This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.



Thursday, 29 June 2017

Lunatic Luxury: a rant.

Do you call the field you've just covered with houses by its fine and ancient name of Boggy Bottom? Or do you recast it slightly as Moor Valley?

What if you're setting up a hotel in what used to be a prison? Do you have your own private joke and call it Malmaison,* as is the hotel situated in the old Oxford jail; or do you go all sarcastic like the owners of The Liberty Hotel in Boston, which used to be the Charles Street Jail? Or do you air-brush the past completely, as does the Four Seasons Hotel in Istambul? Or do you make no bones about its history, like the Hotel Jail, Luzern, or the Karosta Prison in Latvia?

What if you want to persuade someone that they should buy a house in a former Lunatic Asylum? Well, surely nowadays we're so open-minded and inclusive that if anything this will be a positive selling point?

The famous Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum, fondly referenced by such great men as PG Wodehouse and CS Lewis (and the setting for Will Self's interesting Umbrella) has, I see, reinvented itself. It's now called the Princess Park Manor. 

I looked at the prices. A two-bedroomed flat outside London for £790,000? You'd have to be mad to pay that much to live...

...ah. 

Word To Use Today: hatch. This word comes from the Old English hæcc and is related to the Dutch hek, gate.

*Yes, I know about the Hotel Chain and the Empress Josephine, etc. But it still means bad house, and it's still funny.


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