One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, four for a boy, six for silver, seven for gold, and so goes the old rhyme dedicated to the much hated, yet much admired, Magpie. An old wife’s tale? Or, is it a tale that has any connection with reality? In parts of Britain Magpies have historically been associated with the dark arts of witchcraft, maybe that is why they are considered ‘bad luck’? As one who has a family of Magpies living close by I can promise that having often seen six of these birds flocking together the gold has yet to arrive. Magpies are majestic members of the Crow family, they are pied crows having gorgeous plumage that begins as black and is iridescent giving it a green appearance too, with the black against white this is a striking bird indeed. Avian neighbours of Magpies may consider themselves unlucky as Magpies have a liking for other bird’s chicks – for lunch. Any allusions to ‘The Magpies’ and luck will be left for another day as they fight to gain promotion. Touch wood.

And, what of black cats? Some folks say that a black cat crossing ones’ path is a sign of good luck? ‘The Black Cats’ may well be lucky to still be in the Premiership, depending on their allegiance some readers may hold differing views. Once again the luck, or lack of, appears to draw its reputation from the days of witchcraft and the ‘black arts’ when common stories suggest that such folks had black cats as buddies. It is amazing what people see as luck, or not as the case may be, and some folks do take such matters very seriously. Fingers crossed that if Big Sam goes we get someone good to replace him…

A great friend, and very learned man, told me that, ‘October (2016) has 5 Mondays, 5 Saturdays, and 5 Sundays’. This happens only once in 823 years and as such is very auspicious, and lucky. One is impressed by the coincidence of the sequence of 5’s, but less certain about how or why good fortune may come of it. There are people who need a support system to give then hope, be it religion or superstition, to them go due respects.

Having worked with a chap who avidly read every horoscope that he could lay eyes on but could not explain why one twelfth of the population of the world might expect to share the same good, or bad, fortune, on the same day one was none the wiser.

Julius Caesar is quoted as saying, ‘Fortune is not in the stars, dear Brutus, but in ourselves.’ True a little bit of luck is useful, but success is there for those who grasp the initiative and make it happen, not by luck but by sheer hard work. Walking around Durham, Sunderland, Darlington and parts in between, and taking a look at the fine opportunities that are being generated in the County and City we would say that folks are lucky to live here.

Now, let’s see if I can find a four leafed clover.




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  1. Your ‘learned’ friend doesn’t know much about the calendar. The ‘823 years’ thing is a long running hoax, and this is the umpteenth different version of it. October will have 5 Saturdays, 5 Sundays and 5 Mondays whenever it begins on a Saturday. The last time this happened was only FIVE years ago, in 2011. And the last time before that was 2005.

    October – and all 31 day months – ALWAYS have “three fives” of something. It can’t be any other way.


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