Notes from West London

Another Ash Wednesday

There’s a well-known scene in the first “Home Alone” movie that has stayed with me since I first saw it in the 1990s. It’s when Kevin (played by Macaulay Culkin) is at the supermarket on his own. It includes him saying to the woman at the check-out, “Ma’am, I’m 8 years old. Do you think I would be here alone? I don’t think so.” Another line that has remained with me is just before that, with him saying, “Hold on, I’ve got a coupon for that, it was in the paper this morning”. You can see the whole sequence here, and the line about the coupon is at 0:41.

Increasingly, as this Blog develops, I find myself paraphrasing Kevin’s words: “Hold on, I’ve got a Blog Post for that”. Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, and I find that there’s already a piece about it from 2016, here (“Things to do in Lent”). The timings are slightly different but the message is the same. Two years ago Lent began on 10 February, this year it’s four days later, St Valentine’s Day. Easter Sunday this year falls on 1 April, so those of us who have given up something for the Lenten season will be not be indulging ourselves for the rest of February and the whole of March. This year, once again, Lent starts in the same week as the Chinese New Year, so Happy New Year to you all, especially those of you born in the Year of the Dog.

Last year (as noted in this piece) Lent began, symbolically, on 1 March, a whole new month and in many people’s eyes the first day of spring. As I noted last year this also happened in 1995 and 2006 and will happen again in 2028. I don’t recall Ash Wednesday falling on 14 February before and a quick look at the same spreadsheet that I set up last year for this purpose reveals that it hasn’t happened in my lifetime, or indeed since the end of World War Two. 1945 was the last time that Ash Wednesday fell on St Valentine’s Day, and most people probably had other things on their minds. Easter Sunday last fell on 1 April in 1956, but that was a leap year, so Ash Wednesday was on 15 February that year. There are a few things that I plan to give up for the next 46 days, but they do not include trivia or playing with dates and numbers.



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