Sheepshaggers' beer, manholes and armadillos
Last month we told you how Grant McBride, the New South Wales Gaming and Racing minister, had threatened to ban the sale of Shag Beer because of its name. What will he do if anyone in NSW tries to sell a Scottish beer called Cairngorm Sheepshaggers' Gold?
The website of Cairngorm Brewery, Aviemore, Scotland describes the brew as "the best beer, baa none... brewed from the finest ingredients and the purest of water from the Cairngorm Mountains."
In a message posted on an Internet forum, beer lover John Doughty, of Cheslyn Hay, England, commented: "Disgraceful name that clearly aims it at the dirty mac brigade. Which is a pity, as this is quite a pleasant, almost pils-like golden ale. Soft finish with no dominant taste. A well balanced (apart from the name ) beer."
We received a great variety of interesting and amusing emails as feedback from last month's stories. Here are some of them.
From: Julie Bradford, Durham, North
Here's my addition: here in North Carolina, a conservative southern state where I (a transplanted non-conservative northerner) edit All About Beer magazine, a favorite casual dance is called "the shag." I gather it's a line dance, popular at the beach resorts on our coast. I'll never forget taking Scottish friends to visit the beach, and their horrified reaction on seeing, for sale at a tacky souvenir stand, a video called "How to Shag."
From: Alexander Kholopov (aka Kholopov
Trouser) and Natalia Lamanova (aka Lamana Wooma),
founders of the Moscow website
Sewers of the World -
Natty Bumppo (Brownsville, Kentucky)
Some spoofers in the marching band at Indiana University put out a newsletter about 1960 called the Marching Hundred Sun-Times with the slogan, "He serves best who serves vermouth."
From Hembree (Nebraska).
Thankfully, we don't have cane toads yet -- though with all the other critters that abound here, I wouldn't be surprised to see them any day now.
Leo C. Helmer
I live in Yorkshire's Pennine Hills. Villages hereabouts often have two names: an official name, which appears on the map, and the name given it by those who live there.
Slaithwaite is known by locals as Slawit. Linthwaite is Linfit. Kirkheaton is Yetton. And Skelmanthorpe.... (brace yourselves) Skelmanthorpe is known to the locals as Shat. Don't know why or how it got the name, but scores of folk are delighted to say they live in Shat.
Five years ago my wife and our two sons were on holiday in Perth, Western Australia. We were staying in a friendly family hotel, 15 minutes walk from the city centre. Every day we availed ourselves of the free Blue Cat bus service.
One morning the bus was crowded. Son Dave and I were standing up front, near the driver. Two young women got on. By their accents they were Yorkshire folk. One of them asked the driver if he would tell them when they reached a certain street. He said he would, gently mocking her accent.
"Shouldn't mock a good Yorkshire accent,'' said I to the lass. "Whereabouts
are you from?''
And two dozen pairs of startled Aussie eyes were focused on the foul-mouthed Poms.
From: Philip Silverman.
Patricia Paris, Chattanooga, Tennessee.
When I was a kid, my folks kept horehound around all the time for colds and cough. It came in either coughdrops or in sticks, like peppermint. I liked it ok...frankly, I thought it beat the heck out of those menthol-type coughdrops. My grandmother, however, lived by it. There were several things in her life that she swore by, and not in any particular order: horehound, Vicks Salve, church on Sunday, Ben-Gay, Mentholatum, and chicken on Sunday (fried, baked, or perhaps chicken 'n dumplings).
From: David Downer
"Was the Long Man of Wilmington the world's first Nordic Walker?" asks David Downer, editor of Nordic Walking News, in his new blog. He says Richard Mathews had posed that question after watching a TV program that featured the "Long Man of Wilmington", a figure etched into Windover Hill in East Sussex on England's south coast.
Authorities couldn't decide whether the figure dates back to Roman times, the Bronze Age or the 11th century. "And we thought that the origins of Nordic Walking dated back only to the early 1900s when cross country skiers were known to use their poles for summer 'snow free' training," says Downer.
"You will see what Richard means when you view the photos."
From: Sourdough, Petaluma, California.
From: Mary Ned, Lexington, Massachusetts.
And thanks to all of our correspondents for making this e-book so much more interesting. Perhaps we should rename it The Internet Surfer's Digest!