Wednesday, 30 April 2014

May in April

Posted by Rosie

Our weather at the moment can best be described as typical April showers which will hopefully bring out May flowers.  I had always thought this line was from a longer poem about the weather of each month but I cannot track it down.  The best I can do is find is this reference from a poem written in 1560 in a book written in 1860 by T.Wright:

Aprell sylver showers so sweet Can make May flowers to sprynge.
[c 1560 in T. Wright Songs & Ballads (1860) ]

This got me thinking about other weather sayings and there are plenty more both generally and specifically for this time of year:

First ash leaves of 2014
"If the oak before the ash, then we'll only have a splash, if the ash before the oak, then we'll surely have a soak"

In other words if the ash is in leaf first then we're in for a wet Summer.  Let's hope this one is wrong as I have seen ash in leaf but no oak yet!

"Rain before seven, clear by eleven."

Not sure about this but the reverse was true yesterday - a dry morning was followed by torrential rain and hail by mid afternoon (just as I was tying to mow the play area grass!).  Maybe this was just an April shower then.

"If March comes in like a lion and it goes out like a lamb."

If March is wet and windy to begin with, it will be calm and warm by the end.  Apparently this is more often than not the reverse as happened this year!  Early March was absolutely gorgeous here at Eco-Gites of Lenault where-as the end of the month was a bit wet and windy.  In like  lamb and out like a lion then!

May blossom in April
"Ne're cast a clout till May be out."

This is said to remind you that winter clothes should not be put away until May is ended.  But which May?  Does it refer to the end of May or, as has been suggested when the blossom of the Hawthorn tree that is know as May is out in flower?  Generally it blossoms in May so it may well be academic as to which May the saying refers to.  This year however with our mild Winter and Spring the hawthorn has been in blossom for a while - a case of May in April.  BUT, I am not thinking as yet about putting my winter clothes away. Whilst we often get gorgeous weather from early March we have had a frost as late as May 28th.

These weather sayings are grounded in years of observations by folk who had no weather forecasts to watch on the TV or Internet.  Whilst they may indicate the average they are never going to be what we need to predict our weather accurately.  Meteorologists are getting better at predictions but in the long run, here in Normandy as well as England, the weather will always be unpredictable and is likely to get more so.  Hopefully though, it will at least in part follow the predictions made by Sara Coleridge in her poem, A Calendar:

A Calendar

January brings the snow,
makes our feet and fingers glow.

February brings the rain,
Thaws the frozen lake again.

March brings breezes loud and shrill,
stirs the dancing daffodil.

April brings the primrose sweet,
Scatters daises at our feet.

May brings flocks of pretty lambs,
Skipping by their fleecy damns.

June brings tulips, lilies, roses,
Fills the children's hand with posies.

Hot July brings cooling showers,
Apricots and gillyflowers.

August brings the sheaves of corn,
Then the harvest home is borne.

Warm September brings the fruit,
Sportsmen then begin to shoot.

Fresh October brings the pheasants,
Then to gather nuts is pleasant.

Dull November brings the blast,
Then the leaves are whirling fast.

Chill December brings the sleet,
Blazing fire, and Christmas treat.

~ Sara Coleridge

Do you have a favourite weather saying ?  Perhaps there is something local to your area.  I'd love to hear from you.

Post Comment Love


  1. Hmm! are you sure Hawthorn carries the May Blossom, I was under the impression that was Blackthorn? (YKWIA)

    1. There does seem to be much confusion. Wiki says Hawthorn is known as May but also says it can be called Quickthorn which is what I also call Blackthorn!

  2. awww i hadnt leard that before now its so beautiful, heres hoping the weather gets warmer sooner! x

    thanks for linking up with #PoCoLo


I love receiving comments and I do read every one but if you are simply here to spam me with a link, guess what ... I won't publish it.