Nuts in May(*)

I’m confused.  Ok, I know it’s not that hard (I’m just a boy from the Fens) so please bear with me.

WeatherLike all good English discussions, it begins with the weather. It’s been a cold(ish) start to the month but that’s no bad thing on one count, at least.

The onions, garlic and broad beans I set on the allotment a few weeks ago need around 10 days with the temperature below 10OC to shock them into growth. So far, so good.

This morning, the weather updates from two websites give two very different long term forecasts. According to one source, we’re in for the worst winter, ever. Takes time to digest, I know, but according to the Independent (no less) it will be so cold through the winter that we will be just one small step up from freezing on the spot if we step outdoors. Ok I may have made that bit up but you get my drift.

Then an amateur forecaster reports that, having studied the moon cycles for 1000 years (he doesn’t look old enough), he confidently predicts a warm November followed by a cold January to March. Again the words “worst, “winter and “ever” appear in close proximity. This time we have to wait until after Christmas.

Who can you really trust? Perhaps neither and almost certainly both.

Last word on this subject must go to country lore. A cold November, according to one William Robinson (who saw some 84 winters), always means a mild winter. Well, we’ve had 3 duck frosts and so I’m waiting to see what happens. Does it really mean:

When November ice do bear a duck
The winter coming be nothing but mud and muck?

That’s not all. I occasionally find myself reading things I realise later that I probably shouldn’t be looking at. So it was this morning as I negotiated with the toaster to produce something resembling toast as opposed to an offering of pure carbon or untarnished white bread.

Do you realise that the allergen notice for peanut butter – found on the label on the back of the jar – mentions a potential hazard for nut allergy and that the product may contain nuts? Right next to that label is a list of ingredients: apparently peanut butter (or a well known emporium’s own brand at least) contains at least 87% nuts? I neither knew nor guessed, despite the clue being in the name of the product.

Has the whole world gone mad or am I just in the wrong millennia? I’m sure it’s just my age.

(*) Strange fact alert 1. It’s probably not nuts in May but nuts from May. The children’s rhyme probably refers the harvesting of wild food in winter from the May tree (Hawthorn, Blackthorn, Quickthorn)
Strange fact alert 2. In case you missed it, it’s now November, not May. You can eat pork and shellfish now there’s an “r” in the month.

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