We dread the rain each year
On this day in the height of summer
As lovers climb their hills above
Looking over Scottish towns
And dreaming of a future day
When life has dealt them awful blows
And they can learn that life goes on
With people dying, babies born
And love that blossomed into light.
It’s St Swithun’s Day today, and that is a special one for me. For starters, I went into labour on the 15th July 2005, so I always remember going into hospital on that evening every year that goes by.
Also, one of my favourite books of all time is One Day by David Nicholls, and this book looks at the lives of the two main characters each year on St Swithun’s Day. They meet on graduation day at the end of their time at university in Scotland, and they drift in and out of each other’s lives as we see them over the thirty year period.
I have always believed in the St Swithuns myth too, which adds another layer of interest to this day. I learnt the story when I won the Bishop of Winchester Christmas card competition and got a tour of the cathedral as my prize.
During the tour we stopped at the St Swithun’s monument and we were told that before he died he insisted that he be buried inside the cathedral. They went against his wishes and buried him outside – on the 15th July. The story goes that it started raining shortly after he was buried and it continued to rain for forty days and nights.
The cathedral began to flood and so St Swithun was taken from his grave outside and put inside. Instantly, the rain stopped. Now the theory is that if it rains on 15th July, it will continue to rain for forty days. Unfortunately, today it is raining.