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Okay, now I’m pretty sure somebody is blowing smoke up my butt

When we drive around Britain, I often accuse Uncle B of sending a PR team from Disney on ahead to change all the placenames to painfully quaint things like Chipping Sodbury and Tincleton (I swear some day I’m going to stop and have tea in Pratt’s Bottom). Because sometimes Brits really do make shit up, and they do it with such maddeningly straight faces, it’s damn near impenetrable.

So when one of the neighbors told me he used to go Dwile Flonking at a local pub, I naturally gave him the hairy eyeball. As described, it involves dancing in a ring around a man trying to hit you with a rag soaked in beer dregs.

Turns out, Dwile Flonking has a Wikipedia entry. Huh.

A ‘dull witted person’ is chosen as the referee or ‘jobanowl’ and the two teams decide who flonks first by tossing a sugar beet. The game begins when the jobanowl shouts “Here y’go t’gither!”

The non-flonking team joins hands and dances in a circle around a member of the flonking team, a practice known as ‘girting’. The flonker dips his dwile-tipped ‘driveller’ (a pole 2–3 ft long and made from hazel or yew) into a bucket of beer, then spins around in the opposite direction to the girters and flonks his dwile at them.

If the dwile misses completely it is known as a ‘swadger’ or a ‘swage’. When this happens the flonker must drink the contents of an ale-filled ‘gazunder’ (chamber pot (‘goes-under’ the bed)) before the wet dwile has passed from hand to hand along the line of now non-girting girters chanting the ancient ceremonial mantra of “pot pot pot”.

A full game comprises four ‘snurds’, each snurd being one team taking a turn at girting.

Well, actually, as it turns out, no. Despite a solemn and ancient pedigree, the game was almost certainly made up by two printing apprentices in 1966. But, hey, getting on for fifty years — pretty darned ancient to an American, I guess.

January 11, 2012 — 11:32 pm
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