The Everyday Lore Project

22 July 2020 – St Mary Magdalene’s Day

22 July 2020 – St Mary Magdalene’s Day

I’m so late writing this. The now weekly tradition of watching Celebrity Masterchef over Zoom took priority. So I’ll be brief, which given the calibre of today’s entry, can only be a mercy for all concerned. 

Firstly, it should have rained today. It’s St Mary Magdalene’s Day, and in anticipation of going to St James’ Fair on 25 July, Mary Magdalene is said to wash her handkerchief. I genuinely don’t know if this is a euphemism, but it’s supposed to make it rain. But it was all dry round here, not a hint from the barometers, I might have even freckled up. 

Secondly, it’s the birthday of the Reverend William Archibald Spooner. The Rev. Spooner was supposedly a bit of a word mangler, so much so, his name was appropriated to describe such vocabularic confusions. Spoonerisms are when you swap round letters in a name, phrase, or sentence often with comedic effect. Think pheasant plucker, or one of my all-time favourite Kenny Everett characters, Cupid Stunt. 

So what should be easier than figuring out some folklore spoonerisms, right? After all, Friar Tuck is a slam dunk. 

My brain stodged up immediately. I can only apologise. Especially for the spelling.

Vineguere, a really sour queen, but great with dressing
The Mean Gran, bites the heads off crows and gives everyone the wrong cue during Mummers plays
The Knock Less Monster, virtual recluse since the lockdown
Chintz Prarming, interior designer to lesser royalty

It got worse when I turned to proverbs.

As you row, so you shall seep.
Don’t fight the band that heeds you.
Among the kind the one-eyed man is bling.

Before finally turning to James Bond.


Like a witty comeback that wakes you in the night, I have a suspicion that as soon as I post this I’ll come up with a belter. It’s a slim suspicion. But whatever I come up with, it’ll all be done in the best possible taste. 


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.

4 comments on “22 July 2020 – St Mary Magdalene’s Day”

  1. Glorious Barbara says:

    Poo Bleater – a sheep that is not very good at singing

  2. Glorious Barbara says:

    Continuing the kids’ TV theme:

    Gent-a-Roast – an aristocratic Sunday lunch

    1. That made I laugh, a lot.

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