An estuary near me.
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96 year old hooker back at work
A 96 year old hooker from Galway named Loveen is back at work after ten years of rest, recuperation and major surgery.
She's had new timbers as needed, new masts and rigging, new sails and lots of other bits.
New timbers? Yes, of course. Why, what did you think a Galway hooker was?
Most careers follow an upward progression. You start at the bottom as assistant bottle washer or whatever and then as time passes you move up to be the next Bill Gates. Except that you probably don’t and you remain stuck at the giddy heights of chief bottle washer.
Not all careers follow this upward path however.
In the Catalan areas of Spain there’s a tradition of building castells. Not just the stone ones but human ones. Originally carried out as part of rural religious festivals from the beginning of the 18th century, they’ve become urbanised and secularised since the 1960s and 70s and are now constructed in exhibitions and competitions.
Castell building comes with its own arcane vocabulary and as it’s also strongly associated with Catalan nationalism (it was discouraged in the Franco era) everything is in Catalan rather than Spanish. Take, for example, the website of the Castellers de Barcelona, which is hosted using the .cat rather than .es domain and makes no allowance for the existence of a Spanish language. There are terms to describe the towers, their construction and dismantling (which is the tricky bit) and the roles played by the participants. Building a really ambitious castell is a major undertaking and the collas, the organisations involved, are of significant size with multiple layers of management and training facilities. Taking into account those forming the bottom layer, the pinya or pine cone (a view from above will show you where the name came from) there could be 600 or more people taking part.
Until about the 1980s castell building was a man’s (and boy’s) job. It then occurred to the collas that as women and girls are lighter they could be used to form the upper layers. This was a game changer because now the collas could build nine or sometimes ten levels, something impossible before.
Part of the vocabulary involves mysterious abbreviations so this is a 3 de 10 amb folre i manilles, a tower with three people per level and ten levels supported by a second and third level of reinforcement in addition to the pinya. You can see the second and third layers of support clearly in the lead image, which is a 2 de 9. Edit: 3 de 10
It’s not in fact ten levels of three through as you’ll see from the picture. The upper three levels are made up of four kids, the pom de dalt , usually but not always small girls, of varying sizes.
Two form the dosos, literally the two, one younger and lighter one crouches on their arms forming a platform and finally you have the enxaneta who clambers right to the top, raises her hand showing four fingers for the Catalan flag (remember that Catalan nationalism) and then goes down the other side.
Enxanetas are small. Really small, as in five or six, and even at that age they can have been training for three years. Not all parents are enthused at the prospect of their three year old taking up climbing up a ten metre human tower as a hobby. Serious accidents are rare, but they happen and the four kids are now obliged to wear helmets following the death of a twelve year old in 2006. The rest of the crew, not so much.
If you’re selected as an enxaneta you therefore begin your castell career at the top in every sense. From there and as you get older and heavier you go down in the world. First stop may be as the second level, the croucher, then you become one of the two. By your early teens you’re down another level and by your late teens down one more. Then, if you’re female, you’re probably* done climbing as the bottom layers need strength as you’re carrying an enormous load. Instead you go down to ground level and form part of the pinya, thus completing the transition from the pinnacle of your career to its nadir.
*or maybe not. This article, if I guess the Catalan correctly, is about the first all female 7 de 7.
Latest posts made by Cé hé sin
Things the French don't do
I'm back from hols in France and I've got Observations on things the French don't do (to be followed obviously by things they do)
Other than the Fiesta and the odd Puma, France is not a Ford friendly place
Hyundais and Kias
Nope, not them either which is odd coming from a place where the best selling car is the Tucson
Other than the Yaris which is actually made in France (which distinguishes it from the Renault Clio....) none of those either
Not common here except for the odd Civic but almost unheard of there
You see the odd 3 but not a common sight
Wear stripy shirts and a string of onions
Starbucks and the like aren't often met with outside touristy areas and Paris. You want a coffee, you go a bar or possibly a bakery like La Mie Caline.
Anything on Sunday
Outside touristy areas France is closed on Sunday except for some supermarkets which open from about 9 to 12
Much on Monday
As Sunday but a little less so
RE: Electric Dreams: Actually seeing EVs
See (and hear their peculiar hollow droning and mandated sound) all over now. Teslas and Leaves are the most noticeable at the moment, mainly because they're recognisable as such. The Hyundai Ioniq 5 and its Kia equivalent are becoming common as well (so far this year they're no 2 and 1 in the EV sales charts). Plenty of PHEVs as well, mainly BMWs.
I'm just back from France where they're rather less common and are often Renault Zoes.
Down at the port
The good ship Celebrity Apex spotted on my way home from France, which is appropriate because she was built there by Chantiers de l'Atlantique in 2020. Does she look like a billion dollars? Don't ask me, but that's roughly what she cost. What we really notice is the orange assembly along the side, the Magic Carpet which allows travel from the upper to the lower decks.
She's powered by a smaller (in ship terms....) V12, two bigger ones and two straight 8s.
Top trivia: she was built in St Nazaire, a place with a long history in that line of work. Julius Caesar had ships built there and he wasn't the first