Today is the first of three days in September that claim to be Nutting Day, although the 3rd is the only one without the Devil attached to it. It may have something to do with calendar shenanigans as in 1752, the UK switched from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar meaning it was Thursday 14 September that followed Wednesday the 2nd, losing 11 days in the process. And 14 September is the next Nutting Day, only this time it’s prefixed with ‘Devil’s’.
Anyhow, apart from eating a handful of walnuts, several teaspoons of peanut butter and trying to start a Twitter fight over pecans, my day was not about nuts.
Instead I went with another piece of folklore attributed to 3 September, that of today being the day when traditionally lacemakers were allowed to light candles in order to continue their work, their candle lighting season running between now and Shrove Tuesday. So I’m writing this surrounded by candles. I have cheated slightly as I’m tapping away on a laptop which gives out its own light, plus I’m restricting the candlelight to the sitting room. Last time there was a power cut, I lit so many candles I set off the fire alarm. So if I need to move from room to room, I’ll be pinging on the electricity. But for now, I’m surrounded by darkness and many tiny torches.
As much as I like candlelight I don’t find it very effective, especially when trying to research. There seems to be an awful lot of hunching involved, and the resulting smell of burnt hair can be somewhat off-putting. But I have noticed it can be rather flattering if you happen to catch yourself in a mirror as it makes you look as softly focused as Angela Lansbury in an episode of Murder She Wrote.
In other news, I now have a spritz made of moon juice and flavoured with rosemary, lemongrass and peppermint for the promotion of mental clarity.* Can’t say it’s worked so far though.
And we have mustard! There were even more this evening but it got too dark for a non-blurry photo.
* Just a quick note on essential oils, they can be toxic to pets. So before using them for burning, spraying, nebulising, diffusing etc, make sure you check how best to do this safely.
Cooper, Q. and Sullivan, P. (1994) Maypoles, Martyrs & Mayhem: 366 Days of British Myths, Customs & Eccentricities, London, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
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