Saturday, 16 June 2007

The bells, the bells

At 7:00 am this morning I had a rude awakening when the cathedral bells started ringing. My first thought was that it must be St Swithun's day: they always ring at that time for St Swithun's day, but it's only once a year and you don't notice on week day mornings, so not very intrusive. Anyway it finally dawned on me that it's still June so it couldn't be St Swithun's day.

On investigation, it turns out to have been the Queen's official birthday which is nowadays always on a Saturday. I feel sure I would have noticed the bells if they always rang on a Saturday in June so I hope it's a one off. I actually do love the bells but not at 7:00 am. Sundays are lovely, and so too are the Wednesday evening practices.

It's a relief that it isn't St Swithun's Day with the weather we are having today:

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.
15 July

In France they have similar 40 day predictions though on different dates.

S'il pleut à la saint Médard,
Il pleuvra quarante jours plus tard.
8 June

Sainte-Eulalie avec la pluie,
Quarante jours reste dans ton lit.
12 February

There is an English version of that last one:

If on St Swithun's day it really pours
You're better off to stay indoors.

I've heard, but never really investigated, that you can put together enough of these sayings to show that it's going to rain, or not, for the entire year.


  1. St Svithun - sounds Nordic.

    The picture from the glass paint is fabulous.

    I really did love this post;))

  2. That sounds like Winchester Cathedral then?

  3. The weather reports from that side of the world indicate you are all treading water.

  4. Tor: I've just learnt something, thank you! I hadn't realised the connection with Norway. According to "King Sigurd Jorsalfar the Crusader made Stavanger a Cathedral City in 1125. Legends tell us that Bishop Reinald from Winchester built Stavanger Cathedral to wed the king for the third time."
    LR: It does, does it? :))
    Jamie: Yes, it's very wet and unfortunately it has followed me back to France.


Forethoughts, afterthoughts, any thoughts. Tell me.


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