Archive for February, 2014

Who Wrote the First Valentine’s Day Poem?

Friday, February 14th, 2014

The celebration of Valentine’s Day is often seen as a modern institution, even if the roots of the holiday go back to Late Antiquity and the figures of St. Valentine of Rome and St. Valentine of Terni. It’s difficult to separate our view of February 14th from the more recent phenomenon of greeting cards, comical cupids, and specialty treats from candy companies.

However, not only are some of these traditions older than we might think (mass-produced Valentine’s Day cards were an enormous success in early 19th-century England), but the earliest Valentine’s Day love poem comes from none other than the first great English author, Geoffrey Chaucer, who wrote in the second half of the 14th-century.

Chaucer’s most famous work is The Canterbury Tales, an enormous collection of linked stories in poetry and prose. But his 700-line poem “Parlement of Foules” has the special distinction of being the first surviving record of a connection between Valentine’s Day and romantic love. Chaucer probably composed the poem in 1381–82. At the time, he was a member of the court of King Richard II, holding an important bureaucratic position in London. The date suggests that Chaucer wrote “Parelment of Foules” to honor the first anniversary of the engagement of the English king to Princess Anne of Bohemia.

The poem follows the dream of the narrator, where he walks through Venus’s temple and discovers a meeting of birds where they all choose their mates. This is where the mention of St. Valentine’s Day appears (English modernized):

For this was on St. Valentine’s Day,                                                                         

When every bird cometh there to choose his mate.                                                                  

The poem also contains a familiar Valentine’s image, Cupid with his arrows:

Under a tree, beside a well, I saw

Cupid our lord his arrows forge and file;                                                             

And at his feet his bow already lay.

When Chaucer mentions St. Valentine’s Day, is he referring specifically to February 14th? Late winter isn’t a time when birds in England would mate. However, the date for the start of spring—when some birds would have started nesting in England—was on February 23rd in the calendars of the time, certainly close enough for Chaucer to take poetic license and nudge it a bit to match with Valentine’s Day.

Love birds remain a popular symbol of Valentine’s Day even now, and for this we can thank Chaucer. In fact, he may very well have invented the link between love and Valentine’s Day, although we will probably never know for certain.

Whoever started these traditions, all of us here at Steve Hoskins Air Conditioning hope you have a wonderful February 14th!

What to Do When Your Heat Pump Won’t Start Up

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

Here in Rockledge, heat pumps are a popular and efficient means of keeping your home warm. It uses the same principles as air conditioning to both heat your house in the winter and cool it in the summer, using less energy than other heating systems to do the same job. Heat pumps are particularly well-suited to Florida because their efficiency tends to drop during very cold temperatures, and while we have our share of chilly nights, our winters are very mild compared to cities further north.

If you have a heat pump and it won’t start, you probably need to call in a repair technician immediately. Before you do so, however, you can take a few steps to ensure that there actually is a problem with the unit.

Here’s what to do when your heat pump won’t start up:

First, check your breaker box to see if the circuit breaker powering the heat pump has been tripped. If it has, reset it and turn the heat pump on again. In some cases, the breaker could be triggered by an outside factor, such as a lightning strike or a more general overload within the household.  In those cases, the problem isn’t with the heat pump and resetting the breaker should restore it to full capacity. On the other hand, if the breaker gets triggered again, then the problem likely lies somewhere within the heat pump and you should call in a technician to look at it.

Similarly, some heat pumps contain individual parts (such as the fan motor and compressor motor) that will automatically shut off power to the unit when problems are detected. For instance, an overloaded motor will turn off rather than burning out and causing damage to other nearby components. If you get it to start up and the component shuts down a second time, it’s time to call a repair service.

Thankfully in Rockledge, heat pump repair services can be provided by the experts at Steve Hoskins Air Conditioning. We know what to do when your heat pump won’t start up, and we will perform all our repairs with courtesy and care. Call us today to make an appointment!