A brick frames a leaf on Tunbridge Wells' brick pavement.
Someone who comes to the house complains about a rich person whom she knows. "He pleads poverty," she says, "on account of the crunch." Most poverty is relative. It is not a word which should be used lightly. I recall the French owner of a premier cru Bordeaux Chateau complaining about the socialist government which had at the time just been elected. "We can't go on living in France," he complained.
Taking a book from the shelf at random is a bit like switching tv channels when nothing appeals. But it can be an agreeable way of turning up a neat phrase or elusive fact. How strong is an ant? Ants can carry up to 50 times their own body weight on their back, while even the strongest humans can carry only two or three times their own weight.