So, anyway, here we are all ready to put the Poking An Elderly Relative With A Stick Day costumes and implements back into the cupboard for another year. All in all, I must say that this year's ceremony was one of the best yet. Nearly everyone in the village had some elderly relative (no mater how distantly related*) to poke.
Of course, before I put it away, I had to fully-oil our traditional Family Elderly Relative Poking Stick with the ceremonial Hamster Liver Oil. This particular Poking Stick has been in our family now for just over three hundred and fifty years. Although, it is not the oldest Elderly Relative Poking Stick in the village. That particular honour belongs to the Goatimplements family. Their Elderly Relative Poking Stick was one of the first in the country to be whittled when Poking An Elderly Relative With A Stick Day was reinstated during the Restoration, after it had been banned for the whole of the Puritan period. This was despite Cromwell himself being a staunch supporter of the practice (especially in the years between the short and long parliaments where he is reported to have personally poked several uncles, two aunts and a second cousin with his own personally-whittled poking stick).
But, under increasing pressure from the more extreme puritans the Parliament finally gave in, after their compromise motion allowing people to stand no closer than one and three-quarters of the length of the longest poking stick from their relatives was defeated by a mere 3 votes.
However, strict Puritanism never really caught on with the British, who much prefer having something to complain, moan and tut about, rather than having it banned outright. So, once King Charles II was restored to the throne it was only a matter of time before elderly relatives were once again being poked with sticks as nature intended.
*And, yes, Little-Frigging-In-The-Wold is a small rural village, so almost everyone is somehow related to everyone else**.
**Us locals, that is, not those outsiders whose families have only been in the village for less than two centuries.