Happy St Swithin’s Day

A friend, whose birthday it is, reminded me that today is St Swithin’s Day

St Swithin’s day if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain
St Swithin’s day if thou be fair
For forty days ‘twill rain nae mare

About that …

harebells in the rain

Today it stopped raining just long enough for our afternoon summer ride but – crucially – not long enough to not drench me on the ride out and the ride back.

Obviously, this is just a legend,* and not weather forecasting – because even up here it never actually rains for 40 days in a row – but it does have a grain of truth in that by mid July the weather does seem to have more or less settled into the pattern that it will follow over the rest of the summer (and here’s a slightly more scientific argument to back me up). Which means we can look forward to another 40 days of hopefully checking the weather forecast for the odd sunny day here and there, while the part of my Twitter timeline that lives down South bangs on about how hot it is.

Speaking of legends, I have now cycled past the spot where gooseberry man was three times, and seen no sign of any gooseberry bushes. I’m beginning to think I made it up. Can you get pop up gooseberry bushes?

* Incidentally, I always thought that the legend came about because St Swithin gave his cloak to a beggar, and then the sun shone for 40 days so he didn’t need it, but I appear to have completely made that up because according to the internet, it was St Martin who went around giving out cloaks, St Swithin was just a bit choosy about where he was buried.

9 Responses to Happy St Swithin’s Day

  1. Martin says:

    I like the improved version of the rhyme on the met-office page you linked to:

    St Swithun’s day if thou dost rain
    For forty days, relatively unsettled there’s a fair chance it will remain
    St Swithun’s day if thou be fair
    For forty days, a northerly jet stream might result in some fairly decent spells
    But then again it might not

  2. Charles says:

    Well it rained down south in Somerset. But on the. Bright side we had our first Alicante tomato, we have been eating sun gold for ages and our early potatoes are delicious, if falling to bits when boiled. You had an answer for that but I cannot remember it. Beans have been a disaster, no rain and then too much rain.

  3. disgruntled says:

    @ Martin – yes that amused me too
    @ Charles – home grown potatoes never boil nicely, unless you grow them in the greenhouse in my experience. We cut ours into wedges and bake them in the oven or, this year’s discovery, wrap them in tinfoil with a bit of lemon juice and olive oil and throw them on the coals in the barbecue.

  4. Charles says:

    I like the barbecue idea. I have parboiled them, sliced them, mixed with olive oil and rosemary and stuck them on the bbq grill, to make ethnic chips. Not really my own idea as I was served much larger spuds cooked like this in Armenia, and very good they were too.

  5. […] forecast – St Swithin notwithstanding – played ball on Sunday so off I set in gorgeous sunshine. Stopping for a few refreshments […]

  6. Love the link to the Royal meteorological society website

  7. […] fair to say that the weather has been a bit of a mixed bag since, well, St Swithin’s day, effectively, with the weather gods and/or the good saint dishing up some combination of sunshine […]

  8. […] not sure why that shouldn’t be the default – especially when St Swithin is having his annual massive posthumous hissy fit. And besides, if we want cycling to become a more widespread mode of transport, then being a bit […]

  9. […] what I think is a first since we moved up here, it has been absolutely gorgeous weather on St Swithin’s Day. Lord knows we need a fine summer in these mad pandemical times, so I’m choosing to put some […]

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