Kampot literary festival hopes to revive Cambodia’s lost art of storytelling

Atmospheric Kampot is hosting the likes of Jung Chang and Madeleine Thien as it seeks to rebuild Cambodia’s literary scene and defend its freedom of speech

Marble Rolling in Carlisle

This is an excerpt from the book 40 Humourous British Traditions

In Cumberland the ability to roll a marble an exact distance is highly prized. The climax of the marble rolling season is the Carlisle Round on the last weekend of August.

The roads around the centre of the city are closed for a week before the marble rolling so that they can be swept and the distances measured. There are 10 events held on different roads, ranging from the 10-yard nudge to the half-a-mile chuck. These distances are drawn between two lines on the road.

A yellow and green line is the starting line for all the events. No part of the competitor may cross this line otherwise the starter, known as The Reiver, will call “Foul Marble” and the competitor will lose their turn and be fined five grains of barley.

The aim of the event is to roll your marble so accurately that it stops on the line at the end of the course. This line is normally eight feet long and three inches wide or ‘ye depth of a Scottish woman’s bearde” as described in the original rules of 1517.

The idea is that the competitor with a marble closest to the line at the end of the event will win the prize of a haystack. Players can knock each other’s marbles out of the way, but anyone who has a marble knocked off the line is entitled to another roll. This decision is made by the line judge or “Hadrian’s spirit level” as he’s known.

The “She Loves Me, She Loves Me not” Contest – Exmoor

This is an excerpt from the book 40 Humourous British Traditions

Fans of Lorna Doone believe that Exmoor is a romantic place and so many of them come with a dandelion and play the “she loves me, she loves me not” game – men blow the dandelion and say “she loves me” and then blow it again and say “she loves me not.” The blowing continues until no seeds are left on the dandelion – then she either loves you or she doesn’t. The same applies for the ladies.

In 1782, Amanda Barron and Elizabeth Bargeman both wanted a certain Amos Edwards to love them, so they stood side by side and played the dandelion game. Sadly, the dandelions showed that neither of them were loved by Amos, which was a relief to his wife and their four children. Thus, a contest was born.

Each contestant must bring a ready supply of dandelions that have their seeds showing. There are many rounds. The Shouting Judge shouts a number between 2 and 12 and then the Blowing Judge bids each contestant step forward in turn. This judge then shouts “dandelion be gone” and the contestant has to blow away all the seeds in the number of blows decreed by the Shouting Judge. If they achieve this, they are through to the next round. This process continues until there is only one person left who wins the Amos Love Cup.

There are separate contests for men and women. Only one person has won more than once: Eliza Bradley in 1803 and 1842.