Wednesday 24 March

A postscript to yesterday about the Wisley gardens: just to show you can still have a nice day out

After ye feast cometh ye reckoning, so today was house and garden chores in the main. Having been obliged to spend more time in the house, it seems to be noticeably more dusty. Either this is an urban myth, or previously I chose to ignore it. In the garden I start on one task and then notice a hundred and one other things which need to be done. But I did take the covers off the garden furniture in the hopes of having some picnics outside in the near future.

I have also been occupied with a project relating to the Gold Lyre of Ur, but it is work in progress, so when it is finished, I will give a link. But I was tremendously excited to be doing something related to the lyre: performance or lectures have been almost non existent for over a year now. For me it is a hobby, but when you think of professional performers……………..I have only a slight inkling of how demoralising the pandemic restrictions have been. We so desperately need the arts and creativity to enhance our lives.

Yesterday in conversation with Ute, my German friend, she mentioned the Ausgangssperre, which literally means the barrier to going out, in other words, curfew. Now it is very easy to understand what Ausgangssperre means, but where does the word curfew come from? So here you are, you heard it from me first: covering fire. Sounds like me with my early evening bonfire.

Middle English (denoting a regulation requiring people to extinguish fires at a fixed hour in the evening, or a bell rung at that hour): from Old French cuevrefeu, from cuvrir ‘to cover’ + feu ‘fire’. The current sense dates from the late 19th century.

And now let me share today’s earworm. I heard it this morning and cannot get it out of my head.

One thought on “Wednesday 24 March

  1. From the Oxford English Dictionary – in case anyone is interested in more detail!

    a. AF. coeverfu, = OF. cuevre-fu, quevre-feu, covre-feu (13th c.), f. couvre, imper. of couvrir to cover + feu fire: cf. the med.L. names ignitegium, pyritegium, from tegSre to cover. The corrupt forms in -four, -fur, etc. appear to be of phonetic origin, though in some cases associated with fire.]
    1. a. A regulation in force in mediæval Europe by which at a fixed hour in the evening, indicated by the ringing of a bell, fires were to be covered over or extinguished; also, the hour of evening when this signal was given, and the bell rung for the purpose. Also transf. and fig. b. Hence, the practice of ringing a bell at a fixed hour in the evening, usually eight or nine o’clock, continued after the original purpose was obsolete, and often used as a signal in connexion with various municipal or communal regulations; the practice of ringing the evening bell still survives in many towns. In extended use: a restriction imposed upon the movements of the inhabitants of an area for a specified period.
    The primary purpose of the curfew appears to have been the prevention of conflagrations arising from domestic fires left unextinguished at night. The earliest English quotations make no reference to the original sense of the word; the curfew being already in 13th c. merely a name for the ringing of the evening bell, and the time so marked.


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