Tuesday, 5 May 2009

true hope is swift and flies with swallows' wings

Neither swifts nor swallows, but martins.
Illustration from Wildlife Rescue

I haven't yet seen swallows over Bristol, though we saw them in Pembrokeshire last week. But the swifts arrived a few days ago, and occasionally you can hear their screams as they zoom around the houses. I thought that it is usually the swallows who get heree first, and wondered if there is any weather lore that relates to their relative arrival times.

If in doubt, make something up. So:

Swifts before swallows
Sunny intervals with scattered showers to follow
Swallows before swifts
You'll probly get snowdrifts

Easy, this folk wisdom lark.

I am all packed up and ready to go to Dublin. Not with swallows' wings, but with those of Ryanair.


  1. I think that snowdrifts are a pretty safe bet for weather sayings. I'm not sure that they are swifts or swallows, but when we walk to the beach via the marsh they zoom around. 'Joi d’ vivre' is how I'd describe them. When it starts to get dark they are replaced by bats - not so much 'fun'. They used to say if a bat got caught up in your hair, you'd die within a year.

    Hope you have a good flight (you could always accidently get on the wrong flight and come to La Rochelle).

    Good luck with the readings!

  2. Thanks, Anji. The flight was fine, but a bit late off the ground. As the helpful announcement said, "The aircraft is not due to land until 0740 due to the late arrival of the aircraft"

    ..which makes perfect sense, really.

  3. Rocket science is very complicated.

  4. Love the folk wisdom,
    Dru. You don't make it sound hard
    -er than a haiku!

    Haven't fared enough
    this Spring to see swifts but swept
    a house for swallows.

    Purple Martins nest
    in Purple Martin houses,
    House Martins in yours.

    (While listening to
    the 80s pop group from Hull
    draw me a picture!)

  5. Thank you, Larry! It took a moment to get the Hull connection. Going away on a train here, I once met the Red Guitars in Hull, when I was driving up the East Coast. I'd picked up a hitcher, and detoured to Hull to drop him off. He'd written a song for a radio competition to mark the opening of the Humber Bridge; his entry was entitled "We've go the longest single-span suspension bridge in the world". And we met his mates in a pub, who turned out to be the Red Guitars. Brushes with the famous, or what? -nice lads they were.

  6. Hull disclosure: I'm a bit retarded when it comes to pop groups from Hull or (fill in the blank), had heard of the Housemartins but never listened to them until I was reading up on their avian purple cousins. Loved what I heard and saw too.

    Red Guitars would be the other group from Hull, or are there more? They are fabulous! Only listened to two trax so far, but "that's the way with America and me". Am reminded of Wreckless Eric and That Petrol Emotion in one breath.