Ladybird folklore generally sees this little beetle as an omen of good luck and a first sighting after Yule heralds the arrival of spring. The humble house fly, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to rate much of an opinion amongst the ‘old wives’.
Seasonal abnormalities now seem to be the norm, but it set me thinking about sayings relating to winter, and how, contrary to what we might think, it is not snow that has traditionally been seen as the enemy.
There is a weather proverb: A green winter makes a fat churchyard’ alluding to the notion that a December/January without snow will be followed by much illness and many deaths. It is an old superstition, which appears to be without any foundation in fact, yet this one seems to be fairly universal.
• A green winter makes a fat churchyard. (UK).
• A green Christmas, a white Easter. (Germany).
• A mild winter makes a full graveyard. (China).
Not very relevant to ladybirds but what can I say – that’s the way my mind works. Getting back to those garden insects, it would seem that the mild (if damp) winter has them fooled.
There are also flowers blooming in the garden, which really shouldn’t be, at least not so early on in the year. Cool blue Speedwells are coming into flower, and I even found some buds on that South African classic, Osteospermum.
An early spring? Or a false start? Only waiting for the traditional spring dates will tell us.