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Wednesday, 15 July 2020


Available for freelance writing commissions on a variety of subjects including family history, nostalgic Belfast and its famous people, shops, shoppers & shopping (40 years in retailing), the golden age of Hollywood (including westerns) and humorous pieces on life's weird and wonderful. Op-eds, columns, non-fiction book reviews too. & @JoeCushnan

I have a portfolio of features, reviews, poetry and short fiction published in all sorts of places - Belfast Telegraph, Tribune, Ireland's Own, Dalhousie Review, Fairlight Books, Reader's Digest, Reality, Lapwing Poetry, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Spillwords, Dear Reader, Amethyst Review, to name a selection.  Oh, and the odd BBC radio contribution. I wrote a book on retailing, on dealing with job losses and a biography of Stephen Boyd.

This is a series of very short items that have nothing to do with the current news agenda.  Swift diversions for a moment or two.

Apropos of Nothing #86 – 15 July

St. Swithin’s Day, also called St. Swithun’s Day, is a day on which, according to folklore, the weather for a subsequent period is dictated. 

In popular belief, if it rains on St. Swithin’s Day, it will rain for 40 days, but if it is fair, 40 days of fair will follow. 

St Swithin was bishop of Winchester from 852 to 862. 

At his request he was buried in the churchyard, where rain and the steps of passers-by might fall on his grave. 

According to legend, after his body was moved inside the cathedral on July 15, 971, a great storm ensued. The first textual evidence for the weather prophecy appears to have come from a 13th- or 14th-century entry in a manuscript at Emmanuel College, Cambridge.

St. Swithin's day, if thou dost rain, 
For forty days it will remain; 
St. Swithin's day, if thou be fair, 
For forty days 'twill rain na mair.

Sources: Britannica and others

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