No, I didn;t know what it was either until I called in to see my Optician this morning (I had caught my glasses and knocked them off kilter and needed them straightening) when he asked me whether I dared to have them done today. It is Friday 13th and triskaidekaphobia is fear of the thirteenth.
I found it interesting, particularly after the chat friend W and I had yesterday as we walked round the garden at Thorpe Perrow. There were such a lot of superstitions around when we were children and I really think our mothers half believed in them. Although we no longer believe in any of them and know them to be rubbish, we still pay a bit of lip service to them.
Here are some of the ones we remembered from childhood. Can you add any?
Never put your shoes on the table - could spell a death in the family. (or, I have a feeling, an unwanted pregnancy)
Never bring either lilac or hawthorne into the house - both are very unlucky.
If you spill the salt then throw some over your shoulder with your other hand(we couldn't remember which hand or which shoulder!)
Breaking a mirror means seven years of bad luck.
You must say 'white rabbits' on the first of the month. If you forget, then as soon as your remember, turn round three times and say 'abracadabra, fiddle de dee, gobblededook'.
Cow parsley may be pretty on the Lane-side but never pick it - its other name is 'mother-die' (need I say more?)
Never smell dandelions - they make you wet the bed.
A lot of rubbish really yet our mothers half believed it and mine, at any rate, never broke any of these rules.
With reference to that first one about shoes on the table and unwanted pregnancies , I have just read an excellent novel by Susan Hill (if you don't know her as an author, do try her work) called 'A Kind Man'. Unwanted pregnancies feature largely in the book and it is easy to forget in these somewhat promiscuous days how when I was young, fear of unwanted pregnancy was uppermost in every young woman's mind. And go one generation back from that to my mother's time and it often spelt disaster for all concerned.
Finally, I have heard from my friends who are walking from Land's End to John O'Groats. They have walked almost four hundred miles so far, averaging eighteen miles a day, and have reached Shropshire. They hope to be in Liverpool by June 20th - so far, so good.