I had to scrape the car windscreen this morning! Frost… at the end of April. I know, we’ve been spoiled in the Netherlands the last few years, with warm and sunny spring weather but this year nothing but cold, rain – so much rain! – and cloudy. A seemingly never-ending run of grey days.
And yes, I know the folk rhymes, such as March winds and April showers (bring forth May flowers). Also – Ne’er cast a clout ‘til May be oot.
Translation: never leave off an article of clothing until after May. Which is easy to forget after a couple of years walking about in shorts in April.
The word ‘clout’ means clothing or cloth and if you’re feeling the cold wherever you are, you might try making a clootie dumpling, which is a traditional Scottish pudding, sweet and heavy enough to warm the cockles of your heart. It’s called a clootie dumpling because around 1650, people discovered you could boil or steam a pudding in a cloth.
Shakespeare was also no stranger to capricious spring weather:
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date. (Sonnet 18)