Added 13/6/20

It’s been a family story for as long as I can remember that early in my forays into language the one word I couldn’t get right was “helicopter”. To me it was “kellihopter” (or however you spell that). That was a long, long time ago and maybe I should be writing about the horrors in the world, and the good things emerging with BLM, but for now, no, I can’t really find any words to do that any justice so I’ll just share some little things from the last month up here in my rather hermitic retreat.

One thing is that I’ve discovered that I am not, as I used to think, phlegmatic about the weather! I’ve really come to hate over two weeks with almost no sun or blue sky at all. On the 11th we had some of both, but not much. Yesterday we had more but it was still damn cold in the morning during the best of the sun. Today we had real warmth for about an hour: the first for well over two weeks but it’s gone back to cold now as the cloud surged back over.

However, in the early bits of blue sky yesterday morning we did get our eardrums battered for over an hour while the local utility helicopter lifted what I think are new flat roofing tiles up from the car park and dumped the old roofing down there.

It was pretty loud even with double glazed windows and door shut and playing music was out of the question but it was also impressive. There was a strong wind and you could see the helicopter bucking in it as held steady to drop the waste into the skips and allow the workers down there to disconnect the lifting line and then connect it to the next palette of tiles to come up. I did try to film it but it was bitterly cold in the wind and I wasn’t terribly successful. Here’s about 12 seconds of the helicopter hovering above the nearest terrace across from me. (I think my own terrace has already had its tiles replaced, though not I think since 2004 when we “moved in” as I now think of it.)

Deafening but hugely impressive!

That captures its repeated hovers just over the western peak of Aime 2000 from me. I was less successful capturing the much more entertaining events down in the car park but this gives a sense of it (1’34”).

I’m not sure if there’s a standard team who work with the helicopter but there’s always the co-pilot down on the ground for these things (I think he’s visible: the one with the helmet). I think the others come and go depending on the task but it’s the second time recently that the team has been mixed gender though this isn’t the same team that were working down there the last time the helicopter came in for work renewing the cable rollers for the “golf” ski lift.

My sense is that back when I was calling helicopters kellihopters women doing this work would have been highly unusual. Perhaps I should hope that younger people now wouldn’t even notice but I doubt it, we’ve still got a long way to go on pretty much all forms of equality, gender, ethnicity, sexuality. I am starting to recognise that it seems the only way out of these inequalities, these gross inequities, is through fighting … but I was never much good at that and I am, as I say, still really silenced, failing to find words that don’t just seem trite.

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