By the time you read this article the annual eel tossing event will have taken place and the participating populace of Ely will have settled back into whatever they do on a ‘normal’ daily basis. This event has only been in existence for 10 years. When I first heard about throwing eels for fun I was slightly concerned that a section of our precious wildlife was being abused on an annual basis. I then discovered that the objects of derision were only ‘toy eels’. All sorts of visions came to the forefront of my imagination such as the ‘fish slapping dance’ created by the Monty Python team. How was this event arrived at? Who first thought that throwing a toy eel would make a worthy event for the joy of the assembled throng? I can see the point of the discus (saved washing up in ancient Greece), even the shot put (marbles for fat lads), even throwing the hammer (saves time on building sites) but, tossing an eel – what’s that all about? Let’s face it, if you can eat it then why not have a culinary type ‘cook off’ with the best recipe being the winner. That’s what the French would do. You can see it now; “Jean Pierre for why do you throw away zat slender fish?” “Mai oui mon ami, I wanna see how far I can propel ze little rascal and win a balloon!” It just wouldn’t happen in France. I suppose the moral of this tale (or fish tail) is that ‘it takes all sorts’!
We received another interesting photograph of Ely Market Place from our very own 007 David Clark showing The Cinema; originally called The Public Room Cinema. It became The Exchange Cinema in 1958 and according to records the last film was shown on May 13th 1963. The building was demolished in 1964, photograph courtesy of Pam Blakeman, Cambridgeshire Community Archive Network (see Your ElyFacebook page).
We also hear that the girls at Sew Much To Do have been on the creation trail again through the media of quilting and felting as they sent us a photo or two of their interpretations of ‘nature’ which we witness in abundance around the Fens. Once again, visit the Your Ely Facebook page to view.
Thank you to Christine at the internet marketing company who has managed to trace another artwork showing the riverside and our wonderful Cathedral. It is believed to have been painted in the mid 1800’s by Samuel Lucas who was an amateur painter and a brewer who lived in Hitchin Hertfordshire. This and many of his paintings are on display in the Hitchin Museum and Art Gallery. This too can be viewed on the Your Ely Facebook page.
Time to leave you all as I am looking at alternatives to ‘eel throwing’ events. Visited one site and saw what I thought was Dobby from the Harry Potter films only to discover it was President Putin, that or a viarama dog!