Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Are you blowing your whistle at me?!

There I was, calmly driving to school on Friday morning. 

I was in good time so when I saw police cars at the roundabout I wasn't particularly worried. I've had to stop dozens of times to show my documents and have the car inspected. I usually have everything in order.

There were two police cars on the left and two on the right. One poor driver had been pulled over on the right and was out of his car (never a good sign), probably paying a fine for something. The policeman with him was busy, so I thought I was safe. I turned my attention to getting the new way of navigating a roundabout done properly and was half way through that when I heard police whistles blowing furiously and the policemen on the left pointing menacingly ... at me? I couldn't believe my eyes!

I managed to pull over already out of the roundabout, my nerves shattered. When a policeman reached me, I kept repeating "What did I do wrong?" He said I didn't stop promptly enough. Heck! I wasn't expecting the ones on the left to even think of pulling me over. They were on the other side. To be safe, they should have been only stopping cars going in the opposite direction, for heaven's sake!

So I showed my documents, saying I was going to miss my first class of the day. The policeman smiled. He thought I was pretending to be a teacher!  Then he inspected the car and looked over at his whistle-mad colleagues. I wondered what exactly they were going to fine me for. I had pulled over safely albeit too slowly for them, they weren't complaining about my navigation of a roundabout (even though I don't think I've quite got the hang of it), so what was it going to be?

Oops! My windshield had a crack - a very small crack - a crack that is almost as old as the car - a crack that has never been a problem before! 

I was let off with a warning: they were going to be at that roundabout for several days and if I was stopped again, a fine it would be. I drove off in a daze, still unsure if a fine wouldn't find its way into my mailbox. 

My car has now got a new windscreen but I can't get that treated-almost-like-a-criminal scene out of my head. Is it any surprise that people don't like the traffic police here?

Mind you, I have seen worse - an adult student of mine once overtook me and the road-hogging police car in front of me only to be treated to a siren-screaming car chase into a sleepy Algarve town!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - September 2014

As I was leaving school this afternoon, someone joked about not needing to travel to the Tropics to experience tropical weather and she was spot on. It was hot and sultry. The tarmac had that smell that comes after a summer downpour. It took me back to Africa instantly.

The weather today made it a bit difficult for me to get the photos the way I wanted them. It was too grey before I left for school and not light enough when I remembered I hadn't got the shots I wanted yet.

Anyway, welcome to my Algarve garden again. I've dead-headed the roses, so no flowers from them at this time. The lavenders are still doing well. They get the attention of neighbours and passers-by.
View from the drive

This is how the far end of the garden looked when I got back from holiday a few weeks ago. It was getting a bit too carried away so I had to do some pruning before the mock rose bush turned into a tree.
Far end of the garden
The pink oleander flowered profusely this summer but is tired now, so it's up to the red one, which blooms later.
red oleander blooms
 These flowers are new to my garden.
New additions

The yellow and red hibiscus are in flower but insects have damaged the blooms so  I only have one good flower to show you today.

Then there are the Mirabilis jalapa or four o'clocks. I wanted some with yellow blooms, stole some plants from a hedge somewhere but ended up with purple and white blooms instead. My neighbour has some that present different coloured blooms on the same plant (apparently that's not uncommon). I'm not complaining. Next year I want to have more by the front wall, too, where they can release their scent to the garden and the street.

To scent the garden in the evening I also have this!
Dama da noite

The Belladonna lilies are no longer looking so fresh. This photo is also from when I returned from holiday.
Belladonna lilies

And that's it, folks. Don't forget to visit May Dreams Gardens, where Carol hosts Bloom Day and where you'll find links to beautiful gardens all over the world.

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