Category: BrighterLanguages

Evacuees Spanish Civil War -Tortosa.

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One of the highlights of this year’s programme is the forced exile by this unpleasant, unwelcomed Civil War, the evacuated route, those Tortoisins followed away from the bloodiest, most horrific bombing cascaded on them by the Italian fascist aircraft they did endure on April 15, 1938. Twenty tons of bombs fell from the skies, more than in Guernica -the Basque country, on good Friday. Later sadly referred to as Blood Friday.

[Aside: There is so much about my immigrant, beloved Catalonian homeland of seventeen years, that I do not know the history about. Through my writings, readings and research I endeavour to resolve and share it with you, my readers. I apologize profusely for ignoring these facts purely because they were written in Catalan. And why shouldn’t they be? It is their language- it is up to me to conquer and understand it.]

Starting today a week of exhibitions, conferences, book presentations have been coordinated by the Tortosa City council for the second year running. (The covid restriction guidelines have been applied accordingly. )

  • Wednesday 14th, at 7 pm, A Week of Historical Memory from 14 to 19 April. ‘Displaced people from Tortosa, rooted in Vic’ will take place, which aims to follow the path taken by the Tortosa community that settled in the capital of Osona. “We know that many people from the city had to take refuge in Vic, and that is why we will have the dissertation of the Osona historian Xavier Cateura,
  • Thursday 15, the Marcel·lí Domingo library reading club will focus on the renowned Pulitzer Prize-winning comic ‘Maus’, which narrates with illustrations the torment of the Jewish community in Nazi Germany. The event, at 7 pm, has limited access due to the covid measures and a place must be reserved at bmd@tortosa.cat or at 977 445 566.
  • Later, at 7.30 pm, in the didactic classroom of the Museu de Tortosa, The second Petjades Awards will be presented, which recognize the research work on historical memory carried out by students at Terres de l’Ebre high schools.
  • The following Friday at 6 pm sharp in the Marcel·lí Domingo library (necessary to reserve space due to limited capacity), the in-person presentation of Víctor Amela’s book ‘Ens robar la joventut‘ {‘We steal the youth.’}
  • Lastly, on Saturday at 12 noon, the inauguration of the exhibition ‘Persecuted and Saved’ (‘Perseguits i salvats’)will take place, organized by Amics i Amigues de l’Ebre at the Museu de l’Ebre. A sample that revisits the journey of the evacuees, through the escape routes of exiles during the Civil War. These same tracks later served the Jewish arrival from their persecution, during World War II.

Ernest Hemingway

There is a fathom of written works out there to delve into and immerse yourself for never-ending hours in history, stories, well-written journalism and biographies. The man I am partial to is Ernest Hemingway. – the more I read his writings the more I want to know. Despite what some may feel that the Civil War is boring to hear about, he was here in Tortosa reporting on thises horrors -read his works!

A Week of Historical Memory from 14 to 19 April.

Councilor Dolors Bel emphasized that “it is important to know our history and delve into what has happened to our environment, to our ancestors”, (“és important conèixer la nostra història i aprofundir en el que ha passat amb el nostre entorn, amb els nostres avantpassats”)

Tortosa remembers!

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QUDINI – queuing solution applications

Houdini-QUDINI

The ‘Houdini ‘ for resolving all your business queuing challenges, whether it is systematical or in person. This may be for example in the supermarket social distancing access ‘Green Light’ entrance and monitoring the queues (especially under Covid-19 restrictions in the UK).

Qudini software gurus have advanced their system even further. You no longer need to stand in line for the arduous length of time and brazen the climatic elements. Their mobile/cellphone ever-evolving options enable you to tap into the DIY store/supermarket programme in order to book your spot – the next in the queue. You are given a user-specific code for that shopping moment experience. They inform you of approximate time delay; notify you when it is your turn to leave your vehicle; pick up your shopping trolley/cart; show your identification code (as allocated by Qudini on your mobile) and you enter obligatory masked(!) to a happy, safe, uncrowded, shopping experience.

Houdini was not just an escape artist by magic. No! He carefully thought out each step to analyze the problem of entrapment and restriction. Every disentanglement was done in a pre-studied order, timing and method to emerge successfully free without causing harm to himself, other stage members or his awestruck audience of followers and non-believers.

Retail Choreography – a business-critical strategy

Yes! Qudini has nailed it as being the retail choreographer. They have formed awe-inspiring robust and compelling order to glide us in authoritative sequences across versatile and ever-changing stages. Thus we are able to embrace the changes we face in the ‘new- normal’ business world encountering diverse pandemic, cultural and environmental adjustments.

Name style, origin and tone

Thus, it is ever appropriate for the company to settle on a coined name of the two strong words Queue + Houdini= Qudini [ Cue/dee/nee]or [Kew/di/nee]. The tone and image of the name create the delusion of escaping from the problems surrounding a never-ending, exasperating queueing system. The play on words is puny and memorable.

In the UK we are brought up with the decorum of standing in a queue in an orderly fashion. In the USA you stand in line – same difference. Now in Spain, they have a whole different system of standing anywhere you choose and merely say: ¿Quién es el último? (Who is the last?). Yet the name is portable and easily enunciated by non-English speakers as [koo/di/ni.] In Mandarin Chinese they have the “qu“in 出去 chūqù, which interesting means to “go out.”

The letter q is of undetermined origin, stemming down from an Egyptian hieroglyphic sign appearing like a looped rope leading on to the shape of a twinned loop detected in ancient Semitic calligraphy.

The Romans had attained the early Greek habit usage of koppa for a k sound before u and adapted the sign to a more rounded shape with a curved tail. In this style, the letter Q evolved from Latin into English. Thus, many words in English have the prefix QU.

Many companies have utilized this prefix QU to create unique names and an assured market place over the course. To list but a few are Quaker oats, Quick Books, Quest Softech (India) Ltd., Quintegra Solutions Ltd, or even the Chinese like Qunar (去哪儿 / qù nǎ ér) and Quiksilver (极速骑板 / jí sù qí bǎn). Now, we add Qudini to the special Q-name list.

Quality of a Company’s brand

In order for a name to have that quintessential appeal in their trademark registration category it has to be quite special – it must be ‘heard above the herd’.

Qudini has achieved it!

Naming Alphabet Soup 101

(c)Rosie Reay and BrighterNaming

Srixon golf balls

has a soft feel for both male and female professional and amateur players.

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The selection of which golf ball to tee-off with is a personal choice of the player. Srixon has them in both ‘notice-me’ yellow, snow-white or lady-pink, with an appropriate same-slogan on both – soft feel.

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The Brand name.

The golf product name is as important to the manufactures survival in this crowded global field, as to the players choice. It needs to be unique, modern, (even if it has evolved from the long parent company’s descriptive name) and of course, trademark clear! The spelling can be coined and unusual, by that it becomes memorable and identifiable! Yet, have a feel and tone in the name that flows implying the texture and potential of these golf balls in every swing-male or female.

So, where does the name Srixon come from?

Believe it or not, the Japanese parent company (Sumitomo Rubber Ltd, now SRI Sports Ltd), first manufactured rubber products since 1909 especially, motor racing tyres. So too did Michelin and Dunlop.

Sumitomo is a surname and their Marketing team soon realized that name would not fly, even though some surnames still have a place of longevity in the naming world.

How do you pronounce Srixon correctly?

Aside: I asked once again for clarification from my resident linguistic colleague in Japan.

ts スリクソン、surikuson (the ku is relatively quiet). So the main feeling is “slick” + “on”

Also, in Japanese, R and L are not easily distinguished from each other as there is only one sound they have which is similar to both of them. They often will mix these letters when translating to Roman characters, such as writing rice as “lice” etc.. so Srixon should have been Slixon if they had carefully considered the name for English speaking customers.

Global English speaking variations on the name Srixon.

These are for information (but please refer to the correct Japanese pronunciation above) to company directors and product managers how important it is to say your name out loud on the international markets before committing to the name on the table. You may not have a century to prove your brand worth!

Below are a few of the more common one’s heard around the golf fraternity

  • Sir-icks-on;
  • Sh-ryan;
  • See-ree-on;
  • Six iron -(Where did that come from as syllables are transposed?)

Conclusion.

I wasn’t seeking out Japanese words/products/names per se. I was merely fascinated by the spelling compared to how different continents would pronounce that morpheme “srix”. Fortunately, the mispronunciation has caused no harm in this case and the Brand is strong with world recognition and lasted over a century.

Furthermore, setting aside the Japanese prefix element the suffix “Xon” is a person’s first name that means “God is good” and is of Hebrew origin. It sounds like <Shon> but is common among modern-day naming of Asiatic children.

Srixon (always designing new products) holds the largest number of golf ball patents in the world! The product name works- it flies off the golf shelves as fast as it flies off the tees! It has that soft feel and tone to it. If you missed this golfparty.es because of ‘lockdown’ there will be many more supporting this strong brand name – S-R-I-X-O-N.

(c) Naming Alphabet Soup 101: Rosie Reay and www.brighternaming.com

“Country cousins” Tortosa Free-day

Tres amics són tres cosins, tres cerveses … potser!

The term “country cousins” often pops up in English literature with no implied intention of insulting their sophistication, but rather as an affection or a tongue in cheek expression. Prior to the days of London’s Zoological gardens when friends, relatives, or strangers from the countryside were visiting the City, it was a wonder what to do or where to take them. Thus, in novels it is written to take the “country cousins” to see the Royal lions guarding at the Tower.

However, I (their birth-“Foden” Cousin from Jesús. Tortosa) was treated to the first break with my cousins( from higher up River Ebro at Benifallet) for a drink and a chat outside, since the lockdown on 14th March, 2020.

The quandary: Where do we go? We don’t have lions in Tortosa, except one statue on my gateway entrance and that doesn’t count as a place of interest. We were all in agreeance that a beer or two and some nibbles (aka tapas) to sit outside were on the cards, but preferably near greenery and not pavement side. So my cousin headed for Tortosa Parc.

We are only in Phase 1 of the opening up of Terres de l’Ebre region since the lockdown. We were all masked up and like excited kids (or thirsty camels heading towards an oasis) hurried to the freedom of the park, along with an over-excited 5 month-old Maya, the German Shepherd puppy. Oh so cute!

The tables were all well spaced out as they are to do so under the controls as stated and no inside drinking. My cousin told me not to touch the table until she’d thoughtfully brought out her mobile bleach and sponge cleaning kit. I was impressed. She also placed a sanitizer bottle on the table for us to share.

Aside: the only slightly awkward issue was the fact that we could eat and drink outside the bars, but we were not allowed to use their toilet facilities – nor any others available! So it was prudent to control your consumption. (LOL)

It was crazy busy with not enough waiters to cope. So the service was slow but the Bokatines staff were friendly, courteous, and well protected. We were all just so happy to have that time in open spaces away from our respective fincas but to people-watch instead. We have been more fortunate than most as we have not been enclosed in confined spaces of apartments – many without balconies or open roof-top places to breathe and enjoy the evening air.

However, I personally feel I have had too much of the countryside and yearn for people’s contact. My cousin asked me how I was feeling now. I replied that I keep looking at the people and feel like they are two-legged aliens that I once knew in another life. It felt so strange to be seeing so many people in, what was such a normal pre-Covid-19 area, where the bars next to each other, overflow across the main rain of Avenigua Generalitat into Tortosa Parc.

I felt exhilarated!

Sunday evening 16th May beers and tapas in Tortosa Parc




Three canyons of beer arrived with the dew running down the glass, served in gloved hands, and plates of tapas of nachos with bacon and cheese and patatas bravos with allioli. We dived on the food like hungry lion cubs and the lager beer hit the spot -every time! Well- there was one or two top-ups but no-one was really counting.


The conversation flowed to and fro between local family catch-ups about Valencianos and Brits, Californians and New Yorkers too, not to leave out our nephew and niece in Japan. Much discussion of how this pandemic has impacted everyone personally and their private lives, their businesses, and those in the tourist rental industries. Yet, everyone seems to have continued working online, new projects, existing projects, and finding activities to occupy themselves. It is encouraging to hear that Germans are still enquiring to come down to Spain, just aren’t allowed across borders if no Spanish residencies in place.

So please tell me:

~ How has your first week in Phase 1 passed in Terres de l’Ebre?

~How do you envisage improving or changing anything in the coming week while still in Phase1?

~What ideas or motivation can you share within the community?

(c) Tales from the Ebro River Valley: RosieReay

Change in the historic “Book & Rose Festival” day.

No, El Dia del Llibre is not cancelled in 2020, merely moved forward to July 23rd after the Covid-19 virus lockdown is lifted, (even if social distancing must still be strictly adhered to), the show must go on! I for one would love to see the national dance of Catalonia, Sardana, performed in Barcelona’s Plaça Sant Jaume or even to attend one of the bars where they have 24-hour Readathon (if a lady of my age can stay awake that long. Hmm!)

Sant Jordi’s Importance to the Catalans

23rd of April is known as Sant Jordi’s fiesta day throughout Spain, but he is the patron saint of Catalonia. The Catalans’ attitude towards this romantic celebration of giving books (El Dia del Llibre)and roses (El Dia de la Rosa) on this special feast day is of unwavering importance to each and every one of them. The gift of roses has dated back to medieval times as a romantic gesture. Yet, it was only a lover of all literature Barcelona bookseller who in 1923 started promoting this bookselling day in esteem remembrance of some of our greatest writers in Shakespeare the Bard and Miguel Cervantes, who both deceased on this same day.

The legends of Sant Jordi slaying the dragon and saving the princess (Montblanc, Medieval festival, Catalonia- except cancelled this year) have been written about in many children’s books in as many languages. I have often favoured to use them in tutoring materials for youngsters. Today, I still delight in reading them myself.

However, in March Catalan News reported that “the Som cooperative and the Mortensen agency launched the #LlibreriesObertes campaign“. This is an innovative way to assist the booksellers who would suffer an untold financial loss during this crisis where they normally sell over 800,000 books on this one day. Thus, this scheme allows us during the virus isolation period to order and pre-paid (the money is forward immediately to the bookshops to keep them afloat) for the books of our choice and post-lockdown we can pop along and pick them up. These co-operatives were encouraging the people to come out on their balconies and read out loud from a chosen book today. How cool is that?

The Florists who make the lion share of their income on Sant Jordi’s day were also encouraging people to order their flowers online and to decorate their balconies still in the celebration of this feast.

2020, 23rd April-Barcelona to Terres del Ebre

So how did you spend this day?

I was delighted to wake up to see some awesome and cleverly crafted cartoons being shared with me across both Facebook and WhatsApp. They were so clever and so depicted the times we live in under this pandemic. I think these cartoonists justly deserve praise and airing to those who did not see them. They say a picture speaks a thousand words – well, these did speak to me as a voracious reader.

Then another writer/artist friend of mine Nuria Vives who usually resides on the outskirts of the Ebro Delta sent me a deserted street photo of Barcelona – a view from her Mums apartment. This crossroads junction (Arago’ Street) would pre-shutdown be hustling and bustling and full of people on the street celebrating El Dia del Llibre. Furthermore, knowing my obsession with books shared a quotation/drawing from “one of the most beautiful books I have read,” by Antoine de Saint Exupery, l’auteur aussi des dessins – The little Prince. So I look forward to reading both the English and French versions.

A young romantic couple sent me a lovely photo of themselves with a cheery message, “Much love from Jesus, El Canalet, “Jaume and Fressia. Due to the closure of businesses in Barcelona they have returned to spend isolation in the countryside, just outside Tortosa. They are fortunate to now have a garden/land to walk about in, unlike many confined to their apartments with or without balconies back in the capital. Yet, I’m sure they would have preferred to have been able to celebrate Sant Jordi’s day in the traditional Catalan way if we were virus-free. At least they are thankfully safe!

A close friend and another prolific reader, Araceli who hales from the Tortosa area, shared my sentiments indeed when she posted today quoting Oscar Wilde “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.”

I smiled to myself as I’ve started re-reading one of my favourite books (in English) of a well-known author from Catalonia: Carlos Ruiz Zafon, The Shadow of the Wind while I was sitting on my finca admiring my roses coming into bloom.

Well, while the likes of Araceli and myself await the libraries re-opening or personally pouring over umpteen bookstalls (now 23rd July, 2020) and finally hand-picking an armful of literary geniuses that we have not read, we will merely make-do with what we have in-house. (Charles Dickens and Shakespeare I’ve read several times and will again.) Yes, my soul-sister as you rightly say we will never be deprived of our love of literature, no matter how strange the confinements were on this Saint George’s day.

Aside: I look forward to you sharing your experiences and photographs in my Comments .

April 23rd in World History:

  • 1154 Damascus surrenders to Sultan Nur ad-Din van Aleppo
  • 1229 Ferdinand 111 of Castile conquers Cáceres
  • 1343 St.George’s Night Uprising in Estonia
  • 1348 1st English order of knighthood founded (Order of the Garter)
  • 1456 Sant Jordi (Saint George) became the patron saint of Catalonia,
  • 1504 King Maximillan 1 route troops to Bavaria
  • 1616 simultaneous deaths of Miguel Cervantes and William Shakespeare
  • 1926 El Dia del Llibre (The Day of the Book) officially declared
  • 1988 ‘Pa de Sant Jordi‘ culinary tradition for April 23rd was created by master baker Eduard Cresp at La Feca Balmes in Barcelona
  • In 1995, UNESCO adopted 23 April as WORLD BOOK DAY

(c) Tales from the Ebro River Valley: RosieReay

Ebro Valley crop circles cultivation- Camarles style.

Crop circles mysteries have baffled us over the history of time. We have marvelled in their beauty, their mysteries, legends of ominous satanic work at large, questionable hoaxers, climatic changes, studied by the intellectual professors, Crop circle (s) are preserved in stunning photographs until the end of time or even aliens landing (fringe theorists) and working their ‘butts off’ through the night while farmers slept.

Liz Crichton (started her project around 2017) gave thanks in 2018 saying: ”And still our wonderful crop circles keep producing! #abundance#gratitude”. Now wait a minute, Ayrshire tatties grown by a Scottish lassie relocated to the countryside in Camarles, Terres del Ebre? I’m awfully impressed as the climatic conditions could not be at more opposite extremes. I for one will hint for a specimen from next harvest to try one ‘lonely’ plant to propagate. After all, I was not nicknamed by my brother as Spud, when I was no more than knee-high to a grasshopper, for nothing!

So how does Liz still do it in 2020? Here is what was relayed to me as I lamented about my rock hard Spanish soil ideal for olive plantation, but vegetables-really?

“Crop circles – without a doubt!”

Take all your composting materials, cuttings, weeds, food compost waste twigs etc., and gradually layer the inside any size circle that is manageable for you to reach a circumference of 4 metres and a depth of 25cm. The tougher twigs /cuttings go on the bottom. Create a thick layer and stamp it down under your boot(advisable to wear on the el campo), then fill up the rest with mixed layers (any old way works). Finally, tramp it down again and water it.

Crop circle preparation

Once it has created a kind of dense vegetation mat you can immediately pour over a whole 70-litre bag of compost on top and plant in either seeds or plugs of anything that grows upwards i.e. lettuce, chard, spinach and so on.

crop circle young lettuce

In the 2nd year (or winter) top the circles up with another bag of your compost material and you can grow deep plants, like potatoes, carrots beetroot or even parsnips, as by then your initial compost material will be turning into soil in your crop circle. It is important to line the edges of your wire with the drying grass or weeds to save the new compost or precious water flowing away.

Crop circle 1st year growth

After the 2nd year, you can remove the encircled wire meshing and spread the compost and dig into your ground. It will now be soil down to a depth of 6″ (15.24cm) because of the worm activity and water( you can hand water if irrigation is not doable) that has nourished below your circles!

End of crop circle year 2: Ayrshire potatoes

“This year I’ve used a light sprinkling of 15/15/15 feed to once a week with great results!”

Multi Crop circles

“Mind you, I talk to them as well!” quipped Liz Crichton, “and I always ask before I pick and use www.moonandgarden.com“. The Moon & Garden is guided by the moon’s influence. Avery nifty application (French, English, Spanish, Italian, German and Dutch) as your coordinator to optimize your daily ‘best to do’ organic gardening by using biodynamics to use earth’s energy of the sun and moon enhanced with your personalized recording of Calendar, Gallery and action Alarms.

“May I pick you now, por favor?”

However, this is not a new-fangled idea amongst the traditional farmers in this valley. When we first moved to our Finca (2005), Partida de San Bernabe’, our neighbours aka. vecinos, came across to see what small vegetable plants for sewing I had just proudly bought. (I say proudly as my run of Spanish verbiage was almost non-existant!) He muttered away through his toothless grin in Catalan -no normal, no no- HIs wife explained in Spanish that I must only plant according to the moon cycle as his grandfathers had always done –Siempre– I considered myself rightly told off!

(c)Tales from the Ebro River Valley: RosieReay

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