The Everyday Lore Project

12 October 2020 – St Wilfred’s Day

12 October 2020 – St Wilfred’s Day

My book said the weatherlore on St Wilfred’s Day is a trifle boring. But frankly, I find there’s nothing dull about standing on the pavement in the rain holding up a freshly gobbed on finger to try and figure out which way the wind in blowing. For it is said on St Wilfred’s Day, if the wind blows from the west, we’re in for a patch of good weather. And if I’m ever going to get these stars counted, I could really do with a run of clear skies. 

The whole finger thing was something I was taught to do as a child: lick your finger, hold it up and Bob’s your lobster, your finger gets colder when exposed to the breeze. Except having the navigational competency of a potato, even if my cold, wet finger did pick up the wind, I could never tell from which direction it was blowing anyway. So tonight I brought a compass out with me. And when I say I brought a compass out with me, I mean I took my phone out with a compass app playing. 

Direction of the wind
screenshot of my app

As the weather is a little foul tonight, I’m not absolutely sure this is the direction the gusts were coming from, but it’s my best guess. However, having just checked the Met Office website, they’re saying it’s a Sou’wester, as does BBC Weather, as does AccuWeather. 

You see, the navigational competency of a potato. But either way, the wind wasn’t blowing from the west. So buckle up and button down. The slow march towards winter continues. 


Cooper, Q. and Sullivan, P. (1994) Maypoles, Martyrs & Mayhem: 366 Days of British Myths, Customs & Eccentricities, London, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

Published by Liza Frank

Author of My Celebrity Boyfriend. Obsessed with hula hooping, sons of preachermen and fresh dates, sometimes all at the same time. Curator of Folklore Agony and The Everyday Lore Project.

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