A number of you have asked how the dandelion clock works. It used to be a sort of rite of passage for parents to teach their children about this custom - probably less so now, but I still see it being 'taught' from time to time.
So, imagine the scene - a very, very long time ago when the sun shone brightly every day from June through to August. My mother was taking me on a nature walk - another custom that is sadly dying out - and she picked a dandelion seed head. She said it was a clock and I should blow on it to make the seeds fly away. I was to keep count of the number of blows it took to remove all the seeds and each blow was an hour. For example, ten blows was ten o'clock and five blows would be five o'clock. There, easy when you know how!
That said, sometimes - no matter how hard you blew - two or three seeds remained and it was probably because the fairies were taking a day off - it also being known as a 'Fairy Clock'.
It was as well known as a parent holding a buttercup under your chin to see if you liked butter. If there was a yellow reflection on your skin, then you did! A fellow blogger has reprinted a victorian story that mentions the dandelion clock and it can be viewed by clicking here