Tuesday, 1 May 2012
Mayday, Mayday, Mayday.....
Indeed it is - May Day - the first of May. Traditional British May Day rites and celebrations include Morris dancing, crowning a May Queen and celebrations involving a Maypole. Much of this tradition derives from pagan Anglo-Saxon and Celtic customs and is most associated with towns and villages celebrating springtime fertility and revelry with village fetes and community gatherings.
Interestingly, May Day was abolished and its celebration banned by puritan parliaments after the Civil War but reinstated with the restoration of Charles II in 1660.
But then there's the added confusion of the other Mayday. I refer to the call sign - the one that signals someone in distress and in need of help. The Mayday call sign was originated in 1923 by Frederick Mockford, a senior radio officer at Croydon Airport in London, Mockford was asked to think of a word that would indicate distress and would easily be understood by all pilots and ground staff in an emergency. Since much of the traffic at the time was between Croydon and Le Bourget Airport in Paris, he proposed the word "Mayday" from the French m’aider. "Venez m'aider" means "come help me."
So now you know.
This May Day could see plenty of Mayday's here in flood country. The rain has been persistent all night and it's still pouring from the sky as I sit here writing this - I had intended an early ride this morning but my plans have been washed away. The forecast says it will ease off later - I will go and investigate the flooded roads and try to make my way through. This intrepid cyclist will not be stopped!