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Arctic plunge, 30 years ago. 27th/28th April 1985

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Remember this one very well. It was the weekend of the World Snooker final between Steve Davis and Dennis Taylor. The Saturday was cloudy and breezy, the wind kept whipping up soil of the Moss and we had Fen Blows during that day. Towards the end of the day, it cleared from the north and snow flakes started to fall as the clearance approached.

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Edited by Weather-history

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I recall that during 1958 we were studying the Nun's Priest's Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer and we got to the part where it described the scene as being a warm April day - my immediate thought was, ' what is he talking about? - it is never warm in April' or at least that was my perception of that time but human memory is not totally accurate and in my mid teens I would not have been able to recall that many.

 

At the same time the calendar in Chaucer's time must have been a little out of sync, so it could have been about 10 days in advance in the year from what we imagine now, because we adjusted the calendar back by 11 days in the changeover from the Julian to the Gregorian in 1752,

 

But over the years it seems that we have had more white Easters than white Christmases, though there does appear to be a general trend towards warmer Aprils these days. 

Edited by mike Meehan

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I recall that during 1958 we were studying the Nun's Priest's Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer and we got to the part where it described the scene as being a warm April day - my immediate thought was, ' what is he talking about? - it is never warm in April' or at least that was my perception of that time but human memory is not totally accurate and in my mid teens I would not have been able to recall that many.

 

At the same time the calendar in Chaucer's time must have been a little out of sync, so it could have been about 10 days in advance in the year from what we imagine now, because we adjusted the calendar back by 11 days in the changeover from the Julian to the Gregorian in 1752,

 

But over the years it seems that we have had more white Easters than white Christmases, though there does appear to be a general trend towards warmer Aprils these days.

We know exactly what time of year the Canterbury Tales was set because of the astronomy references in it. "When the yonge sonne hath in the ram his halve course yronne"- that was about April 20 by our calendar, April 10-11 as it would have been then. There is also a passage where he tells the time by the sun and it's amazingly accurate:

The sonne fro the south lyne was descended

So lowe that he was nat, to my sighte

Degrees nine and twenty as in highte

Four of the clokke it was tho, as I gesse

For eleven foot, or little more or lesse

My shadwe was at thilke tyme as there

Of swiche feet as my lengthe parted were

In six feet equal of proporcioun

Therewith the moones exaltacioun

I meene Libra alwey gan ascende

As we were entrying at a thorpes ende

Now find some astronomy software, set it to 1600UT, April 20, 1380 (thats a Gregorian date) in London and check the sun's height. Then go forward to sunset and see the full moon come up in Libra.

As for the weather, what's with the "drought of March"? Perhaps that was a regular occurrence then. It's interesting that there are loads of Middle English poems about springs and summers, but hardly any about winter. Then after about 1500 it all changes, and we see people writing about brutal cold more and more.

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