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Tag: Fun

Jackie Weaver

Did she or didn’t she?

Did Jackie Weaver have the authority?

There has been much in the news recently about America, COVID-19, Boris, Schools, and a ton of other things for us to talk about. But, there has really only been one big question that has occupied my mind for the last couple of weeks, and that is: Did Jackie Weaver have the authority?

The Parish Council is the bedrock upon our whole system of government is built, without people like those in the Handforth Parish Council giving up their time freely for others is it too much to say we could descend into the depths of anarchy?

Maybe a tad, but as an ex Parish Councillor myself I do know that any small Council needs a common purpose, a will to co-operate and definitely respect for each other. Dibley does come into mind sometimes when discussing some items at a meeting but this is when you also know that you give up YOUR time for the good of YOUR COMMUNITY and what the Parish Council decides is noticed by County and District councillors and it DOES make a difference.

I would encourage anyone who lives in Stinchcombe, to think about taking a stint on the Parish Council. You do reap more than you sow and when you leave you will have a much great depth of understanding of the affairs of the community that you live in.

The Answer

OK, enough of the above, I have searched and searched the internet and finally found a blog written by David Allen Green who is a contributing Editor at the Financial Times.

On his blog “Did Jackie Weaver have the Authority?” he says, quite explicitly….Well, you will just have to read it yourself!

Pancakes

Pancake Day

Shrove Tuesday February 16th 2021 – Pancake day

“Pancake Day” has been celebrated by Britons for centuries.  Known also as Shrove Tuesday, its exact date – rather confusingly – changes every year, as it is determined by when Easter falls. However, it is always the day preceding Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent), and always falls in February or March.

The date of Shrove Tuesday is intrinsically linked to Easter, a moveable feast which falls between Mar 22 and Apr 25. This year, Easter Sunday falls on Apr 4.

The period in between Shrove Tuesday and Easter Sunday is known as Lent celebrated by Christians (including Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists and Roman Catholics) who make a special point of self-examination, of considering what wrongs they need to repent and what amendments of life or areas of spiritual growth they need to ask God’s help in dealing with. It officially begins on Ash Wednesday, ending on Holy Saturday.

While it is commonly said that Lent lasts 40 days, there are actually 46 days from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday. However traditionally Lent was not followed on Sundays, giving followers a day of rest a week; if you exclude all of the Sundays in the period, then Lent lasts 40 days.

What does Shrove Tuesday mean?

The word shrove is a form of the English word shrive, which means to obtain absolution for one’s sins by way of confession and penance. The verb to shrive describes the act of hearing a confession, often by a priest.

Shrove Tuesday gets its name from the custom for Christians to be “shriven” before the start of Lent. Traditionally, Anglo-Saxon Christians would go to church to confession and be absolved from their sins on this day.

The day marks the end of Pre-Lenten Season, also known as Shrovetide. The period begins on Septuagesima, three Sundays before Ash Wednesday. The other two Sundays in this 17-day period are called Sexagesima and Quinquagesima.

Shrovetide was traditionally seen as a chance to indulge before the prohibitive period of Lent and is tied to Carnival seasons celebrated in other parts of the world.

Why do we celebrate Pancake Day?

Traditionally, Pancakes were eaten on this day to use up rich, indulgent foods like eggs and milk before the fasting season of Lent began.

But although it is enshrined in Christian tradition, it is believed that Pancake Day might originate in a pagan holiday, when eating warm, round pancakes – symbolising the sun – was a way of celebrating the arrival of spring.

As well as making and eating pancakes, we Brits love to hold pancake races, where people run while flipping their pancakes in a pan.

Legend has it that the tradition was born in the 15th century when a particularly disorganised woman in Buckinghamshire rushed to church to confess her sins while mid-way through making pancakes.

Pancake Day around the world

While we in Britain tend to keep our pancake ingredients simple, in Newfoundland, Canada, objects with symbolic value are added to the batter to be cooked. These items are then used to interpret different messages about the future – for example, a pancake served with a ring inside may signify marriage.

Pancake Day is much less indulgent in Iceland, where the day, known as Sprengidagur (Bursting Day), is marked by eating salted meat and peas.

In France, it is traditional while flipping a pancake to hold a coin in one hand and to make a wish. 

The French call pancake day Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday. This originates from the ancient ritual of parading a large ox through Paris to remind people that meat was forbidden during the Lent period.

On Pancake Day in Scotland the locals like to eat “festy cock”. The word festy is linked to Festern’s E’en, the day before Shrove Tuesday, when cock fighting took place.

 You make the dish by rolling out a ball of finely ground oatmeal and folding it into a rough bird shape before baking and eating as a substitute for a cockerel.

In the southern states of the US, ‘king cake’ is eaten to celebrate Mardi Gras. Traditionally a ring of twisted cinnamon dough and topped with icing or sugar, it often has a small plastic baby inside. The baby represents baby Jesus and finding it in your slice is an honour.

How to perfect your flipping skills!

In 2012, University College London came up with a formula for the perfect flipping technique and it seems size really does matter.

According to University Professor of Mathematics Frank Smith, the simple mathematical formula for the perfect flip is:

L = 4×H /π– D / 2

(L = hand distance from inner edge of the pancake / H = height of flip / D = diameter of pancake)

Professor Smith said:

“We all know that no-one enjoys wasting ingredients but there are many factors and risks involved in producing a perfect pancake, We’ve discovered that the wrong direction or speed, for instance, will mean that the average flipper may ruin two or even more pancakes trying to perfect their technique. We aim to reduce this waste by advising Brits how to achieve the perfect flip.”

And for those pancake aficiandos who want to take flipping to greater heights, here’s another, more complicated, mathematical formula.

[U, ω, V, L] = [(2gH)1/2, π(g/ 8H) 1/2, (g/ 32H) 1/2(8H – πD), V / ω]

(U = upward speed of centre of pancake / ω = rotation rate / V = upward speed of inner edge of pancake / g = 9.81 m/s2 (acceleration due to gravity)

What should you drink with your pancakes?

Chicken and mushroom pancakes would be delicious with a simple chardonnay, perhaps from Limoux or the Pays d’Oc in the south of France.

One other pancake that suits alcohol is the cheese and ham crêpe, a kind of pancake version of the croque-monsieur. Wine is not really the answer here – a light beer goes much better – but if drinking wine try a slightly scratchy red from some unknown place in France: the type of red that is served by the carafe in bistros and by the petrol pump directly into your own container in wine shops. And finally, sweet pancakes indulge with a dessert wine.

Seven things you didn’t know about pancakes

  1. The largest pancake in the world was cooked up in Rochdale in 1994, weighing in at 6,614 lbs (that’s three tonnes!) and measuring 49 ft and 3in long.
  2. If you feel guilty about using readymade pancake mix, don’t worry – people have been doing it forever. Aunt Jemimas was invented in St Joseph, Missouri in 1889 and is claimed to be the first ever readymade pancake mixture to be sold.
  1. The world’s largest pancake breakfast was held in Springfield, America, in 2012. The breakfast saw 15,000 people get together in Main Street to enjoy a huge number of pancakes and raised $10,000 for a local charity.
  2. Pancake races happen all over England throughout Shrove Tuesday. The tradition is thought to have originated in Olney in the 15th century, after a woman lost track of time while cooking pancakes. When the bells for mass rang, she ran out of her house with the pan and pancake still in hand. Olney still holds a pancake race every year.
  1. The largest number of pancake flips in the shortest amount of time is currently 349 flips in two minutes, a record achieved by Dean Gould in Felixstowe, Suffolk, in 1995.
  2. The largest stack of pancakes ever cooked was made up of 60 pancakes and was an impressive 76cm tall (but see below)
  3. It is estimated that an impressive 52 million eggs are used in Britain each year on pancake day – that’s 22 million more than every other day of the year.

The tallest pancake stack in the world

The Guinness World Record for the tallest stack of pancakes is held by Center Parcs in Sherwood Forest, Nottingham, where, in February 2016 the company’s Pancake House chefs piled 213 pancakes on top of each other.

Try the indulgent recipe from our National Treasure Mary Berry for Dropscones and Fruit!

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Heart In Sunset

Valentine’s Day

The Legend of St. Valentine

The history of Valentine’s Day—and the story of its patron saint—is shrouded in mystery. We do know that February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and that St.Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. But who was Saint Valentine, and how did he become associated with this ancient rite?

The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred.

Emperor Claudius II

One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families. Therefore he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.

Saint Valentine of Terni

Still others insist that it was Saint Valentine of Terni, a bishop, who was the true namesake of the holiday. He, too, was beheaded by Claudius II outside Rome. Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons. Prisons where they were often beaten and tortured.

According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl. Possibly his jailor’s daughter, who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,”. The expression that is still in use today.

Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and—most importantly—romantic figure. By the Middle Ages, perhaps thanks to this reputation, Valentine would become one of the most popular saints in England and France.

Valentine’s Day: A Day of Romance

During the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds’ mating season, which added to the idea that the middle of Valentine’s Day should be a day for romance.

The English poet Geoffrey Chaucer was the first to record St.Valentine’s Day as a day of romantic celebration. In his 1375 poem “Parliament of Foules,” he wrote;
For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day / Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.”

Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages. Though written Valentine’s didn’t begin to appear until after 1400. The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans. He was imprisoned at the time in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. (The greeting is now part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England.) The Duke of Orleans wrote to his wife:

Je suis desja d’amour tanné, Ma tres doulce Valentinée

This translates roughly as, “I am already sick of love, my very gentle Valentine”
The Oldest Valentine
The oldest known Valentine we know is a poem, written in 1415 by the Duke of Orleans, Charles, who wrote it to his wife during his imprisonment in the Tower of London after he was captured during the Battle of Agincourt – Source BBC

In 1477 a letter was sent by one Margery Brews to her fiancé John Paston. In this letter Margery describes John as her “right well-beloved Valentine”.

well-beloved Valentine
Margery addresses John as ‘right well-beloved Valentine’: Add MS 43490, f. 24r

Shakespeare’s Hamlet

By the 17th century Valentine’s Day gets a mention in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, when Ophelia is given the lines:

To-morrow is Saint Valentine’s day,
All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.

However, it was in the 18th century that the most familiar Valentine’s poem made its first appearance. These lines, found in a collection of nursery rhymes printed in 1784, called Gammer Gurton’s Garland: Or the Nursery Parnassus :

The rose is red, the violet’s blue,
The honey’s sweet, and so are you.

While this was the first appearance of the poem in this form, its origins reach back to Sir Edmund Spenser’s 1590s epic, The Faerie Queene. This featured the lines:

She bath’d with roses red, and violets blew,
And all the sweetest flowres, that in the forrest grew.

This Valentine’s Day

So, on this Valentine’s Day, however you choose, whether by card, by flowers, or just by poem, send your love to someone special.

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Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year 2021

When is the Chinese New Year?

The Chinese New Year 2021 falls on Friday, February 12th, 2021, and celebrations culminate with the Lantern Festival on February 26th, 2021.

How long is Chinese New Year?

16 Days. Celebrations last up to 16 days, but only the first 7 days are considered a public holiday (February 11th–17th, 2021).

What is the 2021 Chinese zodiac?

Chinese New Year marks the transition between zodiac signs: 2021 is the year of the Ox; 2020 the year of the Rat.

The Ox is the second of all zodiac animals. According to one myth, the Jade Emperor said the order would be decided by the order in which they arrived to his party. The Ox was about to be the first to arrive, but Rat tricked Ox into giving him a ride. Then, just as they arrived, Rat jumped down and landed ahead of Ox. Thus, Ox became the second animal.

The Ox is also associated with the Earthly Branch (地支 / dì zhī) Chǒu (丑) and the hours 1–3 in the morning. In the terms of yin and yang (阴阳 / yīn yáng), the Ox is Yang. In Chinese culture, the Ox is a valued animal. Because of its role in agriculture, positive characteristics, such as being hardworking and honest, are attributed to it.

The Monster and New Year’s Eve

In ancient times, there was a monster named Nián (年). It usually lives at the bottom of the sea and comes up once a year to feast on animals and humans. On this day, the villagers would all escape into the mountains.

Two figures parade in a Chinese dragon train. Painting by a Chinese artist, ca. 1850.. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

One year, a beggar came to seek shelter, but everyone was hurrying away. Only an old woman took him in and he promised to chase Nian away. He busied himself with decorating the homes.

At midnight, Nian lumbered in but stopped short when it saw the red paper on the doors. As it roared in anger, firecrackers suddenly sounded and it trembled in fear. When it saw the beggar, dressed in red, laughing at it, it could only run away.

The villagers came back the next day and were pleasantly surprised that the homes were all still standing. They realized that loud noises and the color red were Nian’s kryptonite.

This is why, on New Year’s Eve, families eat dinner in their homes fortified by red decorations. At midnight, firecrackers are sounded. In addition, people will wear new and festive red clothing to celebrate.

Further reading see Chinese New Year

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Pitman Plaque

The Pitman Plaque

Found in Wotton

I was cycling through the backstreets of Wotton under Edge for my lockdown cycle ride and came across this plaque on the side of a house.

“Pitman invented his system of shorthand know as Phonography here”

I can remember well my sisters learning shorthand at college and I would assume that many people in Stinchcombe remember learning as well. But who uses it now? Does anyone still learn it? Does anyone under 30 know what it is?

First, what is Pitman?

It’s fair to say that Pitman shorthand was the first widely used method of shorthand. Invented by Sir Isaac Pitman, himself a fascinating character, It is a system of writing just using symbols using symbols to represent sounds. This allowed a much greater speed of writing.

Pitman Sample
From the 1897 book Eclectic Shorthand by Cross. Scanned by Marlow4 and placed in public domain. It shows shorthand method of Isaac Pitman Cropped

So, does anyone use Pitman now?

Good question. A quick search of the Internet says that according to the BBC website and the article “Is the art of shorthand dying?“, Pitman, or at least one of its newer variations, is alive and well. It is still used by journalists and court recorders. Well it was in 2016.

Comments and Retrospective Reminiscences are welcome for this article in the comments section of this post on the website. Look forward to reading them.

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Jayne Wassaling

Jayne has gone Global

From the Vigo Presses Facebook page

It looks like the video of Jayne wassailing her apple tree in Stinchcombe has gone global! Well, nearly..

Read more about The Stinchcombe Wassail and download the words that she uses.

Enter our virtual wassail competition to win yourself some cider!

What to do:

Send us your photos or videos of you at…

Posted by Vigo Presses on Friday, 15 January 2021

Vigo Presses

Virgo Presses opens in a new window story begins in Hungary in 1981 with a quick glimpse of a little fruit press in a shop window. Alex Hill, then a fresh-faced graduate seeking a break from motorcycle-messengering in London, had cycled from London to Budapest. This glimpse was enough to entice him to despatch the little press back to London and try his hand at home wine and cider making. Back at home the press became an attraction amongst his friends, who put in requests for their own, and it was from this small beginning that the seed was sown to start a mail order business selling fruit presses.

In true entrepreneurial spirit, he bought a small number of presses, borrowed a car and drove around London offering the presses to enthusiastic Home Brew shop owners, before taking the plunge and ordering a lorry load. The presses were stored under the railway arches in Battersea, London, and advertisements placed in the Saturday newspapers.

In 1987 he and his wife moved down to the very heart of “cider making country” – the West Country – where they continued to encourage those with a fruit garden or orchard to share their passion of making fruit juice and cider. Demand for products rose and, alongside selling presses to home users, they took on employees and began selling equipment for commercial apple juice and cider makers, vineyards and wineries.

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Christmas 2020 Photos

Below are some of the Photos that have been taken by Stinchcombe Villagers over Christmas 2020. Enjoy!

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