Serendipity is a wonderful thing. It’s that happy surprise of finding something when you’re not looking for it, when you’re not even expecting to find something. Remarkably, there is a specific date, and a specific document attached to the birth of this word.
We learn this from our Wiki-d good friends. They tell us that in a January 28, 1754 letter from Horace Walpole to Horace Mann, Walpole sys he formed the word from the Persian fairy tale “The Three Princes of Serendip” (Serendip is an old name for Ceylon, what we now call Sri Lanka. ), whose heroes “were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of”.
Serendipity is on the list of “ten hardest English words to translate into other languages”, along with plenipotentiary, gobbledeygook, poppycock, googly, spam, whimsy, bumf, chuffed, and kitsch.
For an interesting detour, visit: http://www.experiencefestival.com/a/Words_hardest_to_translate_-_The_list_by_Today_Translations/id/5596801
Serendipity was getting to the ferry dock in Woods Hole will time to spare, and being able to watch the removal and replacement of the transfer bridge. A ferry-dock connection needs to adjust to the varying height of tide level. The transfer bridge is the pivoting ramp that accomplishes this task.
There was crane boom high in the air, and yellow caution tape fluttering in the wind. That usually means something interesting is going on.
The something interesting is the removal and replacement of a transfer bridge.
Something’s going to get the hook.
When there are lots of guys standing around, something’s happening.
Sparks were flying.
Oxygen plus acetylene equals hot, hot, hot.
Plus the skill of a welder equals hole, hole, hole.
Into hole insert large shackle bolt.
A hole and shackle is in each corner.
Guide ropes in place?
Lift a little.
Up it goes.
Tons and tons of steel and concrete, guided by skill and experience.
In the interest of full disclosure, one light cover was damaged in the move.
Dockside parking for the old bridge.
Undo the shackles.
(To be continued.)