Monday, December 7, 2009

Monday Musings

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It’s that time of the year when we think of peace on earth and goodwill to all mankind, putting the Christmas tree up, getting Christmas shopping done, planning the Christmas menu and worrying about what to wear for Christmas dinner.

It’s also that time of the year when I wait expectantly to see if the Great Goat of Gavle, Sweden, will survive another arson attack.

Since 1966, when the Great Goat was first erected, it has survived Christmas only 10 times. It was burnt down almost every year, with the following exceptions:

1972: sabotaged and collapsed
1976: run over by a car
1978: kicked to bits
1983: legs were cut off
1997: attacked by fireworks

In 2005, “Santa Claus” and the “Gingerbread Man” shot flaming arrows at the goat which burnt down.

The goat has, in past years, been guarded by a 6.5 ft fence, by Securitas, Police, Homeguards, the Gavle Infantry, volunteers and a web-cam. It has been fire-proofed and soaked in flame retardant.

The arsonists weren’t just locals. A Norwegian was arrested for attempted arson in 1998 and in 2001, an American, Lawrence Jones, set fire to the goat on 23rd dec. Jones was arrested, spent ½ a month in the slammer and fined 100,000 kroners (though apparently the fine is still outstanding).

His cigarette lighter was also confiscated.

Said Goat was treated with flame retardant in 2006 and it escaped with just a smoldering foot.

But in 2008, the Goat Committee of Gavle decided to leave the goat untreated upon complaints that the retardant made the goat “look like a terrier”.  It burnt down on 27th Dec.

This event has been blogged about, has its own fan site and is featured on the town’s website where Goat Fans can read about the history of the goat, watch a film of the goat being erected, keep up with goat news through the blog, and help keep a watch on the goat through 2 webcams.

English bookmakers have been taking bets on the survival or demise of the goat since 1988.

Current odds are 6:4 arsonists to authorities.

Watch Christmas lights on the Goat through webcam at the Gavle website below:

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