Carnival actually dates back to the ancient Greek spring festival in honour of Dionysus, the god of wine. It was a massive binge – a celebration of excess, and later the church, unable to suppress it, wisely adapted it instead to its own traditions.

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.

Markets in the Pyrénées-Orientales. What you think of these markets?. Which ones have you been to? Was it good? Not so exciting? Are there other things going on? Have we got the days right?
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The immensely likeable monk at the Ermitage de Domanova, Frère Gérard, welcomes visitors with open arms. Within minutes of biting into our baguette, he not only ambled over to say hello, but joined us for a glass of vin doux. Noisette, his guard-cat (see inset), meowed a greeting from his perch on the first floor window sill.

The small town of Toulouges was chosen by the church in 1027 for the signing of the ‘Truce of God’ (Treuga Dei), an attempt to limit violence in a feudal society where the smallest disputes between lords and knights, and even whole counties were regularly settled by war and violence.

Here in the Pyrénées Orientales CSF have our very own get-together, lunch preceded by a short meeting, a chance to meet up with others involved with CSF.