Monday 8 August 2011

Weather Lore Updated

'Short summers lightly have a forward spring,' remarks Shakespeare's Richard III, murderously eying the young Prince Edward...
Last Friday evening, the swifts treated me to one more flypast over the trackside hotspot - I counted a round dozen - and one lone straggler overflew the garden later, in the dusk. That, almost certainly, was it, so my swift summer (the essential summer) was short indeed, running from the 7th of May to the 5th of August. And today there's a chilly Northwest wind blowing in London, the first leaves are falling from sycamores, planes and the poor, blighted horsechestnuts, some of the urban rowans and cherries are putting on their fall colours, and it's feeling like autumn already. But it wasn't a forward spring; as last year, it was rather late - and, again as last year, it was glorious when it came. In fact, it was even more glorious - and certainly more long-lasting - than last year. And, as last year, it was followed by a lot of really pretty dreadful weather in June and July, the months when it matters most (I'm thinking, of course, of the needs of my butterfly friends). Perhaps a new rule is emerging in English weather lore: 'Bad summers lightly have a glorious spring.'

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