Out & About …

… on the North York Moors, or wherever I happen to be.

Bousdale from Ryston Bank

A dismal day

I don’t usually moan about the weather. Just accept it as it comes.

But today is indeed a dismal day. At least the Ancient Egyptian astrologers thought so.

They calculated certain days of the year to be unlucky or evil, and today, 4th February, was one of them. There were 24 of them altogether, two per month, and on these days, it was best not to start out on a voyage or make an important business decision, a day when the fates are against you.

The Romans continued the belief calling them ‘dies Aegyptiaci‘ or Egyptian days. They were listed on medieval calendars as ‘dis mal‘, that’s Old French from the Latin ‘dies mali‘, evil days and hence we get our modern word ‘dismal’.

So, over the centuries dismal evolved from meaning unlucky to miserable or gloomy to pitifully bad.

Curious to know what the other 23 days are? Well, here you are, and I apologise if one of these happens to be your birthday, wedding anniversary or whatever, blame the Ancient Egyptians:

        • January 1 and 25
        • February 4 and 26
        • March 1 and 28
        • April 10 and 20
        • May 3 and 25
        • June 10 and 16
        • July 13 and 22
        • August 1 and 30
        • September 3 and 21
        • October 3 and 22
        • November 5 and 28
        • December 7 and 22

So, today’s dismal photo is a dismal view north from Ryston Bank over the forested valley of Bousdale.



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