Sunday, February 26, 2012

As daft as a brush

Daft is silly, stupid or unintelligent.

You'd have to be as daft as a brush to chase cheese down a hill but that's just what happens at Coopers Hill in England.

The story is featured in my new book, Crazy English. Here's the cover and an extract, followed by a video of Cheese Rolling.

5. Cheese rolling

If your mother ever told you at the dinner table not to play with your food, then she wouldn’t be happy about cheese rolling. The Coopers Hill Cheese Rolling and Wake is one of the world’s strangest sports and takes place once a year. As you might expect, such a strange sport must be British! Nobody knows when it started but people think it’s at least 200 years old.

It happens in a small village in Gloucestershire on a very steep hill. The idea is very simple. A large, round piece of cheese that weighs 3.5 kilos, is rolled down the hill. The winner of the race is the first person to get the bottom of the hill or catch up with the cheese.

Nobody ever gets the cheese because they have to wait one second after the cheese is rolled and it can go as fast as 100 kms per hour! As you might guess, racing down the hill can be rather dangerous and it is quite normal for people to break bones and bang their heads. Altogether, there are five downhill races

0ne year, the race was stopped for a while because people had to wait for the ambulances to return from the hospital as so many people were injured!
If that isn’t mad enough, there are also uphill races too. It must be very tiring and leave you feeling hungry. For the lucky winners, there’s a great prize. Can you guess? Yes of course; a whole, great big Gloucester cheese!

Are the following statements true or false?

1) The Coopers Hill Race is 2000 years old
2) Playing with your food can be dangerous
3) People wait at the bottom of the hill to catch the cheese
4) One year the race was stopped as they couldn’t find the cheese
5) The winner is paid in cheese


1) False - 200 years
2) True/False - not at the dinner table but certainly in this race
3) False - they run after the cheese
4) False - it was stopped while ambulances returned from hospital
5) True!