Sunday, 2 December 2018

As It Was The 1st. December,

there was a local gathering on the green in Beckenham,

 evidently it started some years ago as a Christmas fair,

 so cold weather clothes on and we were off,

watched by one of the numerous magpies, and here is a disintation about them, a lot of which I knew courtesy of my Grandmother,

throughout Britain it is thought to be unlucky to see a lone magpie and there are a number of beliefs about what you should do to prevent bad luck. In many parts of the UK people will salute a single magpie and say “Good morning Mr Magpie. How is your lady wife today?” By acknowledging the magpie in this way you are showing him proper respect in the hope that he will not pass bad fortune on to you. By referring to the magpie's wife you are also implying that there are two magpies, which bring joy rather than sorrow according to the popular rhyme.

In Yorkshire magpies are associated with witchcraft and you should make a sign of the cross to ward off evil. And in Scotland a single magpie seen near the window of a house is a sign of impending death, possibly because magpies are believed to carry a drop of the devil’s blood on their tongues or in another legend because magpies were the only bird that didn’t sing or comfort Jesus when he was crucified.

Other things you can do to prevent the bad luck a lone magpie may bring include doffing your hat, spitting three times over your shoulder or even flapping your arms like wings and cawing to imitate the magpie's missing mate! Like many other birds, magpies mate for life and this may be the inspiration for this rhyme,

One for sorrow,
Two for joy,
Three for a girl,
Four for a boy,
Five for silver,
Six for gold,
Seven for a secret,
Never to be told.

However, there are a number of alternative versions and a longer rhyme which is local to Lancashire counts up to 13 magpies with an additional 6 lines:

Eight for a wish
Nine for a kiss
Ten a surprise you should be careful not to miss
Eleven for health
Twelve for wealth
Thirteen beware it’s the devil himself.

The earliest version of the rhyme was recorded in 1780 in a note in John Brand's Observations on Popular Antiquities. John Brand was an English antiquarian and Church of England clergyman who was appointed Secretary to the Society of Antiquaries of London in 1784. The phrase "popular antiquities" later became known as folklore, a term coined by William John Thoms in 1846. It was a much simpler version with just 4 lines:

One for sorrow,
Two for mirth,
Three for a funeral
And four for birth.

In 1846 the rhyme was added to in Proverbs and Popular Saying of the Seasons byMichael Aislabie Denham, an English merchant and collector of folklore.

Five for heaven
Six for hell
Seven for the devil, his own self.

Yet, another longer version is to be found in Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable:

One's sorrow,
Two's mirth,
Three's a wedding,
Four's a birth,
Five's a christening,
Six a dearth,
Seven's heaven,
Eight is hell,
And nine's the devil his old self.

it is so great to be back in the UK with all of it's old fables and folk laws,

moving on,

we arrived at the fair,

which despite the inclement weather,

had a good show of stalls,

displaying and selling both local produce,

 and International,


 and plenty for those with a sweet tooth,

and we just had to buy a bag of chestnuts for later, which kept my hand warm as they were in my pocket till we arrived home,

then a nice treat,

there was a carol singing competition from some of the local schools taking place at the fair,

it was really nice just to stand there,

and like many in the crowd enjoy the young voices,

and once the carol singing was over,

and for all of the other youngsters that were there,

there were a few rides, 

and other attractions to enjoy

this one always a favorite, 'everyone's a winner!' well that got my vote,

Diana decided on a bite to eat,

so a Greek it was then,

a bread roll of chicken, pork and sausage,

we then walked through Beckenham, passing one of the churches,

and past The George circa 1647! we continued walking to where I used to work, we use the address there as a delivery point for us, as there is always someone there to sign for us to accept bits and pieces that we have bought,

then home for our evening meal, a glass or three of Harvey's, one slice of black bread with crab sticks, topped with tomato and cucumber,

and for dessert a mince pie with cream,

and much to Diana's delight,

it was time to open the advent calendar,

which had,

you guessed it! chocolates inside, next it was feet up for a few quiz shows,

 and a film S. O. S. Titanic, which neither of us had seen before, a couple from Poirot and then we were off to bed.

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