Unfortunately Samhain was one of those festivals which didn’t really happen. From time to time, things are just not going according to plan and then all you can do is what you are able to. This was just one of those times.

I had an interview in the morning, and from the time I stepped out the door things started to go wrong. I missed the bus (fortunately I had planned to take an earlier one), found my trousers had a small tear in them and had trouble finding someone to be my second referee.

Then at the end of the interview I found that they were going to be paying me peanuts and one of my would-be bosses was in Devon at the time. I have taken two jobs where one of the bosses has said nothing to me during the interview, been burnt both times and have vowed not to risk it a third time. During the journey home I ended up with blood blisters and on both my feet and had pulled something in one of my legs. So I rested up and watched Top Hat.

After that it was dark, so I went outside and did a ritual. This was not helped by a friendly and enthusiastic brown Labrador interrupting the ritual. I think I need to sit down and carefully write out my circle invocation as at present while it keeps people out, there’s nothing there about animals.

After redrawing the circle, the ritual went okay. I then went and made my turnip lanterns which were blessed to guard the house from evil spirits and lit and placed at the front and back doors.

I then got on with making the meal. I’d planned to make a pasta bake and a West Country dish called Apple Dappy for pudding, which was to honour my Devon ancestors. The pasta, as you have guessed, has nothing to do with Samhain, but I needed something I could do on auto-pilot as I’ve never baked an Apple Dappy before.

I asked my Mum about the Apple Dappy and she said that she remembered baking the recipe but had stopped making puddings at some point. It would have been better to have made a recipe that Mum had handed down to me, but I didn’t have that option. It would also have been better to have translated the measurements of the recipe into the ounces and pounds that my Mum taught me to use and until recently were used in Britain instead of grams and kilograms, but I didn’t find out that the measurements in the recipe weren’t in ounces and pounds until too late, as most British recipes have both systems of measurement.

I had planned to do the dumb supper and then our family was going to tell stories of those who had gone before, but it was very late when I finished cooking and at that point I felt I couldn’t deal with the spirits of my ancestors turning up, when I have never seen them before. So we went to bed, leaving the turnip lanterns in place to guard the house till the next morning.


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