You know the type, where you open the fridge and stare dumbly at the contents wondering why on earth you had opened the fridge…

In the several seconds it takes to recover yourself and regain some decorum, you stand there like a twit.

I really must spend more time in the kitchen.

Today I found a potato in a mid-life crisis No, it was not trying to become a trans-potato, it had taken it upon itself to become vodka; yes, it was slowly reaching the putrid stage, bordering on fermentation.

A couple more days and the garlic cloves would have all been doing a Russian Cossack dance, shouting for more vodka.

Today is Ash Wednesday, yesterday was Shrove Tuesday. We have all heard these terms, but do we really know what they mean?

Shrove Tuesday can be a dangerous time for your pets

The shriving bell was the summons for confession, once confessed they had been shriven. The verb to shrive means to confess one’s sins or absolution. One shrives on the Tuesday before Lent, that 40 days of fasting before Easter. Before the fasting of course the household has many ingredients that needed to be used, or wasted. It was this that became the ‘pancake tradition.’

Shrove Tuesday is also known as Mardi Gras from the French meaning Fat Tuesday, the day that all the fats in the house were used.

Then you have carnival, literally means one more meat before Lent. Hence the gluttony and debauchery at carnival prior to the Lenten season.

Why is Ash Wednesday called Ash? Ash Wednesday derives its name from the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of adherents as a sign of mourning and repentance to God. Usually an ash cross on the forehead by the priest.

So there you have it; pancakes and a dirty smudge on the forehead.

In about ten minutes the apuração (voting) for the samba schools in the Grupo Especial will be televised, which in turn indicates a proximity to beer o’clock. Two schools will be relegated, and allowing two schools from the second division to be promoted for next years carnaval.

This year in São Paulo, there was a scandal at the apuraçaõ. The competition at carnaval is very intense, and one disgruntled member of one school invaded the judges box and destroyed many of the voting papers before he was subdued which meant they couldn’t complete the count. Totally bad sportsmanship.

One mustn’t be tardy.