The 2017 comedy wildlife photography awards

Out of 3,500 entries from across the world, this year’s funny winners include a laughing dormouse, a shocked seal, and bears caught in the act

Turtle Rinsing in London

It’s a little known fact that every turtle that swims up the River Thames past Tower Bridge into the Pool of London becomes the property and responsibility of the monarch. This rule is part of the Common Law of England and dates back to the time of Queen Matilda in the 12th Century. The RoyalContinue reading “Turtle Rinsing in London”

Skipping around the windmill

The concept of the Village Idiot is a long-held tradition that was refined to its highest degree in rural Somerset in the 1300s. At that time the position of Village Idiot was an official job title and had a salary, though it was paid in acorns. Both men and women could apply for the roleContinue reading “Skipping around the windmill”

Walking the Weasel

According to the Lindisfarne Chronicles, “Walking the Ways All” was an annual tradition in all Anglo-Saxon towns. The third Thursday in July was set aside for the townsfolk to walk along the common pathways and re-establish their right to frequent these paths. According to the English Common Law, if this annual reclamation wasn’t performed theseContinue reading “Walking the Weasel”

Mongol Vegetable Cutting – Kazan, Russia

This is an excerpt from the book Sports the Olympics Forgot The first contest in 1263 was held amongst the citizens of Kazan. In turn, each contestant had to ride up to the table on their own horse and slice ten beetroot and ten potatoes in half making sure that their steed was always moving inContinue reading “Mongol Vegetable Cutting – Kazan, Russia”

Playing Card Festival at Willoughby Waterless

Playing cards have played an important role in people’s lives for centuries. The Playing Card Festival has been held annually since 1682 to celebrate all the non-gambling uses that playing cards can be used for. It all began when the wife of local gambler Ralph Meadows decided that she would remove all gambling temptation fromContinue reading “Playing Card Festival at Willoughby Waterless”

Biscuit Rolling

An extract from the book 40 Humourous British Traditions In the UK there are many contests involving the humble biscuit, ranging from building competitions to throwing events. However, in Barnsley the biscuits are just rolled for fun, so that in the words of the original organizer Rufus Moxon, “the biscuit is conserved in its entiretyContinue reading “Biscuit Rolling”

St Andrews Seed Sessions

An extract from the book 40 Humourous British Traditions Most people think nothing of mundane activities such as spitting out a seed, flicking a discarded pip from a trouser leg, or squeezing a cherry stone between your fingers until it scoots into the distance. However in St Andrews in Fife these activities are celebrated inContinue reading “St Andrews Seed Sessions”

Australia Day

An extract from the book 40 Humourous British Traditions The Northampton sheep thief, George Bellamy, was the first person to ever return from Australia after escaping from the penal colony in 1788. Despite his claims to have swum back, it’s thought that he stowed away on a Dutch East India slave ship from Indonesia toContinue reading “Australia Day”

Kite Racing

An extract from the book 40 Humourous British Traditions Kites have been popular in Suffolk since their introduction into England in the 19th Century. In 1873, Oliver Holmes was flying his kite near Aldeburgh when the wind started to blow really hard – Oliver had difficulty holding on to his kite and thought that runningContinue reading “Kite Racing”