Ten days ago I was up at Chatsworth where it was bitterly cold but sunny. All winter coats and hot soups were needed. I was with an old school friend who could not understand my obsession with trying to find the Pink May Tree (Hawthorn). “Shed not a Clout ’til May is out”I informed her. “Surely that means the month of May?” she said.
I explained that at one of my many schools, run by an old spinster in the late fifties, we were not allowed to put our Summer Dresses on until the Pink May Tree was out! Sometimes it did not bloom until June! Each year we all cursed our Headmistress with such a silly rule.
This year I honestly thought I was going mad! There were no Pink May trees around the country. In fact, until last week, I feared they had died out. Then all of a sudden their buds burst into this beautiful colour. The time had come to shed those thermals and start wearing thinner textiles! The grandchildren think I am a mad old widow waiting for these buds to flower! To them it makes no sense. How things change! One of my granddaughters had to start this term in her flimsy summer school dress. She has suffered the cold shivering most of the time.
Because I shed not a clout until last week I have had no such complaint. During a conversation with my friend she has admitted to feeling the great heat today on the East Coast! So perhaps this old saying does have some merit?! And yet I find the saying below referring to the month!
Enjoy the Summer when it comes!
The wind at North and East
Was never good for man nor beast
So never think to cast a clout
Until the month of May be out.