Sunday, October 28, 2012

It's complicated...

If you were expecting a Sunday post inspired by Jake, you won't find one because Jake's computer has let him down - he must be devastated. Here's hoping things will be back to normal soon, Jake.

Life's complicated...

One minute you are smiling to yourself in the mirror, looking forward to your weekend and the next you are in the middle of a crisis:

I discovered my oldest dog, Mimosa (12.5 years old), had peed and was vomitting violently in the living room. As I opened the sliding doors to let her go outside, I noticed she wobbled and stumbled like a drunk. It was a heart-wrenching sight!

This happened on Friday afternoon. She took to her bed, eyes twitching, lethargic but raising her head now and then to see if I was nearby. By bedtime, she looked slightly better although she wouldn't eat.

Yesterday morning, she had another vomitting spell when she got out of her bed and wandered clumsily outside! I thought she might have had a stroke or eaten something toxic!

She has been diagnosed with Vestibular Syndrome and I have learnt a lot about a disease that I had never heard of before! It seems it is quite common in older dogs.

I am hoping that, like many other dogs I've read about, Mimosa will also recover. I let her sleep with the lights on so she won't get confused when she wakes, something a blogger who has been through this suggested.

This morning I helped her get out of her bed and kept her steady until she was outside. She didn't throw up again, thankfully. She's still wobbly and lethargic but she even tried to run to me when I returned from the café (but she veered dangerously to the left and slowed down).

Her lack of appetite is worrying - she has only eaten very small bites of chicken from my hand since she had her Vestibular Syndrome Event.

Here is a photo of Mimosa looking happy and alert, calmly waiting for me to finish taking photos of my garden for the Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day post on the 14th of this month.
Portuguese Podengo x
Mimosa, looking alert and healthy, the way I like her

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Top 5 unusual Algarve chimneys

Thursday post

Having photographed many Algarve chimneys, I consider some to have unusual or downright weird shapes.

Here is my selection of the top five in this category:

In fifth place...
Chimney, near Alte, Portugal
Tall and thin!
In fourth place...
Algarve chimney, Pêra
Mexican hat!
In third place...
Algarve chimney, Messines
Square and stocky!

In second place...

Algarve chimney, Armação de Pêra

And in first place...

Algarve chimney, Algoz
Gothic castle?!

Would you like one of these on your roof?

Sunday, October 21, 2012


"City" is Jake's choice of theme for this week's Sunday post.


I have actually never lived in the centre of a city. I grew up in a suburb of Harare (called Salisbury at the time). This city has a very special place in my heart.
Harare (view from The Kopje)

Harare, view from The Meikles
Harare (view from the Meikles Hotel)
These photos were taken by my friend Judy, in 1996.


Some time ago I visited the island of Madeira and fell in love with the city of Funchal. If I didn't have a phobia of travelling by plane I would have put in for a transfer there. It is a very beautiful place.

Funchal, Madeira
Funchal (view from our hotel in the older part of the city)

Funchal, Madeira

Funchal, Madeira
Funchal (view from the Botanical Garden)

For other entries, visit Jake's blog.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Salgados Lagoon - conserve it please!

Thursday post

Which do you prefer?
Salgados Lagoon, Portugal

Salgados Lagoon and marshland, Portugal

These are views of the Salgados Lagoon, pictures taken from viewpoints close to the Salgados Beach car park. Do you like what you see?

Unfortunately this may not be this beautiful for long because the Silves Town Council have announced they are getting ready to allow/encourage construction between Armação de Pêra and Praia Grande.

Do you like the idea of the land and dunes at the far end of the lagoon being destroyed to look like this?
Unfinished resort at Salgados Beach, Algarve

This is part of the holiday resort on the other side of the car park I mentioned. It isn't completely finished yet and it's already run-down and going bankrupt. Construction workers have lost their jobs. The palm trees they planted to hide the ugly buildings are leaning already and many are dying because it seems there isn't even enough money to pay for the water they require.

Isn't it ridiculous to build another resort on the other side of the lagoon if this one is already surplus to requirements?

CS Resort

Just a few years ago, I used to walk from Salgados to Armação de Pêra with a friend on Sunday mornings. When we got to this roundabout (which wasn't here then) we could see the sea all the way to those white buildings in the background (in Armação de Pêra). Now all we see is the resort! 

Don't get me wrong - I am all for progress, when it makes sense!

Dunes by Salgados Lagoon, Portugal

For those who live in the Algarve and wish to help fight this construction mania, why not come to the Protest Meeting of the "Friends of Salgados Lagoon" on Oct 20th.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - October

It's the 15th of the month again and I'm going to show you what is blooming in my garden if the gremlins let me get on with the post. I don't know what's going on but weird things are happening with my html when I try to add photos and although I delete the unwanted html, it just comes back to haunt me.

This is probably the most colourful part of the front garden. The hibiscus and the lavender are going strong while the red-bloomed oleander is down to its last few blooms.

To the right, the pink-bloomed oleander is still going strong.

To the left, the hibiscus is producing lots of gorgeous, yellow blooms.

Last month I forgot to include a picture of this lavender.

This is the view from the carport to the back patio. Here I have lemon verbena, a purple flowering bush (can't remember its name) rosemary, a small bay tree, a curry plant, and a creeper that flowers nearly all year round at the back. I'm afraid I don't know the name for it, either. I love brushing past these plants and smelling their scents!

And last but not least, a lone patio rose. I bought it in February for my birthday and later planted it in the garden. This picture reminds me I need to mow the lawn!

This post is for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day  and I hope I can publish it without further problems!

Sunday, October 14, 2012


Jake has  suggested this theme for our Sunday post and defined "toys" as "objects that serve as playthings for children" but children aren't the only ones who play with toys, are they?

Don't we (women) talk about men and their toys, i.e their cars and gadgets? Don't most of us play games on our laptops and smartphones nowadays?

I don't have children and my four dogs either ignore the toys I buy them or chew them (only one ball has survived) so I have chosen to show you my porcelain dolls. They were going to be the start of a collection but then I thought two was enough.

porcelain dolls
Big girls' toys

Have a look at some very interesting toys by following the links fellow bloggers have left in the comments' section on  Jake's Sunday post.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Something's got to give!

Thursday post


... and now...

Albufeira, from fishing village to beach resort.

My work schedule is such that I have to start cutting down on the time I dedicate to my blogs and to my blog reading and commenting. :(

Starting today, I'm doing a short post on Thursdays (twenty words or less) plus the Sunday posts prompted by Jake. I also hope to do the Garden Bloggers Bloom Day on the 15th of the month, inspired by Carol.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


If the oranges from my big orange tree were ripe, my photo would be of them...

If the tea-room I mentioned in my previous post allowed people to take photos, I could have shown you their lovely cakes and iced tea...

Reality being what it is, here is something from my visit to Porto. I have a sweet tooth, you know!
Broa de mel
'Broa de mel' - a rich, honey sweetbread
Not much to look at, but I can assure you it smells and tastes delicious!

As you may have guessed, 'delicious' is the theme Jake has provided for this week's Sunday post

What do you find delicious? 

Related posts:
My Algarve Insider Tips
Porto and a road with a view, or two

Friday, October 5, 2012

My Algarve Insider Tips

Most people associate the Algarve region with beautiful beaches. And that is as it should be - there are many magnificent beaches, from the small to the vast, some surrounded by cliffs, some bordered by dunes full of wildflowers in the spring. 

One of my favourites is the long stretch between Galé and Armação de Pêra. It only gets very crowded in August, and it's a great place for going on long walks or taking sunset photos. You can also do some bird-watching nearby at Salgados.

Galé beach, at sunset
From Galé beach... to Armação de Pêra, at sunset
Galé beach, at low-tide
... at low tide, early morning.
In my opinion, September is the best month for a holiday by the beach - the weather and the sea temperatures are still excellent but you don't have the crowds of July and August. 

To experience the 'real' Algarve, however, you have to take a break from the beaches and the main resort towns and explore inland. This you can do at any time of the year.

Alte - one of the must-see places

It is part of the Loulé county and is situated in the geographical centre of the Algarve, between the Barrocal and the Serra (inland area between the coast and the hills), about 31 km from Albufeira. It has a beautiful area of natural springs and is considered one of the most traditional and well-conserved villages in Portugal.

Little Spring, Alte, Portugal
Area of the Fonte Pequena (Little Spring)
The village continues true to its origins. The Parish Church is the oldest historical reference and there is a curious legend attached to its construction. The white houses with elaborate chimneys contrast with the bright colours of the geraniums in flowerpots.

It is definitely worth taking a walk along the narrow streets and cobbled stairways. But, be careful not to slip on the cobbles that are polished by so many years of use!

For more information about Alte, you may like to read my post "Algarve Gems".

Algoz - the monthly market

I love browsing and shopping at Portuguese markets. In the north of Portugal, there are enormous weekly markets in Barcelos and Espinho. In the Algarve, the markets tend to be a lot smaller. Some cater mainly for tourists - Quarteira has a weekly market on Wednesday mornings and Albufeira has one on the first and third Tuesday mornings of every month. 

If you want to mingle with the locals and buy some of the fresh, local produce, you must visit the open-air market in the sleepy village of Algoz. It is one of the best.
Algoz market - oranges and olive oil
Oranges and olive oil from local farms

Algoz market - sausages
So many kinds of sausage!
Algoz market - honey
This seller is very proud of his honey!

Algoz is situated just 11 km to the north of Albufeira. On market day, which is the second Monday of every month, many come from near and far. They come to sell, to buy, to browse or to meet up with friends and catch up on the local gossip. 
Algoz market - cod
Lots of dried, salted cod.

Algoz market - baskets, hats
Baskets, hats, etc.

Algoz market - ladieswear
Bright, colourful 'outdoor boutique'

Algoz has several good restaurants where you can stop for lunch after the morning's shopping or browsing. One that does a very inexpensive and tasty 'Frango da Guia" (Fried chicken piri-piri with delicious tomato salad) is called Marinho's (closed on Fridays). If you want something completely different, you can visit a tea-room called Quinta dos Avós on the Algoz/Ferreiras road (closed on Tuesdays). This tea-room has lovely teas and cakes you won't find anywhere else.

These are my tips for tourists visiting the Algarve.

If you'd like more details about any of the places I've mentioned, feel free to leave your questions in the comments section.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Insecure Writer's Wednesday

A while ago I jumped on a blog hop without actually being fully aware of what it entailed. I only realised what it involved when I got a reminder last month about having missed a post. I investigated pronto and became very insecure, besides feeling quite silly.

I'm a ESL teacher and a relatively new blogger. I'm not a creative writer. You will not find any short story or novel published by me anywhere. And you are not likely to, because I am not an aspiring author. However, I got myself on this blog hop and I'm not leaving without contributing a post. 

I guess everyone feels insecure at some time - I certainly do. I thought quite hard before starting my blog. Could I do it? Could I make it interesting for others? Sometimes it seems I have nothing to write about and writing a post takes ages, sometimes I have lots to write about and I can swiftly turn out a post.

Writing a short story or a novel must be incomparably more difficult than writing a blog post, of course, so how can I offer encouragement?

Well, I have found two quotes by authors I like that I wish to share with insecure writers of any kind anywhere.

"When asked, 'How do you write?'
I invariably answer, 'one word at a time.'"
- Stephen King


"The secret of getting ahead is getting started."
- Agatha Christie

Click on the image to visit others on this blog hop.

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