Holiday schedule
The Beacon will publish a day early next week because of the coming holidays. All advertising and editorial deadlines will be moved up a day, and the paper will hit the newsstands next Wednesday instead of Thursday. Next week’s edition will be the last issue of the year: The Beacon won’t publish again until Jan. 6, a Friday. After that, the regular advertising and editorial deadlines will resume, and the paper’s standard Thursday publishing schedule will return to normal.

Service charter?
The Labour Department’s service charter states that the department will “answer your call within five rings, pleasantly greet you, and offer our assistance.” Thus, a Beaconite was a little surprised when he called the department on a recent morning and the phone rang 23 times before someone answered. The staff member did, however, pleasantly greet him before putting him on hold. The phone then proceeded to ring 30 times before cutting off. When he called back, his experience was better: The phone was answered after only 11 rings. He was again greeted courteously, then transferred to someone who answered after two rings and was able to provide the information he needed.

Holiday joy
Last Christmas, a Beaconite found herself at Peebles Hospital sharing holiday cheer with patients. Afterwards, she felt that the visit made the holiday one of the best she’s experienced. Now, Christmas is 10 days away, and the reporter is already toying with the idea of visiting the sick wherever she may spend the holidays. She recommends that others do the same, taking the time to visit someone who is sick and could use a hug or a smile.

Christmas strawberry?
A Beaconite who buys coffee regularly from a Main Street bakery was glad to see the store gearing up for the holidays last week with a display of holiday-themed sugar cookies. Behind the glass there were Christmas trees, snowmen, candy canes and one familiar shape that didn’t seem to fit with the holiday season: strawberries. The green-and-red-frosted cookies looked tasty but their inclusion with holiday-themed treats confused the Beaconite until he asked one of the bakers. “No, there’s no holiday connection. We just had the cutter and thought it would be fun,” the baker said.

Almost famous
A Beaconite interviewing a high-ranking official last week was surprised to find the conversation veer toward an unexpected subject: Beacon Editor Freeman Rogers’ notorious double moustache. While the award-winning ’stache was publicised in this and other publications, he was surprised it had caught the eye of someone so busy with other weighty matters. In retrospect, perhaps the Beaconite should have participated more actively in the Movember celebrations himself.

A Beaconite who has been away from the territory may be struggling to catch up with all the news that happened while she was away, but she was sure to tell her friends, family and acquaintances all about her new home while she was there. Many of the people she encountered on her visit, especially those she hasn’t been in close contact with over the last year, seemed to enjoy guessing where the reporter lives. “How’s life on a tropical island?” some asked, while another guessed the Bahamas and a third tried the Dominican Republic. After the reporter told them a little about the territory, her mother shared a memory trick that helps her remember the name of the island on which her daughter now resides: “It’s like tortilla.”