In Dorset, we have a little island peninsula off the Jurassic coast named Portland where the famous stone for St Pauls and many other public buildings in London comes from. On the Isle, there is a superstition that forbids the public mention of the R word as it is deemed to be very bad luck. JumpingJack at http://old.qi.com/talk/ says:
“The burrowing of rabbits near the stone quarries caused many landslips and, just over a century ago, one of these resulted in a crane operator being killed when the ground beneath his crane collapsed. Afterwards, if workers even saw a rabbit, they would down tools and go home.”
On Portland, Rabbits are referred to as ‘Long Ears’ or ‘Underground Mutton’ and sometimes Bunnies, mention the R word publicly and you can be sure of an uncomfortable hush. Luckily Livingstone Textiles is a good 20 miles from Portland and we’ve got a couple of some new Rabbit fabrics in for the spring. At only £6.70 a metre they are great value cotton poplins suitable for dressmaking, shirts and crafts. Just don’t wear them on the Isle.