HOCKTIDE is traditionally the start of the close season for Marmite* hunting in Beerfordshire, and co-incides with the start of the Beerfordbury harpic miners Wakes Week. On Hocktide Eve, the Lads and Lasses of Beerfordbury Town would gather for clogging and cheer. What scenes of bunting and frolic there were in those days! The entire municipality, led by their esteemed liege-lord, Baron de Bouqcket, with a full Copper Band (as they didn't have the brass ... ) would parade off, tatters flapping and jogsticks jogging, garlanded with marmite pelts and ribbons gay. Cecil, the dragon, affectionately known as "The Scourge of All Men" was employed as watchman, lookout and general mascot. The stated aim was to rid the country of ale in preparation for the Dry Season, and they would hunt high and low, energetically despatching firkin and costrel alike with single-minded determination until they were outside the very last pint of Gruntfuttocks Old Groaner.
ONE fateful day, the assembled company visited the village of Loose Chippings. In the local pub, the "Temporary Sign" they found the landlord had stocked up an almost unbelievable quantity of Blagdon's Bogblaster XXXX, a brew considered so potent by the locals as to be drunk only by the quarter gill (and even then dissolved in Guinness). Never ones to balk at a challenge, the Lads & Lasses polished off the lot by half-day closing. Sadly, none could thereafter remember the way home. For some time they wandered, going up and down the country in this kind of manner and that, but never regaining their beloved home. It is known that at one point they took the 'bus to Yorkshire, but eventually they settled around the Vale of the river Stort. Regular forays were made, and are still conducted to this day, although over the years these have assumed a largely symbolic and ceremonial aspect.
In 1998 a charabanc expedition was mounted to Northern Bohemia, pursuant to a rumour that the Lost village might be found near Hronov. Although they managed to rid the town of Becherovka, they were not successful in their quest. However, a diligent exploration of Prague Docks did bring to light an old sailor by the name of Gert Bysea, who told of a rumour that the Lost village had been exported to New South Wales by Captain Cook in mistake for a flatpack field kitchen. A Colonial Expeditionary Committee was thus formed in 1999. The rest is history ...... for the which, please see our front page.
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* Research conducted in the spring of 2004 reveals a fascinating insight into the life cycle and economic exploitation of the Marmite in the context of the agrarian system and social organisation in the Lincolnshire Alps. a monograph is expected daily from Prof. Mattias (whon God preserve) of Salzburg.