Am I alone in this, I have all manner of irrational rituals or habits, most of which I have no idea where they came from. Some are related to football, some are related to food and some were bashed into me by the nuns of St Vincents school. I thought it might be fun to share some with you.
1. I always nod my head when I say the name of Jesus. At St Vincents we were told we had to nod our head in respect when we say the name of Jesus or we'd go to Hell. I can't actually remember getting bashed for not nodding my head, but the threat was always there. I think it is an Irish tradition, although even the most devout Irish Roman Catholic seems to not nod their head when they exclaim "Jesus, Mary and Joseph" in shock or horror. This was something we noted in the nuns, much to our hilarity. Strange as it may seem, I still don't want to go to Hell so persist in the tradition. I do wonder what Jesus makes of it all, seated up on his pearly throne.
2. I only go to the toilet when I'm watching Manchester City, when City's goalie is taking a goal kick. In the bad old days this wasn't a problem, but under Pep Guardiola, sometimes that can be a whole 45 minutes of football. My son has picked up this tradition. It is dire bad luck to break this rule.
3. I always make tea at home in a pot. My mother said tea made in a cup wasn't proper tea. For many years, she wouldn't use teabags. Eventually she succumbed. When she got old and frail, she'd only make tea in a cup, but I still go for the whole pot.
4. When I see a Magpie, I always say "Good morning Mr Magpie, have a nice day". My sister told me that this would ward off the devil. Whilst I don't believe that anymore, I still don't take the risk.
5. I always wear my Rock Against Racism badge when I play a gig. A girl called Debbie was selling them, I told her that if she gave me one for free, I'd wear it at every gig I ever performed. I have apart from one. We had a rather unpleasant singer who we called "The Fascist" and when I told him about this, he craftily nicked the badge, giving it back to me at the end of the gig. He didn't last very long as our singer, despite being a fine vocalist.
6. If ever I get caught in the rain, I say "Thank you Lord, that's one in the bank". My Dad told me that you can make the sun shine simply by asking the Lord, but you will be caught in a shower unexpectedly, later on in return. So if we are having a party in the garden, I will always do this. It usually works. Sometimes the rest of London has a deluge and it misses Mill Hill. My Dad told me that Native Austrailian friends had taught him how to make weather when he was a nipper in the outback. Given that there was a drought and he never saw rain till he was five, I'm not sure the magic was spot on, but it's generally worked for me.
7. Whenever I see a funeral procession, I bow and make the sign of the cross. The nuns at St Vincents bashed this into us. I did this once when a hearse went past and I realised that the family were all Muslims. I was worried that this may have been perceived as an insult. I asked my friend Mr Lemon Chaudrey at the Mill Hill Tandoori, who is a devout Muslim and he assured me the family would appreciate it as a sign of respect.
8. I don't step on cracks in the pavement, if I can help it. This was deemed bad luck in our household.
9. I always rinse the bath before I run water into it. I have a deep aversion to the scum on the side of baths.
10. When I peel an orange, I always try and peel it so the peel becomes an S, not quite sure where this came from.
Have a great weekend