My sister Ruth’s latest book – titled as above – is about to be published and the Dorset Echo recently ran a piece about the book and Ruth. Here are some extracts. There’s a nice photo of her taken earlier this year during a much enjoyed Chobe 1 Day Safari together in Botswana.
“Ruth Binney, 67, from West Stafford, is releasing her seventh book, Wise Words And Country Ways Weather Lore. The work is an illustrated collection of old sayings relating to rural life and the great British climate, with descriptions of how they came about. It also explores proverbs and superstitions relating to the weather.
Ruth said: “I have always been fascinated by the weather and I suppose it really goes back to my dear old father who always had lots of sayings like ‘as the days lengthen the cold strengthens’ and ‘ring round the moon, snow soon’. “Definitely living in the country you are much more in touch with the weather and also I’m a gardener, which makes a big difference. I just love the mixture that these sayings give between old-fashioned knowledge and historicism about the weather, and how that combines with what we know today through science.”
Ruth does explode a few of the old mythologies about the countryside and sayings that are not true. She said: “There are obvious things like the business about cows lying down means it’s going to rain is actually a lot of rubbish. “Cows alternately stand up to eat and then lie down to chew. “As they are herd animals what one does most of the others do. “Another one that’s a lot of rubbish is lots of berries on holly means its going to be a cold winter. “It depends on what weather we have had not what we are going to get.”
However, she said a lot of the old sayings that have been passed down the generations still ring true today. Ruth said: “One very good one is if lady birds hibernate then it will be a cold winter – studies show that is really very true. “Another good one is ‘a bee was never caught in a shower’ as bees are very sensitive to the weather and if it’s going to rain. “Also that the scarlet pimpernel closes when it’s going to rain or the air becomes damp.”
Ruth, who moved to Dorset in 2002 and produced the first book two years later, enjoys her surroundings and draws on it for her writing. She said: “I get inspiration from the countryside and from my garden here and I also walk a lot, I find that’s inspiring and it’s weather-related.”