21 February 2010

Spectator Sport: Magpie Convention

6 km - 44.15 bit of rain

I like the solitude of running. It's just me (and the dogs.) But sometimes I feel as though it is a spectator sport: so many people watch me - farmers, cows, squirrels, buzzards, kites, bluejays - and magpies. I love magpies, they are so clever, industrious and curious. It is said that during the Great Flood the Magpie refused to go inside Noah's Ark, but sat on top, chattering and looking around.

One of the superstitions my wife holds is about the number of magpies you see - one for sorrow - and she stops in the road and starts desperately looking for the second - two for joy. I'm not bothered, I know magpies are good family creatures, where there is one, the husband or wife is sure to be nearby.

Today I ran past a magpie convention. They all rose to greet me with incredible noise. I started counting - nine, ten, no - nine, no - ten, well, nine or, possibly, ten. What are ten magpies for?

It turns out that there are dozens of different versions once you are past 'one for sorrow, two for joy'. So you are free to choose the one that suits you best. I chose the Warwickshire variation, it's where two of my children were born.

One brings Sorrow
Two bring Joy
Three a Girl
And Four a Boy
Five bring Want
And Six bring Gold
Seven bring secrets never told
Eight bring wishing
Nine bring kissing
Ten, the love my own heart's missing!

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