Thursday, January 11, 2007

Football in the water? That isnt cricket!!

On the 4th Monday of August (which is a public holiday in the UK) the people of Bourton on the Water in the Cotswolds don their coloured sweaters and play football in the river. Don't ask me..I don't know why!

I do know however that this has apparently gone on for the past 70 years and no one else seems to know why it started either. There's nowt as strange as folk! It is hardly a pagan holiday but it sure is weird. The stream is full of trout if I recall correctly from my visits to this sobre and refined little village and I do wonder where they go whilst these guys are bouncing off the mossy stones. Each to his own I guess.

"The effort of playing in water is tiring so the game is not the normal 90 minutes in length, but despite its brevity (15 minutes each way), hundreds of people come to line the banks and cheer on their respective teams. Sometimes, if the ball comes their way, onlookers get splashed, but on this normally sunny weekend, no-one really minds."

A reliable source tells me this is a great day out. Bourton is a beautiful place to stop (as the picture illustrates) and is a typical Costwold village. I am told that the whole village green is decked out for a fair and being August ( especially with Global warming) the weather will probably be warm....although it is England!

A few links that might be interesting

Next Posting...we stay in the Cotwolds (because we are here already why travel further than we have to with gas so expensive!) and look at an event that is traced back to Shakesperean times...the Dovers Games.

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:: posted by Robyne, 5:05 AM

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Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Well Well, the things they do

Stop 3 in our tour of weird events sees us continue our little meander through a special village called Bisley. This village lies about 4 miles east of Stroud and is well worth a visit if you ever find yourself in these parts.Bisley has a long history which can be traced as far back to neolithic times. We are here to watch the well get dressed!

While you are here I also reccommend you stop for a drink at the interesting local pub called the Bear. ( This is housed in a 16th century building. .

As you wander through this sleepy little spot you would never suspect the stories and legends that float around this village. Some even say that the true Queen Elizabeth 1 is buried in the churchyard and that the Queen Elizabeth 1 was an imposter.

As interesting as all this is (and I really do recommend you delve into some of the links that follow)the reason we are in Bisley is to visit the well. On Ascension Day floral tributes are carried to the well in a procession which passes through the village and the well is "dressed: with flowers. This tradition was banned by the early Christians as they banned all pagan celebrations of the water spirits. Like many of the pagan traditions, the church took them over and gave them their little touch to turn them into Christian celebrations.

Note: Well dressing also happens in other parts of Britain especially Derbyshire but as we were just a stone's throw from our last stop in Painswick it seemed appropriate to visit this very special well.

Next Stop is to visit another Cotswold town of Bourton where once a year they play football in the river. These English are strange sometime......

"In the sleepy Cotswold village of Bisley lies the most impressive well in the county, a structure which is quite unlike any other 'round these parts. A semicircular stone building channels the beautifully clear water which rises in the mound behind it, a mound on which the church of All Saints is built. Five Gothic arched recesses issue the water into a shallow stone trough and then down into a subterranean gravel-lined pool. Two other channels emerge from the ends of the structure and fall into deeper stone troughs before overflowing and being taken away undergound."


:: posted by Robyne, 9:24 AM

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Sunday, January 7, 2007

Who let the dogs out in Painswick?

Painswick in Gloucesterhire is our second stop on the Weird Celebrations bus trip.

Painswick is a very pretty small town which is often called 'Queen of the Cotswolds'. Some consider it to be one of the most beautiful places in the area. It lies about 5 miles from Stroud.
At the heart of the town lies the Parish Church of St Mary. The church once belonged to the Llantony Priory. The church abounds with strange stories one of which claims that there are only 99 Yew trees in the churchyard because the devil stops the 100th one form growing.

Each year on a Sunday in September ( which lies on or after 19th September) the Painswick Feast Day is held. (It was originally held on 8th September).

On Painswick Feast Day the children of the village join hands and encircle the church in a dance which resembles the hokey kokey. At the same time they sing the special Clypping Hymn. The dance begins at 3pm and at the end of they get a special currant bun.
But that is just the beginning.... and not the only thing that happens on Feast Day.
On this day Villagers eat Bow Wow Pie. "In ancient times this was a very riotous time with many visitors flooding into the town to view the ceremony, there was a great deal of drunkenness and lewd behaviour, there was also a huge demand for food , local hostelries were very much under pressure and being desperate for meat they made "Puppy Dog" pies, this custom is re-enacted in modern times but thankfully for our canine friends, with a difference , China Dogs are baked into pies and cakes and sold on the day. Do not say 'BOW WOW' or bark in Painswick. "

The following links gives further information.

:: posted by Robyne, 10:27 AM

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