Village life is not as sleepy as you might imagine. In fact, English villages are the last bastions of eccentricity, cherishing customs and traditions which date back hundreds of years. Hen racing was traditionally used as a competition between rival villages and Bonsall in Derbyshire still host an annual hen race. Closer to home, Michael Graham will be cheering on their duck again this year in the annual Bromham Duck Race on Monday 29th May, hoping to scoop a not-to-be-quacked-at £150 prize. After much office debate and consideration, here are our favourite weird and wonderful English pastimes;
Weighing the Mayor – the mayor of High Wycombe is weighed in May every year, along with his officials and councillors. If the scales show they’ve piled on the pounds, its assumed they’ve done so at tax payers expense and deserve a pelting with rotten fruit.
Cotswold Cheese Rolling – the most famous contest is at Cooper Hill in Gloucestershire where competitors race down the hill after a wheel of Double Gloucester. Reaching speeds of 70 miles per hour it’s not for the faint hearted or those with a penchant for health and safety. The winner gets the cheese.
Abingdon Bun Throwing – the town’s mayor hurls currant buns from the top of the County Hall to mark royal occasions like weddings and jubilees. The custom dates back to times when they threw bread and cakes to the poor.
Pancake Racing - in Olney in Buckinghamshire, the Michael Graham office witness the ladies of the town flipping pancakes in an annual international pancake race, competing against the ladies of Liberal, Kansas, USA. The custom dates back to 1445, the winner receiving a kiss from the verger.
Wife Carrying - Surrey hosted it’s 10th race this year where husbands carry their spouse over a hilly, 380 metre, hay bale-obstructed, course. Piggy back or fireman’s lift, the choice is yours, but wives must tip the scales at more than 50kg or be weighed down with tins of baked beans. The winning couple (if their relationship survives the course) bag £100, a barrel of Pilgrim ale and a place at the Wife Carrying World Championships in Finland later this year.
At Michael Graham, we’re happy to stick with the Bromham Duck race.
For a selection of our properties for sale in the town as well as the country, visit us at www.michaelgraham.co.uk