Wednesday, 30 June 2021


Hackers really are a pain in the proverbial. I went to the hospital yesterday to see the anesthetist about the results of some pre-op blood tests...except the blood results were unavailable...some hackers had attacked the laboratory and their system was down and will be down for over a week apparently. The laboratory is not a local one, it is nationwide which means thousands of people waiting for test results have been affected.

What can possibly go through the mind of a person who would do such a thing. I suppose they held or are holding the lab to ransom, but even so nothing justifies such an irresponsible and despicable act.

Sunday, 27 June 2021

Burnt chickpeas

I managed to burn my dinner last night. I often have chickpea salad for my evening meal, made with chopped tomato and onion, boiled chickpeas and some salad dressing...nice and filling, healthy and quick to prepare. I usually cook about 1lb of chickpeas at a time, divide them into portions and freeze them.

So, last night while they were simmering away I did a little cross stitching on the name picture I´m working on for my soon-to-arrive grandson. I lost track of time until there was a strong smell of burning coming from the kitchen. The chickpeas had not only boiled dry but were thoroughly scorched.

I was really cross with myself as a lot of them were black on one side where they had been in contact with the saucepan. Before throwing them out I tasted one out of curiosity and surprisingly enough it didn´t taste too bad, a sort of BBQ flavour... so I put a spoonful of burnt chickpeas in with the good ones in my salad and it was fine. I have now frozen the burnt ones separately to add a few at a time to other dishes. Waste not want not!

It took a few hours of open windows to get rid of the smell of burning, and my poor saucepan is a sorry sight, it´s one of my favourites too. At the moment it is soaking in bicarb.

Thursday, 24 June 2021

A little tip

Depending on the Covid situation where you live, this little tip may be useful.

Here the situation is still pretty dire with cases rising again and ICUs overstretched. Masks are compulsory everywhere as is social distancing . Unfortunately Covid fatigue has set in and people are getting careless and less inclined to obey the rules. I have been shouted at more than once for politely asking the person behind me in a queue to please stand a little further away.

So, here is my tip. Whenever you go to the supermarket always use a shopping trolley, the larger the better, even though you may only be going to buy a couple of items. When you get to the queue at the till, you can control the distance between yourself and the person in front of you and if you stand in front of your trolley instead of behind it the person behind you will always be at least a trolley distance away...which is better than them breathing down your neck and avoids any unpleasantness.

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Definition of stress

Here is another of my cross stitch efforts. I designed this one myself. I came across this 'saying' and found it amusing, so I decided to make it look like a twee quote as a contrast between the picture and the words. It is fun to watch the expression on someone´s face change as they get towards the end!

Sunday, 20 June 2021

Diverse divers

The diver on the far right is my daughter, with a group from Scuba Point. She has dived for years and taken many different courses, qualifying for a variety of specialties, in fact she now works as an instructor from time to time. It is her hobby and her passion. Unfortunately (from my point of view) she enjoys cave diving, a rather dangerous pursuit. Although I know she is experienced and safety procedures are strictly followed, I don´t rest easy when she is away on a cave diving trip.

I actually took a diving course myself some years ago and qualified as an open water diver. I really enjoyed it but it is an expensive hobby and I had other priorities at the time so I didn´t keep it up. The feeling of being able to breathe underwater and swimming amongst sea life is quite surreal. It felt as if I were suddenly playing a part in one of the documentaries I enjoyed watching. Maybe one day I´ll try diving again.

The photo is by Izaias Dias.

Friday, 18 June 2021

Cross stitch

I walked over three miles yesterday visiting various shops, trying to find a simple frame for a cross stitch embroidery I am doing. I saw loads of frames of all shapes, sizes and colours, all too fancy for what I need. I guess I´ll have to try again tomorrow, at least I am getting plenty of exercise!

The embroidery is of the name and date of birth of my latest grandchild, due in a few weeks. Obviously the date will have to be added later. I have stitched one for each of my grandchildren as they arrived and it has become something of a tradition. This will be my tenth...

I have always enjoyed doing cross stitch and did several large pictures some years ago. This one took me over a year to do.

This one has so many subtle colour changes it also took me ages. They are both from American patterns which I have always liked best.

After not doing any stitching for quite a few years I find I am struggling a bit now, I guess the old eyesight is getting a bit tired.

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

A handsome chap

This is a photo of my father, taken sometime during World War II. I think he was rather handsome, but I may be prejudiced! He must have been about twenty years old.

After he retired his sight started failing and he eventually came to live with me for the last ten years of his life, by which time he could only tell light from dark. He worked in the automotive industry, in England, Portugal and here in Brazil but his real passion was photography and he actually won prizes for some of his photographs. It was such a shame that when he had more time for his hobby he was unable to practice it.

Monday, 14 June 2021

Motion sickness

YouTube has provided me with hours of viewing pleasure, especially during lockdown. The videos can be instructive, funny, inspiring and interesting, depending on what you choose to watch, there is something for everyone.

Personally I enjoy a wide variety of subjects, from travel and adventure to cooking and handicrafts. One of my bugbears, though, is that some filmmakers wave their camera around so much it makes me feel sea-sick and I have to stop watching something I might otherwise have enjoyed.

An example of this was when I was watching something by a couple who had bought some land in Portugal with a derelict house and were planning on restoring it. This is the kind of thing I like because I have always daydreamed of doing something similar. The video consisted of them walking around showing the land and various rooms in the house. The camera was in constant motion trying to give a view of everything and after a few minutes I actually had to give up as I was getting dizzy and feeling queasy.

I know everybody can´t be a professional filmmaker but it is a shame some potentially good films are spoiled for want of following a few basic rules. I would have thought these mistakes would be picked up in the editing. Anyway, I shouldn´t really complain, after all they are free to watch and there are also some excellent videos which I follow regularly.

Saturday, 12 June 2021



My daughter is really into health and nutrition and from time to time she talks me into trying something different. She introduced me to kefir and I have been making it for a while now. It has become routine to drink a small cupful every morning. 

There are two types of kefir, water and milk. They are small cauliflower-like live grains used to make a probiotic fermented drink. The water kefir grains, also called tibicos, are mixed with water and brown sugar and left to ferment for a couple of days and then you drink the resulting liquid and use the grains to start another batch. The grains will multiply and you end up having to give or throw some away. The liquid tastes a bit like lemonade but if you let it ferment for too long it can become vinegary. It is full of all sorts of beneficial bacteria for a healthy gut.

Milk kefir is made by putting the grains (different to the water ones - they are not interchangeable) in milk which they then ferment. After a day you strain the fermented milk (start another batch with the grains) and can drink the milk, put it in a smoothie or personally I like to further strain the milk through a coffee filter and it becomes thicker like a natural yoghurt. I eat this most mornings with some chopped fruit. Like the water kefir, it is also full of good bacteria. If you let it strain even longer and add some herbs it becomes like a flavoured cottage cheese.

Both types of kefir drinks are made commercially and can be bought, but I prefer to make my own so there are no chemicals or other additives. Kefir has been around for hundreds of years and both types of drinks are highly regarded for their health benefits. I´m sure my gut must be very pleased with me!

Thursday, 10 June 2021

Why blog?

The other day I was wondering why people blog and came to the conclusion there are as many reasons as there are bloggers! Not a brilliant deduction but I´m sure it is true nonetheless. 

In my case I think it is partly the need to 'speak' English. Both my parents were English and my brother and I were born in England. We moved to Brazil when I was a toddler and I grew up here. English was spoken at home and all my schooling was in English following the British education system, so I was brought up a proper little Brit. 

When I eventually married, my husband and I always spoke English to each other but for some strange reason we always spoke to our children in Portuguese. I continue speaking to them and my grandchildren in Portuguese to this day, anything else feels strange. My first husband and I divorced and when my father died about ten years ago there was no one left here I could speak to in English and I must admit I miss it.

I guess one of the reasons I blog is that I enjoy the chance to be able to express myself in my native tongue, although I won´t deny that I also enjoy sharing my thoughts and tidbits from my life.

Sunday, 6 June 2021

A rant

The news these days is so depressing, worrying or futile that I have given up watching it on TV or listening to it on the radio, in fact I can´t remember the last time I switched on my TV, it must have been for some major world event or other. Leaving the news aside, the other programmes here are not to my liking so I don´t watch TV anyway. If I had access to the BBC I might feel differently. I keep myself informed by checking out the headlines in UK newspapers.

Anyway, my rant is about the quality of the news on internet sites. Apart from the spelling and grammar mistakes, most of the 'news' is so unnewsworthy it makes you wonder why they bother to write it. While most of us may occasionally make mistakes when writing, we are not passing ourselves off as journalists. Clickbait headlines and superlatives scattered willy-nilly should be enough to put off any reader, in my opinion. One phrase which really irritates me is 'everything you need to know about...', I don´t need to know why some celebrity is getting a divorce or the latest plot line in a soap opera. Some of us do have an attention span of more than 30 seconds and would enjoy reading something interesting and informative. Rant over!