31. Oct, 2017



Thirty years ago it was hardly practised in the UK, today everybody is at it. Such is the power of the American film/TV industry!

In east Norfolk, us kids had our own tradition, not on All Souls but St. Valentine's and nothing to do with romance. The idea was for a parent to sneak out of the back door, get to the front, leave a present on the doorstep, knock and hide. This was port and nuts to us...suspense of waiting for the knock, rushing to catch St. Valentine in the act of dropping the present, scooping it up and unpacking it to see what we had got.

A nice, pleasant custom, giving pleasure alround you might think. Ho! Ho! This became hijacked by scurrilous little rogues seeing golden opportunities for Mischief.

A favourite was to tie two adjacent door handles together, knock on both doors at the same time before legging it to a prearranged vantage point to watch the fun.
My grandmother lived in a small cottage that opened out onto the street. One Valentine's evening she was sitting in the living room by herself by the light of a candle. Everywhere was silent until from the front room she suddenly heard this unearthly scratching on her lino-covered floor.

It got louder. Gran was more annoyed than frightened so she caught hold of the poker to investigate. There it was!. Some little toe rag had captured a huge crab hoping it would frighten her. Not my gran! She hefted it up, boiled it and it provided a treat for the next day's teatime.

Of course there were other unpleasantries. I will certainly not elaborate on the unsavoury contents of some shoe boxes left on some victims' doorsteps nor on a water barrel propped up against an unpopular local bobby's front door. A knock followed by a tsunami!
So much for nights a-goin' Valentinin'