Shopping Habits, Maths exams, Light skies, Politicians gaff, New windfarm generators …

TODAY’S PHOTO : Porto Santo Island … this is the famous ‘Dragon Tree’, which almost became extinct on the island due to over harvesting for it’s resin used to make potent red dye. There are still several on Porto Santo, and I know that there is at least one on Madeira as I spotted it at the weekend.

Front Page News : source : Diário de Notícias 24/6/2008

The economic difficulties on Madeira are making a noticeable change to the shopping habits of it’s inhabitants. In an effort to save some centimos shoppers are switching to the low cost brands and supermarket own brands. One supermarket chief said that his ‘own brand’ sales have gone up by 6% so far this year, where nationally the increase has been just 3%. Pingo Doce state that their own brand products are of a quality better than or equal to the product leaders. Shame that, ‘cos if Mr Pingo had been prepared to identify the ‘own brand’ products that are absolute rubbish, it could save us all a lot of effort and wasted money. For example, I find their own brand dog food absolutely tasteless and it contains crunchy lumps, … nothing like the quality of Fray Bentos (who despite popular opinion, have actually made some fresh batches since they were established in 1899).

The vice-president of the Regional Assembly of Madeira was nabbed (but not arrested) by Police on Sunday night after a SATA flight from Lisbon had touched down on Madeira, because he had been using  his mobile phone on board, despite being told to turn it off. He denied the allegations in part, but a number of passengers have confirmed his disobedience. He justified himself afterwards by saying that “There is no law that prohibits the use of mobile phones on planes, what exists is just the regulations of the companies”. He continued “I used the mobile phone because I was curious to know the result of the elections in Gaula, and when I was told that we won, I turned off soon”, said Miguel de Sousa, guaranteeing that “nothing abnormal happened”.  I am not going to mention the party that this idiot represents because I don’t want to be partyist, but he is clearly a very senior man in politics here and yet doesn’t understand that mobile phones affect aircraft navigation systems. Who would want to ring up Madeira to find out an election result anyway, as there is only one party that always wins.

Other News :

The PSD party won the election In Gaula on Sunday. That election has been responsible for the shortage of decent front page news recently.

The national exam of mathematics that was taken by many students here on Monday was deemed to be ‘canja’ (chicken soup = piece of cake). That opinion was unanimous amongst the students of the Secondary School Francisco Franco. Ah perhaps it’s not tough enough, and maybe that explains why I sometimes get charged the wrong price in bars and cafes, or the change comes back incorrect!

The Group of Astronomy of the University of Madeira want to recuperate the nocturnal blackness that Madeira has lost over the last 30 years due to the intensification of the street lighting on Madeira, that interferes with the observation of the most distant galaxies of from earth.  It has scheduled for 2009, (International Year of Astronomy), a visit to the eleven town councils of Madeira with the objective of sensitizing them to the efficient utilization of public lighting. The solution is simple they say, by using a system of lights that point downwards, or reflectors, and maybe they can save some money at the same time. I actually agree with them, and I have seen some stunning night skies when we have had power-cuts, but at times when street security concerns are growing I think you might be whistling with that one!

A new health centre that opened in Santana on Monday marks a notable achievement for this government, in that Santana was the last of the prefabricated buildings to be replaced by a proper and permanent construction, and that particular one had been in the prefab for 24 years. The inauguration was performed by regional secretary for Social Matters, Francisco Garden Branches, instead of the usual Alberto João Garden who must have been rooted somewhere else. (Thanks to the translator software for that, with the final addition being all my own work).

A busy week on the Via Rápidas last week saw 72 broken down vehicles being towed off, 7 accidents, 37 objects of ‘large dimension’ being removed, and 10 animal rescues. Meanwhile on the streets generally, 21 road accidents occurred at the weekend (11 in Funchal) with 10 people injured.

8 of the ‘windmills’ that generate electricity up in Paul da Serra are to be replaced with more powerful models, subject to the necessary permits being granted. The old generators are 1.5MW models, restricted by the size of the span of the blades to 35 metres because of the difficulties in transportation to their original location. The new set of ‘Perform 3’ will generate a massive 32 GWh per year (up to 7 times more than at present), and have a blade span of 45 metres and are 65 meters high. The project construction is expected to start this year and will cost €16.6 million, including €3 million in transport and installation costs, using a crane that will cost €570,000 to employ.

Hopefully the ‘comments’ box will reappear today … but I won’t know until after I have posted today’s blog. I will check and see straight after so no need to tell me if there is still a problem. If the ‘comments’ box doesn’t appear, rest assured I will be trying to resolve the matter, but you are welcome to send comments by email instead in the meantime.

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10 thoughts on “Shopping Habits, Maths exams, Light skies, Politicians gaff, New windfarm generators …”

  1. The good news it that the comments box is back … hurrah!

    The bad news is that I couldn't post Tobi's photo of the midnight swimmers in Caniço de Baixo (the tradition of Sao Joao), because the blog for some reason said it was in the wrong format even though it seemed fine to me. Thanks anyway Tobi, but I might try again tomorrow.

    –Der

    Reply
  2. For how long have you been eating supermarket supplied dog food? Have you a favourite brand?
    I guess your dog can advise.
    I don't think meter is not a unit of measurement. Trafalger squares and London buses are more commonly used, as is metRE.

    –Martin
    <mailto:martinmears@tiscali.co.uk>

    Reply
  3. its a blog Martin, spelling mistakes happen, and as that one would squeeze past the spellchecker I make no apology.

    As you have kindly provided your email address, perhaps we could compare notes in private on the tastiest brands of dog food, as I don't want people getting the wrong idea about us. I don't have a dog by the way.
    –Der

    Reply
  4. Well it is nice to know we still have tasters for dog food, thought they died out years ago!!! Seriously, re the new transport laws from the other day, it is mostly relating to Tourist Guides and those not qualified to do so, the tourist guide has to be qualified by law, to guide a tourist excursion bus. I believe the qualification takes 3 to 5 years. I think it has been brought about by recent complaints that some taxi drivers and other people are acting as guides and of course may not be qualified to guide excursion buses. It seems basically to protect the professional guides from their work declining. This is not to be confused with a transfer guide, who can be Joe Blogg provided they do nothing more than point out places of interest on a journey which is not a tour. That is how I understand it in part but don't know if there are any other restrictions re transport.
    –Josie

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  5. thanks for the clarification Josie … seems a fine line between pointing something out and being a guide, and I can't imagine taxi drivers relinquishing work for anybody.
    –Der

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  6. Hi all, i recommend friskies, but not the pate , the ones in a sauce, good lumps of meat and veggies and rice thrown in as well.

    Had a few hours on the beach today , bot the Sun is hot , i think there will be alot of problems with fires this year , if it continues like this.

    Dont know if you been watching the news in the Uk, but there have been a number of sightings of UFO over the UK this month , including one buzzing pass a police helicopter, they are now asking the MOD to act and to release their information.

    I know maths here is taught in a totally different way to the Uk, and it clearly doesnt work, cause i will have to say most people here are useless when it comes to Numbers, and if say a bill comes to 7.22, and you give them a 10 euro note, then you find the odd 2.22, while they have rung in 10 euros, so u get a 5 euro note back, this confuses the hell out of them, and its totally game over.
    –Tobi

    Reply
  7. Tobi, u confused me on the maths 'cos I thought that sum was OK.

    I never knew there was so much interest in animal food, and I thought I was the only one. OK, my favourite brand is Pedigree, but quite honestly I just can't afford it. So I normally go for canned ActivPet which is OK, but the biscuits are very dry and hard, so leave them alone.
    –Der

    Reply
  8. The sum is ok Der, but it confusese them as they have already put 10.00 into the till so the change would come up as 2.78, but then u say you have the 2.22, it will take them a life time to work it out lol lol
    –Tobi

    Reply
  9. Dogs dinner!, don't get me started Martin, I am salivating already.

    If you want sanity in this blog, you have to accept it with a small dose of zanity.
    –Der

    Reply

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