Saturday, December 1, 2012

Eric Shackle's Column

Stone the Crows!

We have always thought that Stone the crows! and Stiffen the crows! were typical Australian exclamations, but it seems they come from Wales (not New South Wales).

British MP Sir George Edwards called his autobiography From Crow Scaring to Westminster and told of his childhood when, like many children in rural districts, he was sent out to the fields to throw stones and scare the crows away from crops. He explained that this was once common practice in country areas, and children were paid sixpence a day for crop scaring. They were, in fact, living scarecrows.

Brits seem to have a soft spot in their hearts for scarecrows. Earlier this month (October 2012) the Nottingham Post reported that home-made scarecrows went on display in Toton, a Nottingham suburb. “The stuffed creations” the paper reported, “ were kitted out in a variety of outfits from purple tights to lab coats, some of them relaxing in deck chairs or perched on walls at the village’s first scarecrow festival.” Here in Sydney we have just had an enjoyable Bushlands Festival, with people dressing up as scarecrows to aid local charities.

Max Cryer*, possibly the best-known New Zealander, discusses scarecrows in his blog (see link below). He is a TV producer, broadcaster, entertainment producer, singer, cabaret performer and author. Educated in Italy and New Zealand, he has appeared in films and made 19 tours of the US. He was the kiwis’ first TV quizmaster.

Nottingham Post
Max Cryer* interview
Bushlands Festival
From ERIC SHACKLE, in Sydney, Australia. Posted Thursday, 18 October 2012, at 19:50

Race Caller's Night Mare: howdoyoulikemenow?

Spare a thought for New Zealand’s harness race caller, when he was confronted by the name of one of the horses: howdoyoulikemenow? It must be one of the longest and strangest names ever bestowed on a horse.

Bred in New Zealand by R E Bright, the nag last started in 2003, after winning three first, three second and one third prizes.

Thousands of miles from New Zealand, in Webster, Florida, another horse sported the same strange name. He was bred by Circle C Farms Ltd. From 28 starts, he won seven first prizes, three seconds and three thirds, with earnings totalling $43,214.

How did those horses get such a funny monicker? A girl calling herself Sinsational wrote: “What is the longest name for a horse? My cousin had a 1/4 Arabian, 1/4 TB, 1/4 TB, 1/4 QH, 1/4 App. She named the poor thing ‘Sheton Mississippi of Brandy Cloud’. She called him Sheton for short.”

The mystery was quickly solved. “Howdoyoulikemenow?” is the name of a pop song that appeals to horselovers around the globe. (Lyrics are shown at

LINK: You can listen to it on this video: Video: “Howdoyoulikemenow?”
From ERIC SHACKLE, in Sydney, Australia. Posted Saturday, 10 November 2012, at 21:34

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