Etiquette & superstition: hoarding fire

I’ve written about the etiquette & superstition surrounding a couple of fire topics before, but it’s a big topic. Today let’s talk about the good kind of fire. It’s kind of difficult to remember when many of my fellow Angelenos are facing work commutes that look straight from Dante’s Inferno, but sometimes we want fire. Sometimes we want fire so much we don’t want to share it.

ETIQUETTE: If you find yourself in a group of people warming themselves around a campfire or near a lit fireplace, do not get in between another person and the fire. If you came to the fire late and are cold, and there is absolutely no way to get a little of that hot hot fire on you without blocking someone else, ask your companions to widen the circle.

SUPERSTITION: If you have a fire burning in your hearth, don’t let anyone take any of it (not even a bit of coal or a candle lit from it) out of the house, particularly on Christmas, New Year’s Day or May Day. If you do, your children will get sick, your livestock will die, and whoever took that bit of fire will come back in the summer and take all your butter.

Fire Good poster by Amy Martin; available here from the Echo Park Time Travel Mart

Etiquette & superstition: port wine

wineratThe wine rat pictured above is not made of port wine. I believe he was a Cab rat. If this wine had come from a particular winery in Temecula, I could make some dumb joke about it being a Cab Callaway rat, but I’m not going to do that.

ETIQUETTE: A decanter of port wine served in Britain is to be passed to the left. Just think about what side port is, if you know about boats. If you don’t know about boats, this isn’t going to help you any and then you’re probably going to sit there fretting and wondering what to do about this horrible sweet wine in front of you, and then eventually some jackass at the table is going to ask, “Do you know the Bishop of Norwich?” and you’re not going to know what that’s about either, and then he’s going to say, “He’s a terribly good chap, but he always forgets to pass the port,” and by this point you’re wanting to throw a roll at that jackass, but apparently it’s his polite way of asking you to pass the port. Maybe you should learn something about boats.

SUPERSTITION: If a pregnant woman:

her child is going to be born with a port-wine stain birthmark. Pregnant women really need to be careful.

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