Things don't always go entirely to plan when it comes to getting the Ternelles pine into Pollensa's Plaça Vella for the Sant Antoni climb. Yesterday provided a prime example.
The tree that had been selected was too tall. At most, in order to manoeuvre it into the tight square it needs to be 21 metres. Despite having cut some of it off, it was still 22 metres. That was just one issue. Moving it around the narrow streets of the town was a further one. The tree became stuck at one point, then the carriage on which it is brought from the Ternelles finca turned over, injuring two policemen in the process.
In theory, the climb should commence around eight in the evening. By nine o'clock the tree had finally arrived at Plaça Vella. It was then that the extra metre of height became particularly problematic. They couldn't get the tree into the square. Force was required, so the tree was bent until the trunk snapped. This resulted in debate as to how it would be possible to raise it and ensure that it was safe to climb. Finally, the decision was taken to cut the tree down to a mere fifteen metres.
At eleven o'clock the pine was hoisted into position. The slippery fig liquid which is smeared on to the tree made the climb difficult, as it is supposed to. Just over two hours later, Joan Vanrell managed to get to the top, where there was no real cockerel but the figure of one. He broke the bag of confetti to the delight of the comparatively few people who had bothered to hang on.
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