How do you celebrate seasons?

May girls by a May tree in full blossom on May Day 2011.

Spring is turning into summer – the lilac’s out in London and the elder is flowering. Even if we are still in the midst of the hungry gap (ie, there’s not much freshly grown seasonal veg available from the UK and in particular my garden) at the moment the dryness and sunshine makes me crave salads, new potatoes (got to wait until June!) and all those fabulous greens that will soon swamp farmers’ markets, indeed any market and be put on sale alongside honesty boxes in non-urban areas everywhere.

So this post – by Nicola Baird using some ideas from her book Homemade Kids: thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children – is in praise of celebrating the seasons. We have four Bramley Hedge plates (found at a car boot sale) that during the year each take a turn on the dresser. Spring’s still on show but looks mighty dated (yes, in more ways than one) with its mice amongst primroses.

Green Man looking good with an ipod, leaves and flower garlands.

Chiswick Mall during a high Thames tide.

Today Lola, Nell and I walked along a portion of the Thames path on a quasi history mission – looking for traces of Barbara Villiers, a mistress of Charles II’s whose last home was in Chiswick. It was a gorgeous walk: we saw a spring Thames tide flood part of the road, got lost shoulder-height in cow parsley in a churchyard and met a real Green Man plus Morris Dancers performing by the Rutland Arms pub. No wonder I’ve at last clicked that my significant others are named May – and if our family don’t make a song and dance about May Day then we’re missing a fine chance for celebration. These pictures are the result (and Pete’s not there because he was watching West Ham…).

“Pinch punch it’s the first day of the month – no returns…”

OR “Here’s a kiss and a kick for being so quick”

Morris dancers are a great chance "to stand and stare", often by a pub!

And that got me thinking: how do you celebrate the seasons?
Is it an event –  a party like a birthday – or is it just a general feeling of relief when the house martins/swallows come back, or the first mowing is made, or utter confidence in being able to walk to school/nursery without a fleece?  Admittedly, that last one may never be possible in the UK…

Enjoying high days and holidays
Here’s to many more opportunities to enjoy marking the good things in life, especially the days that seem to promise so much – the first of  a month and the start of a weekend. Such a different feeling to the often consumer-fuelled pressure of organising a birthday. Happy May Day!

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