Thursday 30 January 2014

WEATHER UPDATE. Vienna 1597.

Don’t like the weather where you are? Let’s compare notes.
  • For the last month I’ve been in Los Angeles. Fires, drought, and the brown haze on the horizon that whispers pollution.
  •  Before that, I suffered through a December in Toronto. Ice storms, snow storms, minus degrees (and I’m talking Fahrenheit!).
  • But all that pales by comparison with Vienna, August 1597.
According to the Fugger Newsletter, it rained blood. The cobblestones are covered with blood. Explanation: A butcher cut the tail of a stubborn ox that gave him trouble. The blood flowed into the hairs of the tail, and the ox splashed it about, whisking his tail this way and that, thus sprinkling the whole road.
Okay, if you say so. But seriously,

On 16th September 1590, great havoc was wrought here in Vienna by an earthquake. It shook the houses in the whole of the town and lifted the people bodily into the air. Several houses collapsed and killed various people. Large pieces of masonry were hurled from the steeples of the churches. Likewise in the royal residence, bricks and chimneys split and broke off. It looked as though the Last Day of Judgment was upon us.

On the lighter side, a report on the weather in Cochin, India, 1580:
The country is equally warm in summer as in winter. There is no difference in seasons, except that it rains throughout the whole winter, which the summers are dry. The trees and grass remain verdant. Figs are picked from the trees year-round. It is a staple for rich and poor alike. Then there is another fruit on which the people live. It grows on beautiful tall trees called palms. They bear a fruit of the size and shape of a melon which contains much water. You cannot imagine all the things that can be made of this fruit.

Ah, palms! They reconcile me to the pollution in L.A. (And BTW: rain forecast today).

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