poetry and prose about place

from the pages of an old diary – the weather

with 8 comments

For any given date, the first entry in my great-aunt’s diary is a note about the weather.  Weather was important to my great-aunt.  It dictated what could be done during the day, if a wash could be put on the line, if she could go out walking to visit family and friends, and if a fire had to be kept going.   

She described the weather in various ways:  ‘nice fine day’, not very cold’, ‘dark day’, ‘fine very cold’.  Sometimes it just says ‘nice day’. 

Bad weather was sometimes called a ‘dirty cold day’ (April 11, 1957). 

Some days were described in a bit of detail.  On September 23, 1957, she wrote, ‘fine in the morning very windy cloudy in late p.m.’    On March 20, 1957, she wrote ‘a big snow storm on   drifting and blowing.’  March 21, 1957, the first day of spring, says ‘roads all blocked still snowing some’.  

Christmas Day, December 25, 1957, was ‘quite cold, a few snowflurries’.

On November 26, 1957, it was so cold, she wrote ‘I washed, clothes froze before I could get them on the line’.

It might be interesting to compare the actual weather records for 1957 with the weather she recorded!



September storm

                -response to a diary entry for September 5, 1957


                                             Thurs. rained hard last nt [night] also thunder and lightning. 

                                             Dad took car up to L.S. to fix.  I made dough-nuts [and] 

                                             biscuits, did a small wash.  went up street.

                                                                                       –          A.M.W.


last night dismal, thunder wobbled

the windows, a leak

in the pantry, the rain in curtains

across the yard,  forked lightning

the clothes pole vulnerable

car would not start, the driveway in runnels

freezer and the day’s baking

at the mercy of indecisive




© Jane Tims  2012

socks and mittens knit by my grandmother (my great-aunt’s sister)

Copyright Jane Tims 2012

Written by jane tims

February 6, 2012 at 6:38 am

8 Responses

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  1. I used to take weather readings in my backyard when I was growing up. It’s always been an interest of mine, so I can understand this!


    Watching Seasons

    February 14, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    • Hi. I remember measuring rainfall in a measuring cup when I was a kid. In the 1980’s when I worked with air quality, I used to watch our volunteers take readings at stations set up on their properties. Today, we are constant weather watchers since my husband plows snow in winter. Jane


      jane tims

      February 14, 2012 at 9:26 pm

  2. Taking note of the weather is something people never get tired of doing! When my kids were little I used to hang clothes out on the line – I loved it – and would listen to the weather radio each morning to see if it was a good drying day. When I read what your grandmother wrote, “I washed, clothes froze before I could get them on the line,” it made me smile because that happened to me a few times and I found it a remarkable thing, the stiffness of the clothes and yet the frozen water did evaporate – I think there’s another word for it. 🙂


    Barbara Rodgers

    February 10, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    • Hi. I can imaginge the clothes going on the line and being quite uncooperative! Jane


      jane tims

      February 10, 2012 at 9:45 pm

  3. This makes me want to keep a domestic diary of my own, although I’m not sure if future generations would be as interested as I am in such mundane details, the ordinary magic of the everyday.

    Wonderful poem and sketch, Jane. 🙂



    February 9, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    • Hi Robin. My great-aunt’s diaries, on first glance, are just the recording of everyday ‘mundane’ life, but things change so much, taken a a whole, they give a wonderful record of what life was like. I’d encourage anyone to keep a diary, and then put it in the hands of someone who’ll save it!!! But guess what!!!, your record of your wanderings around your bogs are a great record of what one aspect of life is like for you today. Jane


      jane tims

      February 10, 2012 at 6:44 am

  4. Do you have the diary? I’d be thrilled if I had something of this kind from my grandmother or an aunt. Loved your sketch too.



    February 7, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    • Hi Keith. I have an e-journal I add to very sporadically, and I have my ‘rough books’ where I keep notes, revisions and thoughts about my writing. I am lucky to have the diaries and letters of my great-aunt and my mom to help me with my family history. I’m glad you like the sketch. Jane


      jane tims

      February 8, 2012 at 6:47 am

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