Archives for posts with tag: love

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.

Auld lang syne is a Scottish  song with words by Robert Burns, which has been adopted in other parts of Britain to be sung on New Year’s Eve.  It recalls the value of friendship.

File:PG 1063Burns Naysmithcrop.jpg

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.

“He who has a thousand friends has not a friend to spare,
And he who has one enemy will meet him everywhere.”

was written in my autograph book when I was eight years old and attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson.  He  is famous for other remarks about friendship and for the very well-known “make a better mouse-trap” quotation.

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Ralph Waldo Emerson                                   Photo credit Wikipedia

Researching it today I have discovered that it is in fact from Ali ibn-Abi-Talib: A Hundred Sayings (The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase, Saying and Quotation).

Do as you would be done by is advice on how to treat other people.  In Charles Kingsley’s book The Water Babies there are two characters Mrs Doasyouwouldbedoneby and Mrs Bedonebyasyoudid.

Do to others as you would have them do to you.
The same sentiment in other words.

You can choose your friends, but you cannot choose your relatives.
A truism!

Take turns and
share and share alike are ways of interacting socially, which no-one could be upset about.

To meet someone half way is only fair.

A friend in need is a friend indeed.
Someone who is there at a particular time when help is needed has become a proverb, quite often shortened to the ambiguous phrase a friend in need.

A little help is worth a lot of pity.
Another proverb meaning that if you feel for someone’s need, you ought to do something about it.

Two’s company, three’s a crowd.
Another saying.  Sometimes people manage to be friends in groups of three, but it is more complicated.  Strangely this is due to the mathematics of the situation.  With two people there is one relationship (A-B).  With three there are (A-B, B-C and C-A), so the situation is three times more complex and there is the chance that two of the people will exclude the third.

Don’t stand on ceremony.
Advice to a guest that formal manners can be set aside and they may make themselves at home.

I wouldn’t go out of my way to see her, because I don’t like her very much.

Out of favour means that someone is not pleased with someone else.

Present company excepted is a get-out clause after a generalised complaint has been voiced.

To be all over someone like a rash.
A simile describing an excessive show of affection or amount of time spent with another.

A peck on the cheek is a friendly kiss.

Kiss and make up.
Advice after a lovers’ tiff.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Sometimes we don’t realise how much we like someone until they are not around.

Tag along.
Sometimes people join a group of friends.  They may ask if they can tag along.  If they don’t even ask they could be known as hangers-on.

Worming one’s way in is a more picturesque expression for infiltrating.

Someone, who was away on business once told me, “I have a  friend who cleans for me.”
I thought that was a remarkable friend, but it became clear that she was talking about a paid cleaner or the woman who does.

The milk of human kindness is a shortened version of a quotation from Edmund Burke’s A Letter to a Noble Lord. “These gentle historians, on the contrary, dip their pens in nothing but the milk of human kindness.”

A kindred spirit is someone with whom we have much in common –
perhaps someone to whom one could bare one’s soul, have a heart-to-heart or a tête-à-tête.

Just over twenty five years ago I moved with my husband and young son to a place where I knew nobody else.  About four years later, looking back on that experience, I wrote the following poem.

The Newcomer

Well, here I am, one new face to you –
one unknown quantity, for me – so many of you.
We share no common past –
sorry, do I talk too fast?
A common language doesn’t unite –
I know I don’t pronounce it right.
I grew up with, “Don’t you?”
It’s “Do you not?” to you.
In this place I’ve much to learn,
even indoors, which way to turn.
Where are the shops and what do they sell?
What does it mean when a man rings a bell?
Perhaps you take it all for granted,
but I have recently been transplanted.
You ask, “How are you settling in?”
I’m lost for words, how to begin?
I don’t know your ways.
It’ll take more than days
even a few friends to make.
If I offend, please forgive my mistake.
Are you shy with strangers and those
you meet?  All are strangers to one nobody knows.
So thank you for speaking to me when we meet.
Friendly faces brighten your street.
I have much to learn in this place,
Something more than a name for each friendly face.
Each has a story to hide or to tell.
Other places and customs are what I know well.
Many settle for a while: if each brought
Some change for the better, we’d all gain from the thought –
more trees and plants in this locality
or even improvements in personality.
I’ve brought my experiences, both good and bad.
May we share in events, which make us glad.
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There is much in the Bible about friendship.  Perhaps the most challenging is what Jesus said in Matthew Chapter 5 verse 43 (NIV) “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’  But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.”