As a child I always had a home-made ‘weather glass’ on a south-facing window of my father’s workshop. This was a frightfully simple but deadly accurate contraption consisting of a jam crock, a milk bottle and about half a cup of water and most of a bar of carbolic soap.
The glass had to be clear so that you could see the changes in the weather. You simply but the jole of the bottle down into the crock. You then marked the side of the crock to the level the jole reached. In went the drop of water to that level. Back in with the bottle so that it barely touched the water level.
Seal the Joining
Then you had to seal the joining of the bottle and the jar with soap or candle wax, put it in a place where it wouldn’t be disturbed and wait. It was wonderful to see it working one way or the other.
As fine weather approached you’d see the water go right up into the neck of the bottle a few days ahead and the reverse when there was a change on the way. The seal of approval for my contraption came out of the blue one day when the late Mick Behan and our neighbour, Jerry Twomey were talking about the weather of the day. God be good to them all.
Out of Devilment
Garda Mick was predicting bad weather more out of devilment as Jerry was expecting a load of turf home. But Jerry retorted by saying: “I’m after checking John’s glass and the water is well up the neck.”
I was proud of that. It was worth a gold medal to me at the time.
Both Jerry and the glass were right and he got his turf home. I know he did as I was part of the team which drew it into the little shed at the back of the house.
I thought of them and my ‘glass’ today as I met Eamonn Carmody on the street and he told me that there’s a great spell of weather on the way.
“All the signs are there – we’re going to have a great summer – I know it. I’m deadly at the long range forecasts – but I’m a pure donkey with the short,” he ass-ured.
I’m glad to take him at his word. Now I’m off to find a jam crock and a bottle and a bar of red soap to bridge a 50 year gap back to when my glass earned a few earnest words of commendation from Jerry Twomey.