Friday, March 10, 2006

topsy turvy weather

We've had a classic March so far, if anything even more dramatic than usual.

It's 75 degrees F. outside as I write. So it's appropriate, I guess, to send you over to the National Weather Service Spring Coundown Page

Here are historic topsey-turvy quotes from the Oxford English Dictionary:

1530 PALSGR. 843/1 Topsy tyrvy, ceu dessus dessoubz. 1555 EDEN Decades 46 They say that..they see the houses turne topsy turuye, and men to walke with theyr heeles vpwarde. 1615 G. SANDYS Trav. III. 205 The huge wals and arches turned topsie turuey, and lying like rockes vpon the foundation. 1747 MRS. DELANY in Life & Corr. (1861) II. 450 As soon as I got into my chair, the chairmen fairly overturned it:..Lord Westmoreland..found me topsy turvy. 1847 ALB. SMITH Chr. Tadpole ix, Wondering how the flies could walk topsy-turvy on the ceiling. 1848 DICKENS Dombey vi, A chaos of carts, overthrown and jumbled together, lay topsy-turvy at the bottom of a..hill. 1871 R. ELLIS Catullus xvii. 9 Catullus adjures thee Head~long into the mire below topsy-turvy to drown him. 1907 Verney Mem. I. 297 He writes topsy-turvy in sympathetic ink, between the lines of a letter ostensibly full of public news.
Addendum: Notice the OED quote by Mrs. Delany in 1747. I've been reading out of her correspondence lately because it includes a couple of references to Sophia Carteret (author of the diary of Lady Shelburne). Seems the well-to-do had constantly fear being overturned in their sedan chairs. Sophie's diary tells a story about an acquaintance whose attendants were attacked by a drunkard while she was a-chair. On Jan. 21, 1768, Sophie wrote:
Everybody was talking of Lady Newnham's accident on the Sunday evening in her chair going from the French Ambassador's, where I had seen her. She was pursued from Soho Square to the narrow passage by Conduit Street, by a man who ran against her chair and her servants, and was several times push'd by them, once so as to be thrown down. In the passage he attack'd her first footman and stabbed him in the breast; she found herself immediately set down and surrounded by a rough mob who took the man. She went directly to her father Lord Vernon's house, where was only one woman servant, and remain'd there in the greatest distress, till the wounded man could be carried home and properly assisted. The wound appears not to be mortal, and the man who gave it to be a Mr. Ross, an attorney in the City, of good character, but very much in liquor.

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