Monday, 17 October 2011

X is for ...

... had a bit of trouble deciding what X is for.  So, I had to resort to a dictionary - first time during this ABC meme hosted by An Accidental Knitter.

A few words appealed to me.

Seen in the Victoria and Albert museum
a 19th century embroidery in silk on linen from Skyros -  Greek Island

Xebec - a small mediterranean three masted trading ship with oars.  It was similar to the ships used by Barbary pirates.  Can't believe my luck as this allows me to use the photo above of an embroidery I found in the V&A a couple of years ago.  It appears to show a xebec.

Xenops - a small tropical rainforest bird of the ovenbird family.

All the ovenbirds you will ever want to see are on this link

Xystarch - the definition on the website was worded "ancient Greek officer in charge of gymnastic exercises".  I think it means an officer in Ancient Greece.  Although I like to think of some ancient officer, disappointed by too few promotions and embittered as younger men pass him by, exercising what little authority he has left by putting them through hell on the exercise ground. 

That's what it was like at the gel's school I went to.  Our Physical Training mistress was just like that.  Xystarch.  A small fearsome spinster with metallic grey hair that never moved, even in a high wind.  I never once in five years ever saw her smile.  Boy was she starchy and boy did we suffer.  Gymnastics was a nightmare not to mention hockey in sub zero temperatures.  Indoors if it was wet to have the off-side rule explained to us.  I didn't get it then and I don't get it now. 

We must have  been a huge disappointment to her.  I can still hear her shouting "Oh Misery!" at the latest feeble attempt to vault, run, hit the ball with the stick, pass a baton, get a ball over the net, get another ball through a hoop.  All the usual forms of torture.


pinkundine said...

I like your interpretation of Xystarch, I can just picture it ;)

I seem to have skipped the letter X entirely... How strange!

lyndagrace said...

I will make sure the next time I am in a tropical rain forest...wait a minute, make that the first time I am in a tropical rain forest, I am going to see how many of these ovenbirds I can find...especially the Xenops.