I do so love living in our household, and often have cause to reflect on what a privilege it is to keep daily company with people so interesting and alive.
Over breakfast this morning – with its usual strange ingredients of a kale shake, cider vinegar, spirulina and porridge – we were chatting about editorial comments encountered over the years. Along the hall, sitting close beside his friend the concrete bodhisattva, our jellicle cat Ted gravely listened and observed.
I got up to make a cup of tea, and in that moment became aware of a change in the weather – a restless stirring and overshadowing, a rising wind, as if rain might be on the way.
I said so.
“Yes,” said our Hebe: “that’s the barley-set winds.”
I said: “The what?”
“Today,” she explained, is St Matthew’s day, “when he shuts up the bees.”
“Who?” I asked. “St Matthew?”
Probably so, Hebe thought. She told us that the barley-set winds last for two to three days, and they bring the cold and the wet. From the 20th to the 23rd we shall have the barley-set winds. Then on the 23rd is the equinox (Mabon), and – all on the 28th – a lunar eclipse, a full moon and a super-moon.
So, she said, on the 28th we could expect to see gales, because the full moon strengthens the winds, and the super-moon reinforces that strengthening, as does the eclipse.
But (she told us) the 29th, which is Michaelmas, is the day of prediction for the winds and weather of the next quarter. With the powerful moon effects of the 28th, it seems likely we shall be looking at a very blustery autumn taking us into the winter.
Having covered that, she went on to discuss with Alice about a source of incense sticks made with very high quality essential oils absolute. And after that the conversation went on to strategies for managing car driving in neurologically atypical people.
It makes me happy. I learn so much. I mean, “the barley-set winds” – who knew?