Thursday, November 29, 2012

D is for Doors, in traditional Algarve style

Since I did a post on this subject for Jake's Sunday Post back in May, I have taken a few more photos. I hope you like them.

And finally, here is a close-up of the "mãos de Fátima" knockers that most of these doors have.

Unusual, aren't they?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Natural Resources

Cork oaks, Alentejo
Alentejo landscape on a wintery day

In Portugal, the cork oak is part of the landscape in the Alentejo region. From the outer bark of this tree come the cork stoppers we find in every good bottle of wine.

In this photo, you can see where the outer bark has been removed.

Photo by Joergsam (Wikipedia), available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

And here you can see a ceramic tile panel depicting workers removing that bark.

Portugal produces around 50% of the cork harvested annually worldwide, with Corticeira Amorim being the leading company in the industry, transforming the outer bark of the cork oak into cork stoppers and many, many other products.

This is my entry for Jake's Sunday Post challenge. Check out Jacksprinter to find links to other posts on this theme.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Who took my nest?

or The Last Thing the Algarve Needed!

These could be the thoughts running through this forlorn stork's mind one week after part of Silves' centre was ravaged by a tornado. 

Stork on Silves' rooftop

On Friday, 17th November, the Algarve got first-hand experience of that rare weather phenomenon we know is not at all rare in North America - it ripped through Alvor, Carvoeiro, Lagoa and Silves, causing terrible damage. Three people were seriously injured and, having seen the videos and photos, I'm surprised there were no fatalities!

If you have read my posts about motor-home owners spending winter in the park by the river you will remember that area was still full in February. This is how tranquil the full park looked then.

Silves - park by the river

By the end of October many motor-home owners had returned, in time to get the fright of their lives. Winds reaching 260 km/hr picked some of their homes like they were little toys and "played" with them.

Now some have left but many have just moved to the other side of the municipal swimming pool while clean-up is taking place. This is how the same area looks now, one week after the unfortunate event.

Silves park after the tornado
One week after the tornado

Over the weekend municipal workers and around a thousand volunteers removed the debris and cleaned up as much as they could. They did a wonderful job! The town looks almost normal.

Parts of the walls of the stadium came down and you can still see a large metal structure all twisted and leaning on the building next door.

Tornado damage to Silves' football stadium

The municipal swimming pool lost roof and windows. The Town Hall and many other rooftops lost their tiles.

Tornado damage to Silves' rooftop
Abandoned factory rooftop

Huge trees were uprooted.

Tornado damage to Silves' trees
On the main road near the bridge.
Clean-up at the Al Mouatamid Ibn Abbad Square

And the clean-up continues ...

My thoughts and prayers go out to all those who have been affected by the tornado, specially to those who were injured.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


For this theme I have chosen examples from different regions of Portugal.

From north to south...

In Arouca, granite is a common building material.
Granite-walled house in Arouca
Traditional house in Arouca, district of Aveiro
Stately house in Arouca
Granite again - Arouca

In the fishing town of Torreira, stripes and colour are traditional.
Ria de Aveiro house
Fishing village of Torreira, district of Aveiro

In the posh town of Praia da Granja, these pretty houses are set amongst ornate mansions of the early 20th century.
Early 20th century houses
Some of the smaller houses of Praia de Granja

And in the Algarve, ceramic tiles and ornate trimmings are common in older houses. 
Tiled Algarve house
Tiled house in Castro Marim
Ornate trimmings, Algoz

Which do you prefer?

Visit Jake's challenge for many more takes on architecture.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - November

I know, I know, this post was supposed to be published yesterday. I am, in fact, finding it harder and harder to keep to my deadlines and produce three posts a week for my English and Portuguese blogs.

Today I am not going to write about my garden. I have no mid-November photos. Wednesday was a lovely sunny day but I was too busy and then it began to rain and hasn't stopped since! Even the dogs don't want to go outside!

Hopefully the lakes and water reservoirs are filling up.

Oops, I'm digressing.

I had thought it would be nice to feature a friend's South African garden this time. 

Tammy and I lived on the same road in Zimbabwe when we were children and we became friends. Life has separated us - I moved to Portugal and she moved to Cape Town but we have never lost touch.

I was very impressed with her garden when I visited her in 1998. It was a simple but very pleasant space. I have never seen her present garden but I have the pictures she sent me yesterday.

Tammy's garden:

It's spring in Tammy's part of the world. Here are some of her blooms, most of which will go on blooming until June or July when winter arrives.

Tammy's gazanias
Gorgeous gazanias

Tammy's orange gazania

Tammy's lampranthus
Lovely lampranthus

Tammy's South African garden
At the front by the pool area

Tammy likes the saying "one is closer to God in one's garden". She loves flowers! For one thing, they attract butterflies and bees and birds; they also make the place homely. 

She designed this garden herself and does all the work in the garden except the very heavy stuff and the weeding. When she's in the garden she feels at peace and in love with life. When I'm in my garden, I feel like that, too.

You may like to visit May Dreams Gardens for more Garden Bloggers Bloom Day posts from all over the world.


Sunday, November 11, 2012


A yard and/or a garden has been a part of my surroundings since I can remember...

Circa 1964...

A front and back yard, parents, chickens and rabbits then.

Circa 1998...

A much smaller front garden (and a vegetable garden at the back), all lovingly tended by my late mother...


A front garden, mostly tended by yours truly...

Surroundings is the theme for today's Sunday post. Visit our host Jake for links to many other posts on this theme.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

D is for Dam

Rainfall in Zimbabwe varies a lot. It is high in the Eastern Highlands and very low in the extreme south. Prolonged droughts are common. So storage dams are essential as reliable sources of water for domestic, industrial, agricultural and mining use.
There are many dams in Zimbabwe, Kariba being the largest.
Kariba Dam
Kariba Dam as seen from the South bank of the Zambezi River (photo released into the public domain by its author, Benbbb at the English Wikipedia project)

Kariba Dam is a hydroelectric dam in the Kariba Gorge of the Zambezi river basin between Zambia and Zimbabwe. It is one of the largest dams in the world, standing 128 m (420 ft) tall and 579 m (1,900 ft) long.

It was built between 1955 and 1959 and created the largest man-made lake in the world. The first power station was built underground on the South Bank. Later, a second power station was built on the North Bank. This one was completed in 1976.

From 1960 to 1961, 'Operation Noah' rescued thousands of large animals and numerous small ones from the lake's rising waters and relocated them.

Sunday, November 4, 2012


Jake is back (Yay!) and he has suggested the theme wonderful for today's Sunday post.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, wonderful is an adjective that means "inspiring delight, pleasure, or admiration; extremely good; marvellous".
Well, when I was a child growing up in a suburb of Harare, my parents would take me to the largest park in the centre of the city. (I can't remember what it was called then; now it is called Harare Gardens). I was small, it was enormous and full of beautiful flowers and trees. It inspired in me delight, pleasure and admiration!
Harare Garden
We used to visit the Garden before the Monomatapa Hotel was built
Unfortunately they never took me to Victoria Falls! Much later, when I visited Zimbabwe in 1985 I was hoping to have the chance of finally going there but my godfather said it wasn't safe, so I didn't go. All the pictures I've seen convince me that those Falls are absolutely wonderful!

Don't forget to visit Jake's blog for links to other entries.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Driving Miss Mimosa

When a family member is ill your life revolves around their needs. 

It is the same when your pet is ill. Mimosa had her Vestibular Event 6 days' ago and I've only left her alone to go to work. Yesterday she finally started showing some appetite and her involuntary eye movements have almost stopped. She still sleeps most of the time and tends to move in circles. She tries to go faster now, so she bumps into things now and then. She hasn't barked since Friday.
Head tilting to the left... but moving on her own
This afternoon I wanted to drive into Portimão to take some photos along the beach. I decided to take Mimosa with me. She used to jump into the back of the hatchback as soon as I opened it; today I had to pick her up to get her in, of course. Before, she would jump over the back seat and try to get to the front passenger seat. Now she stays in the back.

And walking along the river...

I didn't actually go to the beach because  as I was driving across the Arade River, I thought I'd take some photos of the old bridge, so I stopped there and took a walk along the river instead. I didn't think Mimosa would be able to stand a long walk but I was surprised to find that she did very well. On the lead she almost managed to walk in a straight line!
Reading the title of the sculpture or checking out the smells?
The weather was fantastic and the views were fabulous.
Sculptures along the river and the old bridge in the background

Boats on the Arade River, Portimao
Boats on the Arade River, Portimão

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