7 October 2020 – St Osyth’s Day

Tonight, I shall be appealing to St Osyth (or Saint Osgyth. Or Ositha, Osith, Othith, Sytha, Sythe. Or Toosey, as those local to the village of St Osyth, Essex like to call her) to deliver me ‘from fire and from water, and from all misadventure’ (Hazlitt, p467). All I need do before going to bed, is to rake my hearth, mark a cross within the ashes, offer up my thanks, and Bob’s my lobster for the next year. 

Trouble is, I have neither hearth, nor ashes. So I’m going to burn my final incense cone and mark my cross in whatever’s left. It’s that, or setting fire to my recycling on the hob. I’m hoping my miniature offering still means maximum protection, though. I mean, it’s the thought that counts, surely?

My final cone with a bit of larch.

And as for those effing stars, it’s raining. Again. 


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

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



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