Salty Sam’s Fun Blog for Children

Number 103

Frost Fairs

Hello Everyone




Last week, l was telling you about a violent thunderstorm we had here in Rocky Bay.


This week, Bill and Bob were learning about another type of extreme weather in Miss Pringle’s class at the Rocky Bay Primary School; very low temperatures.


And we have certainly been having them this winter, haven’t we?


ln fact, they were learning about a time in history called the Mini lce Age (mid 14th – 19th centuries).


The temperature of the world goes up and down through time. ln Roman times it was especially warm in the summer. They were growing grapes in Yorkshire! ln Victorian times it was especially cold in the winters.


ln London during this Mini lce Age, it was so cold that the River Thames froze solid! Sometimes up to two months – even the sea would freeze at this time and it made it very difficult for ships to travel.


ln those days the arches of the bridges across the Thames were narrower than they are now, and the river was wider and this made the water move more slowly.


The arches under the London Bridge of the time were very narrow. Chunks of ice and other debris got caught in them blocking the river’s flow so much that the bridge acted like a dam.


Because the water flow was so slow and the temperatures were extremely low, the river froze solid.


The ice was so thick that people could walk across it without falling into the water underneath. lt could be up to about one foot deep. The ice was so thick that they could even build bonfires on it!!!


So people decided to enjoy the novelty of a frozen river and set up entertainment on it. These were called the Frost Fairs. The first one was in 1564.


The last one was in 1814. lt started on 1st February and lasted four days until the wind changed direction. Once the south wind began to blow, the weather became warmer and the ice began to melt. People started to fall in the river and had to be rescued by the Thames watermen and fishermen who rushed to their aid.


Some of the entertainments in these frost fairs were similar to those you see in fairgrounds today: swings and merry-go-rounds, games like skittles and there were food stalls and donkey rides. 


Once the next London Bridge was built in 1831, the river became faster and never froze again.




The frost fairs did come back! They were revived in 2003 – but these modern winter fairs are situated on the South Bank, not on the water. They now last over a week, and take place in December.


And there are merry-go-rounds and food stalls! 


You don’t have to visit London in the winter to see these sorts of entertainments. There are many places of entertainments and places to eat along the South Bank all year round.



Bye bye everyone – don’t forget to subscribe to my blog!


Love and kisses


Salty Sam





Bill and Bob’s Joke of the Weekjokejoke


Bill: What is a very famous lnuit song?


Bob: l don’t know. What is a very famous lnuit song?


Bill: There’s no business like snow business!



Salty Sam © Christina Sinclair 2015

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Picture Gallery


The arches of the old mediaeval London Bridge rested on platforms called starlings which were built on the river bed


image009 Heads of criminals were stuck on spikes at the top of the entrance to London Bridge

as a warning to people that they should behave themselves!


image010 London Bridge in the late 19th century

This bridge was transported to Arizona USA


image011 The current London Bridge was opened in 1973


image013 Frost is ice crystals that fall from the sky 


 Frosty grass



Frost Crystals


image021 Frost Fair 1564


image022 17th century Thames Frost Fair 


18th century Thames Frost Fair (St Paul’s Cathedral is in the distance)


image026 19th century Thames Frost Fair


image028 19th century swings


image029 21st century Thames Frost Fair


image030 Grapes growing on a grape vine


image032 London Bridge was built on starlings – these platforms slowed the flow of the river


Thames water boatman


image036 The South Bank is still a place for entertainments like fairs


image038 The London Eye is the most popular tourist attraction in London


image040 The London Eye on the South Bank


image042 There is a fair in the summer as well


image044 Bill and Bob were excited to find horses with their names on


image046 And they wanted a ride on them of course


image048 Bill actually had a choice of two


image050 The London Dungeon is situated on the South Bank


image052 There is a large sandpit for children to play in


image054 There is a second hand book shop under Waterloo Bridge


image056 There is a large art gallery in an old power station called Tate Modern


image058 Just outside is The Millennium Bridge – a walkway across to St Paul’s Cathedral


image060 A row of Georgian houses overlooking the River Thames


image062 There are many boats on the river giving rides


image064 A modern Frost Fair with stalls and entertainments


image066 Modern Frost Fair Entertainments


People of any age are allowed to ride on the horses 


image070 And if you want to skate on ice, there is a rink at Somerset House

which is situated on the north bank of the river







Auntie Alice has been busy knitting again this week.

If you have a 12” doll similar to Emily’s doll that likes to look cool while she’s keeping warm, you might like to try knitting this hood. It will give you good practice at knitting ribbing.






Using 3¼mm knitting needles and white 4ply yarn cast on 16 stitches


K3 (p2,k2) repeat last 4 stitches until 5 stitches remain, p2,k3

P3 (k2,p2) repeat last 4 stitches until 5 stitches remain, k2, p3


Repeat last 2 rows 49 times (100 rows altogether)

Cast off


Thread the ends of the yarn through the ends of the scarf and pull them in slightly to neaten them. 

Fold the scarf in half and over-sew down the edge of the scarf for about 2cm/1 inch in the middle – this will create a little hood that will sit on the back of your doll’s head.












Quick Quiz


What do these phrases mean?


  1. to be like water off a duck’s back
  2. to hold water
  3. to tread water
  4. to be water under the bridge
  5. to water something down
  6. to pour oil on troubled waters








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lt’s the Weekend!




This is a lovely snuggly blanket you can make when you want to start practising different knitting stitches.




You can use this blanket as a security blanket or pet blanket or to throw over your knees when you are in your horse-drawn sledge, car or on the sofa. smile1 (2)

In Blog Post 32, I advised that the best way to knit a blanket made out of squares was to use garter stitch and knit the squares on the diagonal in order to make the squares sturdier and easier to measure when using different colours of yarn. (Different colours and brands of double knitting can be slightly different thicknesses.)

This blanket looks as if it is made from squares, but in fact it is a number of strips sewn together. The textured nature of them makes them thick and robust and so shouldn’t stretch out of shape.

The strips are all made of the same yarn so they should all measure the same size.

Of course, you can use any colour that you like and even any kind of yarn as long as you use the right size needles for it. The size of needles you need to use with any yarn will be shown on the ball band.

When knitting a textured surface the smoother the yarn the more the texture will show. If the yarn is really hairy or fluffy, it will be more difficult to work with and the effects on the surface on the knitting will largely be lost.

*If you think that knitting a whole blanket will be too much for you and you want to knit it with someone else or a lot of other people, make sure your tension is similar to theirs, otherwise the difference in stitch sizes may show. This problem can be solved by the members of your team using different sizes of needle.

Get everyone to do a tension square first and measure it carefully.




You will need 600g of double knitting yarn for this very small throw.



Using 4mm knitting needles and cream dk yarn cast on 27 stitches

Garter stitch 20 rows



Slip 1, knit 5, purl 5, knit 5, purl 5, knit 6

Slip 1, purl 5, knit 5, purl 5, knit 5, purl 6

Repeat once


Slip 1, purl 5, knit 5, purl 5, knit 5, purl 6

Slip 1, knit 5, purl 5, knit 5, purl 5, knit 6

Repeat once


Repeat the last 8 rows three times



Slip 1, (purl 1, knit 1), repeat the last 2 stitches to the end of the row

Repeat this row 31 times

Repeat the last 64 rows three times and then the first 32 rows once

You will have 9 patterned squares


Knit 20 rows of garter stitch




Make three more strips like this




Then make four strips starting and ending with a moss stitch square inside the border edges





Using 4mm knitting needles and cream dk yarn cast on 16 stitches

Knit 400 rows of garter stitch

Cast off





Sew the strips of knitting together using over-sew stitching and add a border to each side.

Neaten off loose ends.

(Lay out the eight strips first to make sure they are alternated.)


*If you ever leave a piece of knitting for a long time, leave it on a stitch holder or a smaller sized needle because a line may appear across it.

Please note that the material on this blog is for personal use and for use in classrooms only.

It is a copyright infringement and, therefore, illegal under international law to sell items made with these patterns.

Use of the toys and projects is at your own risk.

©Christina Sinclair Designs 2015sand




Quick Quiz Answers


  1. to be like water off a duck’s back –
  2. to hold water –
  3. to tread water –
  4. to be water under the bridge –
  5. to water something down –
  6. to pour oil on troubled waters –


  1. to have no effect
  2. a theory that can be proved
  3. to keep afloat but not move forward
  4. something that is in the past – there is no point in regretting it
  5. to make something less strong
  6. to calm and soothe a difficult situation 



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