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Off the beaten track - Strange fruit

Settembre 2015
Il terzo sabato di settembre è festa grande in quel di Egremont, Inghilterra: c’è la Crab Fair, ovvero una festa caratterizzata da eventi insoliti come il lancio delle mele o la gara delle smorfie. Tutto ebbe inizio nel lontano 1267...

di John Coan © British Council

File audio:

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Speaker: John Young (Standard British accent)

On the third Saturday in September, Egremont has an annual fair bringing people from all round the country to see its attractions. I decided to go to this small market town in the west of Cumbria to have a look for myself.The Egremont Crab Fair is named after the small, sour crab apples traditionally thrown from a vehicle passing through the town at midday. It’s one of the oldest fairs in the country, having started in the 13th century. The town’s main street is closed to traffic all day so everyone can enjoy the fun of a street parade and dancing.


The highlight of this fair is the gurning competition. People put their heads through a horse collar, and pull the ugliest face they can manage. The most successful are often those with false teeth, who can change their faces more easily when they remove them. Some of them can even pull their bottom lips completely over their noses. So, even though I enjoyed watching, I couldn’t hope to win against the more experienced gurners.


If you’re in the area and have a couple of days to spare, the spectacular Lake District is situated just a little further inland and is one of the UK’s most visited tourist sites, as well as being its largest National Park. At Wasdale Head, a half-hour drive from Egremont, you can find Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain; Wastwater, its deepest lake; and one of the smallest churches in the country, St Olaf’s.

Find out more at www.egremontcrabfair.com/index.html

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Gurning. L’arte di fare una faccia (brutta e contorta). Questa è una parola slang ed è abbastanza rara. Non se ne conosce bene l’etimologia ma forse è una variante di to grin, che vuol dire sorridere (anche se il verbo to smile è più comune). To grin appare anche nella bella frase to grin and bear it, che significa letteralmente sorridere e sopportare (la situazione), cioè sopportare una brutta situazione con un bel sorriso. C’è anche il sostantivo grimace (smorfia) e il verbo to grimace (fare smorfie).