|Silver Hurling ball from Saint Columb - Original photo by Denis Ellery reproduced with permission. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License. (I cant find the name of the contributor)|
[cont from Introduction to Saint Columb silver ball hurling article, mentioning Flora Day at Helston]
"...Unique as this is, it is eclipsed by the little town of St. Colnmb, which stands midway between ancient Padstow and modern Newquay.
There the great event of the year falls Shrove Tuesday, which is not only “pancake-day” but “hurling-day,” a combination of events that gives the little town an importance all its own; and, having little else to distinguish it from the many other equally sleepy towns of the quaintest county in England, it is but natural that “hurling day” should loom large in the estimation of its two thousand inhabitants.
It is, of course, a great day for the young people; and in the golden days which preceded the advent of the board school, when the boys attended sundry educational establishments presided over by ancient dames with dangling side curls, where all the classrooms were merged into one, and that one the kitchen, it was the custom to devote the major portion of the morning to what was known as “the battle of eggs.” Briefly this is what happened: Each scholar brought an egg, which, after having the name of the owner written on it, was put aside until eleven o’clock, at which hour all the scholars gathered round the kitchen table, in the centre of which was placed a large baking-dish. Two by two the eager combatants stood facing each other across the table, each holding his egg tightly in his hand, with the oval point protruding beyond his finger-tips. At a given signal from the schoolmistress bang went the eggs. If at the first blow only the shells were cracked, a second and third followed, until one or both were smashed; and so the battle waged until the whole of the eggs were broken, and the boy or girl whose egg had broken most of the others was proclaimed victor, the school dismissed for the day, and the schoolmistress with her floating dish of yolks proceeded to make her pancakes.
This interesting and highly educational function received a severe check some years ago through one of the boys, who now blushes to recall the circumstance, so far forgetting the roles of war as to enter upon the contest with a hard-boiled egg.... [cont.]