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We actually had pancakes on Tuesday (buckwheat, with roe - the local Sainsbury does not do caviar per se, sour cream, chopped onion and smoked salmon) but I didn't get around to this until today. Sorry. Shuffles feet. On the radio show each week, I do a folklore slot, and this appeared on this week's:

"...but by that time that the clock strikes eleven, which (by the help of a knavish sexton) is commonly before nine, then there is a bell rung, called the Pancake-bell, the sound whereof makes thousands of people distracted, and forgetful either of manners or of humanity: then there is a thing called wheaten flour, which the sulphury Necromantic cooks do mingle with water, eggs, spice and other tragical, magical enchantments, and then they put it little by little into a frying-pan of boiling suet, where it makes a confused dismal hissing (like the Lemean snakes in the reeds of Acheron, Styx or Phlegeton) until at last, by the skill of the cooks it is transformed into the form of a Flap-jack, which in our translation is called a Pancake, which ominous incantation the ignorant peple do devour very greedily." John Taylor, 1621

There's also a tradition in Scotland wherein you add a pinch of soot to bannocks, thus turning them into 'dreaming bannocks' and giving you the power of divination, temporarily.
lizwilliams: (Default)
Shebbear, in North Devon, will be turning the Devil's stone tomorrow. The stone, a large lump of non-local quartz, sits in the village square. It measures 6 ft by 4 ft and weighs about a ton. Allegedly, it was dropped by Lucifer on his way to Hell and the devil lies under it. If the villagers don't move it, then the devil might escape and run amok. So they ring the church bells to confuse any lurking spirits and then shift the stone.

The local pub has been voted one of the most haunted pubs in Britain and has: a small girl who is said to have died in a fire in the 1780s, and a red jacketed coachman.

In other news, Bath (aka Caer Badon) is about to host its 10th Bardic Chair. I went to the Bardic Chair of Bristol some years ago and it was a lot of fun.

Also in Devon, there have been health and safety concerns about rolling blazing tar barrels through the streets. Just get on with it! Devoted readers of this blog will remember my annual posts about Lewes, who scorn namby-pamby concerns about insurance and go for it with the tar barrels. It is very, very unusual for anyone to be hurt because, surprise, in dangerous situations people are much more careful.

It's also Bonfire Night. Have a good one, those of you who indulge. And a safe one, despite the above.

One of the TV stations is recreating what would happen if the Houses of Parliament actually had been blown up. They've built a full scale model. Can't we, you know, just practice on the real thing?


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April 2017

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