sjhstrangetales

DOG DAYS (woof!)

Posted on: July 6, 2014

We are now in the Dog Days of the year, in other words the months of July and August. I’ve been fascinated by the expression “dog days” ever since I saw a passing reference to it in Edith Holden’s ‘The Country Diary Of An Edwardian Lady’, when she noted “July 3rd – Dog Days begin”. Apparently it’s taken from the time when Sirius, the Dog Star rose just before or at the same time as sunrise. In days of yore it was regarded as an evil time, a time when people acted out-of-character, or were sunk in lethargy. Dogs were also lazy, and were said to go mad, because of the heat. In Medieval times it was even thought to be unhealthy to have sex during this languid period.

The US stock market is reputedly slow during this time, and so any poorly performing stock are referred to as “dogs”. In newspaper terms the Dog Days have long been called “the Silly Season”, as a time when real new stories were scarce, and they had to fill up their pages with nonsense things, like skateboarding ducks or the world’s biggest turnip. (Sadly this no longer seems to happen, as the horror of the real news now seems to carry on regardless all year round).

The Romans believed the heat was caused by the anger of Sirius, and would sacrifice a brown dog at the beginning of the season to try and appease it. Which makes me want to question why it never occurred to them that Sirius got angry at the same time every year, and no amount of brown dogs sacrificing their lives was going to change that.

There is a particularly graphic description of the horror that can be expected during Dog Days in Brady’s Clavis Calendaria, from 1813. Try this for size: “The sea boiled, the Wine turned sour, Dogs grew mad, and all the other creatures became languid, causing to man, among other diseases, burning fevers, hysterics and phrensies”.

Cripes. Anyway, Saint Roch, the patron saint of dogs, has his feast day on 16 August, which is entirely appropriate.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Copyright

© Sarah Hapgood and sjhstrangetales.wordpress.com, 2011-2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sarah Hapgood and sjhstrangetales.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Strange Tales now on Kindle

Cover of Sarah Hapgood's Strange Tales 4

An illustrated collection of 42 more of my blog entries, Strange Tales 4: 42 new cases of the Unexplained is now available for Amazon's Kindle, price £1.99. Also available on other Amazon sites.


Cover of Sarah Hapgood's Strange Tales 3

An illustrated collection of 35 more of my blog entries, Strange Tales 3: A new collection of mysterious places and odd people is now available for Amazon's Kindle, price £1.99. Also available on other Amazon sites.


Cover of Sarah Hapgood's Strange Tales 2

An illustrated collection of 23 more of my blog entries, Strange Tales 2: more mysterious places and odd people is now available for Amazon's Kindle, price £1.15. Also available on other Amazon sites.


Cover of Sarah Hapgood's Strange Tales

An illustrated collection of 40 of my blog entries, Strange Tales: an A-Z of mysterious places and odd people is now available for Amazon's Kindle, price £2.32. Also available on other Amazon sites.

Sarah’s fiction on Kindle

Cover of Sarah Hapgood's 
Transylvanian Sky and other stories

A second collection of my short stories, Transylvanian Sky and other stories is now available for Amazon's Kindle, price £1.99. Also available on other Amazon sites.


Cover of Sarah Hapgood's 
B-Road Incident and other stories

A collection of 21 of my short stories, B-Road Incident and other stories is now available for Amazon's Kindle, price £1.15. Also available on other Amazon sites.


Cover of Sarah Hapgood's 
The Chronicles of Shinglesea

A collection my Shinglesea stories, The Chronicles of Shinglesea is now available for Amazon's Kindle, price £1.15. Also available on other Amazon sites.

Sarah’s tweets

%d bloggers like this: