“Welcome, dear feast of Lent”

Most Regency gentlemen and ladies were members of the Church of England, so most of them would – in some form, at least – have celebrated Lent, the forty days of fasting and repentance that are traditionally observed before Easter.

I love Lent. I rarely enjoy Lent. But I do love it. It is such a good tool in God’s hands. I always learn, I always grow. But I often learn more from the places where I fail than the places where I succeed.

Why Fast?

I sometimes think the purpose of fasting is to make it clear to us what sinners we really are. Not in a defeating, accusing way (the way the Enemy would), but more the way tiredness reveals the two-year-old-ness of two-year-olds. In Lent, the voice you hear isn’t the diabolical, “well what did you think you were, you scum?” but the Fatherly, “you really are tired, aren’t you, small one? Come and rest.”

Detail from Michaelangelo Caravaggio's "Supper at Emmaus" (PD-Art|PD-old-100)

As C. S. Lewis once pointed out, our good moods often aren’t, as we’d like to suppose, evidence of our virtue, but evidence of our full bellies and our good health. Take away food or health or rest and you can see how weak you really are. But fasting, in its orderliness, reveals our weakness to us in a way we can stand. It doesn’t destroy us because it is intrinsically linked to prayer, and so as soon as our weakness is revealed, there we are in the presence of our Father. And there our weakness isn’t despair, it’s joy, because He is ever ready to supply our lack. Praise God!

Peace of Christ to you,

Jessica Snell 

P.S. the title quotation is from English poet George Herbert’s excellent poem “Lent”.

A Dream Is Born

Once upon a time, I was about fourteen and had decided that I liked reading romances, historical ones in particular. Looking back, I can see the school librarian going back to her office and tearing out her hair trying to figure out what to give me to read next since I read about two books a week. The library was a nice one, but not overflowing with novels appropriate for an innocent early teen.

But one day inspiration must have struck her and she handed me a copy of Charity Girl by Georgette Heyer. Glory, glory halleluiah! I had found my niche.


Lords and ladies, a breakneck mission through the English countryside, a maiden in distress, and, best of all, romance between the dashing hero and what was
previously his best female friend whom he suddenly decided he loved. Nothing better.Except I did find better. Georgina by Clare Darcy, then Frederica by Heyer, more Darcys, more Heyers, more authors writing in this fascinating time period until I was dreaming of writing my own beleaguered lady in need of a hero.I started reading nonfiction books about the Regency era. I even plowed my way through the Jane Austen library. I absorbed language and costume and the politics of the day like a velvet pelisse soaking up water from the rain while the wearer walks in Hyde Park.

What draws me to this time? I was asked in a recent radio interview. All of the above. The Regency was a time of amazing transition in the world from the excesses of the Georgian era aristocracy, to the rise of the middle class due to industrialization. The lines between classes, though still sharply defined, are beginning to blur around the edges. Social reforms are being at least talked about and steps taken to implement them. And the war with France and then a second war with America are always fodder for a fun read. Never a dull moment in the Regency.

After college, grad school, and a couple of jobs, I started to write my own Regency romance. Those first novels I completed are from my BC days, and I’m mortified that copies of them may be floating around the Internet. 

What is more important to me is the birth of my first two published Regencies and others coming out in the future. My first published novel Family Guardian is a Regency and won the National Readers Choice Award for Best Regency. A Necessary Deception is my first Regency for the Christian market out October of 2011. These books symbolize dreams born in the heart of a fourteen-year-old girl coming true.

 

 

 

The Season

Susan’s musings:

London was the center of the Regency universe, and the London Season was the center of the marriage market. The season began with the opening of Parliament, usually in March. Hunting season was done and it was time for a different kind of hunt: the hunt for suitable marriage partners for the daughters and sons of the nobility and gentry.

Some families came as early as Christmas to prepare for the opening of Parliament. This allowed the females of the family plenty of preparation time and enabled the young ladies to acquire a bit of town bronze. Much shopping, dress fittings, and “seeding the ground” for those all-important invitations kept them in a flurry of busy anticipation for the season.

Her first season was a dramatic turning point in a young girl’s life. At around age eighteen, everything changed overnight and she was no longer a green girl. She was now allowed to dress and wear her hair in adult fashion. She began her season taking part in the ritual of being presented to the queen wearing some quite strange mandated apparel which included a feathered headdress and hoopskirts. This was known as her come out. An average debutante might attend 50 balls, 60 parties, 30 dinners, and 25 breakfasts over the course of a season.

Women visited with their friends, patronized the fashionable shops and showed off their finery at lavish balls, the theater and the opera. Gentlemen, when not busy at their clubs, courted the ladies and pursued manly sports.

A typical day during the Season might begin with a ride in Hyde Park, then breakfast. Shopping and paying calls on close friends came next for the ladies, followed by lunch. The men went off to their clubs or to Parliament, while the ladies went out to pay even more calls. Dinner was at six or seven, followed by soirees or the opera, with balls or dances, going on until three in the morning. Popular dances included the cotillion, and the waltz. The height of the season began after Easter, signaling the beginning of a dizzying, three-month round of social events.

This expensive frivolity had the serious goal of marriage behind it. If a girl did not take, and get leg-shackled to an eligible parti by, at the latest, her second or third season, she was considered a failure. The season ended officially on August 12, when Parliament adjourned, after which everyone retreated to their country estates.

You have noticed some bold words above. What are your favorite bits of Regency slang?

Regency Recipe–Wild Goose Chase

To write an historical romance, it sometimes is necessary to feed your characters (can’t let them starve now, can we?), which means researching food from the time period is just as important as other aspects of research.

While researching for my regency Christmas ebook, I discovered that transposing period recipes from Georgian or Regency cookbooks is a challenge. For one thing, cooks of the day didn’t usually measure their ingredients in the traditional sense. Recipes called for “a large haunch of venison,” or, “one fowl, good for a supper.” Then, ingredients might be listed as, “one good spoon of mace,” or “a quick handful of oats,” and so on.

Also, they had no thermostats for their ovens which were often merely described as “a hot fire,” or “a moderate oven.” As adventurous as I am at times in my kitchen, I hesitate to spend time trying something that might not work. I like the tried and true when it comes to recipes. (When things go wrong–as as they occasionally do in my cooking, at least I know I’m the one to blame!)

Thankfully, there are cookbooks out there today with modernized recipes from the past. I still enjoy looking through the older ones with their “hot fires” and “handfuls” of flour, however. They did things, despite the lack of modern conveniences, on a surprisingly grander scale. They arranged dinners in courses (if the family could afford to) and used meats that we would consider exotic today.

A typical meal would easily find four or five sources of protein on the menu, served in courses, sometimes with multiple meats in one course. Rabbit, venison, pheasant, grouse, and even partridge were not unusual entrees. Duck, goose, quail and wild turkey were also game (couldn’t resist). Dishes were arranged on the table according to how important they were. “Middles” were the main dishes, while “sides” were, well, you know. We still call them sides.

I usually make two, sometimes three sides for my family. During the regency, the well-to-do dinner table would have a few with each course! No wonder they needed to employ a kitchen staff.

I confess I’ve had grand plans to join the ranks of the kitchen experimenters who try and cook up the old-fashioned recipes. “Plans” is the operative word. I can enjoy a good day in the kitchen, really, especially for baking, but with a family to feed, I have little time to spend just “experimenting.” In the spirit of modern-day ease, therefore, I offer here a recipe for “fowl” anyone can do. You can squirrel it away (hmmm, I wonder if they ate squirrel back then, too?) for your next lavish holiday table. It has the atmosphere of olde England about it, as it’s traditional for Christmas, but works for today’s ovens–and measuring spoons!

Wild Goose Chase 

  • 1 cup dried apricots, halved
  • 2 cups dried prunes, halved
  • 1/2 cup Madeira wine
  • 1 Goose (12 pounds)
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 2 tart apples, such as Granny Smith
  • Grated zest of 1 orange
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • dash paprika
  • 8 slices bacon
  • 1 1/4 cups Wild Goose Sauce (recipe below)

Place apricots and prunes in a mixing bowl. Add Madeira. Mix and set aside. Preheat oven to 325 F. Rinse goose and pat dry. Prick all over with a fork. Rub inside and out with the orange juice.  Add apples and orange zest to apricots and prunes. Sprinkle goose inside and out with salt, pepper and paprika. Stuff cavity with fruit. Skewer opening closed. Lay bacon slices across breast. Place goose, breast side up, in a shallow roasting pan. Roast for 1 1/2 hours, removing accumulated fat every 30 minutes (there will be a lot). Remove bacon and roast for 1 hour more, removing fat after 30 minutes. Remove from oven. Let stand 20 minutes before carving.

Wild Goose Sauce

  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup Madeira wine
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns, slightly crushed
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Scrape brown pan drippings from roast into saucepan. Add green onions, 1/2 cup of the chicken stock (saving 1/4 cup), Madeira and peppercorns. Simmer 5 minutes. Mix cornstarch with remaining 1/4 cup stock until smooth. Slowly drizzle into sauce, stirring rapidly. Add salt and pepper. Stir, simmer 5 minutes. Serve over goose.

Enjoy!

Have you ever made goose for your family? How did it turn out? I tried it once and there really is a TON of fat that must be removed during cooking. We enjoyed the roast, however. What about you? If not goose, did you try some other meat or other old-fashioned recipe that is unusual? Tell us about it; we’d love to know about your experience!

Linore.  Recipe from Regency House Christmas: The Definitive Guide to a Remarkably Regency Yuletide by Linore Rose Burkard

Check out my Kindle short, Coach and Four: Allisandra’s Tale!

Review of Heart’s Safe Passage by Laurie Alice Eakes

I recently had the privilege of reading Heart’s Safe Passage by one of our fellow bloggers here at Regency Reflections, Laurie Alice Eakes.

Here’s a little description of the novel:

It’s 1813 and all Phoebe Lee wants out of life is to practice midwifery in Loudon County, Virginia. When Belinda, her pregnant sister-in-law, presses Phoebe to accompany her onto a British privateer in order to cross the Atlantic and save her husband from an English prison, Phoebe tries to refuse, then finds herself kidnapped.

Captain Rafe Docherty is a man in search of revenge. His ship is no place for women, but he needs Belinda in order to obtain information about the man who destroyed his family and his life. Between Belinda’s whining and Phoebe’s hostility, Rafe can’t help but wonder if he made the right choice.
When it becomes apparent there is an enemy among them on the ship, the stakes are raised. Will they reach the English shore in time? Can love and forgiveness overcome vengeance?

It seems like every time I’ve turned around over the past year, I’ve been hearing bits and pieces about this book. Before reading it, I knew several things: the hero was a bad boy on a dangerous mission, the heroine was a headstrong midwife, and they went to sea.

Well, the story proved to be much more than a bad boy meets a good girl and they live happily ever after. “Sweeping” is the best word I can think of to describe it. It starts off in Virginia, where the heroine heads to sea against her will and due to the scheming of a cruel sister-in-law. From Virginia, Phoebe’s whisked away to Bermuda, then England, and even France. Despite the wide scope of geography covered in the novel, Eakes does a masterful job creating mood and setting. I felt like I was personally visiting every country she described and living through the War of 1812. Eakes understanding of the American, British, and Scottish mindsets is nothing short of amazing.

Furthermore, the characters of Rafe and Phoebe are richly drawn. Neither is perfect, both make mistakes, and both struggle along the path to forgiveness and redemption. They have so much to overcome both physically and emotionally, that at times I wondered if they would ever make it. But they DID make it, and it’s a wonderful story readers won’t soon forget.

So while the book doesn’t qualify as a Regency in the strict sense, Regency fans will likely enjoy this wide-range historical novel. I recommend picking up a copy soon.

 

My Carriage Awaits… Maybe

Vanessa here, writing with tongue in cheek about Regency transportation.

News of the heroine’s abduction has made its way to the hero. With a quick prayer for strength, he yanks on his tailcoat and readies to chase after the villain and reclaim the lass. How will the hero get to his sweetheart in time? It all depends upon the hero’s fortune and location.

Poor vicar standing in his country parish.

More than likely, he’s going to walk. To keep a carriage for his personal use and maintain his household (a cook and a valet/groom) he’d have to have a living of at least 700 pounds per year above his keep. (Modest household annual expenses cost about 350 pounds.) If the tithe from his parish weren’t enough, maybe his noble patroness would lend him the use of one of her carriages.

Man of good income standing in the drawing room of his country manor.

He’d rush to his steward to send word to his grooms to ready his vehicle in the coach house.  The coach house was an independent building kept on the hero’s lands that housed his carriage(s), similar to what a garage does today. There the vehicles could be kept clean and safe from the weather or critters. The hero couldn’t keep the carriage in a stable. Being so near the feed would invite mice. Varmints do bad things to the fabrics of the interiors. It simply wouldn’t do for the hero to arrive in a shabby condition.

American Heritage Dictionary: Carriage in a Coach House.

Man of moderate income living in London.

He’d rush to his groom or valet, whoever was in closer proximity within the few feet of his leased rooms. The hero would instruct his servant to hire a gig (a generic term for any two-wheeled vehicle with seating for two) or a hackney (the “cab” system of Regency London) if the villain kept the heroine within the city. If the villain had fled London, the groom would be sent to the nearest stable or coach house to rent transport. This is not instant and could take hours to arrange.

Man of good income living in London.

He’d rush to his groom or steward, whoever was in the closest proximity within the first level of the hero’s leased town home and follow his man out to the mews in the alley behind the house. The hero’s horse(s) and carriage would be kept there. Mews are similar to the coach houses, just smaller.

So the hero has “called” for his mode of transportation, but what are his options?

Horse: If the hero has a long way to travel and time is of the essence, nothing beats horse back. If the weather is bad with snow on the ground, road travel by carriage would be nearly impossible. The road conditions were poor enough in good weather.

The hero would have no choice but to travel by horse. At a gallop, a horse could average 30 miles per hour, which is faster than the 5 to 7 miles per hour in a carriage. Thoroughbred, Percheron, Belgian, Clydesdale, and Shire breeds were available during the Regency. Hopefully, the heroine wouldn’t mind him on horseback. Maybe she fancies being saved by a knight in Damask waistcoat armor.

Know your Horseflesh

Barouche: This is a large vehicle typically drawn by two horses. The seated occupants face each other. A large hood could fold over the passengers but could be driven open, for every one to see the occupants. Closed, this vehicle was good option for medium distances, 25-50 miles.

The Barouche Carriage

Landau:  This is a four-wheeled carriage known for being driven open to show off the occupants. It’s typically drawn by a pair, four-in-hand. The top is soft and folds into two sections exposing the interior. Our hero’s rescue plans may be thwarted in an open carriage, not to mention the dangers of the heroine’s reputation being sullied to the world.

1819 Ackermann’s Repository Landaulet Landau Carriage

Georgiantimes.homestead.net – Know your Landau Parts

Chaise: This is an open carriage with seating for one, two, or even three (if the driver rides one of the horses, postilion style.) Our hero would have to be creative with his rescue plans to use the smaller versions of the chaise. Hopefully, the heroine is alone, no little sister in tow. Thus unusual riding arrangements won’t be needed.

Chaise Illustration by Pearson Scott Foresman

The Post Chaise: This is a four-wheeled closed carriage driven by a team of four. The driver had to ride one of the horses. The post chaise could have windows, even in the front, perfect for searching the landscape. It also had a luggage platform, which could carry supplies or a portmanteau for a change of clothes. If the hero has to travel a far distance, this is the vehicle of choice, and it’s perfect for ferrying a group of servants or secondary characters.

Courtesy of the Suffolk Museum – The Post Chaise

The Rear of the Post Chaise

Coach and Four: This is a four-wheeled closed vehicle drawn by four horses. There is a luggage box in the front. The driver would sit or straddle this depending on the coach design. The back also had a luggage box or basket. The interior hosts hidden compartments for bags of ransom money or a flintlock.

If this is our hero’s lot, he will languish with worry with his head nestled on the Padua silk lining the walls as he drives his fist into the upholstered brocade fabric of the seat backs. Carriage interiors could be contrived with anything the hero or his patroness could afford: silk, tapestries, glass windows, lanterns for lighting, etc. Leather was typically used for open carriages because of the smell arising from the chemicals used in tanning and treating the hides.

Wealthy members of the Ton used the Coach and Four for daily transport. The less wealthy would use these for long distances. If money is of no concern for the hero with his 30,000 pounds per year, this would be in his coach house or mews.

Even if the hero is tight with his coins, for a long journey this would be the hero’s best option.

The Coach and Four with Servants on the Roof

Cocking Cart: This is a two-wheeled open carriage led by one horse. The hero would have to drive this. There is only room for him and the heroine. This is a less expensive option, so a hero of modest means could lease this.

GeorgianTimes.Homestead.net – Cocking Cart

Curricle: This is a two-wheeled open carriage pulled by two horses (preferably well matched so that the carriage doesn’t jerk.) This vehicle is typically controlled by our hero, not a groom, though the hero could have a groom drive. These vehicles are built for speed, but these speeds were no more than 5-10 miles per hour.

The Curricle

Dogcart: This is a two-wheeled or four-wheeled vehicle with back-to-back seating for four. The dogcart is another less expensive option but not very speedy. If the heroine has a best friend or little sister in tow, he may not have the option of enjoying the heroine’s fine eyes if the hero and heroine cannot share the same seat.

The Dogcart

Phaeton: This is an open carriage with four-wheels with one or two seats. A high phaeton as shown below would be so tall, the villain would see our hero coming. Also, some were prone to tipping. Tipping would probably doom the rescue.

The High Phaeton

The hero’s dilemma is great as is his choices for transport. With the exception of the Victoria and the Corbillard, the illustration shows an abundance of carriage choices known to the Regency World.

Illustration from The Dictionary of P. Larousse

Closing Thoughts

Transportation options varied in the Regency from walking to horseback to carriages. As income dictates whether the average Joe can afford a Chevette or Cadillac, it also weighed heavily on all members of Regency society. Plausible cases can be made for any of the hero’s options, but it should be consistent with his status, time frame, geography, and even the weather.

Hopefully, the hero has chosen wisely and is now on his way to save the heroine. Let’s pray he gets there in time.

References:

http://www.pemberley.com/janeinfo/pptopics.html

http://www.rubylane.com/

http://www.susannaives.com/nancyregencyresearcher/

http://main.thebeaumonde.com/

http://www.britannica.com/

http://janeaustensworld.wordpress.com

http://historicalhussies.blogspot.com

http://janeausteninvermont.wordpress.com

Driving horse-drawn carriages for pleasure: the classic illustrated guide to coaching, harnessing, stabling, etc. by Francis T. Underhill

An Economic History of London, 1800-1924 by Michael Ball, David Sunderland.

 

The Pursuit of Stuff

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
           John 10:10 NIV 

Laurie Alice here. Often when I was a child, we neglected to lock the house door leading from the attached garage and into the kitchen.

We didn’t think about how vulnerable we were. Crime didn’t happen in our quiet neighborhood. Yet one night when the door stood unlocked, someone slipped into our house and stole my mother and sister’s purses off of the dining room table.

Not one of us, not even the dog, heard a thing, yet while we were sleeping, a thief invaded our home and took our possessions.
Even now, decades later, I feel sick to my stomach thinking about that incident. What utter horror to realize how, too easily, this thief could have taken more, including our lives.
Why someone takes what is not theirs to have more at other’s expense I do not comprehend, yet the world is full of thieves come to steal from our lives. We fall under the false idea that, to have an abundant life, we must have more shoes, a wider screen TV, chairperson of that special committee on which we sit, instead of remaining in a position as a worker bee.

During the Regency, life was no different. The “stuff” people wanted might have been different—a high perch phaeton instead of a cool new car, an invitation to Almacks instead of that committee chairship, a hand-painted fan from China instead of a Louis Vuitton handbag—but the sentiment is the same. The end results are the same now and then. In our pursuit of false roads to abundant life, we rob ourselves of what Jesus wants for our lives.

He promises abundance, the fullness of life. That may not come in the form of material possessions or a honored status. Jesus gives us a richness of life, a purpose well beyond the realm of stuff and into the completeness of everlasting life.

A Review of “Jane Austen Knits”

The only thing more enjoyable than having a good hobby is having two good hobbies – and being able to indulge them both at the same time. That’s why I was so excited when I first got a glimpse of Interweave Knits’ special issue “Jane Austen Knits”. Regency history and needlecraft? The combination was as enticing as chocolate and coffee. (Some things are just made to go together.) But does “Jane Austen Knits” live up to its promise?

The Articles

If you’re more a history buff than a knitter, this is where you’ll find the meat of the publication. The magazine includes 8 articles and essays, ranging from the scholarly (“The Mighty Muslin” and “Regency Fashion in Color”) to the journalistic (like the profile of a woman who sells sewing patterns for Regency-era clothing).

My favorite of the articles is the essay that graces the last page of the publication: “Jane Austen, Multitasker” by Rebecca Dickson. It’s a loving profile of Austen herself, highlighting her work ethic both in her writing and in her needlecraft. Austen’s example is an encouragement to any woman trying to pursue a dream while also handling the mundane details of life.

The Patterns

This magazine contains a generous 36 patterns, and they’re all beautifully photographed. Instead of trying to reproduce period-accurate clothing, the patterns are instead simply inspired by Austen’s work, taking Regency details and translating them into wearable modern clothing.

Despite this modernization, I can certainly see Georgiana Darcy wearing her namesake shawlette, a gorgeous lace affair, or Elizabeth Bennet carrying the Diamond and Cross Reticule to a ball a Netherfield. More modern patterns include the sleek Elinor Tunic, and the exquisitely detailed Lambton Top and Fiori Pullover. Most of the rest of the patterns fall somewhere between the sensibilities of the 1800s and those of today.

On my own to-knit list? The simple Short Stays vest, the Woodhouse Spencer and, someday, when my knitting skills improve, the jaw-droppingly gorgeous Meryton Coat, a beautifully stranded jacket inspired by the military uniforms of the era.

Conclusion

So, did “Jane Austen Knits” fulfill my hopes for a publication that promised to combine two of my favorite hobbies? Emphatically, yes. And, if you share my love of knitting and of Regency history, I’m happy to point out that it’s now on sale over at Interweave. I should also note: I bought my own copy of this magazine and haven’t been compensated for this review in any way. All opinions in this post are my own.

Peace of Christ to you,

Jessica Snell

Sporting Madness ~ The Existence and Growth of Organized Competition


Even the president of the United States takes time to fill out his basketball predictions.

Ah, Spring. When a young American man’s fancy turns to brackets and basketballs and he is likely to put more consideration into picking which college to root for than he did selecting which college to attend. There’s a reason it’s called March Madness.

 

Kristi here, and the fascination with sports is not a new one. The Regency era saw a culture on the cusp of the organized sporting events. While many games remained unofficial skirmishes, there were several championship challenges emerging by the beginning of the Victorian era. And of course, all of them got gambled on.

 Royal Ascot – Horse Racing

Ascot, 1791

In 1711, Queen Anne acquired land near Ascot in which to hold horse races. The first race had a purse of 100 guineas. By 1813, races at Ascot were such a part of the fabric of England that Parliament stepped in, passing an act to ensure the racing grounds remained a public racecourse.

 

Prinny, the future King George IV, made Ascot one of the most fashionable social occasions of the year. After ascending to the throne, he had a new stand built for the exclusive use of guests of the royal family. The Royal Enclosure still exists today and admittance to it is very difficult to obtain.

An example of a modern day hat worn by an attendee in the Royal Enclosure.

The Royal Ascot was, and still is, a four day event. It was the only racing event held at the racecourse during the 19th century. England’s elite would gather to watch horses above the age of six barrel through the course in pursuit of the Gold Cup.

The grandeur of the original races continues today in the strict dress code requiring formal day dresses and those infamous hats for the attending ladies. Men must still wear the morning suits and top hats as a nod to the Regency era.

During the early 1800s, fashion was always important to the upper class and the Royal Ascot was certainly no exception. The importance of dressing right for the races even lent its name to the traditional wide morning tie, now known as an Ascot Tie.

The Royal Ascot takes place in June, one of the last hurrahs of Spring Season.

 Players Vs Gentlemen – Cricket

A Cricket Game at Darnell

This amateur against professional game of cricket actually skipped over the true Regency. It began in 1806, disappeared for a while, and then re-established as a yearly tradition in 1819. It remained in place until 1962 where is phased out again only to be revived in recent years, with matches in 2010 and 2011.

At the time of conception the Gentlemen, or amateurs, were largely aristocratic men who had played during their school years. The Players were professionals, paid to play by various county cricket clubs.

Cricket Ball. Image courtesy of Ed g2s

Unlike professional athletes of today, the professionals weren’t hired to play each other but rather to play the gentlemen that were members of the cricket clubs. Rather like a tennis pro or golf pro at a modern day country club.

The game lasted for three days and usually took place at Lord’s. Not including the most recent matches, the Players had 125 wins to the Gentlemen’s 68. Today the Players are professional athletes from England’s competitive cricket circuit and the Gentlemen tend to be pulled from the University cricket teams.

 Intercollegiate Sports – The Boat Race

The Boat Race, Oxford V. Cambridge, 1841

Colleges had always prized physical skill in addition to mental learning, but it wasn’t until the early Victorian era that they began to officially meet each other on the playing field. Prior to this point, most collegiate athletic competitions were between houses within the college.

Cricket and Rowing competitions between Oxford and Cambridge both started in the 1820s.

The Boat Race, as it is still referred to today, began in 1829 and has had a tumultuous history ever since. It would be another twenty-five years before the race settled into being an annual event, but the spirit and drive that propels people from different schools to meet on the field, or river in this case, of athletic competition was alive and well during the Regency. Currently Cambridge is on top, with 80 wins to Oxford’s 76. This year’s race will be held in April.

What sports competitions do you get excited over? What was the last major sporting event you went to see?

SPRING A TIME OF NEW BEGINNINGS

Isn’t it wonderful that God gives us spring to follow cold, dreary winter? We are accustomed to spring coming. It happens every year at the same time. We don’t doubt it. We accept it. God promised as long as the earth remains we would have seed time, and harvest, summer, and winter.

We accept it because He has proven it for thousands of years. We know that we know. What would happen if we treated every problem in our lives with the same faith? It will come to pass because God says it will. Nothing happens to us that does not go through God’s hands first. If we are chosen to walk through a difficult place. We should realize that God knows our strengths and weaknesses and trusts that we will come through said place stronger. He will never put us in a place we cannot come out of victorious.

I once saw a mama dog take her litter of six puppies into a patch of tall grass and leave them. The mama dog came out of the tall grass and sat on our lawn watching the place she left them. The puppies cried and whined wanting her to come get them. She sat there waiting until they used the senses God gave them to pick up her scent and follow it back to safety. I am happy to say all the puppies made it out, AFTER they quit crying and whining.

God stretches and grows us to mold us in His image because He knows if we look, sound and act like Him, nothing can defeat us. When we go through the winters in our lives we have the promise that spring will come. Everything is cleaner and greener and bluer in spring. It is filled with new life and joy. One must realize that as wonderful as spring is, if we didn’t have the winter to keep the insect population down and the rains to replenish the earth we wouldn’t have the beautiful colors of spring to enjoy. If we look at our daily lives in the same way we will understand if it never rains we’ll never grow. Next time your life seems like winter will never end and the rains will never cease, remember Gods promise in Genesis 8:22. Winter will die and spring will be birthed without fail.

Every glass that is half empty is also half full. What matters is the way we see it. It is cold and rainy in the winter but the tiny seeds underneath the ground need it to grow. How many times have we unconsciously prayed on a rainy day, “Lord please let the rain stop.”? If we controlled the weather, would we ever let it rain? Unless we are having hot flashes, would we ever let an ice storm develop? I think I am very glad God hasn’t asked me to be in charge of the seasons. I am afraid my selfish love for spring would end up destroying the world He made.