Posted by: Andrew | February 8, 2010

There’ll Always Be an England

Number one son was doing a project on other countries in school last month.   As N1S has an English father, he decided to choose England, as we have loads of useful material on England at home.  He wasn’t the only one who followed this process, one of his friends with an Estonian mother chose Estonia, and the Ukraine featured too (there are many descendants of Ukrainians here in Saskatchewan).  Interestingly enough, Italy was the top choice, with three different projects either on the country itself, or on Venice.  One of these was apparently motivated by a love of pizza, not by family ties.

Here is the poster which N1S created at school.  We helped him find some of the resources, but he put the whole thing together himself.  He has a good eye for design, I think, taking after my mother on my side of the family, and Light of My Life, who is also very artistic as well as being a smart physicist.

Here is the poster display he made for the class exhibition, all of the posters were really good.

England Poster

England Poster

You might be able to spot some obvious “English” pictures, such as Big Ben and the phone boxes, but there are some images which are a little more difficult.

See if you can find:

My Steamed Jam Sponge Pudding (courtesy of a recipe by Jamie Oliver, The Naked Chef).

Cheese Rolling Contest.

A Well Dressing.

You will also note that, in deference to my brother, English football (soccer to you North Americans) is represented, quite rightly, by the crest of Derby County FC.

So, you are probably now wondering what a Well Dressing is. It is a very local custom in the part of Derbyshire which I am from (the Peak District), where to give thanks for water from the local wells, a celebration is held and a picture made of flower petals pressed into a clay coated backing board is displayed near to the well. This used to have a purely religious theme, but the modern interpretation of the art form can use any image. In the poster, the picture of Paddington Bear (himself an icon!) is a well dressing. If you are in the Peak District of Derbyshire during the summer months, you should check out the local well dressings. Each village holds a festival on different weeks, so you should be able to find one or two displays for most of the summer.

Cheese Rolling is a “sporting” event held at Cooper’s Hill, near Gloucester.  A large, circular Double Gloucester Cheese (Well, did you expect Camembert at an eccentric English event?) is rolled down a steep hill.  Lots of people run down the hill to try and catch it before it gets to the bottom. As the cheese can reach speeds of up to 110 km/h (70 mph), this does not happen often.  Note that I have not checked the physics of this statement, to see if this speed estimate is reasonable.  Another post is called for…

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