Friday, 29 February 2008

Leap-Year Day Conundrum

This morning the BBC Radio Leicester 'Thought for the Day' featured some chap babbling on about today's 'Free' leap-year day, as if his listeners were all twiddling their thumbs trying to think of ways to fill it. I decided to use this 'free' day to indulge my passion for paid work, in much the same way I do on all the other weekdays of the year... Getting that excitement out of the way, I could now turn my attention to something that's been puzzling me of late.

The village of Barrowden is a short drive down the Welland Valley from us in Middleton, and home to a rather nice pub called the Exeter Arms, which is in turn home to the Barrowden micro-brewery. The village is pleasant, rural, and full of the sort of ironstone buildings which are common to this part of the Welland Valley. In the centre of the village is a lovely old orchard, reasonably well maintained, and of a size not often seen hereabouts. Well worth a return visit in the Spring when they should be laden with blossom.

So far, so ordinary, but on the edge of the village is something altogether more intriguing, at least to me it is anyway. Why would a relatively new road, in a rural Rutland village be called 'Cider Close' I wonder?

The word cider crops up in road names all over the traditional cidermaking areas, most often as a memorial to a long gone cider mill, or the site of a grubbed-up cider orchard. So what does Cider Close in Barrowden commemorate? Is it another tiny clue to a cidermaking tradition in this area, or was it simply that the developer was fond of a pint or two of cider, and had a slightly odd sense of humour?

My investigations continue, but if anyone reading this knows more, perhaps they could help me solve this mystery. I'd like to crack this one before the next Leap-Year Day comes around.

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