Boar's Head Supper 2019
Monday 23rd December 2019
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The 108th Boar's Head Supper was held at the Club on Monday 23rd December 2019 and attended by some 50 members, guests, spouses and partners - a disappointing turnout this year.
This account attempts to capture the flavour of the occasion and those who attended - with apologies to anyone missed on the photos.
Alan Roden (Hon.Sec)
SOEC is one of the very few institutions who still celebrate the feast annually. The origins go back to pagan times but it has been reinvented in various guises over the centuries.
Those at Queens College Oxford invented an amusing story for their continued annual celebration. On a winter's day many centuries ago, it is said a student named Copcot went walking into the nearby woods. He carried with him a volume of Aristotle which he had been struggling to comprehend.
Suddenly a boar sprang towards him and he rammed the volume down the boar' s throat crying out "It's Greek to me!". The boar choked to death on this undigestible work. Copcot chopped off the boar's head and recovered his copy of Aristotle (which he could not afford to lose) and took both back to College where the head was consumed and the tradition was born. Today, at the Club, Rosanne Norris painstakingly decorates the boar's head (nowadays from a pig) which is paraded into the main bar and another (the uglier of the two) is prepared which provides some of the meat for the night. The head is paraded with a large pot of mustard - in keeping with ancient tradition.
As always, Tim prepared the beef, brawn and accompaniments.
The final "say" went to members of the Committee, resplendent in seasonal aprons, who painstakingly loaded the rolls with ample amounts of food to keep the eagerly awaiting attendees fully fed.
Naturally, it was necessary for them to partake several samples of both the fayre and the beer to ensure it was fit for consumption ...
Immediate Past President Brian Arch welcomed everyone to the event, while enticing attendees to offer a voluntary contribution for the event .Even Vice President Robin Morrison didn't escape ...
Meanwhile, members and guests assembled in the main bar for pre-event drinks and discussion.
At 8 pm sharp, the Hon. Secretary requested a gangway to be cleared in preparation for the parade.
President Rob Hill then led the parade of the very heavy pig's head from the Memorial Room into the main bar, followed by Vice President Robin Morrison carrying the traditional pot of mustard and followed by various Committee members.
This year a treat was in-store as President Rob Hill exercised his vocal talents to sing the Boar's Head Carol - ably assisted by his singing duo partner "Gof" with the crowd joining in at appropriate times.
The President duly welcomed those attending, thanked Tim and Tracy (and several of the Committee) for preparing the feast - with particular thanks to Rosanne Norris for decorating "the head" so magnificently.
Our very own Clive Bowen-Davies, the manager of the 50-Club and "voice of the balls" took the trouble to bring on his "apparatus" for drawing the balls and duly made 4 people happy - amidst the good-will misery of those who did not win!
Clive stated we still have a few lottery numbers which can be acquired by members - the draw takes place monthly with an excellent chance of winning over the year.
The formalities, being over, rolls of beef and brawn were distributed by the Committee members, enjoyed with the traditional range of available pickles and accompaniments.