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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 04/19/14

Saturday, April 19, 2014

CHEESE ROLLING FROM STILTON, ENGLAND!



    Cheese Rolling has become an annual event in Stilton and every May Day hundreds of villagers and visitors make their way to the main street to watch the teams battling for the honour of being called the "Stilton Cheese Rolling Champions".

Stilton History and The Cheese



The Bell Inn, where the rolling starts!



Ancient Stilton

    No one knows who lived here first - the earliest finds date from the time of the Roman occupation and are probably associated with the road that runs from London to the army fortress at Lincoln, which the Saxons later called Ermine Street.
    For centuries this road seems to have been little used, the important route was the east-west road, Fen Street and Church Street, which is why our oldest building, the Church of St Mary Magdalene, is found away from the main road that now exists.






    Stilton gets three mentions in the Doomesday Book of 1086 as three landowners, the King, the Bishop of Lincoln and Eustace held land here. The Great North Road had become a busy thoroughfare by the fifteenth century and Stilton was a well-known staging post; at one time there were 14 inns or ale houses for a permanent population of around 500 to 600 people. While most earned their living from farming, an analysis of the 1841 census, taken just before the long distance coach trade all but disappeared to be superseded by the railway, showed that occupations directly connected to the coaches were important too.







Village Pubs &  The Cheese

    All four of the present inns have very ancient origins, even though their buildings have been changed and modernised several times. We owe our famous cheese to the coach trade. Any Stiltonian can relate tales of visitors asking "where is the cheese made?...", only to be told "‘in Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire".
    The most widely accepted explanation is that the cheese came down to be sold at one of the coach stops in Stilton, perhaps The Bell or The Angel. As early as 1722 Daniel Defoe (the author of "Robinson Crusoe") ate some here and mentioned that the village was already famous for its cheese. The recipe was passed down through the Beaumont family of Quenby in Leicestershire. By 1830 a former housekeeper at Quenby, Elizabeth Orton, made cheese in her farmhouse. Her daughter married Cooper Thornhill who kept The Bell Inn and he sold the cheese. He was famous (or infamous) as a larger-than-life character who long held the record for riding to London and back.








Modern Stilton

    Today, all Stilton cheese is factory made, but still only in the three counties with milk produced locally. It takes a gallon of milk to make one pound of cheese and a lot of skilled hard work is still needed. Each cheese matures for 3 months after which the blue veins appear naturally as oxygen is allowed to enter through holes pierced by stainless steel needles. A whole cheese weighs 15lb.



One of the officials watching a race



    Stilton’s dependence on the main road has been its undoing twice; in the middle of the nineteenth century when the railway line passed to the east through Holme and Yaxley, and in 1959 when the present A1 Stilton by-pass was opened. The village became a ghost village; The Bell actually closed and fell into disrepair and other businesses also disappeared. In 1962 Tom McDonald of The Talbot and Malcolm Moyer of The Bell, aided and abetted by telephone engineer Fred Linstead who provided a telegraph pole, cheered up their drinkers by organising the first ever Cheese Rolling along a course outside the present Post Office on Easter Monday.





A Little History On The Cheese Roll

How did it start?

    It would be nice to be able to say that the event is "as old as the village" or that it's origins have been lost in "the mists of time" but really no one knows how far back the tradition of rolling the cheeses goes. Midway through the Twentieth Century, when the village had turned into rather a quiet place having been by-passed by the A1 and the inns and businesses had seen a big drop in their trade, a landlord of one of the pubs decided to revive an ancient tradition. Or so he told everyone! He could be seen rolling a Stilton Cheese along the road outside his pub. People came to stand and watch and eventually joined in. And so the sport began - again.








The Rules

    It was originally run on Easter Monday and there was not a lot of uniformity to it to begin with. It seems a piece of wood in the shape of a Stilton Cheese was produced, a starting line drawn up somewhere between the The Stilton Cheese Inn and The Talbot and the finish line was outside The Bell Inn. Brave teams of Stilton men would then vie to roll the cheese to it's finish and, after the ensuing scramble, and many tussles and spills, the team that ended up steering the cheese to the finishing line would win! Nowadays, the starting point is always outside The Bell Inn and The Angel and the finish is a line drawn at the cross roads between the bottom of Fen Street and Church Street. The contestants are teams of 4, either all men or all women and each team member has to roll the cheese at least once during it's flight. It's a knockout competition with quarter's, semi's and a grand final.






PHANTOM CATS AND GHOSTLY DOGS SCARING PEOPLE EVERYWHERE!!



    During Halloween season, when images of ghosts and goblins start to inhabit our consciousness, it is important to remember that people are not the only ones who have been known to return to our world of perception as spirits, apparitions, phantoms or poltergeists. Dogs, cats, sheep, horses, and cattle have been known to haunt human beings throughout the history of folklore.
    Typically, parasychologists consider ghostly animals as those creatures whose deaths were unusually emotional in some way, and that their new identity of a ghost is a curse that never allows them to est. Sometimes they are harmless, although frightening. However if they appear colored dark black than usually they represent a premonition that something dire is about to happen. In Trucker lore, the image of a black dog is usually the ultimate sign of dread and bad luck.
    In East Anglia generally, whenever someone was o their death bed, people would say that "the black dog is at his heels". In the British Isles, old timers can spin many a yarn about ominous "black dogs: roaming deserted roads at night. There have been numerous reports in local newspapers of a monstrous black dog with huge teeth and claws from the area around Yorkshire, northern England. Some believe that anyone who sees the dog clearly will die soon after the encounter. In Wales, they have what's known as the red-eyed Gwyllgi, or the Dog of Darkness. Essex, for example, is said to be haunted by a dog that apparently can only be seen by other dogs, as perfectly normal pet dogs go up to it and react as if it were just another dog when the human eye can see nothing. According to legend, in real life the dog was a bull terrier, which lived in a inn from about 1900 to 1914 and was a fearsome fighter, having killed several neighborhood dogs and never suffering a defeat.







    In Wichita, Kansas, Mrs. Lowanda Cady was asleep one night when she was suddenly awakened by the sound of barking even after her dog had already died. The barking sounded exactly the same as her late dog's bark and it actually drove off a thief who was raiding her kitchen at the time.
    Even more numerous are the stories of places reported to be infested with phantom cats. Very often, a single street alone can average a history of at least four reported feline haunting's. Paranormal researches and believers in spirits alike attribute the excessive number of cat ghosts to the fact that cats, more than any other domestic animal, meet sudden and unnatural ends, especially in impoverished districts.
    In many different writings through history, cats were explained as animals that from all ages were associated with the supernatural from the pyramids of ancient Egypt to French sorcerers who used cat's blood to treat ailments. In 1750 in the Hebrides, cats were thought of as extraordinarily psychic and sometimes burned as if they were witches. So many of them met this horrible fate that some believe it unleashed an army of cat phantoms across the world and contributed to the superstitious belief that a black cat crossing your path was a sign that harm would soon come your way.
    There is a website called Ghosts.org, that has a plethora of subscribers who claim to be plagued by the spirits of companion animals. Also, it is currently chronicling the adventures of some Australian parapsychologists searching for the ghost of the last bear killed in England.

CARNIVAL FROM BRAZIL!!








    The Carnival of Brazil, is an annual festival held 46 days before Easter. On certain days of Lent, Roman Catholics and some other Christians traditionally abstained from the consumption of meat and poultry, hence the term "carnival", from carnelevre, "to remove meat". Carnival celebrations are believed to have roots in the pagan festival of Saturnalia, which, adapted to Christianity, became a farewell to bad things in a season of religious discipline to practice repentance and prepare for Christ's death and resurrection.










    Rhythm, participation, and costumes vary from one region of Brazil to another. In the southeastern cities of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, huge organized parades are led by samba schools. Those official parades are meant to be watched by the public, with mini parades ("blocos") allowing a public participation can be found in other cities. The northeastern cities of Salvador, Porto Segur and Recife have organized groups parading through streets, and the public interacts directly with them. This carnival is heavily influenced by African-Brazilian culture. Crowds follow the trio electricos floats through the city streets. Also in northeast Olinda, carnival features unique characteristics, part influenced by Venice Carnival mixed with cultural depictions of local folklore.










    Carnival is the most famous holiday in Brazil and has become an event of hug proportions. The country stops completely for almost a week and festivities are intense, day and night, mainly in coastal cities. The consumption of beer during the festival accounts for 80% of annual consumption and tourism receives a 70% boost of annual visitors. The government distributes condoms and launches an awareness campaign at this time to prevent the spread of AIDS and other STD's.

History of Carnival

    The modern Brazilian Carnival originated in Rio de Janeiro in 1641, when the city's bourgeoisie imported the practice of holding balls and masquerade parties from Paris. It originally mimicked the European form of the festival, later absorbing and creolizing elements derived from Native American and African cultures.
    In the late 19th century, the cordoes (cords, laces or strings) were introduced in Rio de Janeiro. These were pageant groups that paraded through city avenues performing on instruments and dancing. Today they are known as Blocos (blocks), consisting of a group of people who dress in costumes or special t-shirts with themes and/or logos. Blocos are generally associated with particular neighborhoods. They include both a percussion or music group and an entourage of revellers.











    Block parades have become an expressive feature of Rio's Carnival. Today, they number more than 100 and the groups increase each year in size. Blocos can be formed by small or large groups of revelers with a distinct title with an often funny pun. They may also not their neighborhood or social status. Before the show, they gather in a square, then parade in sections of the city, often near the beach. Some blocos never leave one street and have a particular place, such as a bar, to attract viewers. Block parades start in January, and may last until the Sunday after Carnival.










    Samba schools are very large groups of performers, financed by respected organizations who work year round in preparation for Carnival. Samba schools perform in the Sambadrome, which runs 4 entire nights. They're part of an official competition, divided into 7 divisions, in which a single school is declared the winner, according to costume, flow, them, and band music quality and performance. Some samba schools also hold street parties in their neighborhoods, through which they parade along with their followers.
    Carnival time in Rio is a very interesting, but also the most expensive time to visit Rio. Hotel rooms and lodgings can be up to 4 times more expensive than the regular rates. There are big crowds at some locations and life is far from ordinary in many parts of town.











Sambodromo

    The Carnival parades in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo take place in the Sambodromo, locate close to the city center. In the city of Rio, the parades start at roughly 9-10 p.m., depending of the date and end around 5 in the morning. The Rio Metro (subway) operates 24 hours during the main parade days.
    The actual amount of spectators in the Sambodromo may be higher than the official number of seats available. Like any other event the better the seats the higher the price for them.









Music

Samba
    The Samba originated in Bahia from the African rhythms, it was brought to Rio around 1920 and is still one of the most popular styles of Brazilian music, together with Samba-pargode and Samba-reggae. From intimate samba-cancoes ( samba songs) sung in bars to explosive drum parades performed during Carnival, samba always evokes a warm and vibrant mood. Samba developed as a distinctive kind of music at the beginning of the 20th century in Rio. In the 1930's, a group of musicians led by Ismael Silva, founded in the neighborhood of Estacio de Sa, the first Samba school, Deixa Falar.
    In the following years, samba has developed into several directions, from the gentle samba-cancao to the drum orchestras which make the soundtrack of carnival parades. One of these new styles was the Bossa Nova.












    In the beginning of the 1980's, after having been sent underground due to styles like disco and Brazilian rock, the Samba reappeared in the media with a musical movement crated in the suburbs of Rio.
Axe'
    This is not exactly about style or musical movement, but rather about a useful brand name given to artists from Salvador who made music in northeastern Brazilian, Caribbean and African rhythms with a pop/rock twist, which helped them take over the Brazilian hit parades since 1992. Axe' is a ritual greeting used in Candomble' and Umbanda religions, and means "good vibration". The word music was attached to Axe', used as slang within the local music business by a journalist who intended to create a derogatory term for the pretentious dance-driven style.

FATHERS DAY DIY SODA BOTTLE COVER UPS!!

      Here's another cool idea from www.theidearoom.net .  Give your soda bottle a little personality!


     Father’s Day is just a couple of weeks away.




Fathers Day gift idea





I thought it would be fun to come up with another easy little gift item for Dad or for the Father’s in your life. This one is so simple. All you need is to grab a six pack of his favorite beverage and add some of these fun little “cover-ups” to personalize them.




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I chose to go with a six pack of Coca-Cola bottles in the 8 fl. oz size, mainly because they were cute and little. And cute is what it is all about right?




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I made some white shirts and ties to represent all the hardworking Dads…




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Or you can skip the white shirt and just go with a tie.




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And I included a “Hawaiian” shirt and sun visor for the Dad’s who like to play…




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Pretty simple and fun! And of course, I have provided you with the same patterns that I used for mine. These will fit the smaller bottles as you can see in the pictures. If you would like to use a larger bottle, you can enlarge the printable till they fit the bottle size you would like to use or you can redraw them to fit your needs.




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