I walked passed these lovely blossom trees early this morning. As I walked along a song from a film I'd seen too many years ago to mention (and bought the LP of the soundtrack which I think my be skulking up in the roof somewhere) came into my head - so with apologies to Lerner and Loewe it 's something like "It's May, it's May, the lusty month of May, that darling month when everyone goes, blissfully astray, It's May, It's May, that gorgeous holiday" As I shivered in the cool wind I remembered the sequence in the film, was it ever as warm and delightful as that on the 1st May?
Since the change from the Julian to the Gregorian calender in 1752 the 1st May became May Day, a holiday, a celebration of the coming of the warmer weather, the blossom on the trees, the blooming of the flowers, the nesting of the birds a time of light heartedness and romance. People would go 'a -maying' to bring in the May - they would decorate their houses with flowers and greenery, children would dance around the village maypole and a May Queen would be chosen. We didn't have a Maypole in our village but I do remember the choosing of a May Queen. We had to dress as a flower and say a little rhyme, I seem to remember I had to be a Marguerite in a white paper bonnet. Today we don't have May 1st as May Day but instead we have the nearest Monday to it as a set Bank Holiday, somehow it doesn't seem the same.
May 1st is also celebrated in some countries as Labour Day, or International Workers Day, and today it is also polling day for our local government representatives. A day when we can chose who we want to represent us at local level. As I continued my walk to the polling station I was thinking of all my ancestors who'd worked so hard through their lives most of them as colliers, others with jobs as diverse as saddle makers, tailors, brass founders, domestic servants, seamstresses, lace makers, drapers, licensed hawkers, farmers and school masters, most of whom, wouldn't have had the freedom to vote as I have.