Thursday, 7 February 2013

Mediaeval Tradition and Being Porterless.

Wednesday night is porter night. Wednesday is the day on which I treat myself to a bottle of yummy London porter (5% ABV and a picture of a raven on the label.) Next Wednesday night, however, might not be porter night, because next Wednesday will be the second day of the annual Shrovetide Football Match in Ashbourne.

The Football Match is when the rough peasantry of the town form two armies and battle it out through the streets for the honour of getting a ball (which isn’t actually spherical, but then some balls aren’t) into a goal at one end of the town or the other. It’s a mediaeval tradition, you see, and the good burghers guard their traditions with gusto. It takes place over the two afternoons and evenings of Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday. Shops board up their windows and lock their doors, everybody takes out extra insurance, and those of us who thought the Middle Ages ended in 1485 just stay away. You can read more about it here if you’re interested.

So, next week I’ll probably be going to the other local town to do my shopping. Uttoxeter has no particular mediaeval pretensions, but it does have a cinema and a railway station. Nah nah nah-nah nah…

But they might not have porter…

6 comments:

andrea kiss said...

Sounds like something i'd like to see.

The ball isn't spherical? I wonder if its shaped like the American football and if our game may have a root in this Shroving one.

JJ Beazley said...

The ball is almost spherical, but with slightly flattened sides. They decorate it with artwork, and use a different ball each day.

As far as I know, American football has its roots in the European game of rugby. The ball is the same shape (although a rugby ball is a little bigger) and the methods of scoring are almost identical.

andrea kiss said...

Cool. Thanks for the FYI. :)

JJ Beazley said...

Two more bits of FYI:

Rugby players don't wear helmets, and they only have committee meetings if somebody gets so badly injured that the game has to stop.

andrea kiss said...

Yes, i've heard its the 'most dangerous sport in the world'

JJ Beazley said...

Second, actually. Romance has top spot.