Bitch on the Blog

April 30, 2010

On the off chance

Filed under: Human condition — bitchontheblog @ 04:35

Ramana informs me that Conrad is stubborn.

I don’t need my opinions confirmed but this once I take comfort. If I may give Con some advice: The more rigid you are the more likely you are to break. And NO,  the witch is not casting an evil spell on him.

Which reminds me of a subject NOT dear to my heart: Superstition. Being my father’s daughter I, naturally, never ever walk underneath a  ladder or any scaffolding. Nothing to do with the bad luck it’s supposed to bring more to do with probability of some loose roof tile or brick dropping on my head.

Neither are chimney sweeps what they once were. The last time I had one round I couldn’t believe it. No black face (anyone remember the book “Water babies”?),  just a clean overall and ultra efficient tools. A bit of a let down with a bill to match.

One of the most rational people I know is superstitious about sugar. He once spilled a lot of it by accident and wouldn’t clear it up himself since apparently that way bad luck lies.  He wasn’t joking either; complete horror on his face.

Recently a friend of mine refused to look after our black cat for a couple of weeks because she is convinced black cats are bad news. Not even my explanation that Bounce is, technically, a tabby and not a BLACK cat, indeed even has five endearing white chest hairs did not sway her. Made me rethink my whole outlook on more than just life in general.

They say it’s GOOD luck when you – accidentally – come across a bride. Despite not being particularly enamoured with the state of holy matrimony (no reflection on Bridget Jones) I get excited seeing brides in their hour of hope triumphing over whatever the future may hold. Quite close to where I live is the magnificent Priory of Christchurch/Dorset; so when in need of a spot of luck I pop down there on a Saturday late morning/early afternoon to catch a glimpse of a meringue. Does it work? How do I know?

I most definitely subscribe to throwing salt over my (I think it’s the left) shoulder every so often. Just in case. Sometimes, in despair, I even manage to drop a plate.

Any other suggestions?




  1. We can all be stubborn…some of us just don’t bother….

    I will not walk under a ladder and always greet a single Magpie with respect. I have been known to stand in the street and chat to them….very good conversationalists magpies. They don’t answer back! As for salt over the shoulder..of course, slap in the devil’s eye.

    Do your best not to break a mirror…seven years of bad luck is sure to follow and never place red and white flowers together unless accompanied by other colours.
    Oh, and if you build a new house don’t forget to place a small shoe iin the structure and brick up a live cat and a toad in the wall.

    Never kill a daddy long-legs (crane-fly)because that will make it rain and also never kill a spider…don’y kno wwhy but there it is!

    Of course your seeing a meringue on a Saturday won’t work because you went looking for it!

    Dorset? Mm. My old mates the Yetties come from there. And the Queen….why else would she call herself Elizabeth Aar?

    Sorry, a silly joke.

    I remember, vaguely, The Water Babies from Primary School…for some reason I associate it with fear.

    As for dark coloured cats… a friend recently lost her familiar, a sleek black cat of sixteen summers who always greeted me with excess fuss. Apparently I was the only outside male human he treated like that. Odd!

    Comment by magpie11 — April 30, 2010 @ 09:57 | Reply

    • Magpie, cats know about people. It’s quite uncanny. Wishing not to be unkind on this sunny Saturday morning I shall not make reference to a woman known to both of us who apparently detests cats. As they will her.

      I had completely forgotten about mirrors. Despite given to raising my voice I don’t throw plates or anything else; never have. What I used to do when an argument got out of hand was to go for a vigorous walk – even if only for five minutes. Works wonders. However, some 27 years ago, I did smash a large mirror (it was the nearest thing to hand) in a moment of terrible, and justifiable, distress. After which (see above) I left the house, headed into the wilderness, sat down in what only can be described as a swamp, and howled with grief and sorrow. That worked wonders too. I returned calmly, packed my bags and left the country. The next seven years were bliss.

      Some years ago I stumbled across an exquisite second hand frame (50 p) outside an art shop and was inspired to have bevelled mirror glass put into it (£35.00). Promptly followed by seven years of (relative) MISfortune. Maybe I should smash that one too to turn around the ship. Let me know whether you think this a good course of action or one experiment too far.

      Interesting what you say about “Water Babies” and remembering fear. It’s a long time ago I read the book to my son; later we got the film and I quote the video’s jacket: “… The Water Babies is an enchanting story of Tom, a young chimney sweep who is apprenticed to Grimes (James Mason), a tough and dishonest Master Chimney Sweep who spends his time thieving. When Tom is unfairly blamed for stealing he escapes by leaping into the water of DEAD MAN’s Pool. Here, he and his dog Toby meet and befriend the Water Babies and become involved in an animated fantasy world of adventure and song. After his fantastic journey, Tom’s wish comes true and he returns back to the real world – but will anyone believe his incredible story?” End of quote.

      Loved it. Will beg son to watch it with me once again, for old times’ sake (14 years on), this afternoon.


      Comment by Ursula — May 1, 2010 @ 10:29 | Reply

      • Probably an experiment too far…can you afford the £35-00? If so send it my way.

        Being blamed? Perhaps that is what rang bad bells for me…. remember being in Hosp and another patient’s dad telling me that I could have a chocolate biscuit any time…my parents hadn’t visited me. I went and got one next day, and a nurses hit me and called me a thief. When I reported the conversation she called me a liar in spite of the other boy confirming my story…who did my parents believe? Nurse of course.

        Comment by magpie11 — May 5, 2010 @ 19:41 | Reply

        • Magpie, that’s a heartbreak of a story. I do despair at times with the world, and parents in particular. If I were your mother I’d have stuffed that nurse’s gob by presenting her with a nicely wrapped box of sweets (sticky toffee to pull her teeth out).


          Comment by Ursula — May 6, 2010 @ 03:49 | Reply

  2. You can’t find a meringue in a church. That’s at a bakery. The egg whites are good for you, but it’s mostly sugar.

    I don’t remember Water Babies anymore.

    Comment by bikehikebabe — April 30, 2010 @ 20:04 | Reply

    • Dearest Bike Hike Babe, you are quite right. To make a meringue you need a lot of sugar – and then eat it.

      Do you prefer the soft centered or the brittle?

      Baked Alaska and Pavlova greetings,

      PS I’ll ask Magpie whether he remembers ‘Eton Mess’

      Comment by Ursula — May 1, 2010 @ 10:45 | Reply

      • If I’m going to subject myself to sugar, it will be chocolate pie (with whipped cream), not meringue or jelly beans.

        Comment by bikehikebabe — May 1, 2010 @ 14:40 | Reply

  3. I now about Eton Mess but have never eton it.
    I adore meringues but not baked Alaska..though making it was one of my jobs in the kitchen of the George Hotel in Battle Sussex way back.

    What about Soufflé Omelettes? aka Jam Omelettes?

    Comment by magpie11 — May 5, 2010 @ 19:45 | Reply

    • That’s good, Magpie: “Never eton it”. It’s why I love the English language. It lends itself so generously to many contortions and word play.

      Eton Mess is brill(iant) – have such resistance against abbreviations, ‘veg’ being another. Which reminds me: Which school do you follow? Cheese before or after dessert?


      Comment by Ursula — May 6, 2010 @ 04:02 | Reply

      • I love souffle omelettes. My mother is spectacularly good at making them. In fact, could cry this minute remembering them (living so far away I hardly ever have the pleasure of HER making one for me).


        Comment by Ursula — May 6, 2010 @ 04:07 | Reply

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