Country and Western Singing

The singing of sad songs has been associated with Morecambe in Lancashire for hundreds of years. These dirges were usually sung when someone had been drowned in the dangerous waters of Morecambe Bay. These songs were sung so frequently that a competition was organized to see who could sing the saddest song of all. This contest reached its zenithContinue reading “Country and Western Singing”

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”

Mad Paddling from Hobart, Australia

This excerpt is from Sports the Olympics Forgot Hobart on the island of Tasmania is home to the greatest paddling sports event in the world. Kayakers, canoeists, and rowers from all over the world descend on Hobart in the last week of January to celebrate the sea and all those who seek to skim acrossContinue reading “Mad Paddling from Hobart, Australia”

Seven-legged racing from Exeter – Part 2

  At 8:30 a.m. the starting judge shouts to the teams, “bare ye legs.” All shaving, lubricating, and massaging of the calves must cease and the Tying Men bind the runners’ legs together using jute stripped from old sacks. The knots are very strong and won’t come apart during the race. The teams line upContinue reading “Seven-legged racing from Exeter – Part 2”

Seven-legged racing from Exeter – Part 1

The festival of seven-legged racing takes place around the cathedral in Exeter on the third Thursday after the second full moon after Ash Wednesday. The seven-legged race comprises teams of six people who race around the cathedral close in an anti-clockwise direction. The prize is won by the first team to cross the finishing lineContinue reading “Seven-legged racing from Exeter – Part 1”

Fingernail Contest in the New Forest – Part 3

There’s also the pulling fingernail contest where people have to pull large weights along just using their fingernails. The objects used include ploughs, buses and Nell Gwynn, a local cow with a reputation for being bad-tempered. A rope is tied to the object and the contestant then digs their fingernails into the rope and pullsContinue reading “Fingernail Contest in the New Forest – Part 3”

Fingernail Contest in the New Forest – Part 2

In honour of the truffle the main contest is a digging competition where people must use their bare hands to remove seven feet of soil in as short a time as possible. This contest takes place in hard ground where the initial incisions have to be made using the fingernails. Judges inspect the hands ofContinue reading “Fingernail Contest in the New Forest – Part 2”

Fingernail Contest in the New Forest – Part 1

It’s rumoured that the main reason that the Normans invaded England in 1066 was for the truffle-hunting in the New Forest. The locals didn’t need pigs to find truffles as they have always been possessed of fine long fingernails, which can quickly scrabble in the earth to find a truffle. Of course the truffles inContinue reading “Fingernail Contest in the New Forest – Part 1”

Duck Quacking Festival in Cirencester

When hunting a duck it’s a real advantage to be able to sound like a duck rather than a human being carrying a gun. This advantage will allow you to get closer to the bird  before giving it both barrels with your shotgun. This was the rationale behind the duck imitators of Cirencester, who heldContinue reading “Duck Quacking Festival in Cirencester”

The Museum of Used Candles in Frisby-on-the-Wreake

This museum has been collecting the used candles of the rich and famous for 20 years. The proprietor, Anne Smart, started the museum in 1994 after a Women’s Institute meeting where she found that all her fellow members found it difficult to throw away their used candles as these candles were like dear, old friends.Continue reading “The Museum of Used Candles in Frisby-on-the-Wreake”