If you go out today, you’ll see a man with as many noses on his face as there are days in the year.
This was always said on New Year’s day. Now there are 365 days in a year and one extra in a leap year. That’s far too many noses. What is meant is “in the year so far”.
New Year’s resolutions
are something I’ve more or less given up making. If I need to change something one time of the year is no better than another, but there’s no time like the present.
New Year may be time to turn over a new leaf. In the northern hemisphere there aren’t many leaves on the trees in January, but this is not that sort of leaf. It is a page in a book or in the story of your life. A new page in an exercise book is a chance to be neater, more accurate or more advanced. We can turn over a new leaf on any day of the year.
When I was a child most families seemed to carry on the tradition of first footing. In our house I was always the one to do it as I had very dark hair and that was thought to be lucky. I had to go out to the coal-shed and come back in through the front door carrying a lump of coal and being welcomed as the first person to enter the house that year. I couldn’t see the point then and it would be very difficult now with gas-central heating to find any coal!
From one year’s end to the next is an expression which might be used to describe how infrequently we see someone, as in, “She doesn’t visit us from one year’s end to the next”.
Year end to year end and
year in and year out and
day in and day out describe continuity or regularity.
For days on end might describe a long spell of bad weather. On end implies standing up, so how did that become associated with days?
Day after day means much the same as the previous idiom.
Time is running out.
This is an expression with a number of uses. It is obviously true as a deadline approaches or as someone approaches the end of their life. The idea behind the DPchallenge is another similar situation.
Portrait of Robert Burns by Alexander Nasmyth, Author died more than 100 years ago public domain images
Photo credit Wikimedia
Burning the midnight oil is what people used to have to do if they were working late in the days before electricity. On New Year’s Eve many people stay up until after midnight so that they can welcome in the New Year.
Ringing the changes is an expression which comes from campanology (bell-ringing). A change is a sequence of bells. When campanologists ring the changes, they go through all the possible sequences for the peal of bells. The expression has been adopted to mean providing variety.
To ring out the old and ring in the new is traditional in church bell-towers around the country.
Out with the old, in with the new
is an expression which can be used in any situation where change is being brought about.
Go with a bang means go well.
Fireworks have become traditional at midnight on New Year’s Eve. I think there were some people with faulty watches in our area last night! There were very loud bangs quite early in the evening and then I was woken up at almost 01:00.
A slap-up do is a festive meal. Many families will be enjoying one at this time of year.
The best laid plans of mice and men is a version of Robert Burns poem ‘To a mouse’
The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft a-gley.
God willing (d.v.) is an expression which is popular in some circles as a reminder that we do not control everything that happens.
Man proposes, but God disposes is what Thomas à Kempis wrote in his “Imitation of Christ”.
I have referred to the Penguin Dictionary of Quotations in compiling this post.
In spite of what I have said about New Year’s resolutions, I do think this is a good time of year to take stock of how life is going and whether there needs to be any change of priorities. So what are my New Year’s resolutions?
I can only renew what I try to put into practice.
Luke Chapter 10 verse 27 “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.'”
And St Paul’s letter to the Colossians Chapter 3 verse 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.