Posts Tagged ‘room’

10 words (part 3)

It’s Wednesday and time for my guest blogger to take over today 🙂

 

10 WORDS – 3

Well it’s roughly 3 months since I did my last 10 words post (and about 3 months before that the first one) so here goes with a third lot. But just before I get into the new words I thought it might be good to just list the previous ones. How many meanings you can remember?

(19.12.12) 10 Words – 1: Scrofulous, Saponifying, Manticora, Nutation, Costive, Smörgåsbord, Panemone, Leitmotif, Rhabdomancy, Scrimshaw.

(20.03.13) 10 Words – 2: Chthonian, Sisyphean, Anaglyptography, Dendrochronology, Agitprop, Fomites, Voroni Diagram, Uxorious, Prolegomena, Armigerous.

Here we go:

1. TAPHEPHOBIA – (From p.26 in March 2013 edition of magazine called Wonderpedia)

It means: the fear of being buried alive.

The sentence in the magazine is simply explaining its meaning so no need to quote it here.

2. GARDEROBE – (This is from p.483 of The Forbidden Queen by Anne O’Brien)

It means: a wardrobe or its contents, an armoury, a private room, a privy.

Now that’s quite a spread of meanings so I think you have to gauge the right one by the context. Clearly the word is of French origin and at first glance would appear to suggest a place to keep (garde) a robe or clothing. Whilst this is definitely one of its meanings, in the use quoted below it probably refers to something which was a forerunner of our modern day toilet (so the privy definition). Some medieval castles had a simple hole which went through the wall into either a cesspit or the moat. Maybe that’s why it wasn’t a good idea to try and escape by swimming across the moat; it could easily have contained untold amounts of human faeces

Here’s a picture of one built in a castle in England.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Garderobe,_Peveril_Castle,_Derbyshire.jpg

Certain types of Middle Eastern dhows, even today, still have a small box built onto the stern which crew members can crouch down in so that the waste (number 2s!) goes out into the water. You can see them along the Creek in Dubai and other ports around the Arabian Gulf. (Colloquially, they were called “thunder boxes” when I was there.)

And here’s how it’s used in the book:

“I groaned with the pain, retching into the garderobe until my belly was raw and then I was driven to my chamber with curtains pulled to douse me in darkness until I could withstand the light once more.”

3. TERGIVERSATION– (This is from p.64 of the BBC History Magazine, Apr 2013)

It means: the turning of one’s back, desertion, changing of sides, shuffling, shifting

And here’s how it’s used (in the review of a book by J. Patrick Corby):

“Corby describes his target audience as college students, and the opening survey of European History, and the introductory tone of much of his prose appears to confirm this. Yet such students might stumble over words like ‘tergiversation’ or baulk at a number of unsubstantiated statements…..”

4. SORTILÈGES – (This is from p.23 of the BBC History Magazine, Apr 2013)

It means: divination by drawing lots.

And here’s how it’s used in an article about Henry VIII & Anne Boleyn:

“Another story, reported third-hand by Chapuys, quotes Henry as telling an unidentified courtier that he had married Anne ‘seduced and constrained by sortilèges’”.

5. HENDIADYS – (This is from p.36 of The Acts of the Apostles by J. A. Alexander)

It means: An expression in which an adjective & noun are replaced by two nouns joined by ‘and’: e.g. saying someone was ‘clad in cloth & green’ instead of ‘clad in green cloth’.

And here’s how it’s used:

“Ministry & apostleship is not a mere hendiadys meaning apostolic ministry but a generic and specific term combined, the one denoting service in general, the other a particular office.”

A further well-known example can be found in a line in The Lord’s Prayer: “For Thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory”, which is another way of saying, “For Thine is the glorious, powerful Kingdom”. In this case, two adjectives & a noun are replaced by three nouns with the conjunction ‘and’ linking them to give an additional emphasis.

 

6. HAMADRYAD – (This is from p.160 of The Elizabethans by A. N. Wilson)

It means: A wood-nymph which dies when the tree in which she lives dies or a large Ethiopian baboon.

And here’s how it’s used:

“Even the hunting parties were punctuated with pageantry. As she came riding home one evening, she was met by Gascoigne dressed as the Savage Man. On another evening he was Sylvanus, god of the woods, who told her that all the forest dwellers, the fauns, dryads, hamadryads and wood-nymphs were in tears at the rumour that she might be about to leave.”

Here’s a pic of one type of Hamadryad

Try getting that one into your conversation this week!

7. DEMI-MONDAINE – (This is from p.58 of a book called The Love & Wars of Lina Prokofiev)

It means: A kept mistress of society men; shady section of a profession or group; a class of women in an unrespectable social position.

And here’s how it’s used:

“In her first letters from Paris to Serge (Prokofiev), Lina mentions fraternizing with the nineteen year old demimondaine Alice Prin, nicknamed ‘Kiki de Montparnasse.’”

The book gives a very interesting insight into something of the politics & manoeuvrings in the world of classical music composers and the Russian government. Despite Lina’s parents being a Russian-born soprano and a Spanish tenor she does not seemed to have inherited their vocal gift to quite the same degree. She was certainly a singer of merit but never quite reached the pinnacle of her profession and seemed to miss out on crucial roles. Even Prokoviev himself could not emulate the slightly older Stravinsky and although his rivalry with Rachmaninoff, some said, proved he was a better composer he remained less popular than him. Perhaps his most widely known piece is Peter and the Wolf in which Peter is represented by the strings and the wolf by the horns; other instruments represent other animals: the flute a bird, the oboe a duck, the clarinet a cat, the bassoon a grandfather and the woodwind section the hunters.

8. CHIAROSCURO – (This is from Loc 4003 of 5004 in Kindle book – Samuel F. B. Morse (His Letters and Journals))

It means: A painting in black & white; Effects of light & shade or variety & contrast

And here’s how it’s used:

“The story is not told; the figures are not grouped but huddled together; they are not well-drawn individually; the character is vulgar and tame; there is not taste in the disposal of the drapery and ornaments, no effect of chiaroscuro.”

In case you’re wondering about the name, it really is the Morse who invented the Morse code. However Samuel Findley Breese Morse started life as a portrait painter and spent many years doing just that. Born in 1791, he was admitted to the Royal Academy in 1811 but did not develop the Morse Code until into his forties.

9. INELUCTABLY(This is from p.269 of The Love & Wars of Lina Prokofiev)

It means: Not able to be escaped from or avoided

And here’s how it’s used:

“The accounts of women who knew Lina in the camps are ineluctably confused with dates and events overlapping.”

The reference to ‘camps’ here is because Lina Prokofiev was sent to prison (the Gulags), on fabricated charges, for what turned out to be 8 years (after having been sentenced to 20 years). She was incarcerated in various “camps” (for example, Inta, Abez, Yava, Potma) and it is believed only her Christian Science beliefs helped her endure the terrible physical and mental conditions she experienced there. She was released in June 1956 having been helped in her appeal by one of her husband’s rivals – the composer Shostakovich. (Prokofiev himself had died in 1953.) She was finally able to emigrate from Russia in 1974 and settled in England. She died in London, in 1989, aged 91.

10. STERTOROUSLY – (This is from p.193 of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell)

It means: With a snoring sound

And here’s how it’s used:

“She sat up very late, sewing, and when at length she did go upstairs she found him lying on his back, partly undressed on the outside of the bedclothes, with his mouth wide open, breathing stertorously.”

This is a weighty tome at just short of 600 pages set in about 1906. Although obviously allegorical it pointedly uses quite ordinary names for the workers: Owen, Philpot, Barrington, Easton, Sawkins etc. However the bosses, companies and other important officials of town council of Mugsborough get such names as: Rushton, Crass, Slyme, Dauber & Botchit, Makehaste & Sloggit, Bluffem & Doemdown, Snatcher & Graball, Smeariton & Leavit; even some of the ladies are given disparaging ‘names’ like Mrs M. T. Head, Mrs Knobrane & Mrs Starvem. You get the idea.

And finally:

In 1946, George Orwell wrote an essay called “Politics and the English Language”. In it he highlighted something very relevant to writers and politicians. I’d like to finish with his quote:

“The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink.”

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A girl I once lived with

I once lived with a girl who was puzzling, to say the least. I got to know her because she worked near a place where I worked. She seemed really great and friendly. She was moving out of her room in a house in an area quite far away and looking for something closer to work. Someone in the flat I lived in was moving out. It seemed perfect. She moved in and it was going to be great fun.

That’s when I noticed some things which had seemed fairly minor before. The main one was that she didn’t know how to communicate unless the conversation was a) about her or b) something she could turn around so it was about her.

To have a conversation that was about something else, something apart from her immediate situation, for example, about the current situation in the Middle East, or which political party is in power, or how the recession has affected the country, was alien to her. She froze. She’d join in while it was at the stage where she could still offer something about herself but as it drifted further and further away from her and became about something else, she’d freeze. She’d sit there, looking at each of us, panic in her eyes and eventually just slope off to her bedroom.

Occasionally, she’d make a desperate last ditch attempt to bring the conversation back to the earlier subject of herself. The result was as follows….

“So do you think they’ll make a coalition then?”
“Yeh, maybe. But who will they go with, Conservative or Labour?”
“I think Labour. Isn’t it funny how they have the power now because….”
“I’M GOING TO MAKE LEMON CUPCAKES TOMORROW!”

Silence….

Awkwardness….

“Um yeh, it’s funny about how the LibDems have the power to decide now, who they want to team up with…. Um…”
“…Yeh.”

If myself or any of the other flatmates had friends over, she’d come in the room, because she obviously wanted to join in but didn’t know how. So she’d just sit silently watching everyone, trying to figure out how to join in. It was close to impossible to include her in a conversation (unless it was about herself or she could make it about herself) so attempts to help her into things were wasted. She’d just watch for a while, then leave.

Eventually she started coming in from work and running straight from the front door to her room. She refused to speak to me at home for weeks, yet would speak to me at work like nothing was wrong! I’d go in her shop or she’d come and get a tea at the coffee shop where I worked and she wouldn’t mention the fact that she wouldn’t speak to me at home.

If I had stuff to ask her about the flat, I’d ask her at work, money for bills etc.

She once shouted at me because I mentioned something about cleaning, which she seemed allergic to. Instead of responding to my suggestion of making a rota for cleaning to make sure everyone was doing some (she never did), she said: “I’M JEALOUS OF YOU AND ALL YOUR FRIENDS!”

How do you respond to that? You suggest a cleaning rota. She says she’s annoyed with you because you have friends and she’s jealous.

It got to the point where she hated having to be around us so much that she just ordered take away, rather than come in the kitchen for even a second to get food. There’d be a knock, a scurry of feet, the smell of pizza and a scurry of feet back to her room. She also never brought the leftovers to put in the fridge. She’d just keep it in her room, all nice and warm, and dig in the next day.

I feel like I might be making it up because it sounds so odd, but honestly, it’s a true story.

Budgeting in Laos

A few years ago, some friends and I were travelling around South East Asia. We had just crossed the border from Thailand into Laos and were staying in the capital city called Vientiane, on the banks of the Mekong River.

When we first arrived there, I think we had come in by coach and it was quite late in the evening. We just wanted to drop our stuff somewhere and go and eat. We weren’t really big on the whole planning-ahead scene. We loved the carefree nature of just turning up and seeing what we could find. So we hardly ever pre-booked hotels or anything. Sometimes it ended us in some pretty sticky situations but, on the whole, we preferred it. It suited us because we didn’t always know when we would be moving on, or where to.

So this time, we got off the coach, wandered along the front and saw somewhere which looked quite nice (we usually made do with ‘a bit grotty’ but this time we went for ‘quite nice’ because we were too tired to keep looking).

We go in, ask for a room for three and are taken to a really nice, quite plush room with wooden furnishings and a generally lovely ambience. It was a bit pricey but we agreed that we would just stay one night and find somewhere cheaper the next day. We still had a few weeks of travelling left and not a lot of money to do it on.

So the next day, around midday, we packed up our bags again, shouldered our weights (mine was getting ridiculously heavy by this point as I kept collecting books faster than I could read them and pass them on), paid our bill and told the owners we were leaving. As we stepped outside of this lovely comforting enticing hotel, the heavens opened….

We trudged the streets, getting more and more soaked, looking in any hostels, B&Bs or hotels we could find. We walked for maybe an hour and found a hostel with a room for three people which already had five hundred fleas in it, another place with a cockroach in the bath and some other places more expensive than the one we just left. I think we saw a few which just looked quite old and about to fall down. The entire time, it rained.

Fed up and getting quite grumpy by this point, we stopped in a little cafe to dry off and get something to eat. The afternoon was arriving and we hadn’t had anything, having not suspected that finding a room would prove so difficult. We started arguing a little bit with each other. This person needed to stop being so fussy, they were only fleas. And that person needed to relax about the big crack down the wall, what’s the problem, it probably only lets a little draft in. What’s a cockroach in the bath? We won’t bathe then, no big deal. And who cares if the room smells like urine? You’re getting too fussy, we’re on a budget here!

After skirting around the obvious for a long while, we eventually all admitted it. We had nowhere else to go but back to the same hotel we left an hour ago. We’d come full circle in our search and as we left the cafe, we realised that we were just around the corner from the hotel.

Sheepishly, we shuffled around the corner and approached the hotel. We sneaked a look in the front and, sure enough, the same people were at the desk. Earlier, they had asked us why we were leaving and we had explained that we were students on a budget, we needed somewhere more affordable.

We hung around outside for a few minutes, deciding who should lead the walk of shame back to the reception desk. I think I was nominated in the end and we re-entered the hotel, quietly explaining that we would like ‘a room for three, please.’ Of course they recognised us. With huge smiles on their face, they took down a key and lead us back to the exactroom we had left an hour ago and told us to make ourselves at home….

When we left the hotel a few minutes later, desperate to put some distance between ourselves and our shame, the rain had stopped and the sun had come out. And it stayed pretty sunny for the rest of our stay in Vientiane at that hotel.