Saturday 14 July 2007

Naked Women on Horseback

Tomorrow we are all going to the Godiva Festival in Coventry.
To be honest, I know very little about what actually happens, apart from that there will be a naked woman on horseback.
And she presumably rides through Coventry City Centre.

Otherwise, I guess it's like a big fair.
So yes, you've guessed it, fifteen minutes staring at a naked woman on horseback, followed by a few hours alcohol consumption. Kind of predictable really. I wisely took Monday off.

The festival commemorates Lady Godiva, wife of Leofric, Earl of Mercia during the reign of Edward the Confessor. Apparently she begged him not to put up taxes and his (somewhat bizarre) response was to promise to do this if she rode through Coventry naked.
If Leofric was alive today, he'd be a regular contributor to reader's wives, I suspect.
Anyway she did, and Leofric didn't put the taxes up.

Apparently everyone stayed in doors and didn't take a look, except for one poor soul called Peeping Tom, who not only had the indignity of having all the middle aged voyeurs in history named after him, he got struck blind too.
I have problems with this bit of the story.

And it's not really a selling point for the festival either. The first spectator was blinded, after all!
Who was brave enough to be the second?
Should we be risking it tomorrow?

Still, the locals need something to cheer them up. Without being disparaging, Coventry is a very dreary place. I go there a lot, my mate The Chimney Sweep is one of the joyous inhabitants, but I often feel like they built the place out of the concrete left over from the middle of Brum and let Damien Hirst loose on the design front. If ever a city was designed to depress, it was Coventry.

On the upside, there are a few nice venues to go out in, and the most attractive woman I ever met, I met in Coventry.

On a serious note, this will be the first time that The Baker and The Chimney Sweep's partner will have met socially since this post. There is always the possibility of things coming out to air, which maybe shouldn't.

But I don't suppose it will. I suspect it will be an interesting experience, different certainly, possibly a little tacky, maybe surreal, but ultimately, all part of life's rich tapestry.

These are the sorts of things you will remember, when you're old.


Anonymous said...

Are you allowed to take pictures? Or will they think you're some kind of freak? I'd love to see a naked horse-fest!

Anonymous said...

Of course Peeping Tom got struck blind! Haven't you heard that too much masty makes you blind?

Anonymous said...

Riding a horse? What an absolute waste of good womanhood.

Anonymous said...

"On the upside, there are a few nice venues to go out in, and the most attractive woman I ever met, I met in Coventry".

Clearly, you need to travel more.

Anonymous said...

I love those open air festivals, the smells, the people, the mullet safaris...

Anonymous said...

Shelly- I presume you can take pictures. With picture phones, it's hard to stop people. I couldn'find any images in the net. I think that we might miss this bit anyway, we're not going till early evening now.

Phishez- I have perfect vision, thank you.

M'Sieur Le Comte- Too many good women are wasted. But maybe more women sgould ride around naked protesting against taxes.
Seems a win win situation to me.

Jeremy- She wasn't a native of Coventry. In fact, she was from Zimbabwe.

Helen- The Human League are playing there apparently. This is a key selling point for me.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the Chimney Sweep should offer to marry his girlfriend if she agrees to ride naked on a horse through Coventry?

Anonymous said...

Coventry is also very high on my personal least of "biggest holes in the ground in the UK". I also have to travel there from time to time as part of my job. It shares this distinction with Blackburn and Derby (amongst other places).

I'm not at all suprised that the attractive woman was from Zimbabwe.

(waits for hate mail from the Midlands to appear in my mailbox).


Anonymous said...

Thanks for that history on Peeping Tom. I knew about Lady G, but not Tom. Sounds like a fun place to be this weekend.

Btw, I like your new widget. Very cool. ;D

Anonymous said...

Well, I hope you survive it with your sight intact! I've only been to Cobventry once, many years ago, so have no idea what it's like now. I remember looking at the ruins of the old cathedral and feeling rather sad, and of course going round the "new" one. Anyway, hope you had a great time. That was clever of you to arrange to have tomorrow off!

Anonymous said...

Why dont they ever ride dogs? It always struck me as an odd story - very sound on low tax though...

Anonymous said...

You can't beat the ring road though! A town planners' paradise! Would it have been the same if the Tories had won in '45?

Anonymous said...

naked chicks on horseback? Think of the chaffing!!

Anonymous said...

Yeah well I've needed glasses since i was 12. I figure I have a hell of alot of lost eyesight to make up for.

Anonymous said...


Quite right ; Coventry does have a glorious ring road specifically designed so that as you exit you can run straight into the side of the car that's just entered on your inside 10 yards previously.



Anonymous said...

go figure.

You didn't mention and important part of the history... Godiva chocolates! mmmmm!

Anonymous said...

I cna promise you, being naked on a horseback is NOT very comfortable! LOL

Anonymous said...

If you're referring to Godiva chocolates -- I am sooo there! I dunno if I'm just hungry or what, but that gorgeous house in the picture looks a lot like a gingerbread house ;)

Anonymous said...

I can imagine all the women vying to be Lady Godiva! You seem to have such fun activities over there...;-)

As for being struck blind, I thought at first that you meant it as a compliment to the lady's beauty; he was blinded by beauty. Perhaps once you're back, you can tell us if the current 'lady' lives up to that standard that the first one set ;-)

I've only seen Coventry as a yellow square on my Monopoly board, so imagining it as dreary is a new thing for me...;-)

Anonymous said...

Will she be riding bareback???

Anonymous said...

JJ- It's an idea. Though I'd prefer her sister to do it.

Merlin- It's a truly downbeat place, a city of carriageways and semis. And the lack of an accent.

Alexys- It may be true, it may not. I have a few doubts on the whole story, not least that there were places of more import in the Midlands then (The Earldom of Mercia covered most of the midlands) so Coventry seems an unlikely city. But I suppose no one can be sure.

Welshcakes- The new cathedral doesn't impress me, I'll admit, I found it a little Spartan.
Most of my annual holiday gets taken up with odd mondays here and there.

Mutley- I'm also not entirely sure Robin Hood helped the poor as much as they say either.
Notice how in those days the folktales are all against high taxation? Gordon Brown would NOT have been a folkhero then...

Ed- I ended up walking round the ringroad once. Scary experience.

Steph- Not thought of that. Still, cities were small then. It probably only took her ten minutes, if that.

Phish- How bizarre. I had glasses as a small child, but didn't need them from 12 onwards!
And probably will never need them.

Crashie- Chocolates? Tell me more. Godiva chocolates. Is that like Body chocolate?

Heart- It sounds suspiciously like you have experience of this...

Princess- Unfortunately there isn't much left of old Coventry.
Between the German bombs and the post war planners, it is an especially austere place.

Eve- I think the yellow square on the monopoly board is Coventry Square or something, which is in London.
We didn't get there in time to see the ride, so I can't comment, but then, I never saw the original Lady Godiva either.

Jenny- I think she actually wears a body stocking in the re-enactment. Unfortunately, we missed this bit.

Anonymous said...

I was looking forward to pictures! Did you miss it b/c you were too drunk or b/c you weren't there?

Anonymous said...

Ohh, I see...! thanks for enlightening me. Pity you missed the show...unless for you, the highlight was the boozing ;-)

Anonymous said...

Jenny- We missed it because group co-ordination is poor. how on earth we managed to find ourselves in the same place at the same time before the advent of the mobile phone, I don't know.

Eve- There wasn't much drinking really. The highlight really is we've all been friends for years and try to meet up all of us, at least once a month.