Saturday, 26 December 2009

On the feast of Stephen

Franz and I like to blow away the cobwebs on Boxing Day. Then we like to go outside and get some fresh air.

But why is it called Boxing Day? Some folk will tell you that it is to do with church poor boxes or even the boxes left over after the Christmas presents have been unwrapped. But the truth lies elsewhere.

The name is a hangover from pagan days when, a few days after the winter solstice - on a day roughly corresponding to St Stephen's Day - the children of the village would engage in a free-for-all bout of bare-knuckle boxing. This could last several hours depending on the conditions and the ages of the combatants. The last child standing would receive an orange.

This fine old tradition was a feature of English village life until just a few years ago when the so-called government decided to ban it. Yet another example of how this nanny state simply does not understand what makes the English countryside tick.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Chronic ennui

I must apologise for not keeping this 'blog' up to date. I am afraid I have not been well of late. Franz was forced to contact our local doctor - Dr Trewain. He reluctantly agreed to come, despite the fact that he had previously said that he would never set foot in this house again. Come to think of it - he did not 'say' these words, so much as scream them like a girl as he ran out of the garden gate.

The good doctor diagnosed chronic ennui.

Dr Trewain's family are originally from Cornwall, but they have been doctors here for generations. His great-grandfather actually appears in one of Uncle Montague's Tales of Terror. The story is called Offerings and concerns a young boy - the son of the then vicar (the rectory is shown in the photograph above) - and the relationship he develops with a. . .

But I would not want to spoil the ending. I know that there are many, many, many, many, many, many, many people who have not yet read these stories and there is always a chance that you may be able to pick one up cheaply in a remainder bookshop.