22 MARCH 1946, Page 16

COUNTRY LIFb A CONSIDERABLE authority on the weather—that most English

subject- ossures me that among rural beliefs one, at any rate, is corroborated by scientific statistics, to wit, that snow in March is wont to precede a dry summer. Well, we shall have an opportunity of testing the prophecy. Seldom did the " peck of March dust " seem so unlikely to be vouchsafed. " The last long streak of snow " did not fade till March was nearly half- way through, and the ground remained so sticky that impatient gardeners were quite unable to sow their onion beds and the rest. Whatever the sequel and whatever the prophets prophesy, a late spring is almost always preferable to an early, especially for the fruit-grower, and March showers of snow have more than cancelled the precocity encouraged by a hot February. A late spring is also of advantage to a number of birds and indeed hibernating insects.. Very early nesting usually ends in disaster. which befalls in ma ty ways. Thrushes and blackbirds desert if frost and snow succeed, and their nests are often ludicrously obvious to marauders, human or other. In the tribe of ducks it quite often happens that the premature broods die for lack of carnal food ; and this may not be procurable till a later date. So, though we abuse our springs for " setting in with their usual severity," we shall be justified in feeling that somehow good emerges.