A back room full of magpies that she kept as pets
away from the obligatory cat, Now Wait! Not black
but, like the magpies, black and white. Ah, ha! we'd say
with knowing wink, A black witch turning white, or white
witch turning black! We didn't know which witch,
so crossed ourselves each time we passed her house. One day
the fever ambulance was there. A double cross and hold your nose
while walking backwards one by one. Her husband died - you did
if you were taken by the yellow bus. He should have died the day
before, but saw the Fates damned first if he would keep their diary to
the day. That seemed to be the mission for her life. To put
the spirit powers back in their proper place. Predestination
must not win. Whatever you must do, do one day late! In tribute
to her comes this post a day adrift.
I played with Pam, her daughter
now and then. Her one big superstition was a musical belief. She played
the violin - and played it well, I'm told. School orchestras, that sort
of thing. Whenever gales and high winds were the scene, she'd play
a certain tune or tunes and they would send the wind off course
if played against the gale. Along with this were superstitions for musicians:
a blue tie round the neck is necessary playing Gustav Holst or Brahms;
blue knickers must be worn for Chopin; Liszt required a grey arm band,
Johann Strauss a spotted dress. There were many such, all followed
in the cause of pacifying the unruly spirits of the compositions.
This is #10 in my Monday Suburban Village Series.
The precise matching of garment to composer as set out above I cannot guarantee. I do remember certain examples, but not which went with which. Stranger and stranger, when I later got to Grammar School, the music teacher there was a spiritualist with similar beliefs,
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