Friday 20 July 2012

The weather....

Well perhaps there may be sun in Charlbury this weekend. So a long walk over to my favourite pub The Plough in Finstock beckons. The Hound is not a great rain lover!

My brother Nick is obsessed with the weather. Indeed his daily Blog called appropriately The Daily Retailer ( he is a retail analyst) has all you ever need to know about it. Recently he was suggesting this summer may be the worst on record since the disastrous summer of 1816 which was called “the year with no summer” .

But the year marked 3 great artistic accomplishments inspired by that grim summer. Some of the best-known art of the Romantic period came out of that summer; in Switzerland, Lord Byron rented a villa near Lake Geneva and among his guests was one Mary Shelley. The appalling weather kept the house party trapped indoors, where Byron suggested they each write a ghost story. Mary Shelley wrote “Frankenstein” and Byron himself composed his famous poem about the extinction of the sun, “Darkness”. And back in England, the spectacular sunsets painted by Turner at this time were, of course, the work of the airborne ash from the eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia in 1815. Well done to Alex B for naming all those three answers. In Germany, incidentally, the soaring cost of oats in 1816 led to a shortage of horse feed, and so, just before he gave up on the weather and emigrated to Brazil, one Karl Drais invented a replacement for the horse: the velocipede, the precursor to the bicycle. Thus we all have cause to be grateful to the abysmal summer of 1816 and it will be interesting to see what great artistic accomplishments are inspired by the grim summer of 2012...though hopefully not on the increasingly accident prone Olympics!

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