Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Ratfarts! I can't believe I missed the annual cheese rolling competition in Brockworth again

The Cooper's Hill Cheese Rolling and Wake was held two days ago in the Cotswolds. I've been wanting to attend this festival for a long time. Back then I would've liked to give it a shot, I do love cheese, and I used to really enjoy rolling down hills. These days I don't think I would make it. I would make it to the bottom, of course, but I don't think I'd make it.

According to Wikipedia,
The Cooper's Hill Cheese Rolling and Wake is an annual event held on the Spring Bank Holiday at Cooper's Hill, near Cheltenham and Gloucester in the Cotswolds region of England.

From the top of the hill a round of Double Gloucester cheese is rolled, and competitors race down the hill after it. The first person over the finish line at the bottom of the hill wins the cheese. In theory, competitors are aiming to catch the cheese, but since it has a one second head start and can reach speeds up to 70mph (112 km/h), enough to knock over and injure a spectator, this rarely occurs.

Accurate information is hard to come by, but the tradition is at least 200 years old. Suggestions have been made that the event may either date back to Roman times or have been a pagan healing ritual, but there is no evidence for this.

The cheese used in the event is Double Gloucester, a hard cheese typically manufactured in cylindrical blocks. The current supplier is local cheesemaker Diana Smart, who has supplied the cheese since 1988.

During the Second World War rationing was introduced, preventing the use of a cheese in the event. Consequently, from 1941 to 1954 a wooden "cheese" was used instead with a piece of cheese in a hollow space in the center of the wooden replica.

Cooper's Hill Cheese Rolling has been summarised as "twenty young men chase a cheese off a cliff and tumble 200 yards to the bottom, where they are scraped up by paramedics and packed off to hospital".

This year, Chris Anderson had the honor of taking home the Cooper Hill trophy and all the glory. Not even a black eye. Well done Mr. Anderson, and well run.

I'm going to start the search for a good hill somewhere in the neighborhood and a great huge wheel of cheese. Taiwan may just be ready for an event like this.

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