Thursday, June 28, 2012

All the worse for wear

Paderne - close-up
This chimney will probably not be standing for much longer.

Paderne building in ruins
It's a miracle that it is still there when the rest of the house is in this state!

Paderne, again
Another chimney on a delapidated building.

Near the Alcantarilha/Armação de Pera train station
This one is in a better state than the building it is part of!

This ugly, worn out chimney just couldn't take the heat. It's actually on a building that is not nearly as old as the others in this selection.

S.B. Messines, near the church
And last, but not least, this enormous chimney is simply feeling its age.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Today's Sunday post challenge is "Village". Visit Jake's blog to find out more.
View from the road to Tunes
That, in the distance is the village of Paderne, a few kilometres north of Albufeira. 

Paderne's origin dates back to the construction of the castle in the 12th century. Dom Paio Peres Correia, in the service of King Afonso III, conquered the castle in 1248, which was why it was represented in the Portuguese flag as one of the seven castles of the Algarve taken from the Moors.
I have been on a walk around the area of the castle, but it didn't include a visit to the ruins (there was archeological work going on), so I don't have photos. Click on the picture below to see beautiful shots of the castle ruins, which can be shared.
Castelo de Paderne
Want photos of the castle ruins? Click on the picture.
With the disappearance of the Moorish threat, the castle of Paderne lost strategic importance and its decline was compounded by the move of the village to its present location about 3 km down the hill, after the construction of the Parish Church in the beginning of the 16th century.
View from the school gates
Paderne, whose economy was based on traditional forms of agriculture, became a rich village, with nearly 5000 inhabitants in 1950. 

In the 60s, the whole of Portugal saw the beginning of a long period of emigration to other countries and large towns. 

Then, in the 70s, tourism took over the coast and Paderne became a supplier of workers to the tourist industry in Albufeira. 

Nowadays, the local community has seen the arrival of many foreigners, mainly from northern and eastern Europe, who have made this picturesque village their home, too.
Medieval Fair, organised by the local school - June, 2005
Paderne's active community organises many events to liven up this apparently sleepy place.

To check out what's on in Paderne, visit this Albufeira website.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

C is for Cheetah

Resting but alert
Thanks to a dear friend, I now have almost 50 great photos taken in Zimbabwe for my A-Z of that country. Thank you, Judy, for letting me use your lovely shots.

The cheetah subspecies found in Zimbabwe is the Acinonyx jubatus jubatus

The cheetah is the fastest land animal on the planet, achieving 112 to 120 km/h over short distances of up to 500 m, according to Wikipedia, and can accelerate from 0 to more than 100 km/h in just 3 seconds!
These speeds are made possible by the extra grip afforded by its semi-retractable claws (i.e. not fully retractable), its streamlined body and enlarged heart and lungs which efficiently circulate lots of oxygen taken in by its large nostrils.

However, it cannot climb upright trees due to the nature of the pads on its paws, but it can leap onto branches.

Sometimes confused with a leopard, the cheetah has a shorter but taller body and a longer tail which, interestingly, helps it to turn suddenly while moving at high speeds. The cheetah's body is more 'aerodynamic', its spots are different (the leopard's spots look more like 'rosettes') and it has long 'tear-streak' lines running from the corners of its eyes down to its mouth. 

It lives in areas of savannah, where its spots afford it some camouflage. Good eyesight over long distances and the capacity for high speed makes the adult cheetah a good daytime hunter. However, the cubs are very vulnerable to predators and mortality is extremely high.

The cheetah is included in the list of vulnerable species compiled by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Fortunately The South African Cheetah Preservation Foundation is working with other countries, including Zimbabwe, on the protection of this beautiful, graceful creature.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Famous Movies

For this week's Sunday Post, Jake has challenged us to write about famous movies. There are so many famous movies, it is difficult to choose one. I am therefore choosing a famous movie that is a favourite of mine:

Pretty Woman (1990)

Set in Los Angeles, it seems that it was going to be a dark tale about prostitution but ended up being a great romantic comedy or modern fairy tale about a young, good-hearted prostitute who gets swept away to the good life by a wealthy businessman. 

It was a great success at the box office and one of the highest money-makers of its year. Julia Roberts won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for Best Actress in the Academy Awards.

I was surprised to learn that both Christoper Reeve and Al Pacino turned down the role of leading man and that Julia Roberts only took on the leading female role after a long list of other actresses were considered. This was very fortunate for Julia Roberts as her performance made her a star!

The critics' response was mixed but I specially liked the review by Janet Maslin of the New York Times, who said "Pretty Woman manages to be giddy, lighthearted escapism much of the time" and that "Ms Roberts... is a complete knockout, and this performance will make her a major star." Her prediction was spot on and, in my humble opinion, her description of the movie as "giddy, "lighthearted escapism" is perfect.

One of my favourite scenes is the one where Vivian (Julia Roberts) goes shopping with Edward's (Richard Gere) credit card to the same posh boutiques where she was snubbed by the shop assistants before. She walks out triumphant, looking gorgeous and the song Pretty Woman plays in the background, and all is right with the world...

 Pretty Woman 

For more information on the Sunday Post challenge, visit Jake's blog.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Car boot sales - expect the unexpected!

If there is one thing I have learnt from doing a few car boot sales it's that you should expect the unexpected.

I stand by the shortlist I compiled in my very first blog post but I do have two more items to add: 
  • do not forget to take a sunshade in summer to protect you from the Algarve sun;
  • do not "take" someone else's spot even if that person is nowhere to be seen and has not made sure we know it is someone's spot because he has not taken anything out of a parked van to show that it is "a taken" spot (if you know what I mean).
If you do decide to stand your ground and stay put in a disputed spot, anything can happen. The disgruntled neighbour may decide that it's OK to spread his goods about and even plant some of his stuff in front of your spot. He may put his music on at full blast in the hope of upsetting you or maybe it is just to make sure the whole village knows he sells old records. 

Anyway, his music wasn't bad, the wind was blowing favourably so the fumes from his generator bothered other sellers but not me and it seems we both made some successful sales.
Car boot sale at Algoz, Algarve, on the first Saturday of June
Customers also behave oddly. I was certainly not expecting a young man to come up to look at my items of cheap custom jewellery and silver earrings. I realised he was a professional when he took out his eye piece and inspected the items thoroughly. It was quite startling when he actually bit one pearl in my imitation pearl earring! After all that, I didn't think he'd just walk off without buying anything! But he did.

I wasn't disappointed for long because a few minutes later a woman came along and promptly bought two pairs of earrings (including the bitten pearl one) without haggling or in-depth inspection. I nearly laughed because she paid immediately and only checked that they were in good working order afterwards.

So, I repeat - expect the unexpected, and you may have some fun!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Water: H20

Water: H20 is the theme Jake has set for this week's Sunday post.

Water covers over 70% of the earth and our bodies are made up of 60 to 70% of this liquid.  Although it is essential to life as we know it, we do not treat it with the respect it deserves. We take it for granted - we squander it quite frequently in our homes or gardens and, while we generally keep our homes clean, we let our rivers and oceans end up with unimaginable amounts of rubbish.

Jacques Yves Cousteau:
"Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans. We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one."
Did you know that only about 3% of the earth's water is fresh water? 

Both in Africa and in the Algarve, droughts are common and fresh water is an extremely precious commodity. Summer hasn't officially began here and already the water levels of lakes and reservoirs are low - many rivers have dried up.

This picture is of the River Gilão running through the town of Tavira, on the Algarve coast. The water was looking quite clear and inviting when I took this photo in the winter of 2004.

Surf along to Jake's blog for related posts

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Table Mountain

I've visited Cape Town on only 2 occasions, to visit my best friend from childhood.

Although I can't say that I have travelled the world, in my opinion it has to be the most beautiful city on earth. Lots of people probably share my opinion. I bet the owners of the house who had this picture of Table Mountain immortalised on "azulejo" and placed on the facade would agree with me.

Table Mountain on "azulejo"
To my surprise, I spotted this on the facade of a town house in Espinho, Portugal.

And here is a photo of that incredible mountain, taken on a cloudy day in 1998, from Bloubergrand (I think). 

Off for a quick swim, or maybe not...

I'm sure you have a favourite city. Tell me about it, won't you?

Sunday, June 3, 2012


Well, dear readers and fellow bloggers doing this week's Sunday post challenge - Sunrise - set by Jake, I didn't get up to see the sunrise today (actually, I can't remember the last time I was up at sunrise), so I'm going to use photos from the web.
The first free photos I found had these trees, which I love, so I looked no further. Thank you to the author, Jon Sullivan, who put these on  
Trees at sunrise
Here comes the sun!

About 5 years ago I wanted to learn how to paint. However, my erratic work timetables keep preventing me from enrolling in actual classes, so sometimes I just study other people's paintings and play around with paint brushes and acrylic paints. While on the self-study route I discovered a site that I love -, so if you'd like to see some beautiful sunrise paintings, have a look there.

To see many more interpretations of this week's theme, hop on the birds below.

Fly to Jake's blog

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