|Brian Taylor who asked the question "Are you superstitious"|
I was invited to sit on a panel for a BBC radio programme recently. It was Brian Taylor’s Big Debate, and the questions put to the panel were all very serious and political. However, because this debate was held so near to Christmas and because it was Friday the thirteenth, Brian Taylor finished up with what he called a ‘daft question’. And the question was – Are you superstitious?’
I was the first one he asked, and I don’t consider myself superstitious, so all I would admit to was a dislike of walking under ladders, and that was all to do with workmen and buckets of paint! However, when he worked his way round the rest of the panel and the audience, everyone else said the same thing. Now, were they copycatting me, or is it true that everyone else is only concerned with ladders.
Thinking about it later, I must confess I never put new shoes on a table, and I don’t cut my finger or toenails on a Friday or Sunday, because although I’m not superstitious, I don’t want the devil after me for the rest of the week.
As for Friday the thirteenth, there are too many of my family members with birthdays on the thirteenth for me to be superstitious about that.
So, what other superstitions are there. Well, there’s the one about a rabbit’s foot bringing luck – I’ve never had a rabbit’s foot so I can’t comment on that one. Then there’s an apple a day keeps the doctor away – but that’s not really a superstition and recent medical research suggests it’s true. What about the four-leaf clover bringing good luck. well, I’d like to think that one is true because I have a friend who has loads of them in her garden and she gives me one every time I publish a book, and the books haven’t done too badly.
There’s loads more, the bad luck opals, for example, but I like opals so I refuse to believe that one. The broken mirror and seven years bad luck. I don’t really believe it, but I haven’t broken any mirrors lately, and anyway they say if you break a cocktail stick in half after breaking the mirror, it reverses the bad luck.
I think I’ll give up on the common superstitions now so that I can have a peek at the Christmas ones.
Did you know, for example, that the amount of Christmas pies you eat on Christmas Eve will determine the amount of luck you have over the next year. Great excuse for pigging out methinks. And do you know that if you light candles on Christmas Eve you shouldn’t put them out before Christmas day, otherwise it’s bad luck. Just keep your fingers crossed the house doesn’t burn down overnight. Oh, and if you still have an open fire (I don’t) then your yule log should be cut or found rather than bought. I’m allergic to housework so I don’t like the next one, and that’s the need to sweep your front doorstep first thing on Christmas morning to sweep away any trouble. Then there’s the mistletoe kiss. If you try to avoid it then you’ll have bad luck, so close your eyes and imagine it’s Johnny Depp, or someone else you fancy. Back to housework! If you make your own Christmas pud, everyone in the house has to stir it three times. I’m going to stop now, but before I go I must warn you about holly. If you bring it into the house and the leaves are prickly then the husband will be the master, but if the leaves are smooth, it’s the wife who is in charge.
If I wanted I could go on and on writing about superstitions, but I’ll leave it here and wish everyone best wishes over the holiday period. But watch out for that black cat, and stray ladders.