Monday, 23 November 2020

St Clement's day 23rd November

St. Clement Gives the Winter
The direction of the wind at Midnight on St Clement's Day forecast the conditions that will prevail until Candlemas

 Clement of Rome was the 3rd Pope after St Peter. In the year 95 St Clement wrote a letter begging the Christians in Corinth to show mutual tolerance and love and to respect those set in authority. Peace must be the aim of all who follow Jesus, he said.
This is the page from my book A Calendar of Saints 

Of course one of the best known writings that gives St Clement a mention is the children's rhyme

Oranges and lemons, 
Say the bells of St. Clement’s.

You owe me five farthings,
Say the bells of St. Martin’s.

When will you pay me?
Say the bells of Old Bailey.

When I grow rich,
Say the bells of Shoreditch.

When will that be?
Say the bells of Stepney.

I do not know,
Says the great bell of Bow.

Here comes a candle to light you to bed,
And here comes a chopper to chop off your head!

 When I looked up the origins of this nursery rhyme I found the directions for the playground game. This is where two children form an arch and the rest go through until the "chop off your head" bit. But what I'd completely forgotten was that the two children in the arch secretly decide which of them is oranges and which is lemons and when someone has their head chopped off they whisper their choice of "oranges" or "lemons" and then stand behind whichever child in the arch. - Yes we did that - simple pleasures!

In another of my books "Cattern Cakes and Lace" by Julia Jones is this recipe..........

I have to say it does sound very good,
There's much more about St Clement on Wiki HERE
Back Tomorrow


  1. We did that too, choosing oranges or lemons, and it ended in a sort of tug of war, oranges against lemons. We tried to be very ethical and not whisper which we were to those still going round but we did, sometimes, of course.
    Happy memories.

    1. I wonder if we did a tug of war? Can't remember that bit

    2. It usually ended up with the two in the middle (the archway) letting go hands and we all collapsed in a heap. Great

  2. I liked the "here comes a chopper to chop off your head" bit when it built up into a crescendo to get through before the chopper.

  3. Might be better if the citrus was zested?

    1. It would! To avoid breaking a tooth on a bit of hard peel!

  4. I loved playing "oranges and lemons" too. We also used to sing "The big ship sails on the Alley-alley-oh. That involved making arches, and when we'd finished singing, we were in a circle with crossed arms (like Old Lang Syne) I taught my granddaughter the song this summer, but there were only two of us so we couldn't do the dance. Now I'll be singing playground songs all morning, Sue. Oh, the Hokey Cokey!

    1. Oh yes! we did Alley alley oh too, all in a line with the first person always putting their hand on the trunk of a big Horse Chestnut tree and we all went under then under the next person away from the tree and so on.
      We didn't do Hokey Cokey but lots of variations of whats the time Mr Wolfie!

  5. Yes, we played that game too, and Ally-Alley-O and What Time is it Mr Wolf, they are all obviously very much in our era. And of course we chose people by doing One Potato, Two Potato etc We kept ourselves busy in playgrounds and streets with no apparatus etc didn't we.

  6. Oh fact there are photos on the internet of our actual games as my junior school closed in 1978 the year I transitioned to big school and the television crew and a photographer came for posterity...good old Beaford archives! x

  7. St Clements could still say the same to us today. Interesting to think that his letter is older than some of the writings of the New Testament.

  8. We didn't play that game, but it sounds like it would be a lot of fun.

    God bless.

  9. I think credit should also be given to Barbara Deer who provides the wonderful illustrations in the book too. I used to work with her and she is a very talented lady.

  10. Love those memories of all the old games we used to play :)

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