The Stormy Borrowing Days of March. 29th

small tree in a bleak windy landscape Photo by Khamkéo Vilaysing on Unsplash
Windy Days. Photo by Khamkéo Vilaysing on Unsplash

Sir Walter Scott recorded that ‘the last three days of March are called the ‘borrowing days; for as they are remarked to be unusually stormy, it is feigned that March has borrowed them from April to extend his sphere of his rougher sway.’

There are various traditions and poems that record the borrowing days, and this is in the Scotch dialect:

March borrowed from April
Three Days, and they were ill:
The first was frost, the second was snaw,
The third was cauld as ever’t could blaw.

There is a Spanish story which explains this a little more. A shepherd asked March to calm the winds to suit his flock of sheep, in return for a lamb. March compiled but, then, the Shepherd refused to hand over the lamb. So, March borrowed three days from April and made them fierce and stormy. Versions of this tale are known from Staffordshire, North England and Scotland. (Source ‘Weather Law’ by Richard Inwards 1994 (first published 1893).

It has certainly been very windy here over the last few days, sunny spells followed by cold rain and fierce gusts.

Warm days at the end of March or the beginning of April bring the Blackthorns into bloom (already bloomed this year) and they are often followed by a cold snap which is known as a ‘Backthorn Winter.’

February 2023 in Haggerston Park, London showing early blossom (Blackthorn?) Photos K
February 2023 in Haggerston Park, London showing early blossom (Blackthorn?) Photo K Flude

For a glimpse of Nature in art, follow this link to the ‘Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek’ in Denmark, a Museum with ‘a vast collection of art and sculpture.’ The link will take you to the ‘After Nature’ Special Exhibition page, and you can see a few of the Spring paintings, including a Gauguin and a Van Gogh. But, you can see more, including the ‘After Nature’ exhibition if you download the app. Another excuse to visit the wonderful City of Copenhagen – when I went, I stayed on an historic Wooden Ship in the harbour via Airbnb.

screenshot of webpage Glyptotek Museum in Denmark
Screenshot of webpage Glyptotek Museum

I have just received my copy of the Chamber’s Book of Days. It has been updated from the original 1864 publication, and it tells me that today is the anniversary of:

The Battle of Towton, England’s bloodiest battle (1461)

Official Opening of the Royal Albert Hall (1871)

Captain Scott’s last entry in his diary. (1912) ‘We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker, of course, and the end cannot be far, It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more.’ See also my post Lawrence-oates-i-am-just-going-outside-and-may-be-some-time.

Charles Manson found guilty (1971)

Photo of cover of Chambers Book of Days
Photo of cover of Chambers Book of Days

And many more. I’m sure I will be returning to this regularly in future months. Oh, and if you know anyone who would enjoy this content, please do send them a link and suggest they subscribe.


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