The luck of finding a fortune in Star Wars objects | Global World Blog

A British couple can be thankful for their lucky stars. A neighbor left them in a garage a pile of garbage bags that contained a real treasure in toys of Star Wars worth £ 400,000 (446.917 euros).

The couple, who live in Stourbridge, in the center of England, did not really know what to do with this number of dolls and spaceships that their neighbor had collected over the years. according to the newspaper The Times on Friday. It was his son who had the idea of ​​calling an auction house to calculate the value of those junk, among which there were pieces that were still in the original boxes.

“Some were slightly damp due to the way they were stored, but this is the most beautiful collection of objects in the world. Star Wars I’ve seen in my life, “Aston’s Auctionneers expert Chris Aston told the British newspaper.” We have received expressions of interest from all over the world and we were sure that the sale would be a success, “he added.

Among the items for sale was a commander of Star Destroyer, one of the ships of the Galactic Empire fleet, one of only two known specimens in its original packaging, which sold for 32,500 pounds (36.297 euros). A figurine of a Java, the little hooded beings with bright eyes, in their original packaging, which is one of the 10 known specimens, found a buyer for 27,280 pounds (30.472 euros).

Regarding the group of eight figurines inspired by the movie Return of the Jedi which cost the collector less than two dollars in the early 1980s, sold for 1,400 pounds (1.563 euros).

Objects such as the Storm Trooper helmet, the fantasies of the Empire, the eye of the little robot R2D2 that has participated in all nine films of one of the most famous cinematic sagas in the world, attract collectors willing to pay anything to acquire a piece of this universe.

A Luke Skywalker figurine, which was marketed as a children’s toy in 1978, was sold in 2015 at an auction organized by Sotheby’s and eBay for $ 25,000 (21,121 euros at the current exchange rate).

According to Aston, the couple was “delighted” with their luck: “I don’t know if they had an idea in their head, but they must have the same feeling as if they had won the lottery.”

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The cheese of an Olympic champion in wrestling

It was the summer of 2012 and the world had its eyes on London: the Olympic Games were being held and the Spanish Maider Unda had just won bronze in wrestling in the 72 kg category. Unda was in his prime, he had just won medals in international championships and four years earlier he had put our hearts in his fist at the Beijing Olympics, from where he returned with a diploma for fifth place.

What not many people knew is that this athlete who had just made history in London also made Idiazábal cheeses in Olaeta (Álava). Cheese maker, cattle farmer, guide and salesperson: since 2003 Maider occupies all the roles of Atxeta Cheese, the family farm that he runs with his sister. A job that he combined with elite sport until 2016, the year in which he decided to hang up the tights and dedicate himself exclusively to his cheese factory. Even so, her link with the fight has not been broken, she continues to train the new generations who are beginning to feel interest in the fight and is part of the board of directors of the Spanish Federation, but her work, as she says, is her sheep and their cheese factory.

A shepherdess in tights

The story of Maider Unda is not that of someone who leaves everything to go to the countryside to lead a bucolic life among valleys and sheep. Maider did not make any life changes by leaving elite sport, on the contrary, he was returning to what he had done all his life. He already knew first-hand how tough the road he was taking is. “People come to visit town and it is believed that this is chupifiesta, But when you have to take the brush cutter, the hoe and you have to make firewood, tararí tararí. We like how beautiful it is because we have seen that now, with the pandemic, in the town we have been much more comfortable, but when you have to bend the kidney … it is not beautiful, no. We idealize it so much that reality has nothing to do with it, ”says Maider.

Your reality has nothing to do with chupifiestas. Maider is a peculiar athlete, in an even more peculiar sport for women. He started wrestling as an extracurricular activity in Olaeta, and later, when he had a driver’s license, he alternated his studies and work in his parents’ livestock with training in Vitoria. She was trained by Luis Crespo, a part-time electrician. It did not seem that the sport was going to change the life of either of them, until women’s wrestling entered the Olympic program in 2004. “There everyone got nervous, and people who had stopped fighting took it up again” .

Maider decided to gamble everything on that card and went to Madrid. “I left everything to just train and I took a bigger cake… I came back and said: ‘First I’m going to have a job that I’m going to dedicate myself to, and fighting is going to be something that I am going to have fun with, that be passionate, but do it for fun. ‘ I came to hate sports. I broke down, I felt neglected. It was the worst ”.

At first, his father led the herd and his mother tended the cows. When they retired, Maider and her sister took over. They were left with 3,000 sheep of the lacha breed, of which they make the cheese of the Idiazábal Denomination of Origin. From that moment, the results also began to appear in sport: Maider set up a gym in his house to train when he was not with the cattle.

“People will tell you that it is easier to live from sports, but I am in favor of living from the countryside, it is much more grateful. In sport there are very few people who reach the top. There are many frustrations, false expectations, and here in the field it is very clear what there is ”. It is curious to me that someone who has been at the top of her category – and no one has yet managed to get where she did in wrestling – could not consider living only from sports. “And I was lucky, I was able to combine both thanks to my family, who helped me and stayed here when I had to go racing. If not, impossible ”.

If you listen, you understand

Neither sport nor working with animals understand holidays. Both require a lot of sacrifice. “In sport, at least, you have to know how to stop, if you don’t break down, but the animals don’t, they have to eat and be cared for every day. Also, with livestock you are working with animals, not with machines. Sheep express themselves and if you open their ears you understand them. Sometimes we go so fast that we think ‘this sheep there’. But if he is telling you that he does not want to enter, it will be that he does not want to enter for something ”.

When he shows me his cousins, his sister is working in the barn. Maider is the one who makes the visits to their cheese factory and who explains the work they do at Atxeta. I find it curious that he talks about the personality that this breed of sheep has, about its manias. “The first year they are much more noble, then they become more surly. As adults they do not allow themselves to be approached, they always jump. One is scared and they are capable of running all ”.

As we speak, a sheep comes up to us and starts fiddling with a water dispenser. He touches the pushbutton, a jet of water comes out, he moves away. Returns. Touch. Water comes out. It moves away. The animal repeats this operation several times while the others are eating without raising its head. “Sometimes they simply press to play or attract attention, but hierarchies are very marked in the drinking fountain. ‘I make myself hollow, I’m here and you don’t come to drink water until I say’. Then there are others who don’t learn to drink from there and my sister puts a bucket of water on them. I tell him ‘if they didn’t have it, you would see how they would learn ”. I see in this role the demanding athlete and coach who has not been given anything.

Sheep are producers and they are more spoiled. They also have horses, but they stay in the mountains all year round so they can eat the grass that the sheep do not graze. “We manage the land because we try to make the sheep graze as much as possible. We compost the manure on waning moons and spread it on the fields where the sheep graze. I mow and clear the land where they graze so that good grass grows ”.

A peculiar breed

The menhaden is a seasonal breeding breed. Stop at the end of January, raise the lamb, have a few months of lactation until August and then have a drying period, which is when they are taken out to the mountains. “Before sending them out, we do a few weeks of covering. Every so often we bring the adult sheep to count and check for lameness. Tonight there has been something strange, because they have mixed with sheep from another shepherd, possibly there has been a dog ”.

When the ewes have given birth, the one they leave to re-breed stays with the mother for up to 45 days. If it is male or not it is for rearing, as soon as it reaches 10 or 15 kilos it goes to the slaughterhouse and the mother goes to milking. “Until the lamb is separated from its mother, we do not milk that sheep.” Sheep have a productive life of approximately eight years if they are calved each year. “If the sheep’s udder is damaged or it has not given birth in three years, we send it to the slaughterhouse. In August I do the computation. If we remove 40 sheep, 40 lambs, I always have the same number of sheep ”.

Silence, it is milked

Entering the milking parlor, Maider returns to talking about the character of the sheep. “They are very sensitive to changes. When you go to milk them you have to be at what you are, five minutes maximum per sheep, it is not good that they are more. They enter from 16 to 16, they drop food, and while they eat they milk themselves. Normally we are two people here, as the sheep enter and see someone different, they get very tense ”.

The amount of milk each sheep gives varies greatly. Some give two liters in each shot and others do not reach half a liter. Monthly, from March to July, the milk is monitored. “We put a bottle and each sheep is measured how much milk it has and that is how we know the genetic value and make the selection for rearing.” Idiazábal is made with raw milk that has to be analyzed several times during the month. “There is a calendar and if you bring the milk on Monday, on Thursday you will have the result. As the Idiazábal has a minimum maturation of two months, long before the cheese reaches the market you already have an analysis. As it is raw milk, you have to control it a lot ”, says Maider.

The cheeses: semi, cured, smoked and crushed old cheese cream

Although the DO Idiazábal does not require that the rennet be natural, in Atxeta they use this rennet to give the essence to the cheese, this, according to Maider, gives the cheese a different personal touch that differentiates it from others. The Idiazábal are between one and three kilos in weight and a minimum maturity of two months. In Atxeta they also make smoked cheese with beech wood, which they smoke when the cheese has already matured for 3 or 4 months. “I do it like this so that it is more done and does not get too smoked, because personally I do not like strong smoked”.

They make cheese every two days and produce an average of 4,000 kilos of cheese per year that they sell directly. “We distribute in three stores in the area, I sell in the cheese factory itself and I do home delivery. Before we went to many fairs, but now this has been cut with the Covid ”. Although it is always the same production process, he tells me that spring marks a lot what the cheese will be like that year. “For example, this year it was creamier,” he tells me.

When we finish the conversation, he offers me to try his cheeses. He recommends tempering them beforehand and taking them with young wines or not even wine, because they do not need to clean the mouth much. And finally he gives me some advice: “Try the grated semi-cured in a mashed potatoes, without butter or anything, you’ll see how good it is.” Gold medal for Maider’s cheeses.

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or Messi leaves or has to sell Ansu and lower salaries

He Barcelona Soccer Club owes banks and clubs 820 million euros, of which it will only deduct 332 for pending collections, for which it presents a net debt in the 2019-20 season of 488 million. An alarming figure, since it came from 217 last season, which would place it first in the ranking of debtor clubs in Europe, according to the ‘Financial Year Report’ that the UEFA published annually and that this last year has not seen the light yet due to the appearance of covid-19. Until last year, the Manchester United it was the team with the most debt, with 459 million euros, followed by Inter (438), Atlético (391) and Juventus (291). He Real Madrid it did not appear in the ranking of defaulters.

Barcelona has entered 192 million euros less than what it had budgeted. Out of an expected income of 1,047 million it reached only 855, even if the club warns that, without the pandemic, the figure would rise to 1,059. Barça closes the 2019-2020 season with losses of 97 million euros and the red numbers will continue in 2020-2021, as expected in the accounts.

Big problems for Bartomeu in his final stretch of term.  (EFE)
Big problems for Bartomeu in his final stretch of term. (EFE)

Problems with the wage bill

The revenue forecast for next season, which was initially $ 1.12 billion, has been drastically lowered to $ 791. The ravages of the pandemic, with the lack of public in the stands, will cause 330 million to stop entering. And that makes it a major issue for Bartomeu and its directive the subject of the wage bill. The League will not register clubs whose salary mass exceeds 70% of its budget. At the end of this year, the Barça wage bill reached 636 million, a reassuring 61%. But with revenue declining to $ 791 million, the wage bill soars around 80%. Barcelona has managed to reduce it this summer by 42 million with the departure of players such as Luis Suárez (23.4 million euros gross per year), Rakitic (13.3) or Vidal (9). But with the unexpected decrease in income you need to reduce the wage bill much more.

He has two alternatives: negotiate a salary reduction for the squad, as the club is proposing, or let out players with a high salary weight

Bartomeu’s alternatives are two: generate more revenue by selling players or getting rid of players with high contracts. If you bet on the former, you would have to sell the only footballer who would generate a real capital gain from his transfer, Ansu Fati, for which they estimate that they will get 150 million. The sale of Griezmann or Dembelé, for example, would not be profitable as it cost the club 120 and 140 million euros respectively, unrealistic figures for a market in crisis like the current one. Barça calculates that capital gains from transfers should reach 73 million this season. But Umtiti and Dembelé have not left and now we will have to work on the January market.

The other option is to lighten the salary mass, and in that aspect it also has two alternatives: negotiate a reduction in the staff’s salary, as the club is proposing, or let out players with a lot of salary weight. The first bet is dangerous because it could end with players denouncing their contracts or going free even in January. There is a real risk that footballers will claim their freedom letter, or at least challenge the measure proposed by the club, since they are protected by law with article 41 of the Workers’ Statute. And it would not be the first time that a professional athlete uses the Workers’ Statute to demand the termination of their contract. It remains to be seen how the club acts, which could negotiate the salary reduction with each player individually.

The second would go through letting Messi out, whose salary weight is around 70 million gross per year. A measure that has not been valued, as has been seen when the club refused to let the Argentine leave after announcing his frustrated departure. Messi stays and you have to bear his salary weight, so the solution is to lower the salary of his teammates.

Leo Messi during this Friday's game with Argentina.  (EFE)Leo Messi during this Friday's game with Argentina.  (EFE)
Leo Messi during this Friday’s game with Argentina. (EFE)

The ballast of the Espai Barça

During Bartomeu’s tenure, Barcelona has bagged more than 500 million euros in sales (222 with the payment of the Neymar clause to PSG), but the problem is the very high cost of the operations faced with transfers such as Dembelé (140) or Coutinho (160). Spending on salaries and transfer repayments has triggered the debt, and to this has been added another unexpected burden: the Barça space. The financing of the technological project already reaches 815 million euros of expenditure. A problem that punishes even more the battered culé economy.

Barcelona is the tip of the iceberg, for being the club with the highest salary mass. But the rest of the top clubs in Europe are experiencing similar situations. Dortmund has closed this season with losses of 44 million and already announces 75 for next. Its president, Hans-Joachim Watzke, offered a diagnosis shared by all his colleagues: “We will only benefit again if there are no restrictions on attendance at stadiums. We must be patient. Football is extremely difficult to imagine without fans and it is time to endure “. Roma, who lost 204 million this past year, need to enter 140 million and announced a capital increase in June to try to save the club financially.

Real Madrid, however, saved the season because it had planned a profit of 40 million and that cushion saved it from the impact of the pandemic. The whites, who have turned all their expectations into the remodeling of a new Bernabéu that will boost the club’s ordinary income, are considering an austere budget for next season, which would be around 650 million. Something that would not cause a problem with the weight of your salary bill, since capital gains from transfers such as Achraf, Reguilón and Óscar Rodríguez give margin. And in addition, Florentino already closed a salary cut with the staff last year, given the imminent crisis of the pandemic, which allows him to be relieved.

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