Sunday, April 01, 2012

No foolin'

"There is debate over the origins of April Fools Day with some linking it to the change of calendars in the sixteenth century.  The change in France was made by King Charles XIV in 1564, but with the speed of communications slow, not everyone knew about the change. The new calendar moved the start of the New Year from the first of April to the first of January.  The theory goes that along with those that did not know about the change other people refused to accept the new calendar and continued to celebrate the New Year on the first of April.  The reformists using the new calendar called these people April Fools and played tricks on them.

In France, the day is known as Poisson d’Avril or 'April fish'.  Unsuspecting victims have a paper fish stuck to their back and when they eventually discover it they are called Poisson d’Avril."

In 1971 was I searching for some kind of symbolic significance when decided that the first of April would be the date of my 'expatriation' from Great Britain after a decade in London?

Soon after arriving in Paris I found the postcard at the flea market. For years I have wanted to post it on the blog on the right date. Even after settling once again in Germany in 2010 after my Sandlands years the postcard remained elusive... it kept on getting lost among my hoarded printed ephemera. But this year I found it and finally scanned it in.

It is pretty. But holding in my hand my fingers find that the entire surface has the feel of roughly woven fabric. The flowers and the contours simulating the folds of an envelope are deeply embossed. The card was certainly made for the French, but on the reverse side there is a legend in English. It reads 'printed in Germany'. How fitting!

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