Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Rain, rain go away...

This children's rhyme, which has its origin in Elizabethan times when the British fleet defeated the Spanish Armada and were helped enormously when the weather turned nasty is as applicable today as it was in 1588:

Rain, rain go away,
Come again another day.
Little Johnny wants to play;
Rain, rain, go to Spain,
Never show your face again!

The funniest story today in the news is that the Met Office has revised its earlier long term forecast from a long hot summer into cool and showers. There's a surprise! It appears, even odder that the Met Office coined the phrase 'barbecue summer' to help the papers write their headlines. More science required, less puffery. Now of course, we can't blame the Met Office for the rubbish weather but they can be blamed for raising expectations, but perhaps we should expect the weather in the UK to be average to poor most of the time anyway.

The grass is green, the plants healthy, the populace pale and decidedly damp. The temperature in my garden today at the height of the afternoon is just 15 degrees Celsius.

Weather folklore is fascinating and has been built up over the years before forecasting was in any way considered a science. Mostly, I'm told, there is modern scientific basis for many of the sayings which renders them true in the main.

Some of the more popular for example:

Red sky at night, shepherds delight; red sky in the morning, shepherd's warning. In other words, rain is on the way and generally that's true. A red sunrise reflects the dust particles of a system that has just passed from the west. This indicates that a storm system may be moving to the east. If the morning sky is a deep fiery red, it means a high water content in the atmosphere. So, rain is on its way.

In Hull, although the fish industry is about finished there apart from some processing, if you can smell fish in the air, it will rain and normally that happens but I have no idea why.

Even plants tell us about forthcoming weather according to folklore: Daisies shut their petals before rain, if the dogwood flowers, there will be no more frost; when dew is on the grass, rain shall not come to pass.

Animals are supposed to predict bad weather: Birds fly low, expect wind and blow; frogs will call before the rain, but when the sun shines will be quiet again. Of course anyone who has ever had cats know that when the cat's in front of the fire, it's too cold to do anything outside.

Of course, the burning weather question is: How does the person who drives the snowplough get to work?

Chat soon



  1. Informative as ever RLS. How do you know all of this stuff? It's not normal you know.

    Glad you're enjoying your week off despite the wevver.


  2. My dearest says my mind is full of trivia whilst I can't remember major events like anniversaries etc. Strange, plus of course the internet is a great tool for confirming those 'difficult to remember detail' type snippets of rubbish floating around in the grey matter. As I type this, thunder and lightening prevail just to brighten my day.