Tuesday, June 03, 2008


We've got electricians in at home, and they start fairly early so this morning I left a few minutes earlier than usual, with a cunning plan to catch the Metropolitan train at 8:26 at Ruislip Manor rather than my usual at 8:32 (all times approximate of course).

The plan succeeded right up to the point that it failed. Lots of people on the platform looking disgruntled. Rain lashing down. The next Met came in at 8:34. Train crowded, steaming wet clothes. Minor delays due to a signal failure at far-away Barbican, apparently.

Nothing succeeds as planned - Joseph Heller (Good as Gold)

Monday, June 02, 2008

Flaming June

I have always assumed that "flaming June" was some sort of folkloric reference to the climate during this month, perhaps referring to the heat during the month that has the longest days and the dramatic effect of sunsets late into the evening. So I thought I would make some wry comments about the relatively dull weather we are currently enjoying, then thought to check on the provenance of the title phrase. Turns out that the only references are to a picture painted in 1895 by Frederic Lord Leighton depicting a woman swathed in orangey-red drapes, lolling about in the best pre-Raphaelite style. You can see it for yourself here on Wikipedia.
Hmmm...I don't really want to start blathering on about a bit of Victorian tat. But then again you probably don't want to read stuff about how dreary May has been (though the plentiful rain has done wonders for my garden), or compare the current temperatures in London (20) with Munich (33, I am reliably informed, last Friday). But it is interesting to recall that dreadful heatwave of 2003 and the rather ordinary summers we seem to have had since then. Back then it seemed like the precursor of worse times to come. Now it seems more like an aberration, though I have no doubt we will have increasing numbers of heatwaves in future.

So anyway, it is gently smouldering June for the time being, and let us hope that we do not get a repeat of the torrential rains of last summer. Or I shall be scrambling for even sillier epithets.