November notions

I’m sure that one of the reasons I never became a school teacher or considered going on the stage as a career is my dislike of having to repeat myself!  (Of course, there is also the fact that I used to be extremely shy.)

So rather than post about the same things this November as last, I’ll pop up a few links – to both my blogs and see if I can find something light-hearted to write about here.

By the time this post appears, many important dates in November will have come and gone.  Last year I was Blogging every day in November. 

Today is Remembrance Day, although our service for it was the previous Sunday.  After World War I it was known as Armistice Day.

My first year of blogging saw this post, which has already been viewed (via searches) in October on the approach to Guy Fawkes’ Night.

British people have a reputation for talking about the weather.  There are good reasons for this.

It is a safe topic.

There is usually something to say – after all we sometimes experience weather typical of all the seasons in a single day.

I am writing this in advance – on 3 November.  Today the weather forecast was sunshine and heavy showers.  That was correct.  The details have been much more interesting.  There was a beautiful rainbow – or part of one – in the morning.  Then around 2pm there was a brief thunderstorm.

The rain was so heavy that later in the afternoon there was running water on the main street of this village.  The sun set brightly leaving not silver, but rather gold-lined clouds.  The storm clouds were very interesting colours!  There is a big organised bonfire and fireworks event scheduled for this evening.  Although tickets have been sold in advance, the weather will be a factor affecting its success.  (Post script:  The evening was dry.)

Notions (a word I used in the title of this post) usually means ideas.  It also means trimmings (including thread) for needlework and other craft projects.

I’ve no notion where this is leading to.  I find notion rather an old-fashioned word.  However notional is used more.  It is a near synonym for theoretical.  Hypothetical is less likely to be correct than something theoretical.  But scientists begin with a hypothesis.  What if it were true that —?

Then they set out to test whether — is true or false.

November in the Northern hemisphere is the end of autumn (or fall as it is called in North America).  I had to read a comment twice to appreciate the meaning.  A blogger “enjoyed reading about your fall”.  In UK English “about your fall” is usually preceded by “I was sorry to hear about” or “Have you recovered from”.  Perhaps having the word autumn saves us doing all sorts of checks on the context.

I have recorded a poem I published here.

I think of autumn colours, autumn leaves (a beautiful melody) and autumn mists, fruits, fungi and the longer adjective autumnal, where we pronounce the N, which is silent in “autumn”.

Of course, if all Ns were silent in autumn we’d have to do even more checks of context.  With a silent N nous might be ‘ouse, nought would be confused with ought or (even worse) aught and notions would sound like oceans.  ‘Eed I go o’?



Bonfire Night

Today’s topic for Blog Every Day in November is Bonfire Night.  Well, it is November 5th!

I have been blogging for over a year now.  Last year I marked Bonfire Night with my first seasonal post.  I still regard it as one of my best, although some people may disagree with the last derivation I gave there.

One of the joys of writing is that there are so many different ways to approach a topic, so there is always something new to say.

On the Bonfire Nights of my early childhood, Dad used to venture out into the dark with the box of fireworks and a box of matches.  We stood at the French windows and watched through the small panes.

In later years we went outside wrapped in warm clothes and waved sparklers about.  Dad set off the jumping crackers on the lawn.  I seem to remember one chasing him!  Catherine wheels posed a problem.  If the nail was hit into the fencepost too many times the wheel did not spin, too few and it was liable to launch away from the post altogether.

I have attended a number of organised firework events in various places, not always in November, let alone on November 5th.  It is customary to join in with “Ooh” and “Aah” as the rockets go up and explode.  My children were taken to some of these in preference to having fireworks at home.

Fireworks have been used as a way of celebrating for a long time.  Handel wrote a lovely suite of Music for the Royal Fireworks.  He lived from 1685 to 1759.


A VIEW of the FIRE-WORKES and ILLUMINATIONS at his GRACE the Duke of RICHMOND’S at WHITEHALL and on the River Thames on Monday 15 May 1749. Performed by the direction of Charles Fredrick Esq.

Hand coloured etching showing the Royal Fire-workes and Illuminations in Whitehall and on the River Thames on Monday 15 May 1749. The occasion for which George Frideric Handel composed his Music for the Royal Fireworks.

Photo Credit and quotation Wikipedia

There was a tragic accident at this display.

The technology of fireworks has improved over time, but there is still danger in playing with fire.

Have a happy and safe Bonfire Night everyone!


Changing seasons

Today’s Daily prompt is about the change in seasons and how we feel about it.

For many of us the seasons are changing, bouncing unpredictably between cold and warm. Are you glad to be moving into a new season, or wishing for one more week of the old?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us SEASONS.

Here in the UK we are moving from summer into autumn. We have been blessed with the best summer weather for years and the start of autumn has been mild. The last two days have turned out to be rather chilly as the wind has been blowing from the Arctic. I must look for my gloves and a hat!

We cannot choose the weather or the seasons so we may as well enjoy them

I am including some reflections on important dates in the calendar for the next few months, which I was working on in the minutes before the prompt was published.

There are a number of days in the year which are associated with particular activities. Sometimes these days turn into seasons.
Hallowe’en is 31 October. It is All Hallows Eve – the day before All Saints Day (1st November) and incidentally two days before All Souls’ Day.

I went to have my hair cut recently (8th October to be precise). The salon was decked out with artificial cobwebs, spiders, pumpkins, a greenish-faced head with long black hair on a stick. (I have to admit that looking at it in the mirror without my spectacles I though it was a hobby horse!)
I didn’t think to ask when they had decorated! They also (like so many other shops and restaurants) decorate in February for Valentine’s Day.

I live in a village and don’t spend much time walking round the nearest towns to notice changes which occur day by day. We are preparing for Harvest Festival here. It is quite different from similar celebrations in cities.  Here we see the harvest being “safely gathered in” with combine harvesters often working after dark if it is likely to rain. City children are often unaware of the source of their food. It comes from the supermarket, doesn’t it?

Hot on the heels of Hallowe’en is Bonfire Night. This is not an occasion for decorations, but it is another commercial opportunity for some shops.

Next comes Armistice Day, better known as Remembrance Day on 11th November.
Poppies are sold and worn to help disabled ex-servicemen and women. Two minutes silence are observed on a Sunday and on the actual day if it is not a Sunday.

Another noteworthy date in November is St Cecilia’s Day (22nd November). She is the patron saint of music. The commercial opportunity here is in the entertainment industry, especially in out-of-town locations where there are not regular concerts.
By the end of November Christmas is the main theme in most shops. Cards, presents and other seasonal goods have been appearing since August.

However, there is an overlooked season on the approach to Christmas. Advent begins on Advent Sunday. As there are four Sundays in Advent, the beginning of Advent may be in November. Advent calendars and Advent candles have 24 days from 1st December to Christmas Eve. They are the best known items for Advent. There are also books available which are intended to help people prepare for Christmas by recognising that Advent (like Lent) is a season of preparation and fasting before a Festival. Children’s activity books help them understand what Christmas is really about.

There is a motto which is becoming controversial with a new emphasis on Winter Holiday: Jesus is the reason for the season.