Wednesday, January 12, 2011

11 days that never were…

“September 2, 1752, was a great day in the history of sleep.”

Isn’t that just a great opening line? No wonder it caught my eye. It goes on to say the following:

“That Wednesday evening, millions of British subjects in England and the colonies went peacefully to sleep and did not wake up until twelve days later. Behind this feat of narcoleptic prowess was not some revolutionary hypnotic technique or miraculous pharmaceutical discovered in the West Indies. It was, rather, the British Calendar Act of 1751, which declared the day after Wednesday the second to be Thursday the fourteenth.”

Can you imagine some government trying to pull that shit in this day and age? And what’s that about the West Indies and pharmaceuticals? I thought they were renowned for their curry spices and cricket playing prowess?

So anyway, as I was saying, I tripped over this in an article called “The Curious History of the Gregorian Calendar” by Ben Snowden. At the time I was looking for the meaning of “Twelfth Night” which is when the Christmas decorations have to come down or it’s bad luck – another one of those traditions that one follows without knowing why. I’m still not absolutely sure when the decorations got involved but Twelfth night falls on the eve of the 6th of January which back in the day was a feast called Epiphany. In short this date commemorates three events one of which is the visit of the Wise Men to Bethlehem. Okay so that would also explain the groups of kids I saw here sporting kingly cloaks and crowns.

Also interesting is that in popular celebration the feast is far more ancient than Christmas so technically it is more important than Christmas. It’s still a gift giving day in many countries so retailers can relax!

Of course I whipped those decorations down, poured myself a cocktail and pondered the whole calendar conundrum.
You see for the last 2 years my life has been portioned off into 6 month-ish blocks; not intentionally …but I got to thinking about that…and why…and also where I now find myself and how I really would like to acknowledge the journey. And yes I know that is a really hackneyed word but I have literally flown around the world to get to where I am and yes I might’ve been to hell and back in a hand basket but for the first time in a long time I’ve been in one place for more than 90 days!

So thanks to ye olde Pope Greg the Xlll for the calendar, we did your whole New Year’s eve stuff but I think I’ll just get me my own Marsupial calendar for a bit. And according to that there are in fact 72 days until my Whole... New… Year draws to a close.
And what a year it has been.
I need to not forget the finer points.

When I started this post it was still 11/1/11, yet another spesh-ul date. Noted.


  1. You might think I live in a cave, but I never knew about the whole Twelth Night, decorations and bad luck-thing! I'm a little superstitious, just a little, so it's good to know I haven't jinxed my year by accident. (wiping sweat of forehead). Anyway, what I REALLY wanted to say was good on you for being in one place longer than 3 months. Will you make it your permanent home or am I now going all commitment crazy? :) Oh, and I can't believe this story about the missing 11 days! They must have been really relaxed when they woke up. Wish we could have one of those ... sigh.

  2. Excellent! A fellow cave dweller!
    I only knew of this - but not why -because my Grandmother was well up on her superstitions.
    Yes.. I've traded in my Gypsey status and am now settled here permanently...much more exciting than moving around all the time!