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best-laid plans of mice and men oft(en) go astray,and best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft a-gley.
Prov. Things often go wrong even though you have carefully planned what you are going to do. (The gang aft a-gley version is Scots dialect, and comes from Robert Burns' poem "To a Mouse.") Jill: I reserved a hotel room for us three weeks ago, but now the clerk says he has no record of our reservation. So much for our fun weekend in the city. Jane: Well, these things happen. The best-laid plans of mice and men oft go astray. I had all the arrangements made for my party, and then the guest of honor got sick and I had to call the whole thing off. The best-laid schemes of mice and men gang aft a-gley. If a little rain can ruin the best-laid plans of mice and men, think what an earthquake might do!
fore and aft
at the front and the back, usually of a boat or ship. They had to attach new lights fore and aft because the old ones were not bright enough to meet the new regulations. The captain ordered a watch stationed fore and aft.
fore and aft
Both front and back, everywhere, as in The children clung to the teacher fore and aft. This expression is nautical terminology for the bow, or front, and the stern, or back, of a vessel. Today it is also used more broadly. [First half of 1600s]