More Easter memories from the Choc Lit Authors:-
Juliet – RABBIT LOVE – There have been a number of rabbits in my life, most of them fictional. After having three real ones, courtesy of my children (guess who had to do most of the looking after?), the rabbit I love most is definitely to be found between the covers of a book. I don’t mean Beatrix Potter’s creations, although I do have a soft spot for naughty Peter, Benjamin Bunny, Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail.
Instead, my favourite rabbit books are the Little Grey Rabbit series by Alison Uttley, about a compelling ménage à trois of Little Grey Rabbit, Hare and Squirrel (red variety, of course). LGR was the mother figure with obsessive compulsive disorder (always cleaning and tidying), Hare was the stereotypical bad boy (he stole an Easter egg!) and I can’t remember much about Squirrel. Who’s the love of your rabbit life?
Liz – Thinking about Easter, the first thing that came to my mind was this – my husband and I decided to spend Easter in Italy one year, and we went to Cortona for the Easter weekend. In the evening, we strolled into the central piazza and found that people were taking their seats for an opera to be performed on a stage that had been constructed at one end of the piazza. We bought a ticket and we, too, went and sat in one of the rows of wooden chairs that faced the stage. The opera turned out to be the wonderful Cavalleria Rusticana, by Mascagni, a one act opera set in a 19th century Sicilian village on Easter morning. I was thrilled as it contains one of my all-time favourite choral pieces, The Easter Hymn. This is one of the most strirring and most moving pieces of music, and if you don’t know it, you have a treat ahead of you if you decide to listen to it.
Just imagine that Easter evening - sitting beneath a slowly darkening sky that was filling with stars, in a piazza lit solely by the lights from the stage, listening to the voices of the Sicilian villagers, along with the seduced Santuzzi, rise to a crescendo in one of the most beautiful melodies ever written. That was an Easter to remember.
Henri - As children my sister and I were often given a painted cardboard egg for Easter. Inside were small sugar-coated or foil-wrapped chocolate eggs, and always a little fluffy chick too. After a while we had quite a collection of chicks, some of them very elaborate with their own nests, and we’d spend Easter playing with the chicks (which all had names), making houses for them out of empty cereal boxes and generally allowing our imagination free rein. My favourite scenario was Chickerella who went to the party in her borrowed feathers, despite the Evil Step-Hen forbidding it. Now, what does that remind me of…?
Jane – We’ve owned many rabbits over the years, most made their escape in a precipitous manner, treating our garden like a prison camp out of which they couldn’t dig their way fast enough. My son, now nearly eighteen, is repeatedly teased by his sisters about his ‘duelling scar’, where he was actually attacked by a rabbit when he was about four. So, as you can see, I have an uneasy relationship with the Easter Bunny. But not so the Easter Hare, the origin for the Easter Bunny stories; despite their being rare elsewhere in the country, here in Yorkshire you can’t go for a run without tripping over half a dozen of the berserk, spring-loaded things. I have a terrific fondness for them, mad eyes, bonkers boxing matches and all. However, when it comes to rabbits … only the Rampant kind will ever enter my house again …
Christina – In Sweden they have some very strange traditions for Easter, probably of pagan origin, but who knows? My favourite one was dressing up as a witch on what’s called “Skärtorsdagen” (Thursday before Easter) and going out to wish people Happy Easter in the hope they’d give us money or sweets as a reward (almost like Trick-or-Treating for Hallowe’en). My mum would let me borrow one of her skirts so it reached all the way to the ground (anchored by a belt as I was much smaller obviously), then tie a scarf round my head the way old ladies did. I was given a broom to hold, because Swedish witches apparently fly off on their brooms that night to congregate somewhere, and then my dad painted my face. Using watercolours (there were no face paints back then) he gave me horrible wrinkles and transformed me into an ugly crone. The paintbrush tickled as he worked and when the paint dried, my face felt funny, but I loved looking in the mirror afterwards. I was a true work of art! (And getting money or sweeties was of course a bonus).
Once again, HAPPY EASTER from all of us!
(And please come back tomorrow for the unveiling of a new Choc Lit novel …)