Out walking with a friend near Wetherby the other day, Andy came across this homophonically horrific sign, Horses for courses, they decided to continue, nonetheless.
Was it bigamous, Andy wonders? Now all he has to do is break it to the wife.
*Yesterday’s blog somewhat trepidantly noted that Steve Bloomer, a football superstar 100 years before David Beckham, had been descried as “as crafty as an oriental and as slippery as an eel.”
“An expression that could be taken the wrong way,” writes Martin Birtle and presumably doesn’t mean the bit about the eel.
It reminds him of a still-familiar 1850s list of 19 offences punishable by transportation to Australia which included “impersonating an Egyptian.”
The 19, these days shamelessly abrogated by an Aussie wine company, also included stealing from furnished lodgings, petty larceny – less than a shilling – bigamy (Andy Lister please note), stealing fish from a pond or river and “waterman carrying too many passengers on the Thames (if anyone drowned.”)
Legislation against “Egyptians” – gipsies, in other words – had first been introduced during the reign of Henry VIII in 1530 “to expel the outlandish people calling themselves Egyptians.” They were given 16 days voluntarily to leave these shores.
Partly the king was concerned that too much fortune telling was going on – “using great, subtil and crafty means to deceive the people”, but probably the gipsies had seen it coming. The act wasn’t repealed until 1856.
Egypt Cottage was a Newcastle pub dating fromthe early 18th century, apparently so named because that part of the city near the Tyne – a home to grain warehouses and spice dealers – was known as Little Egypt.
In later years it was conveniently next to Tyne Tees Television’s once-bustling studios, a popular watering hole for stars of everything from The One O’Clock Show to The Tube.
Remember The Tube, fronted by Jools Holland and Muriel Gray, broadcast from 1982-87 and made in Studio Five? The Egypt was so greatly frequented by some of the biggest names in music, it was known as Studio Six.
*We reported last week that Darlington RA had been fined £40 – plus the cost of the grub – after insufficient players had their feet under the table following the midweek Wearside League at Windscale, who play at Egremont in West Cumbria. The RA had described the post-match offering as “tin cartons of gravy with potatoes.” Former Workington FC director Dave Cumberworth seeks to explain.
“They’re tough lads in Egremont and it’s a form of hot tatty pot sometimes served with hot mashed sweetened beetroot. Workington Reds used to serve it to sponsors and match officials – the players preferred pie and chips. I feel sorry for the ladies who probably spent all day making it, free of charge to the club.”
Besides, adds Dave, the RA lads missed a treat.
*Chris Snowdon draws attention to a Twitter thread and blog recalling the annual meeting of the International Football Association Board (IFAB) at the Caledonian Hotel in Inverness – no less – in June 1970.
A proposal to abandon the picking of lots to decide the outcome of drawn knock-out matches in favour of a penalty competition was unanimously agreed. Who’d have thought it, the penalty shoot-out is over 50 years old.
*This Sunday’s charity match at Spennymoor Town, organised by dementia-awareness charity Head for Change, is attracting global interest. Dr Judith Gates reports that a Berlin-based television company has sought permission to attend with the aim of screening the game across Europe. In the first half heading will be restricted to the penalty areas, in the second it’ll be outlawed. For those without German television, admission’s £5, concessions just £1. Kick off 3pm.