Indian Summer? Where Did That Come From?

My highly esteemed and digitally verdant colleague and pal Mr Dick Roberts mentioned in his blog yesterday that we could be looking at a mini Indian Summer this weekend.

Thanks Dick. Love ya. I immediately whipped out the barbecue, dusted off my panama, unpacked the sun lounger and pulled out my loudest Hawaiian shirt (it goes up to 11) in anticipation.

But as I look out of my grubby study window today, a blistering sun beating down on my head and a long-weekend in Bournemouth sunbathing and sipping cocktails by the pool seems about as hard to imagine as it is to believe in fairies, ghosts, or Theresa May presiding over a successful Brexit.

“Oi. Turn that shirt down, I’m trying to sleep!”

The world looks as grey as your great uncle’s chest hair and my busy shirt is shirt is still sitting shouting at the world from the relative comfort of my bedroom chair.

However, it seems that by the time Friday arrives, we will indeed be looking at a warm spell brought on by the tail end of a hurricane, bringing higher temperatures and a tear to the eye of those who can still remember the summer…you know, those two days in June and a long weekend tin mid August.  So it seems Dick is right again.

But it got me thinking. Where does this Indian Summer phrase come from? I had always assumed it was a phrase from the British Raj, suggesting a summer back in old Blighty that matched the ‘Mad Dogs and Englishmen’ conditions of Mumbai (Bombay as it was then). It fairly smacks of Bombay Saphire, pith helmets and mulligatawny soup “don’t ya know?”

As it happens it turns out to have nothing to do with the land of Maharajas, masala and slumdog millionaire. According to such diverse, but reliable sources as etymonline.com, thehindu.com, the met office and phrases.org, it is a phrase from America, dating its use in Britain by many years and in actual fact the Indians referred to are ‘Red Indians’ as they were called then; Buffalo hunting North American Natives and the phrase is referenced in many American novels and other literary works.

This short period of warm weather in autumn has also been named by other countries. According to Wikipedia, in Germany it is known as “Altweibersommer” (“old women’s summer”) and in Bulgaria “Gypsy Summer”.

Either way, it promises to be warmish and dry and Dick is absolutely right, the grass is still growing and you should definitely think about getting out in the garden or your allotment, tidy up a bit, to harvest any stuff you haven’t got out so far, before it gets cold again.

Groundbreaking: The Cobra T4C Mini-Tiller – a pleasing £169.99

In fact there’s a list of possible task for this month on our knowledge base, MowHow and if the weather really is going to be “Scorchio'”   this weekend, as opposed to “Soakio” or “Downrightchillyo”,  you could get a lot done, including a bit of cheeky early cultivating for next year, perhaps with a great bargain Cobra mini-tiller like the T4C mini-tiller from our extensive range of tillers and cultivators. 

And when it comes to tidying up, cleaning up that long grass behind the potting shed you have been trying to ignore is remarkably easy – just go back to yesterday’s blog or take a look at this page and check out the Mitox 33L, a nifty brishcutter at the truly bonkers price of £99 saving you £200! it is, as fans say of it… “...a great product” and “..a nice bit of kit”.

Either way, whatever happens this weekend the most important  thing to remember is that your garden is still out there and there is still fun to had and work to be done, even if the weather does take a turn for the worse.  We may not be as tied to the land in tune with nature as the North American Natives formerly known as Red Indians, but give me a man with a good strimmer, a flask of hot tea and a warm anorak and I’ll show you a true, red-blooded warrior ready to do battle with the elements.

oh, and if you do find yourself needing an item or two, especially one from the pages of our amazing autumn deals , you could always visit the site or call our jolly decent product people on 0345 4588 905. They are fair and impartial and really know their stuff…

Bought an Einhell strimmer after receiving some advise from Mowdirect, very happy with the help they offered and with the product….very impressed.” Thanks. ROB

Enjoy your garden.  Drew Hardy

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Drew Hardy

Freelance Writer at Mowdirect
A keen allotmenteer with an interest in all things horticultural, Drew has a varied writing background with experience in a number of fields including garden machinery, lawn care and compost. His first experience with gardening was a cultivating a small plot he was given by his house master at school. He grew a decent crop of radishes and lettuce and sold them to a local shop, exhibiting his first, and last, sign of an entrepreneurial spark. Drew lives in North London with his wife, two children and a slightly bonkers cat
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