If you were to look out of the window today you’d see the sun shining brightly. It might even seem warm. But just take another look, and listen carefully too. Trees are bending and just about everything that isn’t tied down is bowling down the street. Today is Thursday – the day we all leave our rubbish out for the bin men. Unfortunately the wind has been howling since about 2 am. – and most people put their rubbish out last night.

We thought cows had got out at one point, judging by the clatter and clopping sound in the lane. It was in fact lots of empty plastic bottles from the local shop being rolled  along by the high winds. The front garden is full of rubbish, but it isn’t even worth going out to pick it up as more will follow as long as the wind keeps up. They say March comes in like a lamb and goes out like a lion i.e. lots of roaring winds. But as I write we are still in the first half of the month. Soon the trees will burst into blossom - and if the winds keep up the blossom will be destroyed and there will be no apples pears, plums or peaches come summer.

Do you have similar sayings about the weather in your country? When you see a red sky at night what do people say? In England they say ‘Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight’.. Red sky in the morning, shepherds warning. In seaside locations this becomes ‘Sailor’s delight’ and ‘sailor’s warning’ Another saying I remember from childhood visits to the Malvern Hills was ‘Sun by seven, rain by 11’ and we often found it to be true. At breakfast time we would look out towards the hills that dominate the town. If they could barely be seen through mist then the sun would soon follow. If however the hills could be clearly seen then it would be best to take an umbrella as rain clouds would soon come in.

A new weather saying for me is ‘Year of snow, year of plenty’. This is because a continuous layer of snow will ensure that trees blossom later when late frosts are less likely to damage blooms and also when there are more insects about to pollinate them. Also without the protective layer of snow some seeds rot in the constantly changing temperatures, but the snow keeps winter temperatures constant and seeds survive.

And have you ever seen a blueish white halo around the moon? I always associate this with approaching snow. The experts tell me the halo is made up of ice crystals which act as prisms, and if one is seen then snow, although not inevitable, is much more likely than usual.

On the web I found ’When the stars begin to huddle the earth will become a puddle. This refers to times of high patchy clouds. These mean you only see the stars through the gaps, and as the cloud cover increase so does the chance of heavy rain.

Some parts of the world have weather that is consistent. In eastern Europe, during the winter you can be pretty certain that it will freeze for weeks on end, and in summer it will be hot enough for melons to grow on garden vines. In parts of Africa the only change will come when the rain clouds appear. But here in the U.K. it is perfectly possible to have rain, sun, hail and cloud all in one day. You might have frost overnight and be able to sit outside for lunch. So it no wonder that when people here meet they often start conversations with ‘Isn’t it hot /cold/wet/ icy, foggy etc?’ It is a way of breaking the ice with strangers at the bus stop or queuing in a shop. So next time you meet someone from the United Kingdom you’ll know what to say.

 

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