November

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I can’t believe we’re already in November. But a quick look through the window verifies that we are: the misty, murky greyness which blankets everything into damp anonymity and uncertainty is so typical of this month.

It always reminds me of a clever old poem I first encountered at school. When I was a teacher myself I often used it with classes, asking the kids to write their own version. When the weather was like this and the sun refused to break through, they were inspired to write some marvellous verse!

“November”
by Thomas Hood (1799-1845)

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!

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When in Rome do as the Romans do

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So there I was in Rome. The eternal city; the city of echoes; the city of illusions; the city of yearning; the city overwhelmed by its own greatness. Hm, a lot of people have said a lot of stuff about Rome.
But what should I be doing while I was there? Ah, of course: “When in Rome do as the Romans do.”
I simply had to find out what the Romans do, then copy it. Clearly there was a need for some close observation of the Romans. During my three-day stay I reached some obvious conclusions about what Romans do, then gave careful consideration as to whether I would be able to do this do too – or, indeed, whether I would want to.
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