Tuesday, October 31, 2017


Halloween or Hallowe'en (a contraction of All Hallows' Evening), also known as Allhalloween, All Hallows' Eve, or All Saints' Eve, is a celebration observed in a number of countries on 31 October, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows' Day. It begins the three-day observance of Allhallowtide, the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed.
It is widely believed that many Halloween traditions originated from ancient Celtic harvest festivals, particularly the Gaelic festival Samhain; that such festivals may have had pagan roots; and that Samhain itself was Christianized as Halloween by the early Church.
In many parts of the world, the Christian religious observances of All Hallows' Eve, including attending church services and lighting candles on the graves of the dead, remain popular, although elsewhere it is a more commercial and secular celebration. Some Christians historically abstained from meat on All Hallows' Eve, a tradition reflected in the eating of certain vegetarian foods on this vigil day, including apples, potato pancakes, and soul cakes.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Quinto Real or Le Pays Quint or Kintoa

Quinto Real (French: Le Pays Quint, Basque: Kintoa) is an area on the border between France and Spain in the Pyrenees mountains, in northeastern Navarre.

The area is part of Spain but is administered by France; the inhabitants are French citizens by default but have the right to dual citizenship. Residents pay income tax in France and property taxes in Spain.
The country was long the subject of bloody disputes between French shepherds of Baïgorry and Spaniards of the Val d ‘Erro.
The Treaty of Bayonne, signed on 2 December 1856, decided on the territorial distribution and usage of this disputed area.
Until the 1700’s, the Quint country was larger than today, including the lands of Aldudes of Banca and Urepel, then uninhabited and undivided. The younger sons of Baïgorry, excluded from the heritage succession (the Basque tradition ensures the inheritance of the family goods and titles to the elder man or woman), moved and settled on this territory.
The area is well known for it's specific breed of pigs, related to the pigs of Bigorre.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Berets on Strike

Strike action, or simply strike, is a work stoppage caused by the mass refusal of employees to work.
Strikes became common during the Industrial Revolution, when mass labor became important in factories and mines. In most countries, strike actions were quickly made illegal, as factory owners had far more power than workers. Most Western countries partially legalized striking in the late 19th or early 20th centuries.
Strikes are sometimes used to pressure governments to change policies. Occasionally, strikes destabilize the rule of a particular political party or ruler; in such cases, strikes are often part of a broader social movement taking the form of a campaign of civil resistance. Notable examples are the 1980 Gdańsk Shipyard or 1981 Warning Strike, led by Lech Wałęsa. 
These strikes were significant in the long campaign of civil resistance for political change in Poland, and were an important mobilizing effort that contributed to the fall of the Iron Curtain and the end of communist party rule in Eastern Europe.
The use of the English word "strike" first appeared in 1768, when sailors, in support of demonstrations in London, "struck" or removed the topgallant sails of merchant ships at port, thus crippling the ships. Official publications have typically used the more neutral words "work stoppage" or "industrial dispute".

Saturday, October 28, 2017


To liberate. From Latin lascare.
Lliure (masculine and feminine plural lliures)
Free, liberated (not restrained)

Friday, October 27, 2017


I just finished reading The North Water by Ian McGuire; a story about whaling but more than anything a journey into the heart of darkness.
I can't think of any other (fiction) book that is so dark, gruesome and awful, yet at the same time beautifully written and impossible to put down.
The whaling station and crew at Trinidad, California Aug. 1923
The north water is where the whales are, and this novel is about the dying days of Hull’s whaling industry, in the late 1850s.
The North Water is as much about the human relationship with the wild as it is about the relationships of one character to another. The strength of The North Water lies in its well-researched detail and persuasive descriptions of the cold, violence, cruelty and the raw, bloody business of whale-killing.
On the whale hunt, as depicted on the coat of arms of Biarritz

No berets feature in the book, but whalers certainly were boineros; choosing a hat for it's qualities and comfort, evident on old (and not so old) photographs of whalers in the United States, the Basque Country and Australia. 
The flensing deck of Tangalooma whaling station, Moreton Island, Australia 1960. 

Thursday, October 26, 2017


Researching Basque Berets, it is amazing how often I stumble upon pictures of scarcely dressed women in lingerie.
The term “basque” refers to a type of bodice or jacket, and in modern usage a long corset, characterized by a close, contoured fit and extending past the waistline over the hips. It is so called because the fashion was adopted from Basque traditional dress, initially by the French and then throughout Western fashion.
In Victorian fashion, basque refers to a closely fitted bodice or jacket extending past the waistline over the hips; depending on era, it may be worn over a hoopskirt (earlier Victorian era) or bustle (later Victorian era). A basque bodice (i.e., when considered as a dress component, to be worn with a specific skirt) could also be referred to as a "corset waist", because of its close fit.
In modern usage, basque may also refer to clothing details reminiscent of lingerie such as frilly lace and cutout, "peekaboo" designs.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Beret Spy in Citroën Cactus

My liking of Basque berets is only equaled by my liking of Citroëns. Although, this has been challenged over the past decade, with Citroën becoming more and more mainstream in their designs and innovations.
But, then came the Cactus! The Cactus is a mini crossover, produced by Citroën in their Spanish factory since April 2014. The C4 Cactus is considered a compact SUV, although it is based on the platform that underpins the smaller Citroën C3 and DS3. 
The Cactus tries to recapture some of that old Citroen 2CV charm and it's motto seems to be ‘more’ - more design, more comfort, more useful technology. A distinctive design feature is the "Airbump" panels on the car's sides, designed to protect the vehicle from damage in car parks, it's lugage style doorhandles and sofa-style front bench seat.
One convert is my own brother, the Beret Spy, happily showing off his new Cactus in a variety of berets!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Patrick Guerrand-Hermès

Patrick Guerrand-Hermès (1932) is a French sports entrepreneur, billionaire and aristocrat.
He is also former president of the Federation of International Polo and the father of the socialite Mathias Guerrand-Hermès. He is noted for his involvement with Morocco and redevelopment there, most notably the redevelopment of the Aïn Kassimou in Marrakesh in the 1980s, a villa built for Leo Tolstoy's daughter, Olga.
He is also a notable art collector, and in 2001 Forbes ranked him as the 347th richest man in the world, with an estimated net worth of $1.3 billion.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Mike Krüger

Michael Friedrich Wilhelm "Mike" Krüger (1951) is a German comedian, actor, cabaret artist and singer.
Mike Krüger is a cult figure on German television. In the seventies, he wrote "Gottfried, Walther", life in the middle classes; in the eighties he invented Thomas Gottschalk, the German cinema comedy, and at the turn of the century he ran together with Rudi Carrell "7 Days, 7 Heads".
But his life before his exceptional career was by no means easy. Like his song, "My God, Walther," he knew struggling, the longing for acceptance, and felt free only when he realized that it could also be right "to be one of the greatest among the little ones". 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Aleksandar Jovanović

Aleksandar Jovanović was born on May 4, 1971 in Rottweil, Germany.
He studied at the Stage School of Dance and Drama in Hamburg and with Alan Jordan and Howard Friedman in Toronto.
He works as an actor and director, known for Collide (2016), Close to the Enemy (2016) and Schutzengel (2012).
He is married to German actress Clelia Sarto.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Edwin Scharff

Edwin Scharff (1887 –1955) was a German sculptor.
Scharff attended the Kunstgewerbeschule in Munich and studied painting at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste. He lived in Paris between 1912 and 1913, where he was influenced by the work of Aristide Maillol and Auguste Rodin. After serving in the German army during World War One, where he was badly wounded, he became a professor of sculpture at the Vereinigte Staatsschulen für Freie und Angewandte Kunst, Berlin (1923). He was removed by the Nazis in 1933, after which he found a position at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf (1934–1937).
In 1928 he won a bronze medal in the art competitions of the Olympic Games for his "Médaille pour les Jeux Olympiques" ("Olympic medals"). For the Reich's Exhibition of 1937 in Düsseldorf he produced two large equestrian statues for the fair's portals, which resulted in Scharff being classified as a degenerate artist. 
He continued to work in secret during World War Two, and after the war he became a professor at the Landeskunstschule in Hamburg.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Anneliese Uhlig

Anneliese Uhlig (1918 –2017) was a German-born film actress.
Uhlig made her film debut in 1937, and went on to appear in a number of leading roles in Germany cinema during the Nazi era. She was also one of a number of foreign figures to appear in Italian films during that period.
After the war she married an American, lived in the United States and in South East Asia, and worked as a journalist and lecturer.
Uhlig died in June 2017 at the age of 98.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Stolpersteine in Gladbeck

A Stolperstein (from German, literally "stumbling stone", metaphorically a "stumbling block" or a stone to "stumble upon", plural Stolpersteine) is a cobblestone-size concrete cube bearing a brass plate inscribed with the name and life dates of victims of Nazi extermination or persecution. 
The Stolperstein art project was initiated by the German artist Gunter Demnig in 1992, and is still ongoing. It aims at commemorating individual persons at exactly the last place of residency—or, sometimes, work—which was freely chosen by the person before he or she fell victim to Nazi terror, euthanasia, eugenics, was deported to a concentration or extermination camp, or escaped persecution by emigration or suicide.
As of 31 January 2017, over 56,000 Stolpersteine have been laid in 22 European countries, making the Stolperstein project the world's largest decentralized memorial.
Boinero Peter Jarosch cycles around 4000 kilometers a year in the city of Gladbeck and surroundings. 
Jarosch received the town plaque, especially because of his services to the regular care of the "Stolpersteine" in the city area, reminding the fate of the Nazis persecuted and murdered Gladbeckers.