years ago but hey, that’s more than fine.
no expectations means no hurt feelings. in a sense it was like visiting an abandoned museum and i got to breathe in some really nice old-world dust. for free. what a great find.
didn’t originally plan on going geek today but a little research on what this visual effect might be called shows that “The stroboscopic effect is a visual phenomenon caused by aliasing that occurs when continuous motion is represented by a series of short or instantaneous samples. It occurs when the view of a moving object is represented by a series of short samples as distinct from a continuous view, and the moving object is in rotational or other cyclic motion at a rate close to the sampling rate.”
in other words, like dancers at a disco, the subject should be moving in one way or another for us to get the out-of-sync effect whereas the gif above and others i’ve shared here of similar concept; several otherwise static images from a single original photo edited differently and giffed as one seem stroboscopic but aren’t since nothing is actually moving. there are three images in this gif, the colour original, a HDR filter colour version and a black and white version. what appears to be moving is just the eye/mind’s out-of-sync reaction to the different edits.
now, stroboscopic doesn’t have an antonym and i’m not even sure the term would apply anyhow so all i’m left with is a throbbing headache from researching all this whilst this damned landscape of a Pyrenean valley i photographed yesterday keeps on blinking… and i’ll have to leave the title at that. i still hope you like the image, even if it hurts.
at around 2500 metres near the French/Andorran border is where one of my favorite playgrounds, the Ariège river starts its journey.
up here its just a maze of fishless, tiny, seemingly insignificant rivulets racing downhill but most great things start off small and get greater and greater until they eventually turn into something else. ya gotta start somewhere and I couldn’t think of a nicer place to be born.
photographed this afternoon in a place i love to go to think about nothing in particular and even if that nothing always has some elements of fly fishing, today’s post doesn’t have much to with fishing but since i’m always interested in seeing where other people live i thought i’d start doing the same. this area is the french département named Aude. like all other départements in France its named after the major river that runs through it.
starting off in the Pyrenées mountains somewhere near the highest peak visible in the background, it does what rivers are supposed to do; give us peace, fill our ears with nice gurgly sounds and of course give birth and provide life to all sorts of lovely creatures but today’s little trip was about taking in the sky, something that’s a lot harder to do riverside, specially when that riverside is mostly at the bottom of often steep canyons.
dry excursions like this are a little like knowing you have several bars of good chocolate in the cupboard while not giving in to the natural reaction of reaching for them. happy in the knowledge that they’re impatiently waiting to be nibbled, they’ll remain untouched until the calling calls.
they’re the opposite of short cuts.
i know that doesn’t make a lot of sense. going the longer way from point A to B isn’t cutting anything, this greatly increases travel expenses and the term doesn’t really exist anyhow but it somehow sounds appropriate.
i’ve always had this fantasy of pushing this long-cutting to the extreme by going all the way around the globe to reach point B.
i guess i’ll have to start saving up to get a decent camper vehicle and a lot of memory cards for the cameras. but then, if i do, i guess i won’t really be aiming to come back to point B…
the unrecognizable shape in the middle is two female mayflies doing their egg-laying dance. what’s surrounding them is a beautiful Pyrenean stream.
Stonefly exoskeletons (order: Plecoptera) found near a french Pyrenean river. it’s hard for me to pinpoint exactly but i believe them to be of the Leuctra ariega species even if they seem to be a bit too big for that particular bug.
whatever they are they’re beautiful and i know the trouts like them too…