The Everyday Lore Project

22 August 2020 – Apathy

22 August 2020 – Apathy

You know, some days it’s just too much effort to make a Burning Bartle, then burn the Burning Bartle. And chant a bit while doing it. It’s the Saturday nearest to St Bartholomew’s Day where the inhabitants of West Witton, North Yorkshire do just that. So today should have been a slam dunk make along the lines of my May Day wicker man. But the mood I’ve been in all day, I didn’t think it was wise to burn what would have amounted to a poppet. Who knows what sort of bad juju might have been transfered. 

Due to Other Life circumstances, other, Other Life was a bust today. And once I realised I could not be arsed to make an effigy, I got a bit stuck as to what I was going to do. St Columba chastised the Loch Ness Monster today in 565. 1485 saw the War of the Roses won and Richard III consigned to under a car park in Leicester. It’s Dorothy Parker’s birthday. Nothing was sparking any interest.

So I decided to literally wallow in my ennui and have a bath. And for the first time since deciding Fauxrero Rocher for breakfast was a good idea, my brain kicked in, and I drew myself an anti-apathy bath. 

It’s said that certain smells revive the senses. Just as I’ve been using lavender to help me sleep, there are other scents for pep and clarity. The recipe I found sounded perfect, an ‘Overcoming Apathy Bath Blend‘[1] of Epsom salts, peppermint, geranium, and cypress. I didn’t have cypress, so subbed in cedarwood. And then I wallowed.

It was all very spa-like. But it also felt like I was obligated to keep breathing it all in, otherwise my mood wouldn’t change. The cedarwood was rather overpowering, the other two scents getting lost. And after a bit I began to feel a little fractious and unrelaxed by it all. Which I suppose is a change in mood, just not necessarily the one I was after.

Well, you can’t win every day. At least I now know never to sniff cedarwood in order to alleviate my discontent. And as the fable goes, this too shall pass. At least I still have some glorious Fauxrero Rocher left. 

And it could be worse. I could feel how my once balloon animals look. 


Cooper, Q. and Sullivan, P. (1994) Maypoles, Martyrs & Mayhem: 366 Days of British Myths, Customs & Eccentricities, London, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc


Published by Liza Frank

Author of My Celebrity Boyfriend. Obsessed with hula hooping, sons of preachermen and fresh dates, sometimes all at the same time. Curator of Folklore Agony and The Everyday Lore Project.

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