Happy St Swithin’s Day

July 15, 2017

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.

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When the Weather Cat says it’s Raining…

August 16, 2011

We’ve been cat sitting for the neighbour recently and the other night we were worried that she’d taken ill on our watch – the other half went over to let her out for the night and, instead of finding her right behind the door as is usual, she was nowhere to be seen. Eventually he found her in the airing cupboard curled up in a cardboard box, expressing absolutely no interest in going out that night at all.

It wasn’t till we woke up to the hammering rain that we began to have an inkling why. Last night – despite a fine afternoon and evening – the forecast was once more for heavy overnight rain and the cat, once more, opted to spend it on the neighbour’s sofa. Clearly the cat doesn’t just reflect the actual weather but has some sort of a forecasting module built in. It could be that she’s just paying more attention to the weather on the radio than I ever manage, but as she struggles to grasp such simple sentences as ‘if you climb up onto the kitchen counter I will throw you out’ I very much doubt if she could make sense of the average radio forecast, let alone have the attention span to make it all the way through to ‘and finally, Scotland’. Maybe she’s in alliance with weather man although frankly, he’s not much use as a forecaster. Surely she’s too young to feel it in her bones?

Whatever her secret, I can report that, while the afternoon was good weather for holding down the sofa, the cat barometer for the evening predicts that it will stay fine (and the Met office agrees). So all I need to do now is work out how the long range cat forecast works, and we’re all set.


Expectations Management

November 11, 2010

If we knew anything at all about today, we knew the weather was going to be vile. It was forecast to be grim on Countryfile (fount of all weather knowledge) on Sunday, and on Monday Papershop Bloke, whose long-range weather forecasts are always uncannily accurate, concurred. On Tuesday, with the clouds marching briskly across the sky, all and sundry agreed that it might be okay now, but Thursday was going to be horrible. On Wednesday, all bright sunshine and glittery frost, old hands squinted to the west and shook their heads and muttered darkly that this was just the calm before the storm. Thursday was going to be bad, there was no denying it. Blue skies and light winds notwithstanding, it was time to batten down the hatches and prepare for whatever it was there was to come.

We woke with some trepidation and peered out at the sky to see if the coming tempest had materialised yet. This was going to be a day for testing out everything-bar-the-apocalypse jackets and wellies, a day for packing a dry change of clothes. Or, on my part at least, this was going to be a day for curling up indoors beside the Rayburn and waiting it out. Sure it might not look too miserable yet, but we knew the awful weather was surely coming.

I think it took me to about mid morning to realise that actually the day wasn’t going to be too bad. Pretty blustery, granted, fairly cloudy, the odd patch of rain here and there but not the sort of terrors of the earth that everyone had predicted. It was, in fact, just a typical November day. And after all that build up, it actually felt pretty mild, almost pleasant. Do you think the Weather Gods have started employing spin doctors to talk them up? Or could it be that now the Bicycle Gods have started persecuting me as well (another puncture yesterday, thanks for asking) they’ve decided to let up their own efforts a little? We can but hope.

(Of course, having said all that, the wind is now back to howling down the chimney. This may be another one of those posts I come to regret…)