Today’s photo – Many thanks to Eiryl … Xmas scene from Câmara de Lobos
The Jersey Evening Post reports that traditions travel : Mr De Sousa said: ‘Last year I created something like this in Madeira where this sort of thing is typical. I think that this is the best thing for Christmas as you need more than just a tree to mark the occasion. We have even had one class of schoolchildren come and visit. They all took a picture and said how wonderful it was. People just love it and I am very happy to see them so excited.’ No room at the inn … but there’s space in the garage
What do you put on the dinner table at a climate conference? The answer: you make sure that the carbon footprint is low. Indeed, key ingredients for the royal banquet placed the emphasis on locally-sourced products rather than exotic materials flown in from afar … Madere Hors d’Age. Madeira is a fortified wine made in the Madeira Islands, which belong to Portugal. The wine is produced in a variety of styles ranging from dry to sweet wines. The islands of Madeira have a long wine making history dating back to the days when Madeira was a standard port of call for ships heading to the New World or the East Indies. To prevent the wine from spoiling, neutral grape spirit was added. On the long sea voyages, the wines would be exposed to excessive heat and movement which transformed the flavor of the wine as the wine producers of Madeira found out when an unsold shipment of wine returned to the islands after a round trip. Today, Madeira is noted for its unique wine making process which involves heating the wine up for an extended period of time and deliberately exposing the wine to some levels of oxidation. Judging from the outcome of the conference in Copenhagen, Madeira Wine also doesn’t reach the parts that other wines don’t reach. Madere Hors d’Age on the menu
Anyone thinking of checking in on the blog tomorrow, I can’t promise anything. I worked the last two Christmases, and the blog had as many visitors as any other day, but us bloggers need a few hours off now and again, as I said I can’t promise anything. I will make a posting I will prepare later, perhaps just a photo to start with, and we can see what happens from there. You can leave an Xmas message, a humorous one if you like, or whatever you fancy.
More than four thousand toys for needy children – Success of the campaign ‘Brinquedão’ is a result of the solidarity of the Madeirans. The collections centred in the Madeira Forum will result in 4,200 books and toys being given to children in institutions within Madeira’s social support network. The donations are both new and used, and were given in the build up to Christmas. The campaign almost doubled what was collected last year. The Foundation D. Jacinta Pereira de Ornelas and the Movimento de Apoio à Criança (Child Support Movement) are the beneficiaries of the initiative.
Crude oil slick sighted on the North of the island – A Navy ship was sent to the scene. The Navy is at the scene to measure the extent of the slick and collect samples for analysis.
Madeira is the main destination for the Portuguese during Christmas and through the new year – Crisis impedes a general increase in the end-of-year travel sales. The effects of the economic crisis are still making themselves felt, and the Portuguese are not spending much on travel during the festive season, although sales are expected to be close to the level registered in 2008. The travel agents are not suffering (financial?) losses compared to 2008, but any improvements are few and reduced (in value?). According to the Portuguese Association of Travel and Tourism Agents (APAVT), sales of travel this year have fallen around 15%. Aside from the crisis, Gripe A concerns have taken their toll. APAVT data indicates that there is a growing demand for domestic destinations, at the cost of some travel locations abroad, and that Madeira is the clear favourite. The rise in the number of Portuguese holidaying on Madeira has really been a blessing this year, and I hate to think what the 13,500 unemployment figure would have been like if this hadn’t been the case. And that wouldn’t have happened without the general reduction in the price and additional availability of flying options between Portugal and Madeira. The politicians and airlines that made it possible for sure had other motives in their involvement, but even so they have unwittingly saved Madeira (so far) from a far worse economic crisis than the bad one we are currently facing.
Today’s news headlines from the front page of the Diário de Notícias, absolutely loads of them :
People defy the bad weather and come down to Market Night – The rain came at the time of the interval yesterday at the start of the night. The people took advantage. (hope that makes sense, as it doesn’t to me). I saw some coverage on the 9 pm local news last night, and quite a few people were milling around, but not too many smiling it seemed. Less people attended than usual, a fact confirmed by the fact there was less rubbish to clear up this morning. The clean up team was organised by the council to start work at 5.30 this morning in the Market Night vicinity. The counsellor in charge of the clean-up, Henrique Costa Neves, commented that "there could have been a little more civility", because the garbage ended up outside the catchment area and to some extent all over the city. Well of course he is right, and whilst I have no idea whether there were adequate rubbish bins spread around, he is being a bit of a humbug. Of course people make a mess, but when their behaviour is influenced by alcohol into the early hours of the morning, things can get even messier. Who supports the event, who issues licences to the sellers (who originate the rubbish), and who issues licences to those who sell the booze? … Funchal Council of course. Sr. Neves didn’t create the rubbish, but his council facilitated it!
Today’s main news headline : Nurses expose environment of terror – The president of the Order [of Nurses] say there there is a concerted action coming from the highest level to hide the problems in the health Service. The expulsion of the head of nursing at Santo António is an example of the "climate of fear and persecution". "There is a concerted action at the highest level of the hierarchy of the Health Service with the aim of silencing the more assertive voices, or silencing those who are closer to the users and that know the problems and needs". The complaint is made by Élvio Jesus, president of the Order of Nurses, who speaks of the existence of a "climate of fear and persecution" in order to silence those who know from the inside, what goes wrong in the health system of Madeira. This ‘climate of fear’ shows in the removal of the head nurse at the Health Centre of Santo António, who blew the whistle on doctors and politicians getting friends and families vaccinated quicker against Gripe A, but also has deeper consequences. Nothing new here … it is reported frequently that the Health Service is run in the fashion that Uncle Bertie runs the government, and that the government runs Madeira. Even the Regional Health Secretary opts to keep quiet on the matter. Anyone attempting to speak out about a wrong is told to shut up, and probably threatened with some sort of big bertie stick if not.
The main photo today continues the weather theme of most of the last week, and shows a road and supporting wall which has half collapsed into a river, and looks like it will be very expensive to repair. Storm continues its destruction and the spread of chaos – In São Vicente, isolated locations and houses are at risk of collapse.
Santana : 4 parishes (freguesias) without drinking water.
Torrent bursts through promenades at Faial and Madalena.
Santa Cruz : fall of trees damages houses and cars.
Floods and rock falls in Funchal and in Curral [Valley of the Nuns].
Mistakes cost more than €300,000 in a laboratory construction – Further works to will worsen the cost of the Veterinary Laboratory.
Elaine (west) has kindly covered some of the above bad weather stories … many thanks.
Bad weather devastates São Vicente – "The pig was drowned in the pen, the chickens and the dogs died". Most of the inhabitants of São Vicente woke up joyless, others with no desire to live. There were many tears shed throughout the day yesterday, particularly in sites of Rosário, Ginjas and Ribeira Grande, where the storm’s trail of destruction left a family homeless and several homes at risk of collapse. A desolate scene. The uplands of Rosário and Ribeira Grande were the worst affected, and there was panic to take care of several families. There was criticism of the lack of cleanliness of streams and of discharge of waste. The family of Leonitina Camacho was until yesterday afternoon the only one to be relocated. The water rose through the river bed destroying part of the house. A few meters from the entrance gate, the Vargem de Cima road was literally ‘bitten off’ by the current. "There was despair. No one got any sleep all night," she reported, her nerves still on edge. Nearby, Helena Silva was in tears as she tried to protect her husband’s car. "In another 10 minutes the river could sweep the car away.” Below, on the other side of the river lives Luciano Gomes. He is paraplegic and saw the water steal the few belongings he had. He told the Diário that all he had was some clothes and his wheelchair. "I have nothing left," he said. Waiting for the weather to improve was a group of men, all in their 30s. All knew that the weather report indicated more rain and more wind for a second night. José Manuel Rui Camacho had almost lost his cars. "The water nearly dragged them over the bridge. I had to tie them with rope otherwise they would have been in the river below," he said.
In Ginjas the picture, though bleak, does not compare to the neighbouring village. Fatima Lira lamented the loss of property and animals. "The pig is drowned in the pigsty. The chickens died, and the dogs," she weeps. In the village, the morning also brought the discovery of the damage. In the Galleon Trade Centre. Gabriel Cunha has not yet worked out the cost of the damage to his store. "It certainly exceeds 5,000 Euros," he estimated. The insurance policy provides cover the damage, but the construction of the pavement had facilitated the entry of water into his premises. However, another trader, Tomas Jesus, does not have insurance to cover his flooding totalling 2,500-3,000 Euros. Both lamented the loss of stock at a time when things are difficult. Ribeira Grande is causing greatest concern to the authorities. 50 residents are at serious risk. Cláudia Silva (21) could not get home. "I finished work at 10 pm and when I got here (on the bridge of Ribeira Grande) I saw that I couldn’t even get home on foot", she said. For 20 hours she tried to contact her father who was not at home. Then the phones died. "There was no phone connection, no way to travel on the roads, and no electricity. We were totally isolated from the rest of the world.” In the town the damage is enormous. In the worst case the water was up to the roof of a garage. Farmers were left without their plots of land. In the village of São Vicente the supporting walls of the chapel (built in 1694) were battered by the sea. The storm spared the religious monument. Above, the expressway between the roundabout and Loural Fire Station is closed.
PP Peoples Party presents in São Bento [Lisbon Parliament] law to share out advertising.
‘Lobo Marinho’ returned to stay in Funchal. Commander of the ship predicts the next journey to Porto Santo will be on Saturday. Rough seas make docking impossible at Porto Santo, so the ferry returned to Funchal this Thursday morning. The first flights out today from Madeira went as planned, although a flight from Frankfurt had to stay airborne for a while until there was an improvement in weather conditions. The airport management company predicts that there will be some delays.
If anyone else can oblige with the translation of any of the ‘blank’ or sparsely filled headlines, or other news stories, here is the link Thank you in anticipation.
Oh what bliss it was to sleep through the night last night without the mega-bangers at 5 am, 6 am, and 7 am for the Missa do Parto. I ended up sleeping through to 9.30 am undisturbed, and today was a day I really wanted to get up early, and now I am all behind. 9 days of just 3 or 4 hours sleep has taken it’s toll, and I am knackered, although from the comments the last few days it seems that many people are having a less than desirable run up to Christmas. A friend of mine coming from Ireland via England to stay over Xmas was supposed to have arrived Wednesday. His flight was cancelled, and he has had to stay in hotels and rebook a flight with another airline for tomorrow at a different airport (250 km away) because of weather problems in the UK. When he rang to tell me about the delays, I reluctantly told him of the weather problems at this end and the impact on flights, and he was none too pleased. If I can keep my eyes open long enough, I am really looking forward to tonight, as town will come to live after about 12.30 am, after the Missa do Galo has finished in the local church, but the feeling is locally that even if the rain holds off, many people will head home early and town will close much earlier than it normally does. It seems strange that the Missa do Galo (cock / rooster) is at midnight, as that would be the more apt name for the 9 early morning services. It was bedlam in the local Pingo Doce this morning, but I am glad I got there reasonably early, failing to find just potatoes, although they did have some really expensive ones.
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