Duck Apple Night

Duck appleThose of us who were brought up in the ’40’s and 50’s in the UK, always looked forward to Duck Apple night, which was well before Dad hired a TV.

Duck Apple was a simple game on the last night of October. We had to try and grab an apple with our teeth. We were not allowed to use our hands, and sometimes we had our hands tied behind our back to make sure that we didn’t cheat.
An evening of fun with family, friends and plenty of laughter, and you didn’t get in to trouble if you ended the evening with your shirt soaking wet. Shock horror, even the adults were soaked.
The tradition goes back to the Roman invasion of Britain (55 BC) when the Romans merged their religious celebrations with Celtic Britain. The apple tree, which was a Roman symbol of plenty (Pomona) was introduced in to Britain and the apple floating in water was used to see if an unmarried person was due to be married.
The first person to bite in to the apple would be the next person to be married. Girls who ‘bobbed’ i.e bit in to a floating apple, would place the bitten apple under their pillow to dream of their future lover. Odd how the apple was held in such high regard by the Romans, considering how important it was in the Garden of Eden.

A variation, in the 18th century, was to suspend the apple in the air, rather than float in a barrel or bath, perhaps they didn’t like getting wet.
All Saints Eve (31st October), according the old writings in Cheshire (the county where I was born), required a hollowed out turnip, in which a candle would be placed to frighten people. This ‘lamp’ being a jack-o-lantern, (will-o’- the-wisp) which later grew in size (we all put weight on with age), when pumpkins replaced the turnip. We used to eat turnips, but pumpkin was only given to the pigs, so I suppose in the early days they changed the vegetable to save money.
Even though the Golden Princess was technically a British vessel (she is registered in London), they celebrated the American idea of duck apple night.
Considering the link between old England and the Romans, and that the Captain and some of his officers were Italian, perhaps they should have had Duck Apple night around the swimming pool. I’ll drop Princess Cruises a line before next year.

DSC00010rI found it ironic that a thousand-year-old ceremony for the souls of the dead in purgatory, should generate a Happy Halloween sign. What’s with the spiders?

DSC09894rI’ve never been winked at by an overweight turnip.

DSC09895r

DSC09893rWas this supposed to be a cowboy?

DSC09902rWe had company in the dining room. I wasn’t sure if he was a passenger from the last cruise still waiting for his first course.

DSC09903rHe was still hanging around when we left.

DSC09991rcOn entering the dining room, we were greeted by, who I thought, was Bat Man, until I realised he was a vampire. At least steak was on the menu!

DSC09993rc

I couldn’t see the connection between the dead and a pirate. . . until it was explained to me about the Pirates of the Caribbean – I’ve been told that there are six films in the series – I’ve not seen any, I should get out more . . .

DSC09994rAnother odd connection, unless this steward was a Fred Astaire fan or perhaps a

White Heat 3James Cagney  fan – he never did say ‘You dirty rat’ 1932 film Taxi. The photograph is from White Heat (1949), but he did define why we all go to a bar, what a philosopher . . . Come fill the cup, (1951).

DSC00005rcThankfully, this steward was not attending our table.

DSC00002crDrop your napkin and you meet the strangest people.

DSC00006rcHe curdled by cream caramel !

DSC00007rcAll’s well that ends well.

I can’t remember the last time anyone knocked on our door ‘souling’, and offering prayers for the dead, in exchange for ‘soul cakes’.

Nowadays it is called ‘trick ‘n’ treat’, which is not much different than the insurance (protection for money) offered by Al Capone. Today it is pay up (in sweets), or we egg your car.

Fortunately I have two large gates, which are locked from 3.00 pm on the 31st October – bah humbug!

Wychwood's Bah Humbug!

Author: 1944april

Traveled a great deal - about 70 countries - first foreign country I suppose was Wales, which was only 80 miles away from where I was born. Visited each Continent, except Antarctica, and I doubt that it is on my bucket list - too cold. I love Asian food, Australian wine & British beer & trying to entertain by writing.

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