If you’re remotely superstitious, then this weekend you will certainly have your work cut out.
I suggest you stay indoors, shut the curtains, take the phone off the hook and swathe yourself in a duvet for the duration or, better still, arrange to spend it in a padded underground bunker.
Indeed, it has the potential to be the most unlucky, disaster-prone weekend for years. Just look at the calendar; not only does it kick off tomorrow with Friday the 13th but, to make matters worse, Sunday is March 15.
“What’s wrong with March 15?” I hear you say
Well, does the phrase “Beware the Ides of March!” ring any bells from your distant memory of English literature lessons? If so, you may recall that in Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar, the Roman Emperor is warned of his impending doom by a soothsayer who wails at him the ominous warning “Beware the Ides of March!”. He ignores this and, right on cue during the ancient festival, he is stabbed to death by conspirators. (And no, he didn’t shout “Infamy! Infamy! They’ve all got it in for me!” that was Kenneth Williams in the Carry On version)
Ever since then, throughout history, the date has been regarded with fear and trepidation. With good reason, as I discovered.
Now, I’m not naturally a superstitious type of person. Or at least I used not to be. For years I would quite happily walk under ladders, actively encourage black cats to cross my path and blithely step on pavement cracks without so much as a twinge of apprehension.
But then a couple of years ago I had a day that was so spectacularly unlucky that I was converted from cynical sceptic to superstitious sibyl overnight. The date was none other than March 15
I awoke to discover that gale force winds overnight had blown the lid off my compost bin so our back garden was decorated with rotten banana skins, decomposing flora and nine month’s worth of potato peelings. Torrential rain pouring incessantly into a blocked drain had flooded the patio and an object which looked like our TV aerial was swinging from the branches of next door’s tree. That’s because it was our TV aerial.
I proceeded to make breakfast only to discover that one of our gerbils had escaped from his cage and had met his maker while biting through the washing machine cable. It was still switched on, so he must have died instantly, electrocuted from here to eternity and taking all our domestic electrical capabilities with him.
So, after a hearty breakfast of cold bread and tap water I attempted the school run — in my pyjamas, because we were running late as a result of all the drama. After dropped each child off without incident, remarkably, I made my way home to deal with the major clean-up operation only to discover that one son had left his games kit behind and another had left his lunchbox. So back again I went, out into the cold and wet, still wearing velour slippers which by now had absorbed every puddle in the driveway and made a squelching noise and slid dangerously whenever I changed gears. By the time I got back home I was a cold, wet, bedraggled, drowned rat. And to make matters worse, the colours in my silk pyjamas had run. But that was the best bit of the day. From thereon in it all went downhill.
Highlights, or should I say lowlights, included throwing my car keys into the wheelie bin along with a bag of rubbish and having to climb inside to retrieve it; having a ton of topsoil accidentally dumped on my front lawn by a mistaken delivery man and reversing my car into my own (closed) gates at 15mph which then had to be smashed apart, buckled and broken, by a good samaritan neighbour wielding a mallet.
Beware the Ides of March! We’re all doomed I tells yaDOOMED!