Went to Gloucester
In a shower of rain.
He stepped in a puddle
Right up to his middle
And never went there again.
Dr Foster must be one of the first pieces of verse I ever heard.
It always rather worried me. Firstly, poor Dr Foster (I was a very soft-hearted child); and, secondly, why doesn't the verse rhyme?
Gloucester is pronounced Gloster, so the first lines are all right; but what about the puddle/middle bit?
I know now that originally Dr Foster stepped in a piddle, and not a puddle (piddle and puddle used to mean the same thing). Sadly, piddle was too rude to say by the time I came along.
Of course, changing piddle to puddle not only messes up the rhyme scheme but also takes away the chief joke.
Ah well. Editors, eh?
Here in Southern England it is still raining. Now there are even floods in the commuter areas around London. Not that commuting is easy, what with the washed-away railway embankments.
We've all been getting drenched.
Still, it could be worse. There's probably a poor poorly horse somewhere near Windsor who is going to get drenched inside and out, because to drench a horse is to give it medicine.
I hope it's better soon.
Now. I have to go to town. Where are my waders?
Thing Not To Do Today If You Can Help It: be drenched. This word has, predictably, been used in England for a long time. It comes from the Old English drencan, to cause to drink.