Roofed

When one’s roof tiles suddenly change color, size, and shape, one takes the rest of the day off and has a drink.

One also puts on a hard hat because it is important to be prepared.

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Gardyloo

This morning I was returning from my daily walk in the woods when I heard the distinct call of “Gardyloo” from the house. Naturally, I immediately took cover behind a tree and waited. It appears that Silas was merely tossing a hatful of ladybugs out the window towards the garden.

Gardyloo is an interjection meaning look out. It’s a warning cry that was specifically made popular by the Scottish in Edinburgh to warn pedestrians of slop water being thrown out of windows. If one was traversing the sidewalks of Edinburgh and heard from above “Gardyloo“, one would wisely move away from the potential trajectory of chamber pot refuse and what not raining down upon them.

It is believed that the word originates from the French garde à l’eau which means beware of water.

The word was still notably in use in the 1930s and 40s, when indoor plumbing was still not city-wide. Nowadays, gardyloo is often used as a general cry of warning, a “watch out” or “mind your head” type of holler.

In my house, it can mean so many things, so it behooves one to heed the cry and take cover. Today was ladybugs. Tomorrow could be something not nearly as sweet.

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April Fool’s Day

The origins of this day of pranks are largely unknown. Some theorize that this ersatz holiday evolved from the change to the Gregorian Calendar. Some postulate that the day sprang forth from a collective case of Spring Fever.

It doesn’t matter how it came to be, I’ve never been a fan.

Unfortunately, it seems, this house quite enjoys April Fool’s Day. It has been perpetrating pranks all morning. First, the hallway floor kept tilting ever-so-slightly so that walking from my bedroom to my study was quite a feat of balance. The fire keeps spontaneously sparking and then snuffing itself, and whilst my bacon was cooking on the stove, the cook range decided to turn itself into an enormous metal turnip.

The only person enjoying these escapades is, naturally, my brother Mordecai, who turned up late last night in the midst of rain and wind. Mordecai is quite the merry prankster and each year manages to plot elaborate pranks. I fear that a combined pranking team of Mordecai and this house will extract the limits of my patience.

Bubo, of course, has even less patience for pranks than I do. She left quite early this morning and can only assume she’s halfway up the mountain, napping quietly and undisturbed in a tree. I’m jealous, naturally.

Happy First Day of April, my friends.

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Tyromancy

Cousin Cate arrived this morning in a whirl of clouds and wind. My family tends to arrive unannounced and always with gifts. Cate arrived with a basket of delicious cheeses and some fascinating creatures she found in the Netherlands. (Once they’ve been categorized and observed, they shall be viewable in the Vivarium.)

Silas put out a delicious spread, including the cheeses brought by Cate, and she regaled us with tales of her latest travels and why the citizens of The Hague not-so-subtly requested Cate to vacate their city. This brings us to today’s word.

Tyromancy (noun) is a form of divination based on the observation of cheeses, especially as it coagulates. It is derived from the Greek tūros for cheese and manteia for divination.

In the Middle Ages, the shape, number of holes, and patterns of mold were often used to foretell money, love, and death.

And, according to the website occultopedia.com, in some villages, young ladies would divine the names of their future husbands by writing the names of prospective suitors on pieces of cheese. The one whose piece of cheese grew mold first was deemed the true love match for the maiden.

Fool proof, right?

Cousin Cate has never hidden her divination talents, and it seems that many people in modern society find this upsetting. The Hague is not the first town she’s been run out of, and it won’t be the last.

And I don’t need a piece of cheese to know that.

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