Ihope you enjoyed February’s questions and even managed to answer a few. This month’s quiz is about firsts in London I’ve posed these questions before so that should give you a fighting chance. As before the correct answer will turn green when it’s clicked upon and expanded to give more information. The incorrect answers will turn red giving the correct explanation.
Rules, regulations and by-laws, don’t they get you down? And London has more than its share.
Don’t touch the walrus or sit on the iceberg
The walrus has been on display at the Horniman Museum for more than a century. One of the most popular exhibits in the museum, probably due to its odd shape as it appears stretched and ‘overstuffed’ as it lacks the skin folds characteristic of a walrus in the wild. Over one hundred years ago, only a few people had ever seen a live walrus, so it is hardly surprising that ours does not look true to life. He sits on his own ‘iceberg’.
Don’t feed the pigeons
Ken Livingstone, as the first London mayor, dealt with the plague in Trafalgar Square of what he called “flying rats”. Those guilty of the offence can be punished with a £500 fine. When the square was pedestrianised Westminster Council realised the North Terrace outside the National Gallery was not covered by the ban and amended the law to prevent determined feeders from exploiting a loophole.
Don’t climb on the lions
Consultants conducted a survey in 2011 and discovered corrosion, scratches and ‘cracking’ on the lions in Trafalgar Square, and found litter pushed into their mouths.
The inspectors also discovered that the bronze on the south-east facing lion had been worn down to a thickness of just 0.2 inches, up to three times thinner than the same parts of the other lions. The same lion was seen to vibrate when visitors climbed on its back. They suggested that children stop acting out scenes from The Lion King./span>
Don’t touch a pelican
Pelican-touching is ‘expressly forbidden’ should you happen to find one in a London park, according to the Royal Parks and Other Open Spaces Regulations 1997. But should you have a desire to get your fingers bitten, you can pet one if ‘prior permission is obtained’. Presumably from the park, not the pelican.
Don’t mate with the Queen’s corgis
Apparently, you were once forbidden to allow your dogs to mate with one of the Monarch’s corgis. Presumably, this is to avoid any unwanted mongrel offspring, the dogs that is.
Don’t kill a swan
The Queen doesn’t own all the breeds of swan in England, but she does have first dips on mute swans. But she’s only allowed to eat them, as long as she and her diners are guests of St. John’s College, Cambridge. Mute swans are a protected species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981 and killing them is punishable with a £5,000 fine.
Don’t handle a salmon suspiciously
Under the well-known Salmon Act of 1986, it’s illegal to handle salmon ‘under suspicious circumstances’. You’ve been warned.
Ihope you enjoyed January’s questions and even managed to answer a few. This month’s quiz is about last in London. As before the correct answer will turn green when it’s clicked upon and expanded to give more information. The incorrect answers will turn red giving the correct explanation.
These might be the most memorable, if incorrect, words that were spoken during the Apollo years. Tom Hanks was the first to speak them, playing Jim Lovell in Apollo 13. But it was Lovell’s fellow astronaut on the Apollo 8 mission who’s quote has changed the world. Bill Anders, who took the famous Earthrise shot, now a pillar of today’s environmental movement, would like to say: “We came to explore the moon and what we discovered was the Earth”.
In keeping with astronauts being at the forefront of the green movement you can find them nailed to planes, London plane trees, that is.
American astronauts are commemorated along the western side of Kennington Road, some fifteen name tags could once be found up the half-mile stretch from the Imperial War Museum to Kennington Lane.
Some mystery surrounds the placement of the nameplates. The much-lamented Smoke magazine noted that the names had been present for at least 20 years, and that was 9 years ago.
Predictably conspiracy theories have speculated that the trees might have been planted with seeds brought back from the moon, completely dismissing the fact that these mighty specimens are well over 50 years old.
For the record, here are the 15 names, but alas not Lovell or Anders are commemorated on Kennington Road, maybe they once were as those nailed to trees are down from 17 at the time of the Smoke article.
Eugene A Cernan
John W Young
Neil A Armstrong
Edwin E Aldrin
Alan L Bean
Fred W Haise Jr
John L Swigert Jr
Stuart A Roosa
Alan B Shepherd
David R Scott
Edgar D Mitchell
Alfred M Worden
James B Irwin
Charles M Duke Jr
When it was quiet, as it often was during January, I would set-up on Globe Walk hoping to get a fare from tourists.
On more than one occasion, on this day, being Twelfth Night, I saw a very unusual tradition, as a man shrouded in a green suit emerged from the River Thames in a rowing boat accompanied by a merry posse. This was the extraordinary Holly Man, the Winter guise of the Green Man (from our pub signs, pagan myths and folklore), decked in fantastic green garb and evergreen foliage, piped over the River Thames, with the devil Beelzebub.
By Shakespeare’s Globe, led by the Bankside Mummers and their London Beadle, the Holly Man ‘brought in the green’ and toast or ‘wassail’ the people, the River Thames and the Globe (an old tradition encouraging good growth).
It was the ceremony of the traditional beginning of the Twelfth Night celebrations that marked the end of the Christmas period before people return to work.
The ‘Mummers’ then processed to the Bankside Jetty and performed the traditional freestyle St. George Folk Combat Play, featuring the Turkey Sniper, Clever Legs, the Old ‘Oss and many others, dressed in spectacular costumes.
The play is full of wild verse and boisterous action, a time-honoured part of the season. Cakes distributed at the end of the play have a bean and a pea hidden in two of them. Those from the crowd who find them are hailed King Bean and Queen Pea for the day and crowned with ceremony.
The King and Queen then lead the people through the streets to the historic George Inn Southwark, for a fine warming-up with the Fowlers Troop, Storytelling, the Kissing Wishing Tree, Dancing and Mulled Wine.
Whether this performance, recorded since the Crusades, will take place today I doubt.