Here’s a bit of local folklore I’d never heard of before last night:
St. Swithun’s day, if thou dost rain,
For forty days it will remain;
St. Swithun’s day, if thou be fair,
For forty days ’twill rain na mair
Turns out St. Swithun was a 9th century church builder, who died around 862. He was buried (at his request) in a very ordinary grave, but on being made a saint was moved to a fancy shrine. This moving bit, though, was delayed by incessant rain.
Well, today is St. Swithun’s day, and it was the first good, sunny day without any rain we’ve had since March. The period from April to June has been the wettest in recorded history (which goes back to around 1850). In case you’re wondering – yes, they did recently lift the hosepipe ban.
Now, as we’re leaving in three weeks time to go cycling the length of Britain, I’d be somewhat pleased if it didn’t rain all day, every day during that period. So when I heard about good St. Swithun, and observed the weather today, I had a warm, fuzzy feeling come over all strong.
In case you’re thinking that I’ve gone all superstitious on you, rest assured – there’s a reasonably good scientific basis for it – see this site for some background if you’re really interested.