Baku Days: Here Comes The Sun!

Sea fret in Baku yesterday

When I knew I would be moving to Azerbaijan I checked out on-line what the weather was going to be like and was pleasantly surprise to read that Baku has long, warm summers and short cold winters. What I hadn’t expected however, was that the Winter would start so late [the end of November] and end at the beginning of May…

For weeks past, I had been looking up at the grey sky, willing the sun to break through but as March turned into April and April to May, I began to despair. The lack of bright sunlight was getting both me and many of my friends down. Everyone was falling victim to colds or flu and faces in the street were getting longer and longer. Suddenly two days ago, I woke up to a thick, white mist or sea-fret outside my window.

By mid-morning the fret caused by warm air condensing as a result of coming into contact with cold Caspian waters, had burnt off and a bright sun shone down out of a clear, blue sky. A friend who has lived here for several years said it was always like this. One day it is Winter, the next we have tipped over into Summer.

Suddenly there is blossom on the trees, Spring flowers and the smell of fresh-cut grass on the breeze. Yes, Spring is finally here but my friend says that I should enjoy it while it lasts because in a couple of weeks, it will have passed and we will be immersed in a long, hot, dry and dusty Summer until November…

Oh well, if it’s not one thing, it’s the other…


About stevehollier

Steve Hollier is the editor of AZ Magazine, an English language lifestyle magazine based in Baku, Azerbaijan. He began his career working for a firm of stockbrokers in the City of London then went on to attend the University of Essex where he was awarded an MA in Sociology in 1984. After a career in arts and cultural development work, he became a freelance arts consultant, writer and photographer.
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2 Responses to Baku Days: Here Comes The Sun!

  1. hugh paxton says:

    I haven’t encountered the word ‘fret’ since I watched The Woman in Black. The first time, and until your post, the last. I like it. Is it an East Anglian term?

    Glad you’ve got your sun back! Always gives me a lift to see old Sol! Plenty of heat here in Bangkok, but we don’t actually get to see the sun very often. The same goes for stars and I can’t recall ever having seen the moon. Too much haze.

    Sometimes I miss the Namibian skies!


    Hugh, Midi and Annabel


  2. stevehollier says:

    Fret. Mmm. indeed, I did come across the word first when I was at University in Colchester and we were always having “frets” when I lived on the Headland in Hartlepool. I have checked it out on line and discovered that it is derived from the Middle English freten. That in turn comes from from Old English fretan (“to eat up, devour”).

    That comes from the Proto-Germanic *fraetanan (“to devour”), corresponding to for- +‎ eat. Cognate with Dutch vreten (“to devour, hog, wolf”), Low Saxon freten (“to eat up”), German fressen (“to devour, gobble up, guzzle”), Danish fråse (“to gorge”), Swedish fräta (“to eat away, corrode, fret”), Gothic (fra-itan, “to devour”).

    So, there you have it. East Anglia by way of Germany and Holland, a fog that “eats up”.

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