16
Jul 04

It rained yesterday.

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 275 views

It rained yesterday. 
 
“St. Swithin’s day if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain
St. Swithin’s day if thou be fair
For forty days ’twill rain nae mair”
 
A former teacher introduced me to the story of St Swithin. He was an unwavering believer in archaic legends and St Swithin was his obsession. 
  
I recently discovered some reflections on him from Friends Reunited. One pupil used to deliver his morning tabloid and claimed the house was wallpapered in newsprint. Another maintained he had installed a cat-flap in the door but had no pets. The polite way to explain him would be ‘eccentric’. In truth, he was a strange and somewhat frightening man.
 
He spoke the rhyme above as a kind of mantra, theatrically rrrrolling his rrrrrrs on the final syllable.
 
Years later, I came across the legacy of St Swithin on a visit to Winchester. I could still recall the rhyme from schooldays, so deep had he engraved it in our tender minds. The cathedral guide wasn’t fond of “old wives’ tales” (as he called them) and reeled off some statistics from the Met Office that disproved the legacy of St Swithin. “Superstition is the baseless fear of the Gods!” he shouted, his words bouncing around the nave. As if that was the point.

I expect he’s now retired from teaching (and maybe from life itself), but there’s a generation of school kids from my hometown who, come July 15th, shudder and remember that peculiar old man.

Add your comment

(Register to guarantee your comments don't get marked as spam.)


Required

Required (Your email address will not be published)

Top of page