London in August, a city where the councils are tearing the tarmac off every road and traffic is on a perpetual diversion from one street containing a very large hole to another street containing another very large hole. The expensive parts of town are emptied of people, the poorer parts are as full as they ever were. The centre of town throngs with tourists and Londoners, who are avoiding eye contact and too polite (or indifferent) to tell the tourists that Leicester Square is not pronounced Lye – cess – ter Square but Less – ter Square.
The football season has started. Did it always start this early? And with monotonous inevitability Arsenal has already lost to a side they should have beaten. Across the street from us even the plane trees seem fretful, peeling vast amounts of bark each night, their shed skins swept up by the road sweepers each morning. Having witnessed two spectacular rows over the weekend, it got me thinking about the effect of the seasons on mood. Andrea Stephenson the author of the fantastic Harvesting Hecate blog also did in this beautiful blog post here:
We’re in the dog days (end of July to the beginning of August) so-called by the ancients because this time of year, when the dog star Sirius rose above the horizon, coincided with the hottest days of the year. It was also said to bring with it disease and war.
Here’s a bit of the Iliad:
“… Sirius, the star of harvest, brightest of the stars in the dark of night. Orion’s dog, men call it, glittering brightly yet boding ill, bringing fever to wretched mortals …”
ILIAD BOOK 22
So there we are. If you’re feeling a bit of a wretched mortal, if you’re under the weather or itching for a fight, you know who to blame. The cute husky of course! The star, by the way, was supposed to be on the tip of the dog’s nose.
Finally, a nice bit of Dickens. Here’s a description of Scrooge from A Christmas Carol
“He carried his own low temperature always about him; he iced his office in the dog days; and didn’t thaw it one degree at Christmas.”
A CHRISTMAS CAROL – CHARLES DICKENS
Roll on September!