Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.
“The more things change, the more they are the same.”
This is a well-known quotation from Les Guêpes by Alphonse Karr. (The Penguin Dictionary of Quotations) Les Guêpes translates as The Wasps and was a journal.
To turn the tide was something King Canute could not do. The expression is used about changing trends in behaviour, morals and other aspects of the life of communities or nations.
Coin of Cnut the Great from the British Museum
Photo credit Wikimedia commons http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cnut_the_Great_Obverse.jpg
The tide is turning; there are signs that change is coming.
Birds wheeling is an expression which puts me in mind of seagulls rising on thermals. Birds don’t have wheels or even push anything on wheels along.
Turn the tables on is an expression about reversed circumstances.
A turntable revolves on a record-player (vinyl records) or to turn a railway engine (locomotive).
It all hinges on… is an expression about possibilities. A door-hinge allows a door to open.
The key to … A key opens a door, a drawer, a piano. Without it nothing is accessible.
It’s key has become a popular expression in recent years, turning it into an adjective.
A key person is also known as a linchpin. This is a pin, which keeps a wheel attached to an axle, preventing disaster.
It’s pivotal. A pivot is a point on which something balances. A seesaw has one in the middle, but if the two children are different weights, it will not balance. They have to make an effort to make it go up and down.
The crux of the matter is…
…crux is Latin for cross. The cross on which Jesus died is pivotal to the Christian faith.
In The Acts of the Apostles, St Luke wrote about how a cripple was healed in the name of Jesus by Peter and John (Chapter 3). In the following chapter Peter explained to his accusers the good news. Chapter 4 verses 8-22
That put a spanner in the works. Used properly a spanner tightens and loosens nuts (on the ends of bolts). Any machinery with a lump of metal loose in it is likely to malfunction or jam. In a figurative way a spanner in the works might describe an unexpected difficulty.
Take a crowbar to it.
A crowbar is a very heavy lever. A smaller version is a jemmy, which is associated with burglars. Jemmy, like Jimmy, is a pet form of James.
If someone is in a flat spin they are agitated.
To do the twist was popular when I was young. The twist was a dance, possibly the first which broke away from traditional dancing such as ballroom, Latin-American and country dancing, in that it did not require partners.
Twist and turn are often used together. A winding road, a writhing snake…
Margaret Thatcher, when she was Prime Minister, made a famous speech. She said, “The lady is not for turning.” Everyone seems to remember the speech and the debate about making a U-turn, but I don’t suppose I am the only one to have forgotten what the policy was.
Nowadays if a driver tries to go on a route not programmed by a satnav (GPS device), a voice might say “Do a U-turn.”
Turning points are stages during life when changes are made. I wrote a poem with this title in April 1995.
Each time we think of You,
Not self, we acknowledge
Paul and many others
Have powerful stories
To tell and tell again.
Take small steps quietly
Weekly through bread and wine
Repenting at leisure.
Truly renew their vows
At each baby’s baptism.
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