Dog Days of Summer by Colin Such

Posted 6/29/2017 4:23:10 PM

Did you know that the days from 3rd July until 11th August are known as “Dog Days”?

The phrase dates from ancient Rome where these days were noted as the hottest days of the year and, according to Pliny the Elder, were days when “Dogs were most ready to run mad.” The Romans believed that the heat of the month together with the various diseases that flowed from it was connected with the rising and setting of the star Canicula (little dog).
During these days people were urged to avoid strong meats, drink little wine and men were urged to abstain from women.
At the moment the last few days of June do not seem to be heralding any period of heat let alone the hottest time of the year – though we live in hope for summer to suddenly burst upon us.
I for one am looking forward to celebrating some “dog days” of my own this summer.
I am hoping that sometime over the summer I may find a new dog or dogs to share life with in the vicarage. The simple pleasure in being greeted by a wagging tail when returning home (despite the insistence to come and play) and the companionship a dog (or any pet) provides is needed I think.
Any new dogs can’t replace Bartleby and Loki but they can in their own way continue the fellowship and love between dog and owner in new and different ways and bring about new occasions of laughter (and probably despair – it’s been a long time since I had puppies to look after!)
I’m also looking forward to warm summer evenings sitting outside in the garden with friends chatting and sharing a glass of wine (or two).
Hopefully the weather will improve so that impromptu gatherings may simply happen in a relaxed and easy way.
June saw Bishop Michael, our new Bishop of Lichfield, come to St. Michael’s to celebrate and preach at the Deanery Eucharist. The service went well as did the buffet afterwards and an enjoyable evening had by all. (And a huge thank you to everyone who contributed to making the evening a success – a lot of hard work took place behind the scenes and it is much appreciated!)
The Bishop preached on the theme of hospitality, a subject close to my heart and something our church does so well. Is it coincidence that numbers coming regularly to church each week have been considerably up all this year so far?
The summer provides a perfect time for sharing, it just seems to be less effort when it is dry, warm and light outside.
The “Little Dog” star no longer rises at the beginning of July – the passage of time and the workings of the universe means it does so nearer the end of August – but these days of summer still provide us the opportunity to go mad and have dog days of our own; lazy days of summer to celebrate and relax, to enjoy and remind ourselves just how beautiful the world and life really are.
I hope this summer gives us all time to share together before the year continues on its way to Autumn, which will be with us soon enough!