An estuary near me.
Best posts made by Cé hé sin
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.
Shopping, foreign style
Back in the 2000s we had an influx of people from central and Eastern Europe to do the jobs we couldn't be bothered with. The men worked on building sites and meat plants, the women in coffee shops. Given their population most of these were Poles (truth be told we just assume they're all Poles) and to give them a taste of home Polish shops opened everywhere. We got used to signs saying Polski Sklep. Fast forward to today and most of the shops are gone, their clientele having gone native. But not all. Today I was in Moldova. Not the country, the shop.
They want help and it has to have a very specific skill set.
Must speak Romanian, Russian and English.
I made purchases.
Russkiye Pryaniki, made in Ukraine which is somewhat unexpected given the current state of Russo/Ukrainian relations.
Romanian bread with cream filling.
I demurred on these:
Starting your CX
The Citroen CX was in many ways ahead of its time. Just look at it for a start.
It was aerodynamic before that was really a thing and it had self levelling suspension, almost fully powered steering and a weird but seemingly wonderful (to Citroenistes at least) dash and control layout.
Not everything was modern and high tech though. Having acquired your first CX, you'll need to start it. If you have a fancy injected one, you just turn the key. If you have a diesel, more time is involved. You turn the key and wait. And wait, until the glowplug light goes out and then you can try starting. I can't actually see the light on what is claimed to be the dash from a diesel but never mind.
More likely you'll have the ordinary carburettored model. Take a look at the dash.
See anything different? try zooming in.
Still no? Try again.
Yes, that's it. What Citroen called un starter and we call a choke, or more correctly a choke knob. For the benefit of the youths, a choke is a flap in the carburettor which partially chokes off the incoming air so as to richen the mixture. To start from cold, you haul the knob out and hope that the engine will start. In that event you then have to put the knob back part way almost immediately and then nurse the car along until it'll run without the choke. Even at the time an automatic choke was commonplace but that wasn't the Citroen way.
Also, you had to cancel your indicators yourself. Citroen were ideologically opposed to self cancelling indicators, fearing that they induced laziness.
RE: Hey one of my neighbours has a few roof tiles they are letting me have for free
That looks like fun. I love really hard work and could sit watching somebody doing it all day.
Further Honda news
News of my new-to-me Civic that is.
Try pushing those buttons?
Ah, there we go. Also, fancy heated seats.
One of these. CD changer in the dash. For the benefit of the youths, a CD is a plastic spinny round thing which goes into a CD drive and plays music. No, no connectivity No, no Google Auto. No aux input either unless you want to try and plug one into the back of the head unit.
The car is a hybrid, except that it isn't so much at the moment due to the passage of time.
See the display to the left?
The two bars are the state of charge. The four green ones show that the engine is trying to charge the battery. This isn't good, as it's supposed to regenerate under braking. Also, 7.4l/100 km. This is slightly worse than the non hybrid Focus that I've been driving recently. That's not good either. I've asked a mobile battery service to come round and diagnose the battery which may need to be swapped for a recon one. This isn't a surprise after 155,000 km. The car was cheap for a reason.
This is a check strap.
It has two or three indentations on it which engage with a pair of plastic grips inside the door and hold the door open in two or three positions. Except that they don't because wear and tear. The other doors work perfectly of course because much less use. I could go to my Honda dealer and pay them €100 or more to replace it, but I've ordered a Chinese copy. €9 delivered.
Apart from all that, the car goes well enough but you get the usual CVT droning as it struggles uphill and it's just as well I don't live in some desert because the air con isn't exactly super powerful.
To the day of today
Have a Honda Today for today.
That leads us to today, or specifically the word today. It used to be "to-day" and before that "to day". It comes from the Old English to dæge , meaning "on this day". In the same way we get "tonight" and "tomorrow", literally "on the morrow". Others do the same thing so the Swedes say "idag" and "imorgon", in day and in morning.
The French are different. They say "aujourd'hui". Let's unpack that.
Au To the
d' Contraction of de, of
hui Today, from the Latin hodie
So, it means "to the day of today".
"Whoa!" you say "the French use an awkward phrase containing the word "today" to say "today"? That's weird".
Yes, they do and yes, it is.
Two stroke Tuesday
Or, the Big Bang Theory.
Here we have, almost overwhelmed by its necessarily complex exhaust system, the noisy part of a Honda NSR500.
The NSR500 was Honda’s GP racing bike of the 1980s and 1990s and was master of almost all it surveyed, giving Honda ten championships from 1985 to 2001. It would have kept on mastering a bit longer had the rules not changed to penalise two strokes.
Honda didn’t achieve all this success by just leaving things as they were so most seasons a few more bhp were squeezed out. By the late 1990s and just before the elimination of leaded fuel the NSR500 produced about 200 bhp. That’s 400 bhp/litre which is really quite something for a NA engine more than twenty years ago.
There’s a downside to getting this much power from a two stroke. Ridden slowly the NSR was relatively docile and unthreatening, right up the point where it would actively try to kill you. It was said, at least in the early days, that it would go from 50 to 150 bhp within 100 rpm. That’s exciting, and not in a good way. Honda decided to try and improve things, partially to make it easier to ride and partially to give the tyres an easier time.
Enter the Big Bang Theory.
It’s in the nature of a two stroke that each cylinder will fire once during each revolution. The NSR had a V4 so you’d expect one cylinder to fire each 90deg or so. This means that power is being applied to the rear wheel on a continuous basis. Honda’s idea was to give the wheel a little break. They therefore arranged the crank and the V angle so that all four cylinders fired within about 70deg, leaving about 290deg of a pause. It worked, albeit at the cost of some power as initially a balancer shaft was needed. Not all were satisfied though. After a couple of years their star rider, Mick Doohan, had a request. Could he go back to what was now termed the screamer (because it did) engine please? He found that he could get more out of it and was well aware that he was about the only person who could. And so it was done.
The screamer/big bang argument has been going on ever since.
Latest posts made by Cé hé sin
RE: Catalytic converter thieves have been busy around here
RE: The Extremely Long Career of USS LST-510/MV Cape Henlopen (1944)
I wonder how much of the original ship is left, or of it a case of my grandfather's axe?