For thirty days this year and every year The Fountain in the Forest synchs up with the actual French Republican Calendar, which features in the novel. Conversion between the Republican and Gregorian Calendars is imprecise, but by common reckoning today’s date Wednesday 11 March 2020 converts to Duodi 22 Ventôse CCXXVIII in the Revolutionary Calendar. Factoring in Fabre d’Eglantine’s system of everyday rural imagery, 22 Ventôse 228 and Chapter 10 of the novel are dedicated to parsley.

A good way to celebrate the revolutionary day of parsley in a timely fashion might be to grow your own.

In Chapter 10 of the novel, Detective Sergeant Rex King dines on a boil-in-the-bag cod in parsley sauce. Alternatively, you could do worse than get hold of a big bunch of fresh parsley and make pasta with parsley and anchovy sauce. There are plenty of variations of this recipe, but the key ingredients are linguine, a tin of anchovies and the oil they come in, onion, garlic, a big bunch of parlsey, and a ladle-full of the pasta water. (You can vary this to your own taste with a couple of chopped, fresh tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon of dried red chillies, or a sprinkling of capers.) Eat with or without parmesan. Here’s a similar recipe to give the rough idea.


Buy The Fountain in the Forest from the Waterstones site, to ‘click and collect’ from your local branch