Admittedly, there was nothing happening in my life today that reminded me of Shrove Tuesday until I came home from work about an hour ago and did some ironing. Huh, I hear you say, what has ironing to do with Shrove Tuesday, or pancakes, for that matter? Nothing at all. But it has become my habit to listen to BBC Radio Four or BBC Radio York via the internet while ironing, and just as I was giving my beloved petrol green/blue Monsoon dress its hot steamy treatment, there was a short piece about Ripon's pancake race, held today. The Dean of Ripon's Cathedral was briefly interviewed, and here he is - photographed on Shrove Tuesday in 2016, the picture finding its way to me via George.
I hope everyone who was there to race or watch had fun! Three young members of the Chathedral's choir were also interviewed, and one very young sounding boy said that "it isn't a competition, but it's all about the community". I wonder whether he came up with that himself. When I was a little girl, I certainly would never had thought or said anything like it - when there was a competition of any kind, I would only feel like joining in when I was at least half way sure to win (and I could run real fast as a kid).
Speaking of me as a little girl, and it being the last day of Carnival in Germany today, here is the reason why "Cats" appear in the headline of this post.
As children, my sister and I used to love dressing up in carnival costumes this time of year, like all the children in our neighbourhood. Usually, there were carnival parties for children at schools, kindergardens and village or town halls. Our parents let us choose what we wanted to be, and you can imagine that Princess, Indian Squaw or Gypsy Lady were popular costumes for little girls.
When I was three and my sister four years old, I was determined I wanted to be Gestiefelter Kater (Puss-in-Boots), a character I knew from the fairytale books my parents read to us. A hat with cats' ears, a tail, a pair of black trousers, black top and little vest, all made to look like the stuff Puss was wearing in the books, was acquired. I wore my red wellies and felt absolutely great, like The Real Thing.
...yes, until I saw my sister's costume! She had opted for Sleeping Beauty, and our Grandma had made her the most beautiful princess dress I had ever seen in my life, out of glittery gold-pink fabric. She had a little crown, and a golden ribbon around her waist with tiny pink plastic roses tied in.
I am sure my jaw dropped when I saw it, and then of course, I wanted to look like her, be like her! Immediately!! Gone was my thrill at looking and feeling like a cat - now I wanted to be a princess, too.
Alas, there was only the one dress; we had made our choices, after all, and our costumes had been provided according to that.
I pulled all the stops, doing what a three-year-old can do so well: Throw a tantrum. Tantrum with a capital T! I cried, I refused to go out, I was nasty and angry and unpleasant and thoroughly horrible until...
...until my Mum unearthed an old, shabby petticoat from her wardrobe, one I am sure she had not been wearing since the late 1950s herself. It had tulle (even though it was REALLY shabby) - I saw the tulle, and pulled the old petticoat over my black pants. For a three-year-old, it came at floor length, and so it became my princess dress! I stopped crying, the cats' ears hat was taken off, the tail followed suit, and peace reigned again.
|Seconds before The Tantrum|
Last year, the motto was Fun Fair. This year, it was Walpurgis Night - so all things to do with witches and witchcraft were in order.
O.K. and I decided to go as Warlock and his Black Cat. I chose a very, very stylish and cool green satin robe for him, and he wore a pointed black hat and black clothes. My cat costume consisted of my usual black running pants, a black long-sleeved t-shirt I often wear, black fluffy knee socks and black shoes. I wore a black wig, black cats' ears and a black tail (which could have been longer, I think).
We had a lot of fun at the dance, and I never lost an ear or my tail - and I did NOT throw a tantrum :-) But it was really very hot underneath the wig, especially when dancing. Now Carnival is as good as over, and I honestly won't miss it.