I have been intrigued by all the white storks we have seen in the Algarve and have been photographing them. I wondered why there are so many. So I did a little research. Here are the top ten things I learned about the storks of the Algarve.
- Males and females look almost the same although the male is sometimes a little larger. Storks are monogamous and partner for life. Males and females build their nests together.
- Storks don’t sing like many other birds however they do make sounds by clattering their beaks. They open and close their beaks quickly making a very loud kind of knocking sound.
- Storks from all over Europe that used to migrate to Africa flock to the Algarve now and stay here all year round. This is partly because climate change has brought milder weather but also because storks no longer need to travel to warmer points to find the lizards, frogs, worms, snakes, insects and fish that used to be the mainstays of their diet. Now they eat at landfills and from people’s garbage cans which provide them with junk food all year round.
- Their nests are enormous and built on top of chimneys, telephone poles, church steeples and in trees. Portuguese law protects the nests which are made of sticks, branches, grass and twigs. The same nests are used year after year. It is believed some have been in continuous use for a hundred years.
- The female lays three to five eggs in April and babies become independent after three months. Both parents share the tasks of sitting on the eggs, feeding the babies and protecting and nurturing them.
- Storks can live for as long as thirty-five years.
- Storks are social creatures gathering in huge flocks of up to two hundred here in the Algarve.
- An old Hans Christian Anderson story called The Storks popularized the idea that storks bring babies into the world. According to German folklore storks found babies in caves and swamps and brought them to couples in a basket held in their beaks. Sometimes the babies were dropped down chimneys. Greek and Roman myths feature storks as examples of devoted parents caring for their children and in turn also as devoted children caring for their aging parents.
- The long broad wings of the stork with a span of up to 185 centimetres allow it to soar gracefully through the sky.
- Some 14,000 storks are thought to make their home in the Algarve area of Portugal
Finding the Elusive Quetzal in Costa Rica
The Dawn Chorus
Dave Driedger Bird Detective
My friend Rudy who is staying here in Portugal with us for three weeks likes to tease me about my ‘eight things.’ Everyday I try to do eight things to explore and hone and cultivate my craft as a writer. Thing One is to read a chapter in a book about writing or listen to a video from a course about writing. I just finished the book Wired for Story by Lisa Cron. It was recommended by Gabriele, a member of my writer’s group. Here are my top take aways!
1. Story telling trumps beautiful writing every time! It is important to write well but you must also spin a story that hooks your readers.
2. Your story needs to tell us something about what it means to be human and how humans react to circumstances beyond their control.
The beggars in Lisbon deal with their difficult circumstances in different ways
3. You should be able to sum up your story in one short sentence.
Cramped by Hunger– the short description of this painting by Portuguese artist Marcelino Vespeira tells such a sad story.
4. Your story should change the way your reader sees the world.
5. Every detail in your story should be specific, tangible and visceral.
6. There must be CONFLICT and it should begin to sprout on the first page of your story.
7. Everything that could go wrong for your protagonist should go wrong.
8. There has to be a kind of ticking clock built into your story that make the dangers your protagonist is facing clear and present and intimate.
I felt a clear sense of danger when this eagle flew right by my ear
9. The response and advice of others is important and helpful as you rewrite and rewrite and rewrite your story.
10. You will need INCREDIBLE determination and patience to get your story published.
So Much Hard Work
A Glamourous Night for Manitoba Writing
“Stop here and consider, that you will reach this state too.”
That reminder is over the entrance to the Capela dos Ossos or the Chapel of Bones in Faro, Portugal. We visited it the day we went to Faro to meet our friend Rudy at the airport.
I stand outside the The Igreja do Carmo cathedral in Faro Portugal
The chapel is located in the rear courtyard of the The Igreja do Carmo church.
We first went inside the church where I found another Veronica Station of the Cross to add to my photo collection of them from around the world. The inside of the church is very ornate decorated with gold from Brazil which was once a Portuguese colony. The Chapel of Bones just behind the church lives up to its name. It contains the bones of over a thousand monks whose bodies were exhumed in the 19th century from Faro’s overcrowded cemetery. The monks’ faces stare at you from the ceiling and walls of the Chapel of Bones. The practice of moving bones from cemetery plots into ossuaries after a period of seven to ten years was once common in Catholic Europe. There are still ossuaries like the ones in Portugal in Spain, France, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Italy.
The Chapel of Bones was certainly a unique place to visit, although I think there may be slightly less macabre ways to remind to people that we need to live each day of our lives to the fullest.
Other posts. ……
The Catacombs- Myth and Reality
A Veronica Sighting in Costa Rica
We had dinner last night with Wilf and Karen. They have spent the last week in Lagos a six kilometer walk from Praia da Luz where we live, and so in the late afternoon we trekked in to Lagos to have dinner with them. Although we don’t get together with Wilf and Karen regularly back in Winnipeg, we are close friends with Wilf’s sister and her husband, and when we lived in a house trailer in Landmark early in our marriage, Wilf’s Dad was our landlord.
It is always great to spend time with fellow travelers and compare notes about what they have been seeing and doing. We went for dinner at Mare. It is a seafood restaurant right over the fish market in Lagos. So naturally we all had fish. I had the shrimp curry which was great and the others shared cataplana. A cataplana is actually a piece of cookware made of copper or aluminum and shaped kind of like a clam shell. Last night the cataplana’s at our table were filled with many different kinds of fish all cooked together.
Since it was cold and dark by the time our meal was finished we decided to take the bus home. Wilf and Karen waited at our stop with us and we carried on visiting till our bus arrived. We had a lovely evening with them.
I wonder which Winnipegers we will rendezvous with next in Portugal.
More Winnipeg Friends in Portugal
Coming All the Way to Portugal To Get To Know People From Our Church
A Reunion With Old Friends, Great Stories and Portuguese Wine
We saw Phantom Thread in Lagos Portugal last week. There were no characters in the movie I liked or cared about.
Certainly not the self-centered, chauvinistic 1950’s high-end fashion designer Reynolds Woodcock who was not only cruel and demanding but eccentric and anti-social as well. He had a creepy obsession with his dead mother that reminded me of Norman Bates in Psycho. Was Reynolds Woodcock the villain of Phantom Thread or the protagonist? His toxic behavior towards women could make him a poster child for the#MeToo movement.
I sort of admired Reynolds’ sister Cyril who was essentially the brains of his fashion empire taking care of all the organization and paper work and customer relations to keep the family business thriving. But it was hard to like Cyril because she was way too devoted to her crazy brother and tolerated his ridiculous behaviour. I wanted to shout at her, “Make a life of your own. You are smart and confident. You have what it takes. Ditch that neurotic sibling of yours!”
Reynold’s sister Cyril supervising the hardworking seamstresses in the film
I felt sorry for all the very talented seamstresses who worked in Reynolds’ fashion house. Without them his business would have been nothing. It was their skill and expertise that made his illustrious reputation possible. They all lined up like frightened soldiers to cater to their boss’s every whim. Filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson never really let us see their individual personalities.
I had no respect for the rich women who came to buy Reynolds’ dresses. They seemed to care about nothing more in life then what social event they would attend next and what they would wear to it that would make everyone else jealous of them. Their main concern in life was whether they looked beautiful or not.
Finally we have Alma, a simple waitress who becomes our protagonist/villain’s mistress and then wife. Initially she is besotted with this man who introduces her to his upper crust London life. But even when she fully understands his crippling obsessiveness and cruel nature she doesn’t leave him but cultivates a sadomasochistic relationship with him that keeps him in her life.
Photo I took at the Golden Age of Couture exhibit at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum in 2009
The only thing I found mildly interesting about the movie was its historical signficance. In 2009 I visited a fascinating exhibit at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum called…. The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947–1957. It featured more than a hundred fashionable outfits from exactly the time in which Phantom Thread is set. The exhibit touted 1947 -1957 as the most glamourous and remarkable decade in fashion history. It happened right after World War II when people were beginning to have an interest in things like fashion again and it celebrated designers like Dior and Givenchy. Phantom Thread is firmly set in that golden fashion decade. I applaud the film’s costume designer Mark Bridges who so faithfully recreates the outfts of the golden fashion decade for Reynold Woodcocks’ clients and his wife Alma to wear in the movie.
Phantom Thread is nominated for best picture at the upcoming Academy Awards. Except for its costumes I have no idea why.
The Golden Age of Fashion
Inuit Fashion Show
The Costumes Were Worth the Price of Admission
Filed under Movies, Portugal