St Swithin's Day
Today is July 15th and St Swithin's Day and there's a famous weather rhyme which accompanies it that has been used since Elizabethan times...
St Swithin's Day, if it does rain
Full forty days, it will remain
St Swithin's Day, if it be fair
For forty days, t'will rain no more
In other words, if it rains it will rain for the next forty days!
Well don't worry...
The Met Office has put it to the test and 40 days of wet weather has never followed - not yet anyway!
Although you'd think it had, during the wet summers of 2007 and 2008.
Mind you, there is quite an interesting story behind the legend:
St. Swithin (or Swithun) was an Anglo Saxon Bishop of Winchester and legend says that on his death bed he asked to be buried in a churchyard where the rain would fall on him and the feet of ordinary men could pass over him.
His wishes were followed but just over a century later his remains were moved to a shrine inside Winchester Cathedral on the 15th July 971.
Apparently there was a huge storm and it rained solidly for 40 days. Swithin may have been so angry about the move from his final resting place that he caused the storm.
I've heard it said that by the middle of July one of two weather patterns often sets in over Britain and continues for the rest of the summer depending on the position of the Jet Stream.
If the the jet stream is to the north of the UK, high pressure will bring us fine and warm weather.
If it is over the UK, low pressure will bring us spells of rain which is what happened in the wet summers of 2007 and 2008.
So although there may be no truth in the saying, perhaps we should not dismiss it completely!
The weather maybe drier and sunnier today but there is no chance of 40 days of dry weather.
The changeable weather is set to continue with low pressure bringing more rain and showers over the next couple of days.
Sunshine and showers for over the weekend. Fingers crossed for a better August.