Saturday, 30 November 2019

Things my mother told me . . . .

I grew up in a very superstitious home. My mom was very superstitious and taught us to knock on wood to make sure things weren't jinxed in the telling, and to throw salt over our shoulders when we spilt it. Mom had a little tale for just about every occurrance and I am sure that most of them were passed down to her from her own dear mother and so on through the years.  Many of them were just nonsensical of course, but some were well founded and actually kind of true!  

"An apple a day keeps the Doctor away."  
Growing up, we had an apple just about every day in our packed lunches. If we complained about it and asked for something  more exotic like grapes or (gasp) an expensive fruit cup, we were told an apple a day keeps the Doctor away. According to a scientific study carried out by the University of Western Australia, eating just 100 g (3.5 oz) of apple each day can significantly improve your life expectancy. Apple skin, in particular, has high levels of plant compound flavonoids that help prevent cell damage, reduce cancer risk, and help people maintain a healthy weight.  this is one old wives tale that is actually true! 

"Carrots help you to see in the dark."
I actually always thought this was  just a ploy to get us to eat our carrots, but I was wrong, carrots are rich in beta-carotene, a red-colored pigment, which helps produce Vitamin A, a key ingredient in a healthy, functioning eye. Vitamin A is particularly useful for maintaining eye health, avoiding cataracts, and slightly improving night vision.  I've always actually loved carrots so getting me to eat them was never a problem. As far as my night vision goes?  These days the jury's out on that one. Perhaps I need to be eating more carrots.  

There were all kinds of superstitions and tales told about birds and windows  . . . for instance if a bird sat outside the window you were going to have a visitor. If it hit the window and died, that was really bad, that meant someone in the family was going to die.  If it just hit the window and then sat there, well, that was not as bad, but it was still an omen of sorts. If a bird poops on your car, it's good luck! Likewise if it poops on your head!

A lot depended on what kind of bird it was . . .  this was a whole new ball of wax  . . .   

Take crows for instance  . . . there was never anything good about crows  . . . it was said that one crow hanging about the house portended an unlucky future, perhaps even a death in the family.  One for sorrow  . . .  Mom would immediately start scanning the area for another one which would break the bad luck and bring some joy in sorrow's place.  

Seeing one crow is bad, two is lucky, three means good health, four brings wealth, five mean sickness and six . . . well bad luck to you, you're a goner for sure!

Find a penny and pick it up, and all the day you'd have good luck.  A penny saved is a penny earned  . . . etc. 

Some people believe it’s only good luck to pick up a penny if heads is showing. A penny with the tails side up should be turned over for another person to find. On the other hand, many people believe any penny you find is good luck. I am from the latter school and love it when I find a penny. I immediately pocket it, which also means I am a penny richer, not that a penny will buy you much these days!

Long ago, many ancient people believed that metals were gifts from the gods. This included copper that was used to make pennies. They thought that these metals were given to them by the gods for their protection. If you found metal of any sort you should definitely pick it up as it would protect you and bring you luck, and in all truth be told they add up and if you saved every one you found, eventually you could have quite a windfall!  Except in Canada where they no longer make or use pennies as currency.

"Fish is brain food."
The number of times we were told that is nobody's business! Its actually true however. Researchers at the Rush Medical Center in Chicago have proved that eating fish is, indeed, good for the brain. A significantly lower occurrence of Alzheimer’s Disease was observed in those who ate fish regularly. Mercury content in some fish might have negative effects on our health, but the benefits of including fish in our diet easily outweighed the risks.

"Red sky at night, Sailor's delight. Red sky in morning, Sailor's take warning."
This one is actually true. When we see a red sky at night, it means that the setting sun is sending its light through a high concentration of dust particles, which usually indicates high pressure and stable air coming in from the west, usually followed by good weather. A red sunrise can mean that a high pressure system (good weather) has already passed, thus indicating that a storm system (low pressure) may be coming.

"Knives and spoons bring pantaloons and forks bring gentle ladies."
 If we were to drop any cutlery at all, it meant a visitor was coming. A fork meant it would be a lady caller , whereas knives or spoons would bring gentlemen.  I have never tested the theory of course, but I can never drop a piece of cutlery without thinking about this little verse. 

Mind you  . . .  the opening of a door of it's own accord also indicated that a visitor was on the way, whilst the slamming of that same door was not a very good sign. We won't go there.  


When baking bread, it is wise to remember . . . "She that pricks bread with fork or knife; will never be a happy maid or wife." A loaf that splits open while it is in the oven warns of a death to come in the family; a loaf with a hollow centre presages a death; it is unlucky to turn a loaf upside down after cutting the first slice, for this will cause the head of the household to fall ill; if a loaf crumbles in your hand as you are cutting it, there is going to be a quarrel before too long; and if you drop a slice of bread buttered side up . . . a visitor will arrive in due time!    

If you had bubbles on top of your tea that was lucky because it meant some money was on it's way. To stir a teapot anti-clockwise was sure to stir up a quarrel. If two women poured from the same pot, one of them would be sure to have a baby within a year. (uh oh) 

 If two spoons are found in a teacup, there will be a wedding in the family. If you drop one and it lands with the bowl upwards, you are in for a pleasant surprise.

My mother believed in "reading tea leaves" to predict the future and also cards. Many hours were spent in these pursuits. She had a special deck on cards on the dresser in her bedroom, and God help the person who dared to tamper with them! It was a well worn deck of cards and it didn't get that way by playing whist. 

 When you have finished eating your boiled egg this morning, be sure the crush the shell or push a spoon through the bottom to avoid bad luck. This stems from the belief that witches collect up the empty shells and use them to go to sea and wreak havoc on hapless mariners. Also, make sure you don't bring any boiled eggs into the house after dark . . . it's bad luck! 

Likewise its not wise to throw any hair or nail clippings into the garbage, hence a witch should catch hold of them and cast an evil spell on you!   

Crossing two knifes was bad luck as was giving a knife to someone as a present, or receiving one as a present, for that act would mean a "cutting" of the friendship . . . an action remedied only by passing a coin in return. 


It was good luck to put on a piece of clothing inside out, but woe betide us if we dast to change it around to right side out . . . for our luck would then change as well. Shoes on the table??? Definitely bad luck, as was spilling the salt. You had to throw a pinch over your shoulder without looking to undo the spell . . . although I cannot remember exactly which shoulder it took!  To this day I throw pinches of salt over my shoulder and I really have to fight the urge not to turn my nightie rightside out if I've accidently put it on wrongside out . . . 

When washing up, if you break a plate or cup you can expect another breakage before the day is through . . . unless . . . you deliberately break or smash some other small item to avoid the bad luck altogether!! 

When rising from the table take care not to upset your chair, for this is a sign that you have lied at sometime during your dinnertime conversation! Anyone who lies down on a table will die within a year; any engaged girl who sits on a table whilst talking to her fiance risks losing him. To place your chair back against the wall or fold your napkin after a meal at a friends home, will prevent you from ever visting there again. 

To break a mirror resulted in seven years bad luck. Be sure to cover over any mirrors in a room where someone has died, for to look in such a mirror means that the seer will similarly die.

It's also extremely unlucky to pass anyone on the stairs. (be sure to cross your fingers if you do!) Stumbling on the staircase is said to be good luck though and there will be a wedding in the household before too long! 

Singing in the bath leads to sorrow before day is through, and sadly the girl who splashes water on herself whilst she is washing up . . . well, she will marry a drunkard.

Make sure you always get out of your bed on the right side, to get out on the left is associated with the devil. But, if you can't avoid having to do so . . . make sure you put on your right sock and shoe first!

Place any china ornaments of animals so that they are facing away from the doorway. If place facing it, they will allow all the luck to run out of the house. It is extremely unlucky to sweep any dirt or dust directly out of the house as this will carry any good luck out with it. Sweet such waste into the centre of the room, and collect it up in a pan to avoide such repercussions! However if you bring a new broom home, make sure you sweep some dirt into the house first, for this is good luck! 

A peacock feather has an evil eye at the end. Never bring one into the house. Wishes made on the first robins of the spring come true. Chewing gum swallowed remains in your body for seven years, eating the crust of the bread makes your hair curl, a pimple on the tongue means you have lied, holding a buttercup beneath the chin can indicate whether you like butter or not . . . I could go on and on, but I won't!  

This richly embroidered childhood surely never did us any harm, but it did make for an interesting life. Whilst these things may or may not be true, it doesn't really matter much in the scheme of things. I will forever in my life dread "Green Christmas's" and I know I shall never drop a piece of cutlery without hearing my mother's gentle voice whispering . . . knive and spoons bring pantaloons . . . 

A thought to carry with you  . . . 

° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
•。★★ 。* 。
° 。 ° ˛˚˛ * _Π_____*。*˚
˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */______/~\。˚ ˚ ˛
˚ ˛ •˛• ˚ | 田田 |門 ★

Weak people revenge, 
strong people forgive,
intelligent people ignore.
•。★★ 。* 。•。★★ 。* 。 

Quick Brown Bread 

In The English Kitchen today  . . .  Quick Brown Bread.  Perfect with your Saturday night beans! 

Have a great Saturday, this the last day of November.  Hard to believe tomorrow is the first of December isn't it!  Don't forget!

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And I do too! 

PS - would you believe that the problem with the dishwasher was only a loose wire?



  1. Glad the wire was fixed..:) No superstitious maman..but I heard so many tales throughout my life..I still hesitate to walk under a ladder:)

    1. Oh me too Monique! I don't want to tempt fate! lol xoxo

  2. I was raised the same way with lots of old wives tales. They came from years and years of experience and have been proved to be be right. I'll never forget the one about dropping silverware and company coming. When setting the table for Sunday dinner I heard that one often and very often company did show up.

    1. It was pretty certain that eventually someone would show up Pam! I find some of them fascinating like if the bees fly close to the ground in the autumn there's going to be a cold winter. Years of observations that culminate in a truth. Happy weekend! Looks like you had a lovely Thanksgiving! oxox

  3. Loved hearing all about the ancient superstitions that we still believe and pass down to each new generation. My mom had similar beliefs to your mom. She always believed it was bad luck to put new shoes on a table and a hat on the bed. So I don't do that. Happy your dishwasher was an easy fix. How was Tina? I'm off to make your salmon chowder. Hugs, Elaine

    1. Tina was wonderful. Much, much better. Its amazing at what being at home in your own bed can do! Thankfully they already had a chair lift on the stais for Tony so getting up and down the stairs is quite easy for her. She is still in a lot of pain for sure, but her family Doctor has prescribed some heavy duty pain killers for that and she is fairly comfortable. Love and hugs. xoxo PS - hope you enjoy the chowder!

  4. Oh my, this was a delightful read. There were a few of these thoughts that I have heard through the years too. Most of it however, was new to me. The good and bad of baking bread was very interesting.
    I remember what step on a crack, you'll break your back. It's been a while since I have though of that one, so I may not have it right.
    I'm smiling on this one.
    Blessings and hugs for you!

    1. Its just so fun for me to remember these things and realise how much they impacted my life and still do LeAnn! Oh yes, step on a crack, but we thought it would break our mother's back and so we were very careful not to step on cracks in sidewalks! Love and hugs, xoxo


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