Sunday, 26 April 2015

Cast your clout!

May-thorn

The phrase "n'er cast a clout till May be out" is usually interpreted as "don't cast off your winter clothes (clout) till the month of May is over".  (I always thought that a bit extreme, even if the weather was colder in olden times).
However a wise woman of my acquaintance tells me that, in this context, 'may' means the may-thorn, a variant on the hawthorn.  Ah. 
Well, the hot weather of recent days has coincided with the blossoming of the may-thorn in the fields.

So - now it makes sense.

4 comments:

  1. Hawthorn is called "may-apple" in the American South, and a drink made of steeping its flowers in white wine is called "maitrank" in the Low Countries. So your friend's analysis may well be accurate.

    Robin
    Rusty Ring: Reflections of an Old-Timey Hermit

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  2. Hello - apparently you need to let Springwatch know - well according to Chris Packham last night! I love May blossom so thanks for photo.

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