Another Christmas Quiz (2023)

Anne here, and since Christmas is less than a week away, I’m offering you  a Christmas Quiz. However, since I’m working madly towards an imminent deadline, I have recycled some of the questions from my previous quizzes. How many do you remember? You might know some, you might not, but as always, this is just for fun.

Write down your answers as you go, then pop over to the link at the end to see the answers. Then come back here and tell us how you went.


1)     Which Christmas carol might have been sung by Regency people?
a) Hark the Herald Angels Sing
b) The First Noel.
c) God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.
d) We Three Kings of Orient Are.

2) The first member of the English royal family to display a Christmas tree was        a) Queen Adelaide in 1820
b) Queen Charlotte in 1800
c) Queen Victoria in 1848
d) Queen Caroline in 1825

3) Mince pies in the Regency contained:
a) ground nuts
b) dried fruit and meat
c) minced steak
d) chicken and other kinds of poultry

4). Stir-Up Day is:
a) The last Sunday before Advent, when the minister traditionally gives a fiery sermon to stir the congregation from sin and complacency.
b) The day when in the country, the winter hay is turned, to prevent it going moldy.
c) the day when all the members of the family gather to stir the Christmas pudding.
d) The day when the foxes are stirred from their dens to prepare for hunting on Boxing Day (26th December).

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To Lady’s Maid or Not to Lady’s Maid

Chocolate maid

A Lady's maid delivering hot chocolate in the morning

Joanna here.  The other day I was thinking about a discussion on Twitter that talked about the life of a lady’s maid. This related somewhat tangentially to my own life since I am trying and failing to fix my clothes washer and have thus taken refuge in philosophy.

It is better than kicking the washer and swearing, I suppose.

The Twitter thread was touched off by a video of a woman getting dressed in the 1890s.

There were many frothy bits of clothing, all of which had to be tugged up or around or pulled over and then tied or buttoned.

Folks pointed out, rightly, that it would have taken a bit of time and a lot of wriggling and gymnastics to get the woman dressed. Look at all those layers, they said. Bet she had a maid to help.

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A Loverly Bunch of Coconuts

Coconut wikijoanna here,

“I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts
There they are a'standing in a row
Big ones, small ones, some as big as your head
"Give 'em a twist, a flick o' the wrist,”
That's what the showman said!

“I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts
Every ball you throw will make me rich
There stands me wife
The idol of me life
Singing, "Roll up, bowl a ball, a penny a pitch!"
                                   
1944 song

The song celebrates the coconut shy, a traditional game at funfairs and fêtes. The mark – that is to say, the customer –  throws a wooden ball at a row of coconuts balanced on posts. Typically a player buys three balls and wins each coconut he dislodges.

My knowledge of this game is based on the cynical warning from Midsomer Murder’s Chief Inspector Barnaby that the shy’s coconuts will be far too old to eat.

Wiki commons

The "coco" in coconut might come a word for "head" or "skull"

 

 

 

While we thus know coconuts were common in the UK in 1944 – edible or not – we may be unsure as to exactly when they did show up.

Are they a Regency treat?
Can our Regency ingenue be delighted by her first taste of crisp, sweet coconut flesh?

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The Little Matter of Chocolate Pots

 

Wench The Chocolate Maiden; M. Beaune; Museums Sheffield

The Chocolate Maiden carrying water and hot choc

Joanna here, talking about chocolate pots in the Eighteenth and early Nineteenth Century, which is a small and very specific topic, but it possesses a certain naïve charm.

The whole sweeping history of chocolate is a huge ocean upon which I do not feel ready to embark when I am still (endlessly) in the midst of moving household. So we’re just going to look in at one of the tiny islands in that sea. If Georgian chocolate drinking were Homer’s Odyssey, looking at chocolate pots would be like visiting Calypso’s Isle. A manageable bite, as it were, and we don’t meet the Cyclops or get turned into pigs, which makes it a good day by anyone’s calculation.

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The Splendors of Blenheim Palace

Blenheim 12
Andrea here, As you probably know, a number of the Wenches traveled through England, Scotland and Ireland in the last fortnight (and got to spend time together, both exploring and speaking at the RNA Conference, which was so much fun!) So here is the first of many “show and tell” blogs from our experiences. But as most of you love history as much as we do, I hope you’ll enjoy these vignettes of places that captured our fancy.

 

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