Saint Swithun

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.

Yesterday was St Swithun’s Day. Somebody told me that the proverb describes another reason why we in Britain should consider the Jet Stream. I wrote about that on this blog a few days ago and oh look, the St Swithun’s proverb is about it http://www.weatheronline.co.uk/reports/wxfacts/St-Swithuns-Day.htm

[Edit] A year later, we’ve just had a warm and dry St. Swithun’s day. Here’s the UK Met(eorological) Office saying that we don’t have to take St Swithun too literally. I take the Jet Stream seriously, though.

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About argylesock

I wrote a PhD about veterinary parasitology so that's the starting point for this blog. But I'm now branching out into other areas of biology and into popular science writing. I'll write here about science that happens in landscapes, particularly farmland, and about science involving interspecific interactions. Datasets and statistics get my attention. Exactly where this blog will lead? That's a journey that I'm on and I hope you'll come with me.
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5 Responses to Saint Swithun

  1. Amy Aletheia says:

    I thought St. Swithun was fictional. Interesting to find out that tale is real. 🙂

    • argylesock says:

      Yes it’s news to me too. I’d always thought that proverb was just silly – how could anybody possibly predict weather like that? – but maybe it isn’t.
      Like other ‘old wives’ tales’ this proverb may have arisen in a time and place where people wanted to understand their world but didn’t have the science we have now. I think that for farmers under such circumstances, a long-range weather forecast might make the difference between survival and starvation.

  2. I understand from relatives that come parts of the UK actually had a sunny St. Swithuns day!

  3. Pingback: Water, water everywhere still | Science on the Land

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