25 April 2020 – St Mark’s Day

Today started on the beat of midnight. If you’ve not already read yesterday’s post, you’ll have no idea why I was hovering in the kitchen, ablutions complete, hand outstretched, ready to turn the radio off at the first hint of a Big Ben bong. So either go back and read it, or just take a guess and keep going. Whatever you’re thinking, I doubt you’ll nail it, the folklore is bonkers.

So there I am, facing front, the chimes start, I turn off the radio, shuffle backwards, turn off the kitchen light, no wraiths, manoeuvre my way past the big bag of bags that has chosen this moment to fall off the kitchen door handle, ease myself slowly into the hall, keep going backwards, no wraiths, gently back up the stairs, turn off the hall light, no wraiths, reverse into the bedroom, tread on a sock, no wraiths, back myself into bed, but still no wraiths, anywhere. 

Had a terrible night’s sleep. Probably all that salt I ingested.

Woke up around dawn and decided that was morning enough and uttered my first words since 8 o’clock the night before. Fell back to sleep and had a dream where I picked up the actor, Chris Colquhoun from outside a pub somewhere in Warwickshire. It then became apparent I was driving us to a script meeting for his one man show, a script I was supposed to be writing, only as with all my anxiety dreams, I had no idea I’d been commissioned, so had to vamp my ideas as we drove. And then en route to the director, we got stuck in traffic mid-crossroads. So far, so folkloric, but the dream came after I’d spoken, so Chris, while an excellent Celebrity Boyfriend, is not destined to be The One. 

Then I woke up proper with a blinding headache. But no other dreams, or wraiths, or spirits of husbands future. No footprints, no newly pinpricked initials in the dumb cake, no ravaging in my sleep, although there were swans in that dream, but I’m guessing that was less to do with Zeus, and more to do with the swans that hang out on the Avon. So I am doomed, apparently, to spinsterhood.

No new initials

Well, never mind, I can always try again next year. Although it’s said that in the Isle of Man, if on the morning of St Mark’s Day you find a footprint in the hearth that’s broad and thrice clawed, you’re destined to wed a badger. So I might give it a miss. Just in case.


Resources

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

Day, B. (1998) A Chronicle of Folk Customs, London, Hamlyn

Hazlitt, W.C. (1995) The Dictionary of Faiths and Folklore, Beliefs, Superstitions and Popular Customs, London, Bracken Books

Jones, J. and Deer, B. (1987) Cattern Cakes and Lace, London, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Roud, S. (2006) The English Year: A Month-By-Month Guide To The Nation’s Customs and Festivals, From May Day to Mischief Night, London, Penguin Books

Simpson, J. and Roud, S. (2001) Oxford Dictionary of English Folklore, Oxford, Oxford University Press

https://blogs.bl.uk/untoldlives/2016/10/the-dumb-cake.html

Silent Girls and a Dumb Cake

http://www.theoldfoodie.com/2009/04/dumb-cake.html

http://www.foodsofengland.co.uk/dumbcake.htm

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