For the past few weeks, as their buds swelled, it looked as if it was going to be a dead heat between the ash and the oak as to which would burst into leaf first, but, in a photo finish, the oak emerged victorious (‘oak before ash, we’re in for a splash; ash before oak, we’re in for a soak’).
As a result, hopefully, like last year when the oak won rather more convincingly, we will be in for another glorious dry summer.
Now is the time to drink in the countryside’s chlorophyll—the green of May is one of Britain’s wonders and it’s no wonder that the Green Man played such a part in our folklore to represent the rebirth of Nature. This pagan deity is found on huge numbers of both secular and ecclesiastical buildings as well as pub signs.
Above all, May is the time of England’s green and pleasant land. Those words made famous
by Blake’s poem set to music by Sir Hubert Parry and known to all of us as Jerusalem was first performed on March 28, 1916, during the First World War at a patriotic ‘Fight for Right’ concert. Today, the song still resonates, as does our nation’s natural beauty.