Thursday, May 16, 2013

Annual cheese roll is down hill all the way

Good news for cheese lovers or those people who believe that cheese can be used for other means than on crackers. Would-be participants are preparing for the annual Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling Festival challenge or competition, scheduled to take place this year on Monday, May 27, 2013.

Chasing cheese down a hill - be still my beating heart! There is something about this challenge that is Monty Python-esque, at least in my eyes.

In the way of background information, the event dates back to the 1800's and features an 8lb - give or take a couple of ounces - Double Gloucester cheese, which is rolled down what is described as a very steep hill.

According to the BBC who keep track of these type of stories, cheese rolling could have been initiated by the Phoenicians who lived in the south-western parts of Britain before the Roman invasion of 54BC, by the ancient Britons, or by the Romans themselves. Furthermore, the first evidence of cheese rolling was discovered in a message to the Gloucester Town Crier in 1826.

The procedure is simple in that participants or cheese rollers/roll-ees  set off to push the cheese down the hill. The first cheese rolls at noon and there are five downhill races, spaced 20 minutes apart. This begs (or at least makes one - me - wonder) as to the rationale behind the race. The winner(s) get to keep the cheese or what is left of it when it reaches the bottom. One wonders how much falls off along the way.

Just participants use a stick to propel their cheese down hill or let gravity do the work?
As a person who hasn't tried this type of challenge (cheese is for eating IMHO - then again...) given that the cheese travels down a grassy surface, wouldn't it require some type of intervention i.e. hand/stick to keep it going?

So picture this: cheese slabs sliding and making their way down hill trailed by screaming humans. What if local mice and rat families who make their home on the hill wait on the side-lines to make their moves.

I say, Percy. Do you see what I see?

Well bless my stars! Could it be?

(sniffing the air)
The aroma is familiar

(smelling the air)
Smells like...

...cheddar would you say?

(still sniffing the air)
It might be, smells more like...

...Gloucester !

I do like a piece of Gloucestershire in the morning. How about you, Philip?

I'm more a cheddar mouse myself but this is an opportunity too good to pass up. Should we?

I say we should! Ready?

You take a front chunk and I'll take a back bite and we'll meet back for tea at my hole

I say, Philip. You are the best host. What type of tea will we be drinking, today?

For Gloucestershire, only Earl Grey will do. Here they come! Free cheese on the way!

Right now, people reading this who are wondering just how this double Gloucester cheese is made might want to watch this:

For those people who might want to try their hand in this - well - interesting pastime, here is a video of what to expect:

Some people like to chase their cheese while others prefer to have it served on a plate with crackers. Different strokes for different folk.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Still more stories that make you say, "huh?"

It's always amazing the interesting stuff one finds while conducting a daily Internet check-in. These are the stories that might be missed by your everyday cyber surfer given the eclectic subject matter. You know - cheese races, interesting scientific experiments, animal artists...that stuff.

Speaking or writing about animal artists, as a person who has taken up painting in the last few years, it's difficult to sell one's artistic output to say the least. Given the competition out there, sales are few and far between at best. However, there's no horsing around for some people - and this term is used loosely- when it comes to selling their art work or art output.

Take for example, artist, Metro Meteor, who used to spend his working days at a race track. The 10 year old never placed a bet in his life but in his former vocation as a thoroughbred bay, made his money racing around a track in Maryland. However, afflicted with bad knees and following his retirement in 2009, he took to relaxing by taking brush in hand, or in the horse's case, to mouth, and is turning out canvases that are being bought by the public. Just what we artists need: more competition.

After being adopted by artist, Ron Krajewski, he decided to give the horse painting lessons to spend more time with him. The rest as they say, is history and in just four short months, Metro is the best-selling artist at Gallery 30, a small shop in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

According to the story, the horse's paintings created by swinging his (Metro's) head, feature "colorful, sweeping brush strokes, complete with specks of sawdust. As an aside and case anybody reading this is interested, my artistic output also has lots of color, interesting brush strokes but no saw dust. Maybe one should consider buying saw dust to add that extra something to one's paintings...

The proverbial icing on the cake is that Metro's output has a waiting list of 120 people waiting to buy his larger paintings measuring 20x20" that sell for $850 at the gallery, while the smaller 5x7" cut-down versions go for $80.  Half of Metro’s earnings to New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program, a charity that seeks homes and rehabilitation for retired racehorses. The owner of Gallery 30 donates a portion of Metro’s profits to a local animal shelter - a nice gesture.

As a celebrity horse, Metro now makes appearances on network TV and has also received requests for endorsements. One wonders how he signs his canvases. One hoof or two...

Moving right along...

For whatever reason, money-saving move springs to mind or just to be different, O'Hare Airport in Chicago, has hired 25 goats to keep 120 acres of airport grass, nice and mowed, or at least mowed, anyway. The goats will arrive and set to their task in a month focusing on hard-to-mow embankments and areas with dense brush. To ensure the job is done properly, a shepherd will watch the flock to avoid runway run-ins. There is no mention of flute accompaniment. Just thought I'd throw that in.

It's a win-win situation with the goat contract worth $20,000 through to the end of 2014, cheaper than using machine lawnmowers. The goats are also happy one presumes, since they are owned by restaurant, "The Butcher and the Burger." Goat burgers aren't on the menu.

And finally...

Most turkeys - the animal type - live out their lives (as short as they may be) on a farm and then there are some, for whatever reason - get their directions mixed up. A couple living in Brookline, Massachusetts, were taken aback when a turkey crashed through their window. A police officer arrived and managed to coax the turkey out of the house through a window. This leads one - me - to ponder what means were used to coax said turkey to leave the premises. Perhaps the turkey was bribed with corn or food.

Although the turkey lost a small amount of blood, it wasn't worse for wear.

This once again leads one - moi - to reflect upon the issue whether turkeys can fly. I mean, how did the turkey under discussion crash through a double-paned window? Out of curiosity, went on a Web search to seek an answer once and for all and came across some interesting turkey-related stats. if anybody is interested. This is an important issue for some people, readers!

According to the site, "Information Please":

- Domesticated turkeys cannot fly. Wild turkeys, however, can fly for short distances at speeds up to 55 miles per hour. They can also reach speeds of 25 miles per hour on the ground.

- Turkeys sometimes spend the night in trees.

- Turkeys can have heart attacks: turkeys in fields near the Air Force test areas over which the sound barrier was broken were known to drop dead from the shock of passing jets

 - The ballroom dance known as the Turkey Trot was named for the short, jerky steps a turkey makes.

Speaking of turkeys, remember Les Nessman of "WKRP In Cincinnati" - one of my favorite oldie TV shows - and the infamous turkey drop? If not, here is a refresher. Poor turkeys...

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

A shady decision

For some people, the advent of Spring marks the beginning of the gardening season and all things outdoors. It's the season of renewal with longer days and extended periods of sunshine that inspires people to start projects put on hold during winter. Take painting walls for example - somebody please.

Go figure that choosing a color for the bathroom could be such a dilemma. Narrowing down the choices shouldn't be a difficult task given the plethora of colors available in a variety of brands, but it is. The fact that we're painting altogether given that the walls really don't need a sprucing up, is due to a mistake on my part in the selection of the prevailing shade. For whatever reason - temporary insanity springs to mind - the walls are currently a peachy/salmon-y hue that seemed like a good choice at the time. Searching for towels to compliment the shade has been an exercise in futility. In retrospect, somebody should have tried to convince me to think twice, but we've lived with the color for five years now. Five long years of staring at the color and asking myself, "why?"

Paper paint samples have been hanging from the wall tiles for a week now in the hope that it will inspire and narrow down the final choice. Two selections have made the final cut at this moment, but that could change (again) by tomorrow. The "in" colors, according to home decorators and their ilk, is white with grey accents or grey with white accents. While these shades would go with our wall tiles, the rest of the room is in the beige tone. Taupe could be a good option but we'll probably go with a safe-and-no-regrets, beige-y tone. There's a reason why family and friends call us 'the beige family' since the majority of the walls are this shade.

According to a helpful article focusing on bathroom renovation in Better Homes and Gardens, ,while surfing the cyber highway for ideas, one should determine if the bathroom to be renovated is to be relaxing or energizing? Never really gave much thought to either to be honest. It would depend, one would imagine, on the length of time one plans to stay in the room. I mean, why would one want to linger indefinitely to the point where color would be an important aspect.

Thinking further, there is really no logical reason for angsting over what color to do the bathroom walls. In the end, the bathroom is a place where one washes up and answers nature's call. It's not the type of room in which one would want to linger for a lengthy period of time, or carry on witty conversation among a group of people. It really shouldn't be a difficult decision but it is. Anything but peachy salmon will do.