Sunday, 5 February 2017
A cursory glance at this ecclesiastical snapshot and you may have assumed that it was taken in the summer, but look again and you can see the winter bare branches of trees. For this picture was not taken on a sweaty summers day, but in early February. I quickly took the shot on my phone, as I hurried in to ring at the second church we visited on Saturday afternoon.
Normally the weather on this date is unremarkable. Dull, damp, cloudy with rain - temperatures close to average for the time of year - nothing to write home about. How do I know? It is my birthday - shared with Alice Cooper and Norman Wisdon...oh, and Dave Hargreaves!
My mother was advised to anticipate my arrival on my father's 40th Birthday. However, babies rarely arrive on time and I was not about to buck the trend, making my appearance two days later. I have maintained this habit of being very slightly late for most occasions throughout of my life to date.
My father's birthday was Candlemas, or Groundhog Day if you are the other side of the pond. Year after year we would compare the weather on our birthdays. Usually the 2nd of February was bright sunny and cold. Two days later and the weather would have changed, to damp & dreary. This happened nearly every year! Given that our birthdays were in the coldest part of the year, you may have thought that one or other of us would have snow on their birthday, but no. I only remember one white birthday, and that was relatively recently. We don't get a lot of snow in this part of the Midlands, usually a couple of light coverings a year, with a more substantial deposit every few years, just to keep us on our toes!
My Dad's last birthday was just after the turn of the century, about eight weeks before he slipping away in his sleep after suffering a stroke, the way he would have chosen to depart this life without any great fuss or drama. Old habits die hard, and I still find myself comparing the weather on our birthdays. This year the second day the second month began cold and cloudy, but later the skies relented and did brighten, as the sun put in a brief belated appearance. Two days later and we had glorious Candlemas weather with the sunshine trying its best to convince us that spring had arrived, tempting us to ignore the low temperatures, discard our coats and dive into summer! Sun on my birthday. Beautiful blues skies! Unheard of!
It isn't supposed to be like this, but no-one was complaining, least of all, me!