Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Today is Shrove Tuesday, one of the few Christian religious festivals still upheld in the 21st Century.

I am in favour of following quirky British traditions such as that one where loads of blokes congregate in a village to play football (a giant free for all, in essence) or decide to throw themselves down a hill, fracturing several bones apiece in the process. Or, if you are American, that thing with the groundhog.

In Britain, Shrove Tuesday is known among children as Pancake Day. Or, on a personal note, as a child it was known as a day when I had to walk around on eggshells (often literally). Frying pancakes might seem relatively easy for most people, but not my mother. She is from a long line of women who can't cook (and I am loyally upholding this particular tradition). She also had a tendency to have really BLACK moods. One year I remember my father emerging from the kitchen, saying in hushed tones "don't say anything to your mother about the pancakes. It's all gone wrong. Just eat it all up or she'll go MAD". She stormed into the room with dishes full of what looked like burnt scrambled egg, which I then had to force myself to eat as she stormed out again to do the washing up, with lots of clattering sounds emanating from the kitchen. I think she sulked silently for two days afterwards (not a personal best record for her. Once she managed to give me the silent treatment for a fortnight but that's another story).

Anyway, Shrove Tuesday is also the day that the religious fasting/feasting tradition is upheld. It is officially the day that women give up the diets they started after the Christmas period.

Thank God. In offices up and down the country women have been rattling on about how they only lost half a pound at Weightwatchers last night and it's really difficult after the first couple of weeks. Oh, and those women who have almost pornographic conversations about how they prepared spaghetti with steamed haddock and no sauce last night and IT WAS REALLY DELICIOUS (yeah, right). They are Girls With A One Track Mind, and like the blogger of the same name, like to describe what they put in their mouths in great detail ...

Oh, and they are really really going to get into That Pair Of Jeans! Come on love! They are snow washed three quarter length jeans with a high waist, a side fastening and little zips on the legs! You haven't worn them since Jimmy The Hoover were in the charts and you used to use Rimmel's Coral In Gold lipstick and me and my sullen indie mates bitchily called you Sharon White Shoe behind your back!

Anyway, a lot of men find Dawn French very attractive!!! Apparently.

Betty. I hate to phraphase Vics here, but in all seriousness:
does someone need a hug?
Who gives a shitterybloodyblollocks about Pancake Day? Well actually my children do, but, you know....
I look forward to hearing why your mother didn't talk to you for two weeks. Mine didn't for several years. And now look at us.
I bow down to your country’s quirky traditions. Canada can’t hold a candle to your cheese rolling, your black pudding throwing, and your bog snorkelling. Oh wait. That last one’s Welsh. Here in Canada we try our best with a regatta in which contestants paddle a giant, hollowed-out pumpkin 500 metres across a lake.
Caroline - you know, I'm still not sure what my mother fell out with me for. I plucked up the courage to ask her after a couple of weeks and she said "I fell out with your dad and it's all YOUR fault". Mind you, I was about 10 so I probably forgot what it was after a fortnight anyway ...

MJ - A few years back I was stuck in a car in a massive tailback on a road in the Lake District because a village was holding its annual traditional duck race. How do you race ducks? Are they trained? Is there any sort of bait involved?
Betty, I can't tell you what they use as bait for racing ducks in the Lake District but here in Canada racing ducks need only see a little plastic pool of water at the end of a slide to get excited. First one down the slide and into the pool's the winner. On the other hand, they lure racing pigs here with miniature donuts. The mini donuts also work as a lure for me, by the way.
"Anyway, a lot of men find Dawn French very attractive!!! Apparently".

I was always partial to Sharon White Shoe myself......
MJ - right, I'm up for circuit training a team of mallards on the River Cray. They'll be unbeatable ...

Psychbloke - Ya Mo B There.
Pancakes are a pain in the arse. I buy them in packets, microwave the bastards, and smother them in cream, syrup, weevils..etc.

Bob's yer uncle.
Bollocks, missed it again. That's three years running I haven't had a bloody pancake.
Haven't eaten a pancake for years and years. Unfortunately being middle aged means that if I eat more than one meal a week then don't run a marathon immediately afterwards I will turn into a big amorphous blob.
Bets: thanks for your comment on my site. Can't get on it at the moment as it is changing servers/users/stuff...
ooh, jimmy the hoover.

*wanders off humming "tantalise me"*
Your Mum sounds great. Well, not great for you as a child, but still, all hail to moody women who can't cook!
One minute you're telling us that loads of men fancy Dawn French, and the next you're telling us you daren't eat pancakes. Go for it Bettster - it's a win win situation.
Sounds just like my mum in terms of pancake skills. Thank goodness for the Jif lemon and half bag of sugar that took the taste away. Still it’s true that ‘hope triumphs over experience’ cos every year I still used to look forward to pancake day.
Caroline - it says on your site that you are undergoing minor surgery. Hope you don't end up with the MRSA bug.

Surly Girl - I was about 19. I was probably going through my Edwardian boots and anything long, dark and shapeless from Miss Selfridge phase, so Jimmy The Hoover wouldn't have been able to ahem express my inner turmoil.

Patroclus - my mum was generally pretty great actually, despite the moods. I think she would've made a great bad tempered old woman but I won't go on because it would be horribly mawkish.

Tom 909 - I said the thing about Dawn French in a tongue in cheek way. I wouldn't like to be that size which is obviously very shallow of me, and, er, I defend any other woman's right to look that way if they want to.

*digs self out of hole with big shovel. Actually, that uses up quite a lot of calories, doesn't it?*

Kaz - there isn't much to pancakes really, is there? They always make you feel queasy afterwards as well.
I'm not much of a pancake eater Betty. I guess that's good considering they are shite for the figure :-)

I like hearing about the traditions you guys have for this day.... And your Mom of course.
Kyahgirl - personally speaking, I'm all for other people doing pancake races, cheese rolling, having hundred a side football games and so on as long as I don't have to get involved. My idea of a traditional celebration has to involve alcohol.
Well, if you can call a labotomy minor...hopefully they'll be sewing me back up soon...
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