Friday is now cake day

PUBLISHED: 11:05 23 March 2007 | UPDATED: 22:39 28 May 2010

Three days after we moved into our present house, the phone rang. I was surprised as it had only just been connected. Picking up the handset, I heard an unknown woman s voice pleading: I m a desperate woman. Are you free tomorrow night? For a number of

Three days after we moved into our present house, the phone rang.

I was surprised as it had only just been connected.

Picking up the handset, I heard an unknown woman's voice pleading: "I'm a desperate woman. Are you free tomorrow night?"

For a number of reasons, I wondered if she'd picked the right man but my partner said it would be rude not to accept. He trusts me. So I said yes and went along and stood in for the speaker who'd had to cry off - and talked to her branch of the Women's Institute.

Since then, I've been invited to a number of other Institutes.

Last week I was at Friday Bridge. If you happen to be invited there, do go. The fruit cake is excellent. My visit also allowed me to ask why the village is called Friday Bridge.

Our place names reveal a lot of local history. Many readers will have been shopping in Medehamstede. That's its old name. Later, it became so famous for its hordes of gold and silver that it got re-named Gildenborough.

And then when its abbey church, St Peter's, became more important, the place became known as Peterborough.

In the 19th century, there was a plan to reclaim the whole of the Wash and make it a new county called Victoria. There's an area near Wisbech some people still know as Adventurers' Land - named after those who (ad)ventured their capital to drain it.

Elm may be named after a tree. Some think it was once called Elym and named after one of the earliest tribes to settle in these parts, the Ilwan.

March is almost certainly so called because it was once a frontier town, 'marking' a

boundary.

But what of Friday Bridge? I was told there was once a bridge there from which monks caught fish to eat on Fridays. I've since discovered there is a Friday Street in Surrey, named because it is an unlucky place.

Friday has always been considered unlucky because it is the day the Crucifixion of Jesus took place.

Friday the 13th is especially unlucky (beware - there's one next month) because there were 13 men at the Last Supper, the night before the crucifixion.

Judging by the cake, there's nothing unlucky about Friday Bridge.


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