Monday, 29 August 2011

Touch Wood

Are you superstitious?

I like to think that I’m (mostly) a sane and sensible individual, who knows that chucking a smattering of spilt salt over my left shoulder really won’t keep the Devil away … but I still do it!

My best friend always says that, if you light a cigarette from a candle, a sailor somewhere will meet with his peril (weird lot, the Scottish).  If that’s the case, we must be responsible for a boatload of watery deaths by now as we tend to constantly misplace lighters.

My husband, brought up as a good Christian, has no truck with superstitions and will actually defy them just to dismiss them as ‘hocus pocus’.  If there’s a ladder to walk under, he’ll do it with a smile on his face and a spring in his step - makes him look a bit daft but he doesn’t care.

A have a niece who (at about the age of nine) was so obsessed with banging her second elbow if she’d hit the first accidently, I swear she walked around with bruised arms for about a year!  Thankfully she outgrew it as she looked like she was doing some sort of weird hokey-cokey.

In the 80’s I had a lovely Laura Ashley skirt and blouse in matching black floral print (I did say the 80’s - I’m not saying it would be a great look now!).  Whenever I wore this attractive ensemble, something awful would happen: an argument with a friend, a splitting headache or torrential rain to play havoc with my curly perm.  The straw that broke the camel’s back was when I jumped onto the back of a moving bus (dumb, I know, but I was late) and missed my footing, resulting in me being dragged behind the bus in my floral finery.

I never wore that outfit again!

Going to drama school meant never uttering the word ‘Macbeth’ backstage.  If you should let it slip, you must leave the theatre, spin around three times, spit and then knock to be allowed to re enter.  It’s said that Shakespeare wrote black magic into the witches’ spells and, as the play is so violent and physical, accidents will often happen.  My best friend can vouch for this.  Whilst playing the part of Lady Macbeth at a small theatre in Covent Garden (lunchtime performance, attended mainly by OAP’s) she’d overdone the hairspray to achieve the manic, demented look.  On her final exit with a candle she tripped and her hair began to catch light.  We managed to extinguish her fairly quickly but we heard a couple of biddies leaving the theatre saying, “Oooh, that was so realistic, but I never knew that was how she died, did you?”!

So what are my favourite superstitions?  The ones I just can’t drop, no matter how hard I try?

I’ll never put a new pair of shoes on the table - don’t ask me why, I’ve just had it drummed in to me from a very early age that it’s bad luck and I don’t want to tempt fate.

I won’t pick a flower up from the ground - someone will die!

I make sure I never have crossed knives on the table - an argument will follow.

I won’t burst a crisp packet - someone will lose their job.

I never do washing on New Year’s Day - it washes all your luck away for that year.  (Think this one was made up generations ago, just to give over-worked housewives a day off, but it suits me just fine!)

I always say “Hello Mr Magpie” three times if I see one on his own.  Can get you a few odd looks if you’re alone, but needs must!

I say ‘Bless you with the angels’ to my cats before I leave the house - I believe this keeps them out of harm’s way.

If I put my knickers on inside out, I have to leave them like that for the day despite my husband’s persistent offers to remove them and rectify matters.  Call it laziness, I call it good luck.

Do you have any weird superstitions to add to these - family orientated or otherwise?  Come on, spill the beans.

And, if you’ve been thinking about buying my book but have been putting it off, do it today or bad luck will befall you (only joking!).  Available at Amazon for Kindle.  Now also in paperback at Lulu.

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