Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Let's get ashed

Ashed Mrs C. not lashed - what are you like?

My mother was quite athletic in her youth until her
addiction to pancakes took its inevitable toll.
Step away from the fridge, not even a tiny sliver of pancake
may pass your lips now for today is the day of ashes
- Ash Wednesday and that's when it all stops
for Lent is with us again.
Ashes made from last year's palm crosses. 
The portions are getting smaller every year.  Bon appetit.
It's no good you putting your hand up like that Naomi,
you should have gone for it when you had the chance.
Yesterday, Shrove Tuesday, was when you could eat
and indulge until you dropped.  Yesterday we could merry,
merry be but today we are not only sober but entering a
rather long period of abstinence.  Hey ho.

There was a larger turn out than usual for this year's
Mardi Gras Carnival in Acle.  They came in flocks from far and wide.
The French call it Mardi Gras which I always thought
sounded rather romantic until I bothered to translate it into
 English when it becomes Greasey Tuesday and far less
appealing.   Yeuk!
How fabulous is that? 
One of the most famous celebrations takes place in Venice
where they have been holding a carnival since 1162
after a victory over the Patriarch of Aquileia, old Ulrice
de Treven.  I don't know what he ever did to them but they've
been putting on masks and generally having a good time
ever since.  Finish your pasta while I continue.
See, I didn't make him up, here he is in an
early stained-glass mugshot.
One particular mediaeval Welsh custom which is not widely
known about, unless you happen to be an historian and
avid reader of Giraldus Cambrensis' weighty tome catchily
entitled "Itinerary of Archbishop Baldwin through Wales",
was the "eating of the tail of beavers" which were very
abundant in the principality during the dark ages.
The mind boggles, the imagination goes into overdrive
but I shall refrain from further comment on the subject.
Neither could I find a suitable illustration!
I lied - nice beaver!
It's traditional to give up a luxury or a vice during Lent
and as I enjoy so few and partake in so many I'm
finding it rather difficult to make up my mind.
However, feeling suitably shriven and repentent I have
decided to put aside all pleasures involving "beaver"
and not to touch another sherbert lemon until
chocolate eggs are on the menu once again.
Roll on Easter.

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