Monthly Musing – March 2022 – In like a lion …

“March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.”

Or more appropriately this week: “out like a fish” (as the dog and I squelched along sodden footpaths and across wet grass) or “out like a polar bear” as the temperatures dropped and the frost returned.

The implication is that the weather at the beginning of March is still Wintery; loud and blustery, and by the end of the month, much gentler Spring weather has arrived – but of course, the weather does exactly what it wants to do and climate change has no time for old sayings.  Two years ago, we were sweltering at this time of the year during the first coronavirus lockdown, and today I’m striding out with the dog with my coat firmly zipped up and ALL the Winter layers still on.

I expect that all languages and cultures have sayings like this – ones that we can remember our grandparents saying and which seemed to be an absolute truth from the mouths of the older generation.  I can remember being certain that it was going to rain when cows lay down, that seeing early holly berries meant plenty of snow (perhaps this is true everywhere except the volcanic hotspot of Winwick*) and that if it rained on St Swithun’s Day on 15 July, it was probably going to rain for the next 40 days and nights (St Swithun has had more than his fair share of extra days recently, I think! 🙂 ).

Nowadays, we have science to explain the meanings behind some of the sayings that we grew up with and whilst I think that sometimes it’s a bit of a shame to have to definitely prove something (or not), I find it fascinating that some of them do actually have some scientific basis.  There really is a reason why there are red skies at night, or why “mackerel skies” precede rain!

With all the facts and information that we have at our disposal nowadays, it’s easy to dismiss all of these old sayings as nonsense but they are part of the colour of our childhoods and our language.  I can still remember being told not to go outside without a vest or a coat on (“cast ne’er a clout till May is out”) and I probably rolled my eyes and took my coat off as soon as I was out of view, but I absolutely believe in not assuming that the frost risk is over until the end of May and wouldn’t dream of risking my seedlings so carefully protected in the greenhouse.

I love that we are a mixture of old sayings and new facts, that we “swear by” things that our parents and grandparents said even if we now know them to be quite ridiculous, and I wouldn’t change any of it.

I’m looking out of the window at my washing blowing in the sunshine.  Yes, the end of March might finally be the lamb of the saying – but it’s still not warm so I hope this lamb has its coat on!


*  we get very little snow in Winwick even when the surrounding areas are covered in the white stuff; I’m convinced it’s because we live over an undiscovered volcanic hotspot!


Two white magnolia flowers on the tree - the one on the right is close up and other flowers are visible behind

Magnolia stellata

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15 Responses

  1. Susan Rayner says:

    Well here in Surrey the month is ending much colder than it began – we had snow, sleet and hail today and it was 0C this morning – so in like a lamb and out like a lion! I was always told the ne’er cast a clout til May is out referred to the blossom of the Hawthorn Tree – the May!
    Another lovely blog from you – thank you!

    • winwickmum says:

      I think it depends on where you live in the country – I was looking it up online as I know it in relation to clothing but it did mention Hawthorns too. I love that the same saying has different meanings! 🙂 xx

  2. It came in like a lion and went out like a lion with a lamb in between here. We have had a lot of snow this week and frosts. It was t-shirt weather here last week. It has been warm for that same week for the past few years as the Equinox week we always have a little celebration here and we have enjoyed warm sun for that for a few years now.

    I am with Susan on the May in ne’er cast a clout til May is out, I too thought it referred to Hawthorn Blossom.

    I do love the old sayings and the fact that science has corroborated them too.

    • winwickmum says:

      You’re right, it was lovely around the Equinox and it seemed like Spring was actually here! I like your summary of the lions surrounding the lamb (although I don’t think the lamb would have liked it in real life!). I think the saying is also about Hawthorns, it seems to depend on where you live in the country as to whether you relate it to clothes or flowers! 🙂 xx

  3. Jennifer says:

    I was trying to figure out where to add stitches on your “easy cable sock”. The number of cast on needs to be 72. Should I add 4 stitches to the center & 2 stitches 2 the side? Or the 8 stitches in the center? Thanks in advance for your help.

    • winwickmum says:

      You can do it wherever you like – that’s the joy of this pattern! Adding the 8 stitches to the centre will push the cables more to the edge whereas splitting them will bring them in a little. There’s really no right or wrong here so feel free to pick which you think you’d like best 🙂 xx

  4. Chris says:

    Had morning coffee in the garden last week. Yesterday the weather lady said that March had been the sunniest but definitely a drop yesterday. Snow and sleet at midday yesterday on the south coast. Snow this morning north of the South Downs but nothing here – yet! Definitely not casting my clout for a while. Thanks for your blog, much appreciated.

    • winwickmum says:

      It certainly has been sunny this month – makes a change from earlier in the year when we couldn’t seem to shift the blanket of grey! My clout is going nowhere either 🙂 xx

  5. Cathy says:

    Many years ago we lived in Birchington (isle of thanet) Kent. That was described as a micro climate too. I gather Norfolk say the same. Living on the Lincolnshire coast, we seem to have less snow and ice conditions. Salt in the air I guess. Take care. Cathy

  6. Love the pictures of your Stella Magnolia…it always looks like bows on a package. 🙂

  7. Anne says:

    I am late reading this blog but I am with you on the saying “cast not a clout…..”, must be a northern thing (I’m a Yorkshire lass), it was something my dad always instilled in us, that included keeping on your vest and liberty bodice! Now I’m showing my age. Lovely Magnolia.

    • winwickmum says:

      Yes, I think you could be right – a few people have mentioned the Hawthorn connection but it definitely seems to depend where in the country you live 🙂 xx

  8. Chris Berry says:

    Oh my goodness! Anne’s reminder of liberty bodices! There again, we were very grateful for their warmth, especially when trying to get dressed under the blankets before attempting to look through the frost ferns on the bedroom windows! Then a race downstairs to have breakfast by the fire in the dining room.

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