Good morning, my little tuning forks! It’s my birthday this week, and I have been truly blessed with an invite to England’s most prestigious and solemn sporting event – The Cheese Rolling. This splendid tradition dates back to the times of the Venerable Bede, and possibly as far back as a gentleman called Reg, who lived in Morocco, circa 23 AD. It involves a huge cheese being flung off a grassy precipice, followed by people running after it. Those short on wits or secure screws, plummet down the hillside like Catherine Wheels in the slim hope of winning the 8lb Double Gloucester. They also have the opportunity to win a variety of fractures and abrasions, and perhaps death for the unskilled runner. We had a marvellous time.
Aunt Vom entered, and caused an uproar. She refused to enter the Ladies’ Race (for blattidly obvious reasons). On the start line, she heard man call another man a rude name. So she pushed him. Another man pushed her, and called her a rude name. The line up suddenly descended before the signal in a ball of arms and legs, bumping their way to the bottom. I was impressed that during the descent, Vom managed to lamp the original offender and issue a swift kick to the chibleys.
After some debate by the Cheesemaster, it was a contentious issue that actually, more than one woman (even a bearded one) had entered the man’s race. It was agreed that she had no right to the 8lb cheese. While important, waffly men discussed this, Vom nicked the cheese and hid it in her beard. The second woman, pictured below, was still on her way down, wailing that she’d left the iron on. The police were summoned, and she was accosted in the crowd. The tussle resulted in the cheese falling out of her beard and breaking a constable’s foot. No charges were pressed after Vom offered a three-way split with the cheese and a good time in a nearby rhododendron bush.
This altercation distracted me, during which time I lost all sight of Aunt Bench. She’d entered the Ladies’ Uphill race, and didn’t see the finish line. She can be blessedly thick at times. A lone hiker in the Malverns found her babbling about cheese and realised she’d wandered slightly off course. After wrangling her to the ground and reading her name tag, they made contact and all was well.
On an interesting note, the Women’s Lib Movement is just as active within Gloucestershire as in Trebollocks, and I am thrilled. There is a tendency to glamorise women at sporting events, and urge them to look pretty for photographers. In my new county, a group of women have rebelled against this rampant exploitation, by posing for the camera in the style of long dead corpses. We all clapped at this, as one woman fell to the floor just as an oily representative of local the local Rennet Society sidled up for a photo. The ‘death shot’ is to commemorate the lost time that men have stolen from women for hundreds of years. For centuries, women have not achieved their potential in favour of ‘standing and looking pretty’ or fruitless searches in cupboards that men can’t be arsed to look in. I am posting these photos as a testament to their stoic fight against repression and widespread arsery.
After the excitement of the day, I ventured back to my hedge. It’s a beautiful spot and I am feeling very lucky indeed. The bats are enjoying school in Clopton Mandrill, and I am giving a talk to the Frampton W.I. (Witches’ Institute) on the healing and culinary uses of the cow pat. But first, I shall relax at the waterside with a pint of Cuckoo Spit. May the Gods of Unneutered Cats shine upon you all.