Friday, 13 February 2009


“Ah me! Love can not be cured by herbs.” – Ovid

On Valentine’s Eve, lots were drawn for Valentines in Northern England and Southern Scotland. Equal numbers of maids and bachelors assembled together and each wrote their name on a slip of paper. The girls names were put into one bag, the boys in another. Each boy then draws from the girls’ bag and each girl from the boys’ bag. At the end of this, there is a choice between two Valentines; generally one prefers the name one draws to the one that has drawn them. However, if the same names are drawn by a couple, then surely they will marry.

Alternative means of prognosticating a potential mate is to write each candidate’s name on a slip of paper and roll each slip of paper in a little ball of clay. Put the clay balls in a basin and pour water on them. The first to rise to the surface will contain the name of your Valentine.

And what to drink on such a night of fun while the wild weather rages outside?

4 cupfuls dry claret
2 sticks of cinammon
12 cloves
3 heaped tablespoonfuls caster sugar
1 cupful of brandy
pared peel of one lemon; freshly ground nutmeg

Heat the claret slowly and stir in the cinammon, cloves, sugar, brandy and lemon peel. Stir until almost boiling (do not boil!). Pour into warmed pewter mugs and dust with nutmeg.

Enjoy your weekend!

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