Monday, 28 May 2007

Tudor Pull

Hampton Court Palace

Well I never, in all the years - about 20 of them - that I lived within walking distance (when I was considerably more energetic) of Hampton Court Palace and constantly visited there, I never knew there was an annual Tudor Pull.

What the heck is a Tudor Pull? Ah, as Londonist point out, "Henry VIII certainly knew how to cut it with the ladies, but we reckoned that a re-enactment of His Majesty's finest chat-up lines was unlikely, particularly in the middle of a river."

There probably are some similarities between that and this event though, as both would inevitably involve lots of 'oars'. Tongue out

Like most of these things - in most countries - it all seems incredibly pointless to have a "processional event", rowing up the river Thames, commemorating something that everyone has long forgotten, with a ritual "ceremony of giving back to the Tower's governor the thing that he had specifically sent away to Hampton Court so that it could ceremonially be returned to him."

But, like so many festivals in Spain, in dubious honour of the locally "revered" icon - and nobody can ever explain to me why it is locally revered - that is ceremonially brought out of the church, only so it can be ceremonially taken back in again, I'm certain that a good day will be had by all of those who, mostly, turn up for the food and wine / beer. Crowd size, naturally, increasing in inverse proportion to the "freeness" of the said refreshment.

It's funny, but when you've been away for a while, one tends to forget that Britain also has it's fair share of these quite unexplainable and decidedly strange customs. The closest I ever got to anything like it was volunteering one year for one of the teams in the decidedly less regal, "Dongola" racing in the annual Sunbury Regatta. Dongola racing, in this context, for those who don't know - that would be both readers - is two competing teams of I forget how many (representing fine local establishments, such as The Jockey Pub, who supported their team members with free T-Shirts and free beer), kneeling up, rowing punts upstream on the Thames, Hawaii Five-O (dragonboat) stylee.

Well, I think we maybe moved the thing a couple of lengths before being tipped and sinking into the murky waters, but that was the intent anyway.

We'd trained hard for this too. Half hour's worth of cursory punt hire - and we even threw a line to a passing motor launch who towed us back up river when we'd had enough - followed by several "challenging" nights down the pub. Smile

Sporting Weekend: Tudor Pull

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