the long and the short of it

Yesterday was the solstice – the shortest day of the year.

Despite this traditionally being considered the start of winter, the days will now begin to get longer and the evenings will be brighter.

Then again, according to the Time and Date website today was less than a second longer than yesterday; I guess we’ll just have to wait a bit before we notice much difference.

autumn leaf on wooden table

fall back

“Spring forward; Fall back.” – the mnemonic my father taught me to remember which way the clocks needed to be altered at the beginning and end of British Summer Time.

Fall back is also one of those marvellous English phrasal verbs – known by many EFL students as “frazzle” verbs, presumably because of the effect on the mind of trying to memorise them – where a main verb is combined with a particle (adverb, preposition, or both).
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a green scream

Undecided what to post today, I had a quick look on twitter, only to find that it is International Translation Day.

It’s actually been quite a while since I did any translation and nothing came to mind immediately as suitable for posting. But I remembered a long time ago using Google Translate to find inspiration for creativity and thought I’d have a dabble and see what happens.
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point seven five

It’s Michaelmas Day so I have been rummaging around the web to find some ideas for words to accompany a couple of photos of Michaelmas daisies.

Firstly, I checked up on the quarter days and realised that although I remember Midsummer, Michaelmas and Christmas, the one I always forget is Lady Day, which falls on March 25th.
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beginnings and endings

The long hot summer is forgotten, the grass is green and straggly again and there is a distinctly autumnal nip in the air.

The horse chestnuts seem to have really suffered from the drought – rather than turning colour with the season, their leaves are all shrivelled and mottled – and I’ve hardly seen any conkers, though there are at least some sweet chestnuts.

There’s also more beech mast than I thought possible, and a fair number of acorns, too, so hopefully the squirrels should have a reasonable chance of surviving the winter.
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eternal sunshine

It’s a long time since I first came across Sydney Smith’s comment to his brother, “We have reversed the law of nature: you have risen by your gravity, and I have sunk by my levity.” And probably just as long since I first heard it suggested that we should repeal the law of gravity.

Somewhere in the same space in my brain where I access those ideas is a link to the idea of climate change, in particular to scientists’ warnings that, despite its name, global warming will bring harsher winters.
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not so seedy

Last month, when I wrote the post a little focus, which featured a yellow-flowered tree in the park, I didn’t know what type of tree it was. I tried searching on Google, but had no luck.

Now, the tree is a mass of three-sided “bladdery” green fruits, tangled and jostling each other like Chinese lanterns in the breeze, and I’ve been able to discover that it’s actually a Koelreuteria paniculata – a Pride of India or Golden Rain tree.
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