Sunday, 6 June 2010

May is out

"Ne'er cast a clout til May be out" is a well-known English proverb. There is some doubt about its meaning. The first bit about casting a clout is easy enough - it means don't take your (warm winter) clothes off. But the second bit, about May being out, could be taken to mean when the month of May is over or when the May (Hawthorn) blossom is out. Either way, at the beginning of June and with the hedgerows in full bloom, you'd think we'd be safe enough contemplating bare legs and sandals.

I think the May blossom is quite late in flowering this year - not surprisingly, given how cold it's been. But, as you can see, there's plenty of it. The blossom is commonly white, but there is a wonderful tree full of palest pink blossom beside the canal and another darker pink further on. There is even a red one by the car park in the middle of Saltaire, but I think that is a garden variety. I think it's a very pretty blossom, forever linked in my mind with May Festivals. As a child that meant family fun at the May Fair at Wellow in Nottinghamshire, watching children dancing around the maypole, weaving intricate patterns with their ribbons and then, just as marvellously, unravelling them (see this link.) As a little girl, I thought it was magical.

9 comments:

  1. If the clout concerned is a waterproof clout, you would be best advised to hang in to it for a bit. It's throwing it down here - I assume it is the same where you are in the far north.

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  2. Well, the lovely weather of the past two days has given way to cloud, windy and a drop in temperature. Typical.

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  3. Yup, raining here today too. Serves me right, doesn't it? Ah well, gave me an excuse to stay in and watch "Pollyanna" for the umpteenth time on TV this morning! I still cry at the end.

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  4. Do they still do the Maypole dancing? My mum used to do that every year.

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  5. I have had my AC on for a few weeks,but have had to replant lots of seed because of heavy downpours never letting the ground dry out.

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  6. I remember maypole dancing as a girl too. In fact, as recently as 6 years ago, one of the more senior teachers where I teach used to prepare dances with the children, for our annual summer fair.

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  7. As a child here in Maine, we celebrated May Day (on May 1) by leaving a basket of candy on the doorknob of someone after ringing the doorbell and then making a mad dash before they answered the door so they wouldn't see who left it. We're about 3 weeks ahead with our blooms here, as it's been unseasonably warm this season. Hope you can now safely don the sandals! To answer your question about my new camera, it's a Canon PowerShot with a fixed 20x zoom/wide angle lens! ~Lili

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  8. Bare legs and sandals have been the order of the day in the sunny south. It's going to be short-lived though. Rain throughout the coming week.

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  9. As a child in the early Fifties, for several years I was taken with my elementary school class to watch other children doing the Maypole dancing and the intricate ribbon weaving and unweaving -- I always wished that rather than just taking us to watch, they'd taught us how!

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