Tuesday, 22 March 2011

131. The Basque beret

22nd March 2011. Another potent symbol of the Basque identity - perhaps second only to the Basque language - is the Basque beret. Totally different to the snug fitting military berets seen elsewhere, the Basque beret has an 'overhang' all the way around which provides a measure of protection against the sun and the rain - both of which are common in these parts. And for what is a simple item of headgear, it has many ways of being worn:
No two the same..!
Madame has been fighting a losing battle trying to persuade me to have one.. In my opinion, the Basque beret is for Basques - and Basques only. Here's a nice clip that explains much about the Basque beret - who wore them, how they are worn, how they are made etc..

And they get everywhere too - that chap on the right (below) looks like he's wearing one (hold on tight before clicking on the image!):  
This Citroën advert always makes me smile..! But - swipez-moi - is this how we sound to those of the Gallic persuasion?
Down to the river this evening under threatening skies.. there were some very dark clouds over the mountains but I thought we might escape the rain. Went out in a coxless quad sculler (no names, no pack drill!) and we set off. It was also the stroke's first outing in the stroke seat which, in that boat, was the one that coupled up to the rudder for steering. We decided it would be a good idea to steer via the oars - using simple commands like "Force Tribord" or "Force Babord" to be called by the person sitting in the bow seat. I won't go into the detail of what happened except to say that the person calling out for more effort on one side or the other did not understand the mechanics of how a boat is steered (despite the three of us explaining how it works in words of one syllable or less) with the result that, due to the wrong call being made, we spent quite a bit of time inspecting various trees and bushes at very close quarters! In fact, we gave up using such esoteric terms as Tribord (starboard) or Babord (port) and reverted to simpler commands like Force Rouge (red being the coloured bands painted on the port riggers) or Force Vert (green for starboard). In the end, we even gave that up and just used Force Gauche (left) or Force Droit (right) but amazingly that proved too complicated as well. And while all this was going on, the rain was coming down in sheets. I kept telling myself I was enjoying it! So I think, given that background, we can be proud of the fact that we managed to row 10kms (after a fashion). Running total: 510km.
That whisky and water tasted so good after my shower!


voodooqueen126 said...

Do you know where berets are manufactured in Pays Basque (in France not Spain). I know the major manufacture in France is in the Bearn region, just south of Pau, in the village of Nay, Blancq-Olibet another is in Baudreix.

Pipérade said...

I think Laulhère berets are made in Oloron Sainte Marie. There are probably others.

Daan said...

There are only two manufacturers left in France. The oldest (since 1819) is Blancq-Olibet (not in Nay anymore, but in close by Baudreix. The other manufacturer is Laulhere, since 1840, from Oloron Sainte Marie. Both brands are available through www.SouthPacificBerets.com and for literally everything about berets, visit: www.BeretAndBoina.blogspot.comnufole

Pipérade said...

Thanks for that Daan. Madame periodically nudges me towards buying a beret but, like kilts in Scotland, clogs in Holland and lederhosen in Austria, I think these are best left to the natives. That's my excuse anyway!☺