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Iris Mary and Grandad's Weather Sayings Mary Smith    
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Iris Mary and Grandad's Weather Sayings

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Iris Mary

and

Grandad’s Weather Sayings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The doorbell rang. Grandad was there.

Iris Mary ran to open the door. Iris Mary was just four years old.

It was raining, and Grandad was very wet.

‘What a lot of weather,’ Iris Mary said.

Grandad shook the rain off his umbrella.

He said, ‘It’s fair spurtling down.’

Iris Mary was puzzled. ‘What does that mean?’ she asked.

‘It means that it’s pouring with rain,’ Grandad explained.

‘Oh, I see,’ Iris Mary said.

She took Grandad’s wet umbrella and put it in the kitchen to dry.

Her sister, Violet, took Grandad’s wet shoes and put them in the kitchen to dry. Violet was six years old and she knew more things than Iris Mary.

Her big sister, Rose, took Grandad’s wet coat and put it in the kitchen to dry. Rose was ten years old and she knew more things than Violet.

Grandad sat in the chair. His granddaughters sat down too. He told them, ‘My aunt used to say: It’s raining cats and dogs.’

‘What does that mean?’ Iris Mary asked.

Grandad explained, ‘It means the rain is coming down in big heavy drops.’

‘Oh, I see,’ Iris Mary said.

Then Grandad said, ‘My mother used to tell us that the rain was coming down in stair rods.’

‘What does that mean?’ Iris Mary asked.

Grandad explained, ‘That was a lot of sharp icy rain coming down looking like stair rods.’

‘What is a stair rod?’ Iris Mary wanted to know.

Grandad told her, ‘When I was young, stair carpets were kept in place by a metal bar across each step. That was a stair rod.’

‘Oh, I see,’ Iris Mary said.

‘Do you know any more sayings about the weather?’ Violet asked.

Grandad nodded. ‘Oak before ash, we’ll get a splash. Ash before oak, we’ll get a soak.’

‘What does that mean?’ Iris Mary asked.

‘It means that if the baby leaves open on the oak trees before the leaves appear on the ash trees, then there will just be a few showers in the spring. If the ash tree gets its leaves first it will be a very wet spring, and everything will get soaking wet.’

‘Oh, I see,’ Iris Mary said.

Grandad had another saying to tell them. ‘Find a spider and look at its web. If the web is large, the weather will dry and nice. If the web is small, soon there’ll be wind, rain or ice.’

Iris Mary said, ‘I know what that means.’

‘My grandmother used to tell me that a red sky at night is a shepherd’s delight and a red sky in the morning is a shepherd’s warning.’

‘What does that mean?’ Iris Mary asked Grandad.

Grandad answered, ‘If the clouds in the sky at sunset are rosy red, then the next day will be dry and the shepherd and his sheep will be glad it’s a nice day. But if the red clouds are at sunrise instead of sunset, then it means it will rain later. The shepherd gets a warning to take his raincoat.’

‘Oh, I see,’ said Iris Mary to her Grandad.

‘Do you know any more sayings about spiders?’ Violet asked. She liked spiders.

Grandad answered, ‘Not about spiders, but I know some about birds. If the rooks build nests up high, the summer will be warm and dry. If the rooks build nests down low, storms will rage, and winds will blow.’

Iris Mary asked, ‘What does that mean?’

‘I know what that means,’ Violet said. ‘It means the rooks can tell if the spring weather is going to be bad. They know that if they build their nests further down in the tree the wind can’t blow their nests over because the branches will protect them.’

‘Quite right, Violet,’ Grandad said.

Then Grandad said, ‘I know two sayings about swallows.’

Rose said, ‘Tell us please, Grandad.’

‘If swallows fly high, the weather stays dry.’

‘What does that mean?’ Iris Mary asked.

Rose said, ‘I think I know. Swallows eat insects and when it’s warm, the insects fly really high. When it’s cold the insects fly much lower, so the swallows have to fly low down too.’

‘Quite right, Rose,’ Grandad said.

Then Grandad told them the other saying about swallows. ‘One swallow doesn’t make a summer.’

‘What does that mean?’ Iris Mary asked.

Grandad explained, ‘All winter swallows live in Africa where it is warm. When it gets too hot for them they fly north to our country and they arrive when it’s summer here.’

‘So, when the swallows arrive, we know summer has come,’ Violet said.

‘Sometimes one swallow sets off too early,’ Grandad said, ‘and it arrives too soon, before the warm weather begins.’

‘Oh, I see,’ said Iris Mary. ‘So just one swallow on its own might mean it’s not quite summer yet.’

Rose and Violet wanted to know if Grandad knew any more sayings about animals.


He nodded. ‘If March comes in like a lion it will go out like a lamb, but if March comes in like a lamb, it will go out like a lion.’

‘What does that mean?’ Iris Mary asked.

‘In March the weather is either wild and windy at the beginning or at the end of the month and it’s very calm at the opposite end to the wild winds. The wild winds are like lions and the gentle winds are like lambs.’

‘Oh, I see,’ Iris Mary said.

Then Grandad smiled at his three granddaughters. ‘This is my favourite weather saying: March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers.’

‘I like that best too,’ said Iris Mary.

‘Me too!’ said Violet.

‘And me!’ said Rose.

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