Thursday 29 February 2024

Today is February 29th


Today is February 29th, the day when in England by tradition women are permitted to propose marriage to men. 

I intend to stay home and not answer the telephone or read messages until the danger period has passed.

It must have been on 29 February 1976 that I read in the Peterborough column in the Daily Telegraph, over breakfast before school, that it was the 21st birthday of Frederick, hero of Gilbert and Sullivan's comic opera The Pirates of Penzance or The Slave of Duty

(I simply adored Peterborough. It's one of my models in this blog. Private Eye called it unfairly Peterbore. ) 

Frederick was apprenticed by mistake to be a pirate, instead of a pilot, and not until he was 21, but until his 21st birthday. 

I saw that someone on the net thought he reached this milestone in 1948.  

This sounds a bit like Notes and Queries or a learned footnote to Aristophanes. 

1 comment:

  1. Gilbert and Aristophanes have much in common, by the way. Someone translated Aristophanes into English in verse using Gilbert as his model. Just so you know, I thought Aristophanes hilarious when I read him The Wasps and Other Plays aged 11 in translation. It was the first adult book or Penguin I bought with my pocket money and it made me laugh out loud. It is sad but true that I am very, very much less highbrow now.