Friday, 5 June 2015

Bea Xenodochial

Words are wonderful, aren’t they? I do so enjoy a casual browse through the dictionary: it’s a relaxing pastime as well as being educational. It was on one such meander that I came across xenodochial, meaning friendly to strangers.

Sometimes words can be deliberately misused. Erik the Red was an ancient Icelandic warrior who called the arctic land to which he was exiled ‘Greenland’. It was an early instance of false advertising. It is said that his intention in so naming it was to encourage other settlers to come.

Another example is the naming of the long bay in south east Devon ‘Slapton Sands’: the beach is formed entirely of pebbles and is impossible to walk on in bare feet. Nevertheless it is very beautiful.

I am going to Slapton on Monday for two weeks holiday. I do hope the locals will be xenodochial.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Bea Watchful

It’s always exciting to have a shout-out from an editor. My article in The People’s Friend on 6th June has been singled out for such an honour.

It is a nostalgia piece about newsreel cinemas. In my childhood, a visit to the pictures on a Saturday morning was essential. Before the main film came the British Pathe News. At the time I no doubt declared such an interruption to my viewing pleasure boring, but now I am surprised at how much the newsreels remain in my memory.

In fact British Pathe News and Gaumont News has become part of our collective memory. Any documentary of historical events will feature such extracts. In Newcastle upon Tyne we are fortunate to have the Tyneside Cinema which features a free daily screening of archived film. If you’re in the area, do make time for a visit. It is a fascinating piece of history.

Do you remember watching newsreel screenings at your local cinema?