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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Who are the Bedouins?

The Bedouins are a nomadic Arab tribe whose name is derived from badawi meaning ‘desert-dweller’. They make up about one-tenth of the population of the Middle East, but cover in their wanderings nearly nine-tenths of its land area. Their Pattern of life is determined by the grazing needs of their flocks which they follow all the year round, living in black goats’ hair tents. Traditionally they despise agricultural or manual work, and happiest tending their herds of sheep, camels and highly-bred horses.


Saturday, November 28, 2009

What is Valhalla?

The word means Hall of the slain and, in Norse mythology, was the great hall of the dead heroes. The hall had 540 doors, so wide that 800 men could enter side by side, and the guests were seated at long tables where they were served with wondrous food and drink.

Valhalla’s walls were of gold, lined with battle shields so highly polished that the light they cast made candles unnecessary, and coats of mail and armour hung from the walls.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

What is knur and spell?

A word game? A Viking singing duo? A witch’s curse? No, knur and spell is a little-known game that has been played in the Pennine area of Northern England for the last 300 years.
The game has a terminology all its own. The knur is a small baked clay ball, sometimes known as a potty. The spell is a wooden structure something like a miniature gallows, from which the knur is suspended. The players-known locally as laikers – must hit the knur with a long sycamore cane, the laiker whose knur travels furthest being the winner. The game had almost died out until recently, but now there has been lots of new interest, and a world championship is planned.


Monday, November 23, 2009

What is pall-mall?

This game is similar to croquet, played with a wooden mallet and ball. The name derives from the Italian, Palla (ball) and maglio (mallet). Though not played much nowadays, pall-mall enjoyed great popularity in England. Italy and other parts of Europe in the 1600s.