You say Shrove Tuesday; I say Pancake Day!

They say it started more than 500 years ago, when on Shrove Tuesday (the day before the start of Lent), a housewife in England was cooking at her stove, heard the bell for church, and dashed from her house to the church still wearing her apron and carrying her skillet.

Today it is an annual international women’s race, in which the participants wear a housedress, headscarf and apron, and must carry a skillet with a pancake in it, and flip the pancake.

The event takes place in Olney, England and Liberal, Kansas USA.  Each town holds a race, and the fastest finish time wins the international contest.

(Picture from Olney’s website)

A multi-day festival has grown up around the event.  Each town maintains a Pancake Day website; and each maintains a Facebook page, which is great for enthusiasts like me who want real-time updates on race day.

This totally awesome Olney poster was designed by one of its middle school students:
(Click the poster to go to the Olney page for more info on the poster.)



How the International Pancake Day Race came about:

Each of the two cities’ websites gives a brief history of the Pancake Day Race.  Since each site provides a fact or two that the other one doesn’t, I’ve included both.  But hey, the best thing to do is visit both websites for more history and photos of past events.

From the Liberal, KS site: 

“In Olney, England, the Pancake Race tradition dates back more than 500 years to 1445. A woman engrossed in using up cooking fats (forbidden during Lent) was making pancakes. Hearing the church bells ring calling everyone to the shriving service, she grabbed her head scarf (required in church) and ran to the church, skillet and pancake in hand and still apron-clad. In following years, neighbors got into the act and it became a race to see who could reach the church first and collect a “Kiss of Peace” from the verger (bell-ringer.)

“HOW DID PANCAKE DAY GET STARTED IN THE UNITED STATES?​

“It all started in 1950 from a magazine picture of the Olney women racing each other to the church. Liberal Jaycee President R.J. Leete contacted the Rev. Ronald Collins, Vicar of St. Peter and St. Paul’s church in Olney, challenging their women to race against women of Liberal.  Like in Olney, the traditional prize of the race is the “Kiss of Peace” from the verger (bellringer).”

From the Olney, UK site:

“No one is quite certain how the world famous Pancake Race at Olney originated. One story tells of a harassed housewife, hearing the shriving bell, dashing to the Church still clutching her frying pan containing a pancake. Another tells that the gift of pancakes may have been a bribe to the Ringer, or Sexton that he might ring the bell sooner; for ringing the bell signalled the beginning of the day’s holiday and enjoyment, no less than to summon the people to the service at which they would be shriven of their sins before the long Lenten feast.

“Tradition declares that the race was first run in the year 1445, pancakes at the time being a popular dish, receiving royal favour. It was run on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Lent, and the whole day was given over to a festival of celebration, pranks and pastimes. It is not known where the original start line was but the finish line was at the Church door.

“The race continued through the centuries, and whilst many other local customs died, and the race itself may have lapsed many times, such lapses never caused the race to be entirely forgotten by the womenfolk of Olney. It is known to have taken place during the troublesome times of The War of the Roses (1445 to 1487).

“THE CUSTOM REVIVED

“After a lapse during the Second World War, it was revived again in 1948 by the Vicar of Olney the Reverend Canon Ronald Collins. In clearing out a cupboard he came across some old photographs, which had obviously been taken in the Nineteen Twenties and Thirties of women running with frying pans. Filled with enthusiasm to revive the ancient custom, he called for volunteers, and in response thirteen runners appeared on Shrove Tuesday that year. The race immediately caught the popular imagination and people of Olney set out to enjoy this simple and colourful link with their rich past, a day of festivities.

“THE LINK WITH LIBERAL

“In 1950 the race became an International event. A challenge was received from the town of Liberal in Kansas, USA, where they had, after seeing the press photographs of the race at Olney, conceived the idea of setting up a similar custom. Olney readily accepted the challenge and, in a spirit of international goodwill and friendship, the two towns now compete annually and prizes are exchanged. The race is run on a timed basis.”



THE RACE!

  • At 11:55 am Olney time (5:55am Central US time), the Olney Race begins.
  • At 11:55 am Liberal time (5:55pm Olney UK time), the Liberal race begins.

The weather forecast for this year’s race:

  • Olney:  Partly cloudy and 50°F with a SW wind of 17 mph, causing a feels-like temp of 45°F.
  • Liberal:  Sunny and 29°F with a N wind of 8 mph, causing a feels-like temp of 22°F

Don’t be fooled by the dresses, aprons and skillets; these races are legit athletic contests.  So, what is the actual race like?  Here is a recent video from each side of the pond:

The Olney, UK race (2012)

The Liberal, KS USA race (2014)

Attending these two Pancake Day races is a bucket list item for me.  It’s only a 3.5 hour drive for me to Liberal, KS, but Tuesdays pose a problem.  Once again this year, work has intervened to keep me from going.  Next year, Pancake Day is on Tuesday, February 25.  I shall try again.



I love to eat pancakes, so pancakes must be included in this story:

American pancakes are typically thicker than English pancakes.  I love both.

An American style pancakes recipe:  https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/21014/good-old-fashioned-pancakes/

(photo from allrecipes.com)

An English style pancakes recipe:  https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2907669/easy-pancakes

(photo from Epicurious.com)

I love pancakes so much that on my first ever trip to England (in 2010), I took a picture of my first-ever English pancake, and the lovely, skilled vendor cook who made it for me.

Wikipedia:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shrove_Tuesday

I ran; I sewed; I read

I ran.  

This morning was my fave annual 10k trail run.  There were muddy creek crossings. STD creek crossing 2 2018

STD muddy hand

STD muddy legs

There was a dam to scale.  It was ‘dam’ high and steep.  STD dam wide shotSTD dam

And then came the descent.  STD dam top view

I stayed on my feet for the descent, but in my mind I was one misstep away from doing a spectacular tumble a la Gloucestershire Cheese Roll-style.

At the race finish, a little mud wasn’t going to stop me from savoring a delicious juicy orange.  STD orange

I sewed.  

When getting dressed for the race this morning, I noticed my HRM (heart rate monitor) was way too loose.  I cinched it down to its smallest, but it was still too loose.  The several-years-old elastic was giving out.  So, I quickly threaded the sewing machine with black, and cut a big 9-inch section of elastic out of the band.

Garmin strap repair 1

Then I sewed the shortened band pieces back together.  Garmin strap repair 2

I put the shortened HRM back on, and it was still too big, so I took it off, cut out another 6 inches.  And sewed it together again.  Then it fit, and I was off to the races…literally.  Garmin strap repair 3

I read.

Back home after the race, I plopped myself onto the couch and re-dedicated myself to reading A Confederacy of Dunces.  I’d started it long ago, and liked it, but then set it aside, forgotten.  Now it is one of the books in the Great American Read list, and it is my choice for the Read.

A Confederacy of Dunces

 

DIY Touchscreen Gloves–indulging my inner geek

My one coveted pair of touchscreen gloves, that came as swag in last year’s Run in the New Year 5k, were ‘accidentally’ carried off by my nephew at the end of that very cold but exciting night of college football back in November.  I’ve put him on notice that I will be coming to retrieve them.  But in the meantime, because I need to use my phone when bicycling and running in the cold, I experimented this week with diy options.

In searching online for diy touchscreen gloves, I learned about conductive thread, that can be purchased and knitted (or crocheted) onto the fingertips of an existing pair of gloves.  The reviews are mixed.  I have a hunch this is because people don’t make sure the thread goes all the way through to make good contact with both the fingertip and phone screen.  I considered buying a spool of the conductive thread, which would have made a lot of touchscreen gloves.  But then, I was at a Radio Shack store this past weekend, and happened to see this Graphite Conductive Glue.  radio-shack-conductive-glue

I forked over $6 for the tiny tube, and came home to try it out.  The result is, it was super easy and the gloves work great!

Here’s what I did:

First, I protected my fingers with ordinary invisible tape, because the label says the glue can be a skin irritant.

tape-fingers-rsr

Then I put the gloves on and carefully applied the glue in a circle on the forefinger and thumb contact points.  I used a circular motion to embed the glue into the fibers and make sure it would go through to the other side of the knitted fabric.  Conductivity from fingers to screen is the key, so a topical application of glue only on the outside of the glove won’t work.  glue-on-glove-rsr

To further insure that the glue would penetrate to the other side of the fabric, I pressed my fingers together.  I did this carefully, so as not to smudge the neat circles.  (I did smudge them a bit on the first pair.) embedding-glue-rsr

Once I was confident in my technique, I applied the glue to my most favorite old pair of mittens.  I’m happy with the result.  mittens-done-rsrThe glue took about an hour to dry to the touch.  Then I tested them on my tablet.  They work very well!  It’s now a few days later, and they are still working very well.

Here is a quick demo of my ‘new’ diy touchscreen gloves in action.

As you can see, I glued all of the fingers on the glove in the video.  I think this was a waste of glue.  I haven’t needed any fingers other than the thumb and forefinger for operating my phone and tablet.

About that skin irritation warning on the label…I suspect the warning applies only to the glue when wet.  I’ve sensed no irritation from the dried glue whatsoever.  But be careful; heed the warning and watch for signs of possible irritation on your own skin.  And follow the label instructions.  Here is the product MSDS sheet.

Additional notes:

  • The dried glue circles are hard, and not flexible.  I was able to restore enough of the fabric’s flexibility by gently bending and curling the dried glue tips.
  • After doing a total of five gloves so far, I think there is still a lot of glue in the tube.  So one $6 tube is enough to do quite a few gloves.
  • How the glue will hold up in rain, snow or the washing machine is still an open question.  I’ll report back when my gloves have been tested in wet conditions and laundering.

Janathon is on!

janathon-participant-logo

The Janathon format is simpler this year; daily exercise is to be posted on the Janathon Facebook page.  So, no repetitive daily posts here, to report that I ran, or bicycled, or did yoga.  But that is what I’ve been doing, and ta-da … week #1 is now in the books!  *Applause* to all Janathoners for keeping your daily exercise streak going!  Bicycling or yoga or both, has been my daily activity, since the New Year’s 5k.

My city escaped the snowfall this past week, but not the bitter cold temperatures.  I bundled up in layers for my bike commute, and stayed mostly warm against the single-digit temps.  But because I’m a wimp, I refused to ride against the wind.  Twice this week, I biked to work and then loaded my bike on the city transit bus for the ride home.  bike-cold-weather-gear-w

 

The music world has lost a beautiful singer-songwriter today, Peter Sarstedt.

A running start on 2017

Very happy New Year’s wishes to all!   Here’s to a fabulous 2017.  As for 2016…what the heck was that all about?  I wish peace to those who badly need it, and peace of mind to those who are worried about incredible changes on the horizon.

shirt-and-medal-2016-17-rsr

It was calm and 32F last night at 11:45pm for the Run in the New Year 5k.  Because I’m a wimp, I dressed to stay warm while waiting to start.  Yes, I know the advice is to dress as if it were 20 degrees warmer, but I don’t care.  Being cold even for five minutes, is not my thing.  Which means starting to shed layers even before reaching the half mile point.

run-in-the-new-year-2016-17-30-seconds-to-start-rsr

The course followed our riverfront.

The race starts and ends at the Kansas Sports Hall of Famea super-inspiring place to look around before and after the run.

run-in-the-new-year-2016-17-waiting-to-start-rsr

Who could not be inspired by looking at Jim Ryun’s shoes and USA apparel?

jim-ryun-shoes-and-shirt-rsr

And beloved football coaching legacies, fambrough-rsr

and numerous other great Kansas athletes.

Back at home today, two kitchen appliances will not make the journey with me into 2017.

The bread machine died yesterday.  After I failed to break into it to try to repair it, it is now in the trash bin.

bread-machine-in-the-trash-rsr

This slow cooker that has never met my expectations or needs, is in the charity donation box.  horrible-old-crock-pot-rsr

The slow cooker has been replaced by my new love, the Instant Pot pressure cooker, to which I’ve pledged my devotion for 2017 and beyond.

instant-pot

Today I am listening to college basketball; cleaning out and reorganizing my home ‘office’ nook; and being inspired about 2017.

Whatever your goals and aspirations for the new year, I wish for you to enjoy the journey.  Yes, I believe in a better world.

 

Libraries, dresses, deer, rain and a rainbow.

This past weekend, I attended a meeting in the ‘Carnegie Building’, in the town where I grew up.  The building was the public library when I was a little girl.  I was sooo upset when they built the new, big modern library and closed this one.  That was years and years ago, when I had to ride my tricycle 10 miles uphill both ways, to get to the library.

(Image source.)Carnegie Library Lawrence

This was my first time in the building since it was the library.  These days, it is a meeting and reception venue.

After the meeting, I shopped the lovely downtown, just one street over from the library.  I stopped in a cool vintage clothing store, and came home with two great finds.  This madras dress will be excellent for bicycling.  I had to take up the hem about 3 inches so it won’t look dowdy with my proportions.

Before–with the new hemline marked with the ironMadras vintage dress-w

AfterMadras dress shortened-w

I wish I could wear the longer length.  But I’m not tall enough, and nothing will change that.

And then this totally awesome gem!    Vintage dress green & daisies

It needs no alteration…, as long as I don’t gain a single ounce.

On getting home that night, I did a run/walk on my 3.5 mile loop.

There was a rain shower in the distance.Rain cloud-w

Deer in my favorite cultivated field.Deer1-arrows
The six deer were hanging out at the edge of the field, but they headed into the trees when they saw me.Deer2

And then as I approached home, a rainbow.Rainbow

Some days are this good.

July = hot

We are in the hot part of the summer.  Yard work is hot, miserable drudgery, but bicycling has been delightful, thanks to my awesome new 7-speed cruiser bike.  (Should have switched to this style of bike ages ago, but more on that later.)

Bike handlebars basket flowers path2

Bike path trestle view

Indoors, I’m chipping away at a couple of sewing projects.  This is one of the Liberty prints I acquired last month.  Was it last month already that I was in London?  I’m dying to go back for another visit.

Liberty dress project

Juneathon ’15 wrap up

It wasn’t feasible for me to post Juneathon updates from June 18 on, but boy did I get a lot of exercise.  It was the usual activity associated with travel–lots of walking; lots of stairs; lots of carrying luggage.  When I got home and weighed myself, I had lost 3+ pounds.  So, aside from my inability to update my fitness log daily, I’m pronouncing Juneathon ’15 a success.  Now to keep up the progress as we head into the incredibly hot and muggy weeks of July.  So far I’ve done two bicycle commutes.

Shameless Brighton Beach foot selfie.Brighton foot selfie-w

My trip was 10 super-enjoyable days in England and Amsterdam.  Finally toured Westminster Abbey, and then went back for Sunday church service the next day.  Wow.  What an incredible place.

And, I finally shopped at Liberty of London.  Wow again!  I bought two pieces of their famous cotton prints.  I’m going to attempt to make a summer dress out of each.

Liberty1-w

Liberty2-w

Liberty3-w

Liberty5-w

 

Juneathon ’15, day 15 & 16

Day 15 was a Monday in every sense.  My gosh I had no energy whatsoever as I tried to get my work done.  But for Juneathon, I managed to get in a total mile walk, to and from my transit stops.  Because how else do you get to and from the transit stops?

Day 16 was better for fitness.  It was gorgeous, so I commuted to work on my bicycle, then across downtown to a meeting after work, then home after the meeting, for a total of 10.5 miles.  The great thing about June is that it is still light out until after 9pm.  Bicycling is still an option at that hour.