I’ve been kept inside by the weather—Storm Dudley followed by Storm Eunice. Strong winds and lots of rain, although to be honest, we needed the rain. It’s been a dry year so far and 6 inches down, the soil had little moisture in it. So it’s odd that my indoor occupation—going through the family archives and scanning photos—unearthed a sheet of lined paper with these nautical weather rhymes on it. It could be my father’s writing but I’m not 100% sure.

Mackerel skies and mares’ tails
Make tall ships carry short sail.

When the wind shift against the sun
Trust it not for back it will run.
When the wind follows the sun
Fine weather will never be done.

If the wind is North East, three days without rain.
Eight days will go by before South again.

If wooly fleeces deck the heavenly way,
Be sure no rain will mar a summer’s day.

With rain before the wind
Stays and topsails you must mind.
But with the wind before the rain,
Your topsails you may set again.

When the sea hog (porpoise) jumps,
Stand by at your pumps.

First rise after low
Foretells a stronger blow.

Seagull, seagull, sit on the sand.
It’s never good weather when you’r on the land.