Presently July 2021

Presently July 2021

The summer morn is bright and fresh,

the birds are darting by

As if they loved to breast the breeze that sweeps the cool clear sky

William C. Bryant (1794-1878)

… and it is the favourite month for picnics and ice cream

Welcome to July e-column…

About the month of July

July is the second month of summer and is on average the hottest month in the northern hemisphere! In the southern hemisphere, July is the second of the winter months, equivalent to January in the northern hemisphere.

July means summer holidays and longer days are here! Schools are nearing the end of their academic year with summer break just around the corner and families planning their summer vacation.

Longer warm days are here too, with the month dedicated to picnics along with the official ice cream day to look forward to :). Besides fun days, July brings celebrations, typical Dog Days of Summer and this year in 2021, the greatest all time favourite sports of UEFA Euro 2020 and The Championships Wimbledon! An awesome month of July 2021 indeed!

A quick look at the History of ‘July’

Unlike the months of May and June that are named after Greek goddesses, July has its origins in a mortal who ruled an empire. Julius Caesar was a Roman general, statesman, a historian turned dictator and reformed the Roman calendar. He was assassinated in a legendary fashion during Ides of March.

Julius Caesar is responsible for the calendar as we know it today – twelve months, 365 days and a leap year every 4 years based on the Earth’s revolutions around the Sun. However, the Julian calendar was inaccurate with some missing days. The Gregorian calendar which we now follow was born in 1582 to correct these inaccuracies.

As we know, July is the seventh month of the year but in the Roman times, it was the fifth month and was called ‘Quintilius’ which means ‘fifth’. The month was renamed ‘Julius’ in honour of Caesar who was born on 12 July.

The Anglo-Saxons called the month of July ‘Heymonath’ which refer to ‘haymaking’ or ‘Maed monath’ that refers to the ‘flowering of meadows’.


The July birthstone is the ‘ruby’. Rubies are believed to protect the wearer from evil.

The word ‘ruby’ is derived from the Latin word ‘rubeus’ which means ‘red’. High quality rubies are transparent, vibrant, purplish red. Cloudier rubies are less valuable.


The birth flowers for the month of July are the ‘larkspur’ and the stunningly beautiful ‘water lily’.

Larkspur generally symbolises good luck, laughter and lightness. The white form is a symbol of lightheartedness; pink means fickleness and purple is for first love.

The majestic water lily‘ instantly enhances a quiet pond or lake with its colourful flowers and beautifully shaped leaves.

The starry flowers and uniquely shaped leaves float placidly on water while deeply rooted in mud below. Water lily bloom in a range of colours from spring through to autumn. The stay rooted in the mud over winter and regrow the following year. It’s leaves can be rounded, star-shaped, jagged or straight.

The ‘water lily’ represents  innocence, purity, fertility, pleasure, celebration, hope, rebirth, wellness, and peace in many ancient cultures. In particular, the flower is associated with re-birth in Buddhism and Hinduism because they close-up in winter and re-open in spring. Besides its religious meaning, water lily is generally a symbol of all that is true, good and beautiful, representing good fortune, peace and enlightenment. 

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The UK is no stranger to traditions often celebrated with festivals and regatta. With summer sunshine well underway in July, the month has a number of festivals to look forward to. Here are four that are popular:

1 | Henley Royal Regatta

It has been a tradition since 1839 where the Henley Royal Regatta takes place during the first week of July. The Regatta started on a single afternoon of rowing and now, over five days. The rowing takes place on a stretch of River Thames at Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire. However, this year the event is scheduled to take place in Henley from Wednesday, 11 to Sunday, 15 August 2021.

2 | Swan Upping

Swan Upping is the annual census of swans that takes place on River Thames in July. Swans are counted and marked on a seventy mile journey over five days up the Thames.

3 | Whitstable Oyster Festival and St James’ Day

The Whitstable Oyster Festival traditionally falls on July 25. It is the accepted day for the festival in conjunction with the feast day of St James of Compostella, who is the patron saint of oysters.

The town of Whitstable on the north coast of Kent is associated with oysters for hundreds of years. Relying on customs and traditions, the festival has evolved from year to year, while retaining its individual character and continues on till today. The roots of the festival goes back to Norman times. Whitstable was an established fishing port and it was customary then for the fishermen to celebrate with an annual thanksgiving ceremony.

4 | Haymaking

We have all heard the phrase and the wisdom associated with – “to make hay while the sun shines” – to make the most use of a favourable situation while it lasts. It can’t be truer when it comes to haymaking!

July is the month for haymaking!. All across the country, hay is being cut.

To make hay, the field is cut.  The grass spread, and turned over three or four times until it is dry. Then it is rowed up, baled and put in a barn as quickly as possible before the rain comes. The process can take up to a week. If it rains in the middle of the process, the hay must be left in the field until the sun comes out to dry it off.

Lores, sayings and poems in July

1 | St Swithin’s Day

St Swithin’s Day takes place on 15 July each year. According to traditional folklore, whatever the weather is on the day, it will be so for the next 40 days and 40 nights!

An old poem on this legend goes like this:

“St Swithin’s Day, if it does rain

Full forty days, it will remain

St Swithin’s Day, if it be fair

For forty days, t’will rain no more”

And the story…

St Swithin born around the year 800 and became the Bishop of Winchester. He requested that, upon his death his remains be buried outside in a simple tomb “where the sweet rain of heaven may fall upon my grave”. According to legend, when his remains were moved inside the Cathedral, there was a great storm. It rained for many days and weeks thereafter.

As the old saying goes, if it rains on St Swithin’s Day, it will rain for the next forty days and forty nights. If St Swithin’s Day is dry, the next forty days and forty nights will also be dry.

Not sure if any one takes the prediction literally but according to weather experts there is no statistical evidence to support forty days dry or forty rainy days following July 15 since records began in 1861.

2 | Poems in July

“Answer July—
Where is the Bee—
Where is the Blush—
Where is the Hay?

Ah, said July—
Where is the Seed—
Where is the Bud—
Where is the May—
Answer Thee—Me—”

Emily Dickinson, “Answer July”

“Hot July brings cooling showers,
Apricots and gillyflowers.” 

Sara Coleridge, “Pretty Lessons in Verse”

“The Summer looks out from her brazen tower,

Through the flashing bars of July.” 

Francis Thompson, “A Corymbus for Autumn”

“The serene philosophy of the pink rose is steadying.  Its fragrant, delicate petals open fully and are ready to fall, without regret or disillusion, after only a day in the sun.  It is so every summer.  One can almost hear their pink, fragrant murmur as they settle down upon the grass: ‘Summer, summer, it will always be summer.'”

Rachel Peden

3 | Other folklores associated with the month of July

Ne’er trust a July sky.

If ant hills are high in July, the coming winter will be hard.

No tempest, good July, Lest the corn look ruely.

Whatever July and August do not boil, September can not fry.

Celebrations in the month of July

July 1 is the National Day of Canada. It celebrates the anniversary of July 1, 1867, the effective date of the Constitution Act.

Annual celebration of the much loved classic children’s book – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.

july 4th | presently July 2021

July 4 is the American Independence Day. A national holiday celebrating the anniversary of July 4, 1776, the day on which the original 13 colonies of the United States declared independence from British rule.


World Chocolate Day July 7 2021 – Celebrating all things chocolate! 🙂


July 11 2021. The UEFA EURO 2020 final takes place on Sunday 11 July kicking off at 21:00 CET postponed from 12 July 2020. Wembley will also host the semi-finals on Tuesday 6 and Wednesday 7 July.

July 14 2021 – Celebrating French Independence. Bastille Day is a holiday celebrating the storming of the Bastille, military fortress and prison which took place on July 14, 1789. A violent uprising that helped usher in the French Revolution.


The Olympics – the world’s biggest sporting event, held every four years. Scheduled to be held from July 23 through to August 8 2021.

Postponed from 2020, this time it will be held in Tokyo Japan.

National Picnic Month

July was founded as the National Picnic Month by the American Bakers’ Association in 1952. It seems perfectly understandable why the month is dedicated to picnics. The warm air, bright blue cloudless skies stirs up the appetite. Garden vegetables, fruits, cheese and pickles make outdoor eating easier. With longer days, there’s no rush to head home but to enjoy the warmth of the sun for as long as it affords you to.

The word ‘picnic’ is derived from the French word, ‘piquenique’ which originated around the 17th or 18th century. It means a social gathering where each one bring some food to share in a leisurely style of eating – sort of 18th century al fresco French dining. A bottle of wine, loaf of bread, lots of cheese and fruits for a leisurely meal under the blue sky.

And the best of July must surely be the National Ice Cream Day!

National Ice Cream Day is celebrated every third Sunday in July which means it is July 18 this year. A day is decreed as National Ice Cream Day by President Reagan in 1984 by describing ice cream as ‘‘a nutritious and wholesome food enjoyed by over ninety percent of the people in the United States.’’ The US still lead the way in the consumption of this delightful frozen treat but it has sparked cravings world over and is celebrated annually.

Recap since June e-column

Here are all the articles published in June and the latest in July if you have missed them:

city walking tours in Amsterdam
Royal Windsor Steam Express - Unique train travel | Scenic train journeys in UK
cycling in Amsterdam
Amsterdam by bike
canal biking in Amsterdam
Delicious Dutch culture food in Amsterdam
10 practical travel information for Amsterdam
Explore Amsterdam with superb value I Amsterdam City Card
best food walking tour in Amsterdam
Presently June 2021
Surinamese cuisine in Amsterdam
Ouderkerk aan de Amstel - Amsterdam
Best of England UK
June 18 2021
Ultimate guide to the best of Amsterdam

Summer 2021 seems so different from the last. Crowded beaches, busy parks and cities are alive again, with so many of us out and about basking in the summer sunshine. The longer days are so welcoming and the warm sun just livens up a dull moment.

Whatever you get up to this July, remember your scoop on the wafer cone and time in the parks.

Till next time.


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Presently April 2021

Presently April 2021

Presently April, the month that begins with fun and jokes, a custom that has gone on for hundreds of years. The Cuckoo signals the spring, although spring has officially been onboard as of 1 March. The trees and plants starts “to open” and begin to grow with brighter and clearer days (hopefully!) in the northern hemisphere. The grass grows green and charming daisies bloom here and there which is also right about the time when the Easter bunny makes an appearance. In the midst of cheerful, bright and clear days, the month brings April rains which calls for umbrellas and rain boots as well.

More about ‘April’

History of ‘April’

Well, as we know, the month of April is the fourth month of the year and consist of thirty days. However, this was not always the case. In early Roman calendar, April was the second month and consisted of twenty-nine days. Then it became the fourth month consisting of twenty-nine days when January was designated the first month in the calendar – this took place around 450BC. Then, the 30th day was added by Julius Caesar when he established the new calendar.

Today, April remains the fourth month of the year with thirty days in the Gregorian calendar. The month is associated with spring in the Northern hemisphere while it is autumn in the Southern hemisphere.

Not sure if you noticed – the month of April starts on the same day of the week as July and ends on the same day of the week as December in common years. When in leap years, April starts on the same day of the week as January.

Origins of ‘April’

No one really knows how the name ‘April’ originated but it is believed that it derived from the Latin word, aperit which means “to open”. Aptly named because April is the growing season and trees and flowers begin “to open.” April is also believed to be named after the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite.

The Anglo-Saxon named the month Eostre monath or Eastremonath because the Christian festival, Easter is celebrated during April. Easter is often regarded a moveable feast because the date is set according to the moon. Easter Sunday could be the first Sunday after the full moon, which means Easter can be as early as March 22 or April 25. This year, Easter was celebrated on April 4, 2021.

April Fool’s Day

The month begins with April Fool’s Day. It has been a custom where the first day of the month is a day of fun and silly jokes. No one knows how it began but it has gone on for hundreds of years.

April Fool's Day quote

The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year.”

Mark Twain

The Cuckoo in UK

April column

Listen out to the spring time call of the cuckoo, sometime mid-April when they return from Africa to start their nesting behaviour. Traditionally, the first cuckoo is heard around April 14, St Tiburtius’ Day and sings through to St John’s Day, 24 June. The cuckoo is heard at various places across UK on different dates. The first sighting is often in Isle of Scilly, the far south-west and then gradually moves north. Some places hold cuckoo fairs to welcome spring. There’s a saying that the cuckoo is not heard before Tenbury Fair (21 April) or after Pershore Fair (26 June) in Worcesterhire.

Cuckoo rhyme

Some traditional fairs held as ‘Cuckoo Day’ or ‘Cuckoo Fairs’

Marsden Cuckoo Festival, West Yorkshire – An annual ancient festival of dance, music and sunshine to mark the arrival of spring. Historically takes place on the last Saturday of April;

Heathfield Cuckoo Fair, East Sussex – An annual tradition since 1315 to mark the arrival of spring on the Saturday in late April. “Dame Heffle” releases a cuckoo from her basket to mark this unique event.

Downton Cuckoo Fair, Salisbury, Wiltshire – An annual traditional event to mark “opening the gate” to let the cuckoo through-first weekend in May.

April birthstone

Those born in the month of April can proudly call one of the world’s most sought-after and adored gemstone, diamond as their birthstone. The name ‘diamond’ comes from the Greek word, “adamas” which means “invincible” or “unbreakable”. The gem symbolises inner strength, and clarity. It is thought that the wearer benefits from balance and abundance.

April’s birth flower

By April, spring is (should be) in full swing and April’s birth flowers begin to make their presence known. April’s birth flowers are the daisy and the sweet pea.


Daisies - Spring here, there and everywhere
Regent’s Park London | Daisy – springs up here, there and everywhere

The all too familiar rhyme of “he loves me, he loves me not” is associated with Daisy, a flower that is said to convey innocence, loyal love and purity. Yet, it is a flower given between friends to keep a secret – it means “I’ll never tell”


There are about twenty-five varieties of colourful Daisy but the most well known one is our humble common daisy or the Oxeye daisy – white and yellow flower heads brightening up paths, verges and lawns here, there, everywhere. Perhaps the following poem sums up the best of Daisy:

There is a flower, Innocent and bright, Silver crest and goldeneye, sweetly simple and charming;

Standing tall, out of a sky of green, springing up here and there;

It tells you of sunny times, and gay meadows; Where water, wind and birdsong sings a soothing symphony, to calm the hurt of times gone by;

So, as daisies bloom, here, there and everywhere – it speaks of hope, a unique melody;

In the midst of simplicity, where it stands up, like a star – Innocent and bright eyed.


Sweet pea

April birth flower - sweet pea
April birth flower – sweet pea
April birth flower - sweet pea
April birth flower – sweet pea

The other of April birth flower is the sweet pea – a climbing plant that bear clusters of flowers in a wide variety of beautiful vibrant colours including red, pink, blue, white, and lavender along with intense fragrance. They have a long season of bloom and make excellent cut flowers.

Sweet pea originated in the southwest of Italy and the Mediterranean islands, eventually cultivated as garden flowers in 17th century. They lend a cottage feel to gardens and often grown on bamboo tripods.

There’s a beautiful poem by Alfred Noyes that says all about Sweet Pea:

Under the sweet-peas I stood
And drew deep breaths, they smelt so good.
Then, with strange enchanted eyes,
I saw them change to butterflies.

Higher than the skylark sings
I saw their fluttering crimson wings
Leave their garden-trellis bare
And fly into the upper air.

Standing in an elfin trance
Through the clouds I saw them glance….
Then I stretched my hands up high
And touched them in the distant sky.

At once the coloured wing came back
From wandering in the zodiac.
Under the sweet-peas I stood
And drew deep breaths. They smelt so good.

by Alfred Noyes

April astronomy – Super Full Pink Moon April 2021

Catch a glimpse of the first of the two supermoons in 2021 in the northern hemisphere. The supermoon in April is traditionally known as Pink Moon.

Learn more about lunar phases, supermoons and more from Royal Museums Greenwich | Visit Greenwich, a historical town where Time began

UK readers – venture outside on the night/early hours of Tuesday 27 April, 2021 when the full pink moon is expected to peak at 04:31. However, the moon shall be visible after sunset and you can follow its progress and watch it peak at 4:31 a.m.

USA readers – venture outside on the night of Monday 26 April 2021. The super Pink Moon is visible after sunset and is said to peak at 11:33 p.m. EDT.

Origins of full moon names

The full moon names have several sources. They came from Native Americans, Colonial Americans and European sources.

Time was not recorded using months in accordance with Julian or Gregorian calendar by the early Native Americans. Tribes gave each full moon a nickname to keep track of time and lunar months. Most of these names relate to an activity or an event that took place at a specific location. As one can imagine, there was no uniformity of a “system” as tribes named and counted moons differently. For example, some counted four seasons in a year while others said five. A year was defined as twelve moons while some said there were thirteen!

Although the “system” lacked uniformity, the Colonial Americans adopted some of the moon names and applied them to their own calendar system, hence their present existence.

Why is the April full moon called the “Pink Moon”

Phlox Subulata | April
Phlox Subulata also known as Pink Moss
Phlox in various colours
Phlox in various colours

However, as mystical as the April full moon name may seem, the super Pink Moon in April is not pink!. It was named by the Native Americans after the pink wildflowers which appear around this time in North America, called Phlox Subulata. This pink bloom is native to eastern North America and is also known as moss pink. Another name to given to Pink Moon is Egg Moon because of egg-laying season in spring, while the coastal tribe named the April moon as Fish Moon, referring to the shad swimming upstream around this time.

April Meteor showers

April is a great month to spot some spectacular night sky displays, gracing us with bright and fast meteors. Associated with Comet Thatcher, these meteors come with trains and are at their optimum on 22 April 2021. You could also witness them from 13 April through to 29 April.

Meteor showers make great photography opportunity if you want to capture that milky way! :). Learn more on > How to spot a meteor shower.

April rhymes

April is no stranger to rhymes and there are just one too many to share here but here are three that you may like.

The sun was warm but the wind was chill.

You know how it is with an April day.

When the sun is out and the wind is still,

You’re one month on in the middle of May.

But if you so much as dare to speak,

a cloud come over the sunlit arch,

And wind comes off a frozen peak,

And you’re two months back in the middle of March.”

–  Robert Frost, Two Tramps in Mud Time, 1926 

Oh, how fresh the wind is blowing!

See! The sky is bright and clear,

Oh, how green the grass is growing!

April! April! Are you here?

Dora R. Goodale (1866-1953)

April cold with dripping rain,

Willows and lilacs brings again,

The whistle of returning birds,

And trumpet-lowing of the herds.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

April in history

Famous people born in April – Shakespeare, Leonardo da Vinci

The ship Titanic hit an iceberg and sank on its first and only voyage – 15 April 1912.

George Washington became the first President of the United States of America on 30 April 1789.

The explosion of Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine forced everyone within a 300-mile radius to be evacuated – 26 April 1986.

First Olympics of the modern age took place on 6 April 1896 – after 1500 years.

For all Mustang lovers – Ford unveiled its first Mustang 17 April 1964 for $2368!

Recap of what has been going on so far since March e-column

March had been a busy month – with Lent, Mothering Sunday, spring cleaning, writing and nature walks – not sure where the month had gone!!

On the writing front, there were Easy Sunday Read articles along with travel articles on Isle of Wight, one of England’s haven. As well, a couple of articles on English Heritage, an excellent value for money Pass to visit some of the most iconic of England’s priceless sites for a small fee. Please find all of these articles below, if you had missed them previously:

What to look forward in April

There are couple more related articles on History of Britain and the Tower which will come your way this month as easy Sunday read before this part of the series is concluded. As travel within UK is looking likely in the coming months, there are some articles on Isle of Wight which will be in your inbox as well. If you are planning to travel abroad, please visit Best offer on Winter Sun and Summers at the Beach for some impressive value for money travel offers.

On a final note…

We know “April showers bring May flowers,” – if April rains ever gets you down, remember the silver lining round the corner! Look forward to sharing more in May.

Have an awesome month of April!

Georgina xx

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