All roads lead to Rome must be a very old saying. In the time of the Roman Empire road-building was an important feature. The Romans built straight roads, where other people might have diverted round a hill, for instance. They conquered many nations and needed good trade routes and roads for their army to march along. Rome was the centre of the world. Other major cities are also hubs with good road and rail transport links to other places.
When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
This saying is about behaviour in a different cultural setting. It used to be considered essential to conform to the customs of one’s host country or other setting. Now there is an emphasis on tolerance, cultural identity and self-expression. There could be difficulties here due to lack of understanding of whether the old custom or the new tolerance is expected.
Up the wooden hill to Bedfordshire is said to children instead of upstairs to bed. Bedfordshire is one of the Home Counties, because it has a border with London.
Sent to Coventry is an expression used when a group of people decide not to speak to an individual, who has been sent to Coventry. If they were not in Coventry themselves it would have been impossible to speak to someone who was, before the invention of modern communication devices. It is interesting that after Coventry suffered serious bombing during World War II and the cathedral was hit, the people who decided to rebuild also preached forgiveness. There is a daily service in Coventry Cathedral called the Litany of Reconciliation. It involves seeking God’s forgiveness.
From Land’s End to John o’ Groats is the British equivalent of the expression from Dan to Beersheba. Land’s End is at the tip of Cornwall in south west England and John o’ Groats is an equivalent point in North East Scotland.
Crossing the Rubicon is a euphemism for dying taken from Greek mythology. The Rubicon was the river the souls of the dead had to cross.
Like Piccadilly Circus means thronging with people going in all directions. Piccadilly Circus is a famous intersection in central London.
Photo credit Hans Jørn Storgaard Andersen via Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Piccadilly-circus-2004.jpg
To carry coals to Newcastle is a saying about taking something to a place where it is not needed. Newcastle was a coal-mining area. The saying can also be used about superfluous provision.
There’s corn in Egypt is a biblical expression derived from the story of Joseph (Genesis 37- 50), who was sold into slavery by his brothers. His family heard that there was corn in Egypt. I used this story in another post.
Corn in Egypt is an expression meaning plenty or provision at a time of need. Genesis 42:1