Archive for March 20th, 2011

A couple of Aprils ago, I remarked to an Irish friend how it was nearly May and thus nearly my birthday (what, you’re not still excited about yours?). ‘Ooh’, she said, ‘how lovely. A summer birthday’.

I did a double-take. ‘No’, I corrected, ‘a spring birthday’.

‘But May’s the first month of summer’. My pal was adamant about this; Wikipedia backs her up (though Met Eireann begs to differ).

It's spring, Jim, but not as we know it

It utterly baffled me. Quick; which season’s your birthday in? You know it as instinctively as you know your star sign, right? Years of birthday parties being weather-dependent, or too close to Christmas, or in the middle of the summer holidays, mean that your birthday season’s hardwired. This discovery was just as peculiar as the recent assertion that there’s an extra zodiac sign out there.

I was thinking about this again yesterday, admiring the bank of daffodils I’d planted more in hope than expectation when we moved into our wreck of a house in October. ‘Spring’s sprung’, I thought. And then I wondered. Has it, really? Is it spring over there in Ireland now? And if so, when did it start? Last month, when the snow still threatened? Or is it this month? And why is it different from (as far as I can tell) the rest of Europe?

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