Archive for June, 2012

Black Pudding

Today was a strange day. Due to previously mentioned problems with bodily functions at an advancing age, I was awake at 3:30am. I looked at the clock, and I thought logically; I have the alarm set for 5:30… what’s the point in going back to bed? <———- Rhetorical question.

It had been amongst my plans to blog early, because I was to be out of the house by seven.

The best laid plans of mice and men… I got side tracked. That can happen so easily on the internet, but you understand that, don’t you?

My black pudding was this colour and diameter, not quite so long

I returned home to find a note attached to my gate: “Called to deliver your black pudding, come and see me at the supermarket.”

I had previously arranged one of the frete (delivery) drivers to get me some homemade black pudding from a street food fair near his home across the city, but it was supposed to be delivered tomorrow; that’s why I arranged to go out today.

So, off to the supermarket, blogging delayed again.

There I took delivery of a wonderful sausage of black pudding. I haven’t had black pudding for years, the last one wasn’t particularly good either.

I love black pudding.

I got a kilo (2.2lbs) and cut half and put on the BBQ. So my lunch was black pudding and beer… Aw, come on, it’s Saturday, live dangerously.

Tomorrow is Sunday, and I plan that breakfast will look something like this…

Traditional English Breakfast

…and for lunch, I might make a black pudding pizza with olives.

Gastronomic debauchery!

Such fun.


Friday is the day of anticipation…

Two days of boundless joy, happiness, dancing and mayhem.

Then it’s back to Monday… Oh well, good things never last.

Bet you didn’t know that caffeine was a chemical

9:20am, I have blogged. This is my last post for the day and I have earned another coffee.

I have had several already today. I have been fired up since 4:45am and after yesterday’s little grizzle about the vicious circle, firing on all cylinders.

I know, 4:45am is for fools and roosters.

But when you get to sixty+ one needs to pee, sneeze, cough and poop at the strangest hours. I had the alarm set for 5;30 because of my class, so what was the point in going back to bed?

Finally, I went to be picked up for class, and my lift never arrived, so a quick phone call, cancel the class and back home for more coffee; oh, and feed the cat.

I looked at the dishes…

And off to the blogosphere. I am due to get another coffee, I will look at the dishes again.

Inspiration comes in a can

Just discovered, I have one more post to do. It’s a new series that I started last week on Things that Fizz & Stuff ‘Do they have beer in?’ Hmmm, need some inspiration.

Last week I posted about beer in Greenland, now I have to think of another unlikely place to find beer.


Yes, that’s it, Mongolia, Do they have beer in Mongloia?

See, canned inspiration works, you just need a spoonful.

Later, maybe.


A Vicious Circle

A vicious circle

Life is a vicious circle. It revolves, it repeats, and then just keeps revolving.

Take household chores.

Today, I decided to do the dishes that had accumulated since yesterday.


Done. *Pat on the back*

Then it was time for lunch. A simple affair, nothing fancy.

After lunch, the kitchen looked as though I had never touched it.

It always looks as though I had never touched it. The dishes seem to be in perpetual motion and gravitate under their own steam towards the kitchen sink.

It’s the same with the rest of the house. I sweep out. Then Lixo brings in a toy, a grasshopper or some such. By the time he’s finished, it looks as though a mini-tornado has struck.

I wonder, why do I bother?

Inspiration… always the next exit

So I go back to the PC, another vicious circle. Like today, I have posted on all blogs, this is the last one. I’ll wake up tomorrow morning… and I need to post again. I stare at the blank screen with my first coffee in my trembling hands waiting for inspiration to strike.

Usually I have no idea what the day’s blogging will bring. Some days are planned, like Maxine on Monday, Foul Bachelor Frog, Philosoraptor Phriday, Caturday, etc. But the other days are all play-it-by-ear.

Some posts are created by rolling through my stock of images saved as I troll through the net. Other posts are written from reading the news. Change the World Wednesday is dependent on what the challenge is as set on Reduce Footprints. Sometimes I get a bee in my bonnet about some issue and burst into print. Sometimes my post is about something I have dreamt. Sometimes something happens during the writing of a post that piques me and it becomes words.

So each morning it is a vicious circle, I start with coffee, a blank slate, it’s a new day.

I never knew…

Donut Seeds

Donuts came from donut seeds.

See, there they are. You can buy them in little packets.

I wonder if anybody is really gullible enough to try and plant them.

Reminds me of a time when a girlfriend’s son, Andrew, was playing with one of his sister’s dolls; a Barbie type thing. He had carefully arranged it to sit on the plastic lid of a fly spray can as though it were a toilet then went off to do whatever four year olds do when they get bored with one thing or another.

Meanwhile his mother and I colluded and dropped some raisins in the plastic lid carefully replacing the doll.

Andrew eventually returned while his mother and I returned to our chess game, and suddenly remembered the abandoned doll.

The look on his face was priceless when he saw the doll had pooped.

Now you expect that sort of thing from four year olds, but some people never grow up and remain as gullible as ever.

This is not Lixo, but this is what he does

Whenever I visit the toilet, it is only a matter of seconds after I have dropped my pants, sometimes before, that Lixo comes running into the toilet.

Looks up at me with that expression and demands to be petted. If I ignore him, he meows plaintively, “Come on, you’ve got two hands doing nothing!”

It doesn’t matter what he is doing, eating, sleeping on my our his bed, dozing in the yard, he comes running.

Not only Lixo, but all my cats have done it; you can’t poop in peace.

Another of the great mysteries of life.

It must be Monday

So far, nothing has gone wrong, nor even slightly amiss.

But that is the worry, waiting, wondering…

Because the size of the catastrophe is usually inversely proportional to the time waited, it’s an acutely extrapolated curve.

If something goes wrong early on a Monday morning it is minor compared with something that is sprung on you later in the day.

I’m on my last coffee, it’s nerve-wracking. If this goes on, I’ll just have to make some more. It’s like an earthquake, the aftershocks are worrying.

My sniffles are almost over, getting less by the day. The actual ‘flu is well gone, it’s just taking time to get rid of the collateral damage to sinuses and things.

I haven’t been overly productive in the realms of blogging today, this is the fifth of eight. But the post on They say it’s in the Genes took some thinking about, it was one of those posts that I actually write rather than reblog from another source and pass an opinion, or wind, or something.

I have decided that the world is full of idiots; except you and I, and I’m not so sure about me. Here’s an example…

Should it not be “It gets better”?

That twat is doomed to go through life with a great big neon sign above him that says, “Idiot below!” That’s actually what the post on Genes was about, education, the system, violence, bullying and the production of semi-literate cattle.

I was thinking yesterday…

Danger signal!

Yes, I know it’s dangerous when I think.

I have no idea who she is, but what does she produce that is of benefit to humanity?

There are a lot of useless people in the world, not just idiots, but it is true that some could fall into either or both camps. People who are not productive. Oh, they may ‘work’, they may get a salary, they may even be rich, they may even be dirty filthy rich beyond yours and my dreams, but they produce…


Absolutely nothing.

Who am I talking about? Celebrities, models, socialites, film stars, actors for TV ads, some TV presenters, and the like.

Okay, not all film and theatre actors and actresses.

OMG, now that stupid American spell check is telling me, ME, that I have spelt ‘theatre’ wrongly. I just had to add ‘reblog’ to the dictionary. WordPress doesn’t have a real English option, so I am by default encumbered with Americanisms.

Look at that model/actress/celebrity on the right. I have absolutely no idea who she is (I assume it is a ‘she’, it’s hard to tell these days) or what she does, but she is posed there in what I assume to be an alluring pose baring lots of flesh, succulent as it is (Hey, I’m not that old!), doing what?

What is she producing that can be of benefit to humanity?

What she is doing is making the rich, richer. Selling something, be it clothing, or the lack of it; maybe she is portrayed like this so that some corporation can sell more useless magazines and destroy more forests for paper.

People like this should be taxed. Taxed on the basis of what they produce, produce food – low tax bracket, produce nothing – high tax bracket. Simple.

She is a corporate whore. Prostituting herself so that corporations can make money. While the people are gazing at scantily clad models and celebs, they are not thinking about the day to day woes of life, they are not thinking about how the American Dream has become a nightmare.


Sunday Travel Tales

One of my favourite places in South America is the Pantanal, unfortunately it is also the favourite place of half South America’s mosquitoes. But, really that is a minor point; you can defend yourself.

Buraco das Piranhas, that’s all there is; not exactly a comfort stop

For backpackers, there are two points of entry to the Pantanal, one from Campo Grande and the other from Corumbá. The Campo Grande trip is the longer because you bus from CGR to a Policia Florestal station at Buraco das Piranhas. Now I have never seen piranhas there, but mosquitoes like you wouldn’t believe. Transport from the camp meets you there, if you are lucky both will arrive at the same time, if not, you enjoy the company of mosquitoes until it arrives. Then you are faced with a six hour drive into the camp. The Corumbá entry is easier, the transport which is a Toyota truck leaves from the city and takes the same six hours to camp.

Now you have seen one

Once you leave Passo de Lontra (CGR trip) or Ladário (Corumbá trip) civilisation stops. The road is dirt punctuated with lots of potholes; in the rainy season, it is mud punctuated with puddles. The bridges have to be seen to be believed.

During the trip you will see lots of wildlife, apart from the birds, you’ll see capivara, black Paraguayan caiman at every turn. You may be lucky enough to see deer, anteaters and an anaconda. Birds, the most magnificent is the Tuiuiu (Jabiru stork), but many parrot species and toucans as well. So it’s not just a boring trip over a bumpy road.

Curva do Leque, the fork in the road. Behind is Corumbá, to the right the road to Passo da Lontra, to the left Estrada da Boiadeira

Half way into the camp you pass a fork in the road. The place is called Curva do Leque.

A quick pitstop, yes there is a shop at Curva do Leque.

And off down Estrada da Boiadeira (Cattle Drive Road). It goes nowhere, it’s eventually a dead end (I know, I have been there) it passes many of the fazendas (cattle farms) and one of them São Joaquim is where the campsite is.

The campsites are basic, the most basic level of basic. If you are used to five star hotels, don’t even think about these camps. Personally, I think they are wonderful.

Basic camp

This is one of the better camps, most don’t have permanent structures.

Morning view across the camp, worth the discomfort

In the photo you can see one of the many campões, they are islands of dense bush high enough so they don’t usually get flooded. It is here that you find many birds, and where we hunt for wild honey. Exploring these campões further from the camp, it is possible that you will be tracked by onça (jaguar), I have been several times when taking groups for nature walks; crossing our tracks to find jaguar paw prints on top of ours. In all my time in the Pantanal, I have only ever seen one and that was at a distance of about 400 metres.

A baby bat that had fallen on to the shoulder of a tourist

Tourists get the chance to fish for piranhas, which we cook for supper and generally experience the chance to commune with nature.

It is a time when the unexpected can happen; like this small bat fell on to a tourist and found safety clinging to her T-shirt.

Insects, like butterflies, bugs and beetles are common.

Brilliantly coloured butterflies are common

While I have seen many of these, I have never been able to identify this one, any help appreciated.

As well as the exotic Blue Morpho Butterfly (Morpho menelaus)

Blue Morpho Butterfly (Morpho menelaus)

Lots and lots of jacaré (caiman)

Sucuri (ananconda)

Capivara, the world’s biggest rodent


Image: dondeandoporai

You can check out Wandering Educators for some more brilliant photos

The uncropped photos and the butterflies are mine, sorry, I was lazy tonight.

Cold Feet

My feet are this cold

No, I wasn’t getting married, I didn’t run from the church; my flipflops broke, well, one did. I’m wearing just socks on a slate floor. My frequent runs to the kitchen to replenish my coffee result in cold feet.

I am still suffering from the snots, I may have cold feet, but it is my nose that is running. Can’t seem to shake this ‘flu completely. The main symptoms have gone, it’s just this infernal runny nose. I have even resorted to an old t-shirt rag to use as a handkerchief, because a normal hanky just doesn’t do it.

My button disappeared. The other night I went to turn off the telly and I couldn’t find the button. It’s disappeared into the panel. Now I have to use the remote.

I tell you, all these little things point to Armageddon. The world is slowly self-destructing.

I see that Burger King is set to conquer China and Coca-Cola wants to set up shop in Burma. I mean China probably isn’t that important, they already have McDonald’s so they are doomed which ever way you look. But clean, pristine Burma, they should do everything possible to avoid the Americanisation of the country.

There are only three countries that don’t sell Coca-Cola, Burma, North Korea and Cuba.

Only three countries in the world that are not contaminated, not dominated by American ‘culture’ (and I use that word loosely). The only real culture that America has can be found in the blue vein cheese in the supermarket.

My plea to Burma… Don’t do it!


I think I was bitch slapped

Yes, I think I was…

Left a horrid taste in my mouth, rather like one would imagine a peanut butter smoothie.

In fact, that’s what started it. A peanut butter smoothie.

This is not the offending image, and I apologise to the owner for dragging him into the fray, but I needed an image that was, shall we say, ‘impartial.’

The ‘slapper’ definitely has NFSH (No Freakin’ Sense of Humour, military acronym, used to describe warrant officers – master sergeants to you Americans).

It all started when I saw a tweet. about a peanut butter smoothie. Now being a chef, peanut butter does not belong in the kitchen; it belongs in school lunch tins and maybe on toast in the morning. I cannot see that anything that sticks to the roof of ones mouth has a place in cuisine.

I commented, in what I thought to be a tongue-in-cheek manner, that the idea seemed horrid.

I was expecting a reply along the lines of, “Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!”

But, I got something quite different. I then checked the blog and saw an imagine akin to what I had imagined and reaffirmed my thought.

It was the other way round, but this image was soooo cute

That was when I got bitch slapped. “no one asked you to drink it….. and do you always make a habit of sending mildly rude tweets?” I never make ‘mildly’ rude comments, it had all been taken out of context. In a later comment, I was accused of saying that ‘the post’ was horrid; I never said any such thing, my comment was reserved to my perceived taste of the smoothie. Maybe the misunderstanding was that we were speaking two different languages, one in English and the other in American.

I have a sense of humour, it has stood me in good stead for 60 years and never been so sadly misinterpreted before.

Anyway, I apologised and suggested we take it no further; and guess what? The ‘slapper’ unfollowed me, how freakin’ petty minded can you get? <—– rhetorical question.

I still have a bad taste in my mouth about the affair, and I never even got to try the smoothie.

Bitch slapping bruises the ego.

I have, in my eight years blogging, had only one person stop following one of my blogs, but that was because of a difference in ideologies. I believed that the USA was on track to becoming a Spanish speaking third world country, he being an American was still immersed in the American Dream.

Apart from that my relations on the net have been amiable, so I am wounded.

Hence, there was no Travel Tales yesterday, because that all happened right at the moment I was going to organise the post and it all put me out of sorts.

BTW, I have changed my idea about the future of America, George Orwell was right after all.

Having got that off my chest, I will return to blogging normally and my coffee.

Technology Harlots

I was born in the age of pen friends and stamp collecting.

Today, 60 years on, you can do neither. The thrill of arriving home from school to find one, two or more letters in the mailbox and the disappointment if there was none is something that kids today can never know.

The ability to write a letter, to actually use a pen, to be able to spell and express ideas seems to be lost on the current generation.

The three or four week round trip, from posting to receiving a reply was sometimes agony. But pen friends wasn’t just about writing, it was about discovering relationships, ability to communicate, the handling of emotions, the organisation (I had many pen friends, I had to keep a log of letters received and sent) and  how to use the post office. There were so many peripheral aspects of life that were included with the responsibility of pen friendship.

E-mails, adhesive stickers (look like stamps, but don’t taste like stamps), franking machines (almost a dinosaur too), Skype, FaceBook, Twitter, Orkut have all been responsible for killing it.

Then there was the stamp collecting, carefully tearing the corner off an envelope, soaking the stamps in warm water, laying them on Mum’s table cloth to dry on the kitchen table, exploring the world with little pieces of perforated paper, mounting them correctly by country and year of issue in albums.

Today, it’s all Google, search and destroy, Earth, Wikipedia.

There’s no more going to the library, being a member of a library, borrowing books and the responsibility of caring and then returning them to avoid a fine.

The communications techniques of today are progress, I think not. While it may be faster and more wide reaching, we have lost so much of the human side of life. The destruction of languages, the banality of material, discussions about the puerile and the inane. It’s not progress, it’s a rot that is eating at the very core of society.

I go to a restaurant, and there are people on cellphones, I walk the streets there are people on cell phones, I ride in a bus and the driver is on his cell phone as are many of the drivers in cars.

I go to a restaurant to relax and eat a meal to enjoy the atmosphere and the air is punctuated with the obnoxious beeps and tweets of Nextel type phones; it’s horrid, it’s abhorrent, it’s bloody ignorant.

Technology has destroyed the respect people once had for one another. People are obsessed. “Oh God, I farted, must put that on FaceBook!” I use Twitter, not as a social device, but a way to publish new blog posts (some of which are banal, I have fallen into the trap). I get a tweet, “I am at XXX!” Who gives a damned? I ‘unfollow.’ The narcissism that technology has created is pathetic. I see pathetic people everyday and I shake my head, because I know it will only get worse.

Everybody has a PC, a laptop, a tablet, an iPhone that has more functions than I can fathom; and they use them for the paltry, petty and the piteous. Girls particularly have become slaves to the cell phone, they have become technology harlots, they have sold themselves to the idea, I must talk as though their very being depended on it. My God, I have known women who could do that without one.

Rant over…

It’s a nice sunny day out there, and my flu’ has gone.


My Nose Ran Away

Runny Nose

Yes, I have a runny nose, a sore throat and I feel like this little boy, lost with my Mummy.

You see, really, I am just a big boy ex-pat living on the other side of the world. When boys get sick, they are dying.

So it’s good that it doesn’t happen often. I haven’t felt like this in more than three years.

We have had weird weather the previous two days. Monday started out wonderful after a very wet three days; sun was shining, the birds were singing. Then, 11am the weather closed in, and an hour later we had a ten degree temperature drop and a return of the miserable wet weather of the weekend with torrential rain all afternoon. Tuesday was okay, lovely, went to work, went to the supermarket for some therapy, came home and had a nap, when I woke… I was all stuffed up!

Coristina-D tablets

Drank tea, freshly squeezed lemon juice, in the evening I finally resorted to heavy drugs, Coristina-D, that’s like heavy artillery.

Today I am running on coffee and heavy artillery again.

At the moment I am making a soup. I don’t often make soups, but feel the need of comfort food. I had some roast pumpkin and potato left overs in the fridge from yesterday’s lunch. I am boiling them, then I will mix it with the gravy from yesterday and add a box of cream and sprinkle cracked black peppercorns and lemon zest on top.

Today in Rio de Janeiro is the beginning of Rio +20 ‘another’ conference on the global environment and sustainable living. I have not faith in it being any more successful than Rio 20 years ago, Kyoto, Johannesburg, Copenhagen, all failures, total failures. Of course the problem is that the conferences involve politicians trying to solve the problems that they created with the same mentality. You can’t resolve problems by using the mentality that created them. The paradigm has to shift.

Stupid freakin’ robots

I was about to turn the TV off after the lunch time news and the next programme had just started, I paused. I wish I hadn’t, but I did. The first announcement of the next Big Brother Brasíl 13 coming. Oh no, crap. We’ve just got the last load of banality off the screen. Now we are going to be pestered with those stupid little freakin’ robots again every ten minutes until the next series starts.

Lixo, has eight lives left. He narrowly missed getting run over by a motorcycle last night. He does have this habit of sitting/lying/lazing/abluting in the middle of the road in front of the botequim (bar), well, it nearly came to an end last night. The motorcyclist was speeding, one of these damned pizza delivery types. He got to discover just how well a foreigner can utilise the Portuguese vernacular. He did return past the botequim, he discretely went the long way round to avoid us, he knew there was an ambush waiting complete with posse and noose. At least Lixo suffered no physical injury, just his pride. But a good lick of his fluffy little gonads soon mended that.

Have you ever wonder why cats lick their balls?

Because they can, it’s simple.

Off to make soup.




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