I have something to add to the cooking hedgehogs information from yesterday. I had forgotten that what the Gypsies did was to encase the hedgehogs in clay (these were dead hedgehogs, not live ones!) before they popped them into the embers of the bonfire to cook. There were obvious advantages here: first the spines were rendered harmless, and second, the fleas were wiped out at a stroke without close contact. Then, when the hedgehogs were done to a turn, the fired clay was easy to knock open. This was probably the precursor to the chicken brick, that purely 70's kitchen must-have for the newly-wed.
Reading the Sunday Times yesterday evening (actually it takes me a week to get through it), I saw that Ed Balls - now there's a name to conjure with - is suggesting, from his position as the children's secretary, that parents should be reading bedtime stories to their children as a way of improving literacy. I guess I must be truly 'middle England', but that's something I have always done. Mind you, Ed Balls is suggesting 10 minutes per night. I can't do fewer than three stories a night with Grandson now. And when my two were young, I would have been lucky to get away with 20 minutes. When they were older and I was reading "Great Expectations" (with the voices of the characters causing much merriment) - it had to be a chapter a night because I wasn't allowed to stop in the middle. And there's the suggestion that even reading the label on a baked beans can is better than nothing! This reminded me that Sister and I used to read the label on the old HP Sauce bottle, to practise our French: "Cette Sauce, de haute qualite, est une melange des fruits, des epices et...." and there my memory fails me. I bet Sister could finish it off for me.