Sunday 1st April
Where this tradition came from may be lost in the mists of time, but along with Guy Fawkes night and Christmas itself, it was one of the real ‘look-forward’ to days of the year. Easter, maybe because of the movable date, was less anticipated. In those days we were lucky if we got two or three eggs. And, our mother used to insist that they, when opened, were broken up and kept in a dish in the fridge – and we had to ask permission to take a piece – each egg was strictly rationed and shared with my sister. So, no ownership, no greedily gobbling a whole egg to ourselves. A good lesson in sharing no doubt. But Easter was still in those days quite religious. Hot cross buns on Good Friday and no meat that day. In fact on Fridays, School Dinners were always fish.
But April Fool’s Day was always great. I would spend days thinking up some astonishing story to tease my sister with. If the recipient of these tall stories showed any glimmer of belief you would shout in glee “April Fool”. And even as an adult I would tease my son unmercifully each year. If I remember rightly once midday struck then April Fools ceased also. Famously newspapers would also play the game, featuring one stupid made up story somewhere in the paper. The best was an American paper which declared on its’ front page that the very ink used on the paper was perfumed. Almost everyone who bought the paper would sniff it, shake their heads as they smelt nothing, before looking at the date.
Nationwide, a forerunner to The One Show on BBC1 used to regularly feature some bizarre report which was an obvious nonsense. I am not sure that people still practice April Fool’s Day. Maybe because almost anything one hears nowadays could be fake news, or it could be true – Russian Nerve Agents, Trump invading Mexico, Brexit declared a whole year early – any of it could be true or just another April Fool.