Wednesday, April 22, 2009

with a hey nonny nonny ratatat kerpow

Here's a date you may have missed off your calendar - yesterday (April 21st) was, in addition to being both my sister's birthday and HM the Queen's birthday (gawd bless 'er), Hocktide. Not exactly up there with Christmas, I'll grant you, in fact the only reason I mention it is that these days it's solely celebrated in Hungerford, where I used to live. My parents lived there for a few years, but I only lived there (as opposed to popping in occasionally student stylee to get my socks washed) between graduating in summer 1992 and moving back to Bristol in spring 1993, so about 7 or 8 months.

As it happens this means I missed Hocktide '93 (which would have been April 20th according to this list) by a month or two, and a good thing too, frankly, as it seems to involve a good deal of deeply tiresome Merrie Olde England jollity and hale beardy heartiness, plus various meaningless rituals involving horseshoes and oranges and bunches of flowers on sticks. If it were simply sitting around eating ham hocks and washing them down with a few bottles of Hock I might be inclined to take a more favourable view.

Hocktide '87 was on April 28th; local nutcase Michael Ryan was granted an upgrade to his firearms licence just two days later (though he didn't actually carry out his killing spree until August). Coincidence? I wonder. It's a short step from flowers and ribbons on poles to Morris dancing, and that's enough to push anyone over the edge.

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