Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Happy Fat Tuesday

Or Mardi Gras, or whatever they call it in your neck of the woods. Shrove Tuesday is the name it gets here. Well, Pancake Day actually, but that's marketing for you.

What exactly is a Shrove, by the way? It sounds vaguely Biblical, which I suppose is appropriate:

And he came down from the mountain and he shrove them in twain whence they stood. And there was rejoicing. For they were unbecoming. And in need of being shroven.

Actually, it does sound like a past tense verb, now you come to mention it:

Mother: Bernard, what are you doing alone in your room? Why is the door locked?
Bernard: Nothing mum, just shriving.
Mother: You shrove all day yesterday and ended up with blurred vision. Get yourself out in the fresh air.

Ah. I've just had a look at Wikipedia and it turns out that to shrive means to obtain absolution for one's sins by way of confession and penance. I think I was possibly heading in the wrong direction with my example.

Anyway. Tomorrow is the first day of Lent, which normally means having to give something up for forty days. I have a bit of a problem with this. OK, you may say, nobody claims it should be easy. That's probably the main idea of it. You know, penance, suffering, the whole hardship and hairshirtedness thing.

It's not as if I couldn't do with giving a few things up. This blog started off as a weight-loss journal, after all. How I look back on those happy days of continually reducing tonnage with fondness. So we've established that my problem isn't exactly finding bad habits to give up.

The issue, for me, is that it's all-or-nothing, black-and-white, binary in nature. You give something up completely, no half measures. For instance, I could say: "I shall be giving up booze for Lent. Well, during the week. I might have a cheeky snifter or two on a Saturday night. And maybe the odd cleansing ale on a Friday if it's been one of of those weeks." But it's not going to work, Lent-wise. My mother, who actually still goes to Mass (on behalf of the rest of us, I suspect) wouldn't approve.

And you don't want to cross my mother. Trust me on this.

So I'm a little stuck. I need some ideas of things I can be absolutist about giving up. Anyone care to share?


Tom said...

I think you could give up shriving for Lent.
I myself plan on giving up the observation of Lent for Lent. I get absolved of everything that way.

the wife said...

How about giving up not letting your wife buy any more handbags???

David Edgar said...

Do you actually have to have/do/be it before you can give it up or would a token gesture do? I mean, you could give up the mindless slaughter of innocent bunny rabbits. The fact you don't do it is a mere bagatelle. (You don't do you????)
You could give up trainspotting - never spot another locomotive again - close your eyes when passing railway bridges. At least you are on to a guaranteed winner.

Country Girl said...

Hmmm...City Girl gives up abstract things. Last year it was gossip and some guy shot his wife and it took me 40 days to get the scoop.

City Girl said...

The Methodists and other random Protestants (not the well-organized Anglicans)here call it "Pancake Day." This year, in out-of-the-way places, down churt (that's Southern for "dirt") roads, little churches with signs out front: Pancake Day. Pancake Tuesday. Shrove Tuesday Pancake Day Dinner. I had NO earthly idea what pancakes had to do with Shrove Tuesday. Now I know. :o)


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