Stone skimming

UPDATE: The event for 2020 has been cancelled due to COVID19. Competitors may next meet on 26 September 2021 for World Stone Skimming Championship.

 

The British have lots of unique sporting (well at least outdoor) events all the year round. These include the following: Egg-throwing World Championsips, Bog-Snorkelling World Championships, Workd Conker Championships (where you have to smash a chestnut)…

Stone-skimming is a popular activity especially with kids by rivers or lakes – and England has organised several World Championships in this event so far.

The one in 2019 was held on 28-29 September. A great skimming event, All England Stone Skimming Championship from 2019 nearly brought a great record. The winner of the men’s event, 22-year-old Alex Lewis skimmed a personal best of 98m on Windermere (a lake in Lake District National Park). He’s been really close to a so called “Centurion” – a skim of 100m.
Lewis retained his title, while the women’s competition celebrated a new champion, Christina Bowen Bravery. Her winning threw-skim reached 41m.

Watch the report here:

Real tennis

During the Wimbledon season (in June), it is essential to know the origins of the lawn game. The ‘old version’ dates back to the 11th century monasteries where tennis was played on an enclosed court.

The ball was solid and a racquet was used to hit it.
The game was a popular pastime activity of monarchs too, like King Henry VIII was a keen tennis player.
Nowadays, the sport is getting unique, however, it is played at many independent schools and colleges (like Cambridge in the photo above).

Punting

Wanna go for a ride on the Cam at The Backs?
It worths it no matter which company you take. It is possible to go punting privately and steer the boat on your own, but you’d better not risk. Ask for a professional punter who will tell you nice Cambridge stories.

Gr8 to Know
“No mooring” means no stopping with the boat at place of the sign.

The Tower of London – Ceremony of the Keys

‘Halt, who comes there?’
‘The Keys.’
‘Whose keys?’
‘Queen Elizabeth’s Keys.’
‘Pass then, all’s well.’

The above dialogue can be heard daily at around 8 p.m. by those who visit The Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London. The event is supervised by the Yeoman Warders.

GR8 to Know
Admission is free but you must book a “ticket” online in advance. Be quick – tickets are usually booked in a year’s advance.

More about The Tower of London here and here

Dumfries and Galloway

The largest rural art festival in Scotland, Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival welcomes visitors from all over the world for the 40th time in a row. This year from 24 May to 2 June, 10-day-long Dumfries and Galloway Arts offers over 60 live shows and 40 venues.

GR8 to Know
The unitary county area is located in the south-west of Scotland covering counties of Dumfriesshire and Stewartry (Dumfreis), Kirkcudbright and Wigtownshire (Galloway).
Photo credit: dgartsfestival.org

Curtsy or bow?

None of them is a must anymore when you meet Her Majesty the Queen. In the photo above, former British PM Theresa May curtsies at the beginning of an audience. It is the traditional way: men can greet the Queen with a neck-bow while women do a small curtsy.
Nowadays a usual handshake is formal enough, however, etiquette says you must wait for the Qeen to offer her hand and than shake it politely.

GR8 to Know
To address the Queen in a formal way is that you call her “Your Majesty” and then “Ma’am”.

Photo credit: WPA Pool / Getty

Nothing under the kilt?

Young men wearing traditional kilt could be seen during the medal ceremonies at Glasgow 2018 Swimming European Championships. Is that true that they don’t wear anything under it?

Well, if they are among the 69% who have answered in a survey they still don’t, well… they have no underwear. HM the Queen’s piper who plays traditional Scottish music at breakfast time, however, surely does. Just like Queen Victoria’s Scottish secretary did in order to prevent possible embarrassing moments.

St Patrick – The man who converted Druids to Christianity

Several myths and legends follow the steps of St Patrick, patron saint of Ireland celebrated on 17 March, the day he possibily died on.
Among the popular legends is the one that he drove al the snakes out of Ireland, however, it is a country where no snakes have ever appeared.

St Patrick’s Day is a one for going green – clothes, food and even beer has this colour today. Shamrocks, the Leprechaun and his pot of gold…

Saint Patrick’s Day is an Irish holiday, but it is celebrated by people from many different countries by wearing green, watching parades, and eating corned beef. Everyone can be Irish on Saint Patrick’s Day!

Saint Patrick was a missionary who lived in Ireland. He died sometime around 17 March in 493 CE. At the age of 16, Saint Patrick was captured and made a slave for six years.

It is clamied that St Patrick used the thre-leaf clover (referred to as the shamrock) to teach people what Trinity is (Father, Son, The Holy Spirit).

Wtch how the river in Chicago is dyed green on this day:

Candlemas Day

The snowdrop, a flower marked as a symbol of hope has become a symbol of the Christian event Candlemas Day as well.

Candlemas Day or Festival Day of the Candles marked the end of the Christmas season as well as of the dark days. Candles on 2 February were said to bring protection against disease, famine and poverty.

“If Candlemas Day be fair and bright
Winter will have another fight.
If Candlemas Day brings cloud and rain,
Winter will not come again.”

Candlemas Day’s special food is the pancake. A saying goes: “If you want to avoid infected wheat, pancakes at Candlemas do eat.”

Saint Dwynwen’s Day

The Welsh celebrate their patron saint of lovers on 25 January every year.

The Story of Saint (Santes) Dwynwen

Once upon a time in Wales lived King Brychan Brycheiniog who had over 30 children. She had 24 daughters out of whom Dwynwen was one of the prettiest. She fell in love with a handsome man from the North called Maelon Dyfodrull. However, Dwynwen’s father didn’t support either their love or marriage since he planned her daughter to be bride of a prince.

Dwynwen begged her father to let Maelon love her, but the king refused. So she escaped to the woods where she prayed to God to make her forget Maelon and freeze their love. Her prayers were answered. Maelon was turned into a block of ice while Dwynwen was given three wishes by an angel who visited her.

She wished to be free of Maelon, get never married and finally, she wished to devote the rest of her life helping those who suffered from lost love. Dwynwen became a nun and settled on the Isle of Llanddwyn close to the Isle of Anglesey.

Dwynwen died in arounf 460 CE. Dwynwen’s Church on Llanddwyn Island has been visited by hundreds of pilgrims every year since then, moreover, lovers or newlyweds also visit the place.

The name Dwynwen means “she who leads a blessed life”. Near the church a well can be found. According to folklore, there is a fish in the well that predicts how long-lasting the lovers’ relationship will be. If the fish is swiming in the well, great and blessed marriage will come.