Country wisdom… or not

Thorne Moore

Oak before Ash, we shall have a splash.
Ash before Oak, we shall have a soak.

This, according to country lore, dictates whether the British summer will be a time of scattered showers or torrential downpours. If there were any truth in it, we are about to experience a phenomenally dry few months. I have known years when the oak and ash were running neck and neck, though the oak invariably won by half a leaf, but this year there’s no contest. We are into the second week of May and the ash leaves are just beginning to sprout from their black buds. The oak trees were already greening up a month ago and most are now in full leaf.

Gabriel Oak, in my lane, is a solitary green beacon amidst the sullen bare branches of Adam, Eve and Methuselah Ash. The forest across the valley looks like an incomplete…

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