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Friday, October 04, 2013

Blaise of glory

As you may have gathered from previous posts, I was a bit of a swot at school.  One of the highlights of this time of year was cracking the spine of a new academic diary.  This diary would be used - obviously - to catalogue homework, each item being dutifully ticked off in a different colour once complete.  (And sometimes written in, just for the purpose of ticking it off.)

These academic diaries always came to me courtesy of my parents.  I think they were from Mrs Nunn, but I can't be sure, because both of them worked in education, and all we know for sure is that one of them was a big fat thief who raided their workplace's stationery cupboard in order to purloin one whole academic year diary for me each year for me to swottily note down my prep.  No wonder the country's in deficit.

These diaries were unremarkable.  Churned out for Leicester county council, they were crammed full of useless useful information you might need, such as councillors' phone numbers and school term dates which bore absolutely no relation to my own.

They had bank holidays noted, but were in no way religious - no religious festivals (other than Christmas, Easter and perhaps All Saints' Day) were noted.

Apart from one.

Every year, without fail, the county council diary would mark February 3rd as St Blaise's Day - Patron Saint of Sore Throats.

Why this information was vital (on an annual basis) to the people who worked for Leicester County Council, I have never known, and I have always wondered.  I liked to imagine some sort of East Midlands sect gathering to perform a hooded ceremony involving some scarves and a packet of Lockets.

And if anyone ever says to me, "Yes, do come to our party on 3 February," I always stop for a second and say, "Oh, that date rings a bell.  Let me think... Oh no, that's fine, I am free.  It's just that day is St Blaise's Day - Patron Saint of Sore Throats.  You know."

I don't get invited to many parties.  In February or otherwise.

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