A minha Lista de blogues

quinta-feira, 30 de maio de 2013

The Serpentine

The Serpentine is a lake in Hyde Park, London. It was created in 1730 by Caroline of Ansbach, wife of King George II who ordered the water to be pumped from the river Westboune to build a lake in the middle of Hyde Park. The Serpentine became the first artificial lake in the world and was most appreciated and visited. Even today it is a meeting point and rest place for Londoners and tourists.

George Sidney Shepherd. The Serpentine, Hyde Park.( 19th century)

Charles Bridgeman was responsible for the design of the Serpentine. He was promoted to Royal gardener and later became known as the pioneer in the landscaping trend that spread throughout Europe in the 18th century: the English garden. He also designed the Round Pond in the Kensington gardens.

Charles Bridgeman is depicted in this painting from William Hogarth (1697-1764)-THE RAKE'S PROGRESS- (The 4th from the left)

The Kensington Palace and Gardens are worth a visit when you go to London. There you can admire Queen Victoria´s bedroom. From the Palace, the view is spectacular.

The Round Pond


Queen Victoria´s bedroom

The idea for this post came from:
Bill Bryson. Em casa.Bertrand Editora, 2011

terça-feira, 28 de maio de 2013

Banana passionfruit

Today I tried an exotic fruit called banana passionfruit. It really looks like a small banana with round ends. It is usually found in the Andes, where it is called curuba.

After cutting the fruit vertically into two halves, I scooped out the orange pulp with a tea spoon. It was a bit sour, so I added sugar. It was good and crunchy (because of the seeds) but less tasty than the passionfruit.

segunda-feira, 27 de maio de 2013

Memorial Day

Memorial Day honors those who lost their lives while defending their country. In 1971, Congress established Memorial Day as a federal holiday and fixed its observance on the last Monday in May.

The U.S. president or vice president presides at a Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery outside of Washington and places a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns, also known as Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers. 

Although Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial beginning of summer, many Americans visit cemeteries, where volunteers often place American flags on graves.

Veterans Day, in contrast, honors every­one who serves or has served in defense of the country and is observed with celebrations on November 11.

83rd Lisbon Book Fair

May 23rd-June 10 
Parque Eduardo VII

domingo, 26 de maio de 2013


Esmoriz, 2012

"Saudade" is a noun that is difficult to express in English. In the latter, if we were to convey how much we are affected by someone's absence, we'd say "I miss you". In Portuguese, we'd say "tenho saudade" (I have "Saudade"). Perhaps because we have a noun to express that feeling of anxiety and absence, it can mean much more. 
Depending, of course, in the context, Saudade can be melancholy, bittersweet absence or a deep guttural feeling of longing. It can also be a romantic word. Indeed, it is a word deeply enmeshed in Portugal's culture and unique history.

Here are some other differences. In English if we want to say that we were unable to catch the bus, we say "I missed it..." ( eu perdi o autocarro)

If we were unable to be in a place we´d say “I missed the classes (faltei às aulas).

Saudade is often mentioned in FADO, our national song, that was recognized as World Heritage in 2011, but today I chose Cesária Évora, a Cape Verdean singer whose song "Saudade" invokes both the word and the feelings that come with it.

Cesária Evora (1941-2011), was born in Mindelo, Cape Verde. Cize, as her friends used to call her, began singing in the cafes of Cape Verde at the age of 16. She stopped singing in 1975 owing to some personal problem, but later, persuaded by friends she started singing again. She went to Paris to perform and in 1988, her first album entitled La Diva aux pieds nus, was released. It was a big success and a hit among the Cape Verdean community and other albums followed. Miss Perfumado (1992) was the one that acclaimed Cesária as an international artist. It included one of her most celebrated songs, "Sodade". Cafe Atlantico(1999) was dedicated to Mindelo, the town where she was born, on the island of Sao Vicente. 
Cesária was often called the "barefoot diva" because she performed barefoot. She was also known as the "queen of morna." Morna is the blues, Cape Verde style.
Holder of three Grammy nominations, she was named Artist of the Year in 1998 by the American World Music Awards. In 2003, her album Voz d'Amor was awarded a Grammy in the World music category. Critics have compared her to vocalists Billie Holiday and Edith Piaf.

Cesária Évora was fully recognized by the media:

Rolling Stone: "Cesaria Evora really only sings two ways well or magnificently."

New York magazine: "... some of the most beautiful, haunting and (pardon us) perfect music ever sung in Portuguese or any other language."

The New York Times: "... Her contralto is filled with forbearance and comfort, as if she has seen the worst but can still offer consolation."

The New Yorker: "Hail, Cesaria."

I met Ms. Cesária Évora in a cocktail party that followed her show when she performed in the Zeiterion Theatre in New Bedford and saw how proud she was when the consul of Portugal arrived to congratulate her.

sábado, 25 de maio de 2013

Sintra- diversity and beauty

"Sintra, Portugal, is a perfect combination of diversity and beauty"This is the headline of an article written by Chris A Hale for the Deseret News on May 23rd.

Read it HERE

My previous posts about Sintra:

Sintra no tempo de Eça de Queirós

Helena Loermans’ textiles

Helena Loermans is a dutch artist who has been living in Portugal for a long time. She has her weaving studio in the historic town of Odemira in Alentejo, Portugal, where she produces her own collection of hand woven textiles with traditional looms.

Last month I visited her studio for the first time and couldn´t resist the temptation of getting an original scarf.

Now , as the weather is getting warmer it is time to admire her exclusive parasols. Helena upcycles materials in a very imaginative  way.

quinta-feira, 23 de maio de 2013

O estilo inglês

                 cadeira de estilo Vitoriano

A evolução do mobiliário reflete sempre a história social. O crescimento da classe média, no século XVIII, como resultado da prosperidade económica conduziu a uma procura de mobiliário. 

cadeiras Tudor

Thomas Chippendale, (1690-1768) filho de um marceneiro do norte de Inglaterra, foi o primeiro plebeu a ter um estilo de mobiliário com o seu nome. Antes dele os diferentes estilos recordavam as monarquias: Tudor, Isabelina,  Rainha Ana , Georgiano (e depois o Vitoriano que marcou a segunda metade do século XIX). 
George Hepplewhite (1727? – 1786) e Thomas Sheraton (1751 –1806) foram outros dois importantes nomes na história do mobiliário do século XVIII.

Cadeiras Hepplewhite na sala de jantar do iate Real Britannia.

   mesa isabelina (século XVI)

Em 1754,  Chippendale publicou “The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker´s Director”, impondo a sua versão pessoal do gosto de inspiração oriental. Além de ser um grande ebanista, também decorava interiores dando sugestões quanto aos tecidos e cor das paredes.

Cadeira rainha Ana

"sideboard" Georgiano

                          cadeiras estilo Chippendale

Os modelos ingleses tornaram-se populares em muitos países europeus, tendo-se transformado em formas de arte decorativa. A influência inglesa também se espalhou nas colónias americanas.

A adoção do nome Chippendale a peças construídas posteriormente tem, por vezes, pouco a ver com os originais. Ele tinha uma vantagem especial: usou a melhor madeira para mobiliário que alguma vez existiu- uma espécie de mogno proveniente das Caraíbas.

Estátua de Thomas Chippendale

terça-feira, 21 de maio de 2013

Cavalos de Hollywood

Sabes o que têm em comum filmes como O Senhor dos Anéis, Príncipe da Pérsia, as Crónicas de Nárnia(2), Robin Hood, Cavalo de Guerra? Para além de serem grandes sucessos de Hollywood, todos contam com o trabalho insubstituível da empresa portuguesa Equicouro - Correeiros, Lda., com sede na freguesia de Milagres, em Leiria, que fornece as selas, cabeçadas, mantas, louros, estribos, cilhas e peitorais para aparelhar os cavalos que participam nos filmes. 

segunda-feira, 20 de maio de 2013

Chelsea Flower Show

The Chelsea Flower Show has become a regular event in the Royal calendar since it was first held in 1913 following the success of an international horticultural exhibition organised by the Royal Horticultural Society in the grounds of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, the previous year. Since then it has been an annual event (with the exception of some years during the First and Second World Wars) and takes place in late May. 

This year it celebrates 100 years and will be held from 21st till 25th May 2013. 

The Queen, as Patron of the Royal Horticultural Society, regularly attends the opening of the show. The aim of the exhibitions is to encourage amateur gardeners to try to achieve similar displays in their own gardens. 

One of the most outstanding displays in the shows history was the Coronation Empire Exhibition in 1937. Created to celebrate the Coronation of King George VI, exhibits included plants representing different parts of the Commonwealth.

A tourist in Belem

The parish council of Santa Maria de Belem, created in 1833, is unique in the world- it has two monuments considered by UNESCO as World Heritage: Jerónimos Monastery and Belém Tower. 

Jerónimos was an idea of king Manuel I of Portugal (1469-1521). He wanted to build a monument to take advantage of the vast amounts of money that came from Africa and India.

 He wanted people to be impressed when they looked at it.

Works started in 1501, directed by Boitaca, the king´s favourite architect and finished 100 years later. The monument is in front of the Tagus River, just in the place where a small chapel was located. The cloister can´t be missed. It looks like stone embroidery.

The originality of Jerónimos lies in its style, called “ Manueline style” in honour of the king and it is unique in the world. The ornaments were inspired from the Discoveries and we can find exotic plants, animals from faraway places, anchors and ropes used in ships, instruments for navigation and above all the armillary sphere, a symbol of the King´s power over the world. 

Belém Tower  was built between 1514 and 1520, near the end of King Manuel´s reign, in order to protect the entrance of Lisbon from pirates' attacks. It is also in “Manueline style” but reflects Eastern influence with its Moorish looking cupolas. 

These monuments together with the Monument to the Discoveries, Belém Palace, the official residence of the presidents of the Republic of Portugal, the amazing Coach museum, the botanical garden, not to forget the famous Belem custard tarts, one of the greatest delicacies from Portugal, are described in the book “Belém” written by Fatima Pinto de Meneses, a former History teacher in my school.

domingo, 19 de maio de 2013

Corn or maize?

Corn is the most important crop in the USA, which produces half of the world´s total.

Indians taught colonists to grow the indigenous plants, which included some varieties of yellow corn that are still popular as food. Since its introduction into Europe by Columbus, it has spread to all areas of the world because of its ability to grow in diverse climates. Corn can be used boiled or roasted on the cob or converted into flour. Corn oil is used in some diets because it contains little cholesterol.

Roasted corn on the cob

Although it is an important food, it is inferior to other cereals in nutritional value. 

In the United states the pink, red, and blue varieties of corn are used in autumn decorations. 

In British English the word corn refers to any crops such as wheat and barley. If we mean the seeds of a corn plant we say maize

Curiously, in British English, corn can also mean a small piece of hard skin on your foot or toe. 

The idea for this post came from:
Bryson, Bill. Em casa. Breve História da Vida Privada. Bertrand editora 2011.

sexta-feira, 17 de maio de 2013

Madame Tussaud´s

International Museum Day is celebrated worldwide on May 18. This year the theme is Museums (Memory + Creativity) = Social Change. 

On this day I have chosen Madame Tussaud´s, a museum my children loved to visit when they were kids. It is a wax museum and one of the most important tourist attractions in London. 

Marie Tussaud was born in Strasburg in 1761. Her mother worked as housekeeper for Dr Philippe Curtius - a physician who used to model anatomic subjects in wax. Soon Marie and her mother moved to Paris with him. Dr. Curtius became Marie´s tutor in the techniques of wax portraiture and she was allowed to model great figures of the time like François Voltaire or Benjamin Franklin. In 1794, Dr. Curtis died and Marie inherited the business which had grown under her influence. As the situation in France was becoming chaotic, Marie decided to tour the exhibition round the British Isles. In 1835 Madame Tussaud´s museum opened in London . 

In January I enjoyed Madame Tussaud´s museum in Berlin.

I'm sure you didn't deserve that red card...

Mr. Clooney knew I don´t drink coffee...

Older post

Nutri Ventures nos EUA.

Nutri Ventures, série infantil dedicada à alimentação saudável, é a primeira produção portuguesa a entrar em canais Disney. 

As crianças norte-americanas vão conhecer novos heróis a partir de segunda-feira, quando a série de animação portuguesa se estrear nos Estados Unidos. 

A série estreou-se em Portugal em outubro, na RTP2 e no canal Panda, mas já passa em 19 países. 

quinta-feira, 16 de maio de 2013

Graduation Day

Norman Rockwell, The Prom Dress

Graduation Day is a memorable day for all students and their families. There are two separate ceremonies that nobody wants to miss: 

The conferring of diplomas
Prom Night

On graduation day from high school or college the principal, a special guest and one of the students who is leaving make a speech. The student who speaks is usually one who achieved the highest grades. Indeed, it is an honour to be chosen and that person is called the valedictorian. As the ceremony proceeds, the students are called one by one to receive their diplomas with the sound of clapping hands and the flashes of photographers. 

Afterwards everybody goes outside to see the students throw their caps into the air. 

For Prom Night, the girl will find a stunning prom dress (usually in a pale colour), sparkly jewelry, the perfect shoes and, of course a date to escort her in the promenade, who offers her a small and elegant bouquet of flowers or a wrist corsage to match the dress. 

If you are a boy I’m sure you will find a classic tuxedo that will make you look like James Bond, but don’t forget you must use a boutonnier pinned to the lapel ( to match the girl´s flowers). 

The Prom or Promenade is rehearsed several times to make sure no mistakes are made on the day. Parents are invited to this ceremony (They normally take lots of photographs, a subject that needs to be discussed previously at home for it seems that some children at that age might not enjoy being photographed).


Limousine (Limo)
Afterwards the students join their friends, who together with their partners rent a limo, and go to the ball. Let the fun begin

I must say that looking back it may seem a bit kitch, all the preparation, but I would have loved to have a graduation in such great style when I was a student…Nevertheless, my son, first, and then my daughter graduated from high school in the United States and so I was able to glimpse that wonderful celebration.

Showcase in EB 2,3 Paula Vicente, Lisbon