Apple Blossom on the First of May

The view down to the river has changed drastically in the last few days. After a mini heatwave the apple trees are in full bloom, the birch and beech have turned green, and (almost) everything is looking fresh and full of life!


Old English Proverb:

Ne’er cast a clout till May is out!

This is something I heard time and again as a child, and I have always understood it to mean the month of May, i.e. don’t take off too many layers of clothing until the end of May! (Clout is old English for a garment). However, it is also believed to mean “until the May is in blossom”, May being hawthorn (Weißdorn).

This second explanation for the proverb seems more logical to me, especially in this age of global warming, but it is probably only more appealing for its romanticism rather than its accuracy!

The May in the proverb actually does mean the month of May…

Well, we were in shorts and barefeet with temperatures of 30°C at the weekend. I fear we will need to rewrite some of our weather proverbs pretty soon…


Today is May Day (National holiday/ Labour Day)

In this part of Germany, as in many other regions, the May tree stands on the village green.

Our village is so small, our May tree is not much to look at. (We don’t even have a village green!) However, some villages and towns have beautifully decorated maypoles. Here is a lovely example; the May tree on the Viktualienmarkt in the centre of Munich…

In Bavaria the May tree is usually the trunk of a tall evergreen, such as fir or spruce, which is renewed every year. The top of the trunk is not stripped of its small branches, and the trunk/pole is normally decorated with a white and blue ribbon wound around it (or is painted as in the picture). A crown is suspended with ribbons at the top, or sometimes lower down, and local businesses such as the carpenter, baker, butcher, brewery, etc. have a decorative sign which is attached to the May tree.


Wild Apple Blossom

Have a lovely May Day everyone!