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    #1

    Marking time

    Hello,

    Can anybody help me to understand in what sense the phrase marking time is used here?

    'The time I'm telling you of was in the early winter--November. There was a dense sea-fog over the valley, I remember. It eddied through that
    opening there into the candlelight like flowing milk. I never light up now: and, if I may be forgiven the boast, sir, I seem to have almost forgotten how to be afraid. After all, in any walk of life a man can only do his best, and if there weren't such opposition and hindrances in high places I should have nothing to complain of. What is anybody's life, sir (come past the gaiety of youth), but marking time.... Did you hear anything then, sir?'

    All Hallows, Walter de la Mare, 1927

    Thanks a lot.
    Not a Teacher

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Marking time

    It suggests that someone's life, once they are no longer young, consists of nothing more than passing time until they die.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Marking time

    Just as a point of information, November is not early winter. Winter begins in late December.

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    #4

    Re: Marking time

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    Just as a point of information, November is not early winter. Winter begins in late December.
    That depends on where you're located. The UK's met office currently defines the beginning of meteorological winter as Dec. 1. Evidently to de la Mare it began in November.

    In the US, we consider seasons to begin on the solstices and equinoxes. This always seemed strange to my Polish mother and grandmother who had learned that those dates marked the middle of each season. English retains a residue of that demarcation: midsummer's day occurs on the summer solstice, which is nowadays considered the first day of summer.
    I am not a teacher.

  3. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Marking time

    In either case, November is not winter. I prefer to go with the solstice and equinox system, rather than artificial calendar dates.

  4. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Marking time

    I would say that most people in the UK don't define the seasons by their months. There are some generally accepted seasonal months - July and August are usually deemed to be summer, April and May to be spring, December and January are winter, and September and October are autumn. The remaining months tend to be referred to based on the weather! If, by November, it's really cold and wet (even snowing), I'd call it winter. If it's still a reasonable temperature and there are still some days with blue skies and no need for a heavy coat, then it's late autumn.
    I'm sure the Met Office has official dates for the seasons, as GoesStation indicated, but the general public probably couldn't tell you what those dates are.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  5. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Marking time

    Couid it be that in the more northerly latitudes they consider winter to last longer, in which case it comes earlier and leaves later?

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