Tuesday, 1 April 2008

The cruellest month

April is the cruellest month, breeding

Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing

Memory and desire, stirring

Dull roots with spring rain.

T S Eliot, The Waste Land

April already, quarter of the way through the year now; very spring-like outside, but a bit blowy.

The cuckoo

Traditional sayings fail to agree on which day of April the cuckoo should arrive, but the month itself is not disputed. "The cuckoo comes in April, and stays the month of May; sings a song at midsummer, and then goes away". There are numerous superstitions relating to the bird - girls may ask it when they will marry, or old men when they will die, and teh calls that followed indicated the number of years they must wait. On hearing the first cuckoo, for prosperity you should turn or jingle any money in your pocket, and to avoid a year if illness and idleness you should get up and run. If the call comes from your right, you will have good luck, but if you are standing on bare earth you will be dead within twelve months (cheery stuff, eh? :0) ). It is possible to see cuckoos throughout the UK, although they are more prevalent in central and southern England; unfortunately their numbers have declined in recent years.

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