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Weather or not

Outside it is wet, dull and cold. Not freezing cold, but the sort of cold that gets damply into your bones. It’s the sort of cold that makes you want to curl up in front of a fire and read. Hibernating weather.

‘Its raw out there.’ That’s what my mother would say on a day like today. Most folk around here don’t seem to use that expression. I looked it up. It’s there, in several of the on-line dictionaries. Unpleasantly cold and damp weather, it tells me, unsuitable for outdoor activities.

So I’m inside with the heating on and a heated bean-bag at my back.

Interesting, isn’t it, what expressions we use and where they originate. There are several I grew up with that I use automatically, but I often get blank looks in response.

Ma used always to say, ‘Only on high days, holiday and bonfire nights,’ to explain something that was done or used only rarely. I have not heard other’s use that one – apart from her twin sister.

‘I don’t want to look like mutton dressed as lamb,’ she’d say, trying something on that she thought a little too young for her. (I can remember her saying that before I was 10, so she wouldn’t have even reached 40. But I suppose age goal posts have hanged since then.)

‘What DOES she look like?’ she’d exclaim in a disapproving tone, to someone she reckoned had dressed inappropriately.

And when we asked for something, ‘I’ll see,’ she’s say, which we knew usually meant no, and ‘Jam yesterday, jam tomorrow but never jam today.’

It’s days like these which empty the enthusiasm out of me.

November

by Thomas Hood

No sun–no moon!
No morn–no noon!
No dawn–no dusk–no proper time of day–
No sky–no earthly view–
No distance looking blue–

No road–no street–
No “t’other side the way”–
No end to any Row–
No indications where the Crescents go–

No top to any steeple–
No recognitions of familiar people–
No courtesies for showing ‘em–
No knowing ‘em!

No mail–no post–
No news from any foreign coast–
No park–no ring–no afternoon gentility–
No company–no nobility–

No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member–
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds,
November!

http://www.scrapbook.com/poems/doc/82/357.html

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  1. November 8, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    If something was lost, and who asked my Mother “Where’s my…..?” She’d reply “It’s up in Annie’s room behind the clock”………….Never did know who Annie was.
    ‘High days and holidays’ is used a lot, unlike the front room when I was little, that was only opened up on ‘high days and holidays’, like the best china.

  2. Janus
    November 8, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    Nice pome, Nym. :-)

  3. November 8, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    Not mine, Janus as I’m sure you noticed.

  4. christinaosborne
    November 8, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    I use them too and a lot more, especially Edwardian period figures of speech as I was born of elderly parents. Quite unintelligible here except by spousal unit who loves them.
    There are far fewer of these anachronistic usages here in the USA than in the UK, our use of language is far richer.
    Of course new expressions are being coined all the time but most modern ones are unsuitable for quotation in ‘respectable’ company!

  5. November 8, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    Ma says, when she’s feeling a little under the weather
    “I feel like a piece of chewed string.”

  6. November 8, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    November’s not always that bad, surely – mind, I haven’t been in UK in November for a few years. :-)

    Family expression – ‘two-sixing,’ to pull on something, an old Navy term.

  7. November 8, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    November’s fine when it’s sunny. It’s the wet dreary weather that is so dispiriting.

  8. November 8, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    “The things you see when you don’t have a gun” was an expression an aged relative used, regularly, to cover anything from a vastly obese woman waddling past us in a Manhattan street, to spike-haired youths with rings through their noses, in London, on a rare visit to the Capital.

  9. November 8, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    When my father saw a fat woman he would say “All that meat, and no bread”.

    By the way Pseu, it’s very November-ish here too, I went on the beach a few hours ago, brrrrrr, then it started raining, talk about miserable.

  10. November 8, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    Coldwaterjohn, I like that one and may actually adopt it!

    “All that meat and no bread” compares to my father’s “A bottom that looks like a bag of ferrets.”

  11. christinaosborne
    November 8, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    With the obesity round here, “What you see when you haven’t got your gun” is said every time we go to town!

    Queen Anne front, Mary Anne back.

    Weather related-
    Raining cats and dogs
    Cold as a witches tit
    (Snow) up to your hocks and withers
    Bit brass monkeys

    Do enjoy your global warming!!!–What a crock!

  12. November 8, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    “Brass monkey weather” – I’d forgotten that one!

  13. boadicea
    November 8, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    The last time I was in the UK in November it was ‘unseasonably’ warm. But, your poem reminds me of the Novembers of my childhood. Fog, or more accurately, Smog. Thanks. :-)

  14. November 8, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    Boa’s references to weather brought this to mind, particularly appropriate for today here, where it has been raining cats and dogs!
    “It rained and rained and rained and rained,
    The average was well maintained;
    And when our fields were simply bogs,
    It started raining cats and dogs.
    After a drought of half an hour,
    There came a most refreshing shower;
    And then the queerest thing of all,
    A gentle rain began to fall.

    Next day ’twas pretty fairly dry,
    Save for a deluge from the sky.
    This wetted people to the skin,
    But after that the rain set in.
    We wondered what’s the next we’d get,
    As sure as fate we got more wet.
    But soon we’ll have a change again,
    And we shall have….. A drop of rain”
    (Author unknown – by me, at least)

  15. November 8, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    Interesting post, Nym.

    I had to go out today, and it was pretty miserable, but it will change.

    I do not like this time of year, unless the sun shines, but thank you for the poems. :)

  16. November 8, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    CWJ #15 – The best information I could come up with on the web was –

    The poet may have been one Barry Crump (or Grump, or Gruimp) from New Zealand.

    Or perhaps not … :???:

  17. November 8, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    Bearsy, are you sure it wasn’t a Barry McCrump? – more reminiscent of Scottish weather or does it bucket down in NZ as well?

  18. November 8, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    Coldwaterj, I have seen that somewhere sometime, but thankyou for the full version! Rather fun, innit?

  19. November 8, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    I have to say, CWJ, that the language doesn’t appear to reflect Kiwi usage, but that’s what the site said. :???:

  20. November 9, 2010 at 7:59 am

    If you’ve ever lived in Greymouth you’d know about rain… so perhaps it was a Scottish chap who moved to NZ and took up residency and then regretted it?

  21. November 9, 2010 at 8:01 am

    There are several versions here

    http://www.belfagan.org.uk/poetry.htm

  22. jaimeatdnmyt
    November 9, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    Yes, but November brings persimmons and all kinds of comforting treats!

  23. oldmovieguy
    November 9, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    A face like a bag of spanners
    A big ‘un from wigan
    I’m not mithered (bothered)
    It’s all grist to the mill.
    Well I’ll go to Putney
    Well I’ll go to bottom of our stairs
    They speak well of him in the buildings

    FOR A HOT DAY

    My bo**ocks are like plums in heavy syrup
    I have an a*se like a fresh bullet wound.

  24. November 9, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    I’m so glad it’s not a hot day, OMG :)

    Jaime, never had persimmons. Can we get them over here?

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