When Pélage II was carried off by the plague on February 8, 590, Grégoire was elected Pope. Rome was ravaged by the plague and threatened by famine and flood, so Grégoire organised prayers and processions to boost morale.

Traditional Chinese Medicinal practitioners have long revered the bark, leaves and flowers for its health benefits and yet there is little modern research on this tree which was also used by the ancient Mayans for trauma injuries and burns.

This French Christmas character, the ‘whipping father’, said to accompany Santa on his rounds on 6th December, is fortunately no longer heard of much in French tradition.

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