Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Keep calm and carry on


Probably wondering why I've opened this post with a picture of a pan of potatoes boiling.

It's because these were the last three potatoes in the house and there was no chance of securing any more in the near future. That's due to the fact the fortnightly container ship which brings 99% of Flores' supplies, and which was already several days late, was unable to berth at Lajes last week due to heavy weather. After having hung around off the coast at Fajãzinha for a bit, it gave up and returned to the mainland. It's not scheduled to make another attempt at berthing until sometime this week meaning that Flores won't have been resupplied for nearly a month.

M/S Ponto do Sul alongside at Lajes in happier circumstances
The consequence is that the shelves have become distinctly bare in the last week or so with such basics as potatoes and onions having become unobtainable - Germano's in Lajes resembles nothing so much as the Dnepropetrovsk branch of GUM in 1972.

So much so that the Azorean airline, SATA, has laid on extra flights to fly in fruit n' veg (seriously) although the story I heard was it all sold out within two hours of landing.


That was obviously a slight exaggeration as there was a small amount of potatoes to be had at Braga's in Sta Cruz this afternoon although their appearance in our basket did provoke Didia at the check out to exclaim "Ah! Consegiu apanhar batatas!" (Oh! You managed to get potatoes!)


So it's all been a bit Dunkirk spirit and make do and mend round here recently. But did I keep calm and carry on? Did I stuff as like. I went out and panic bought a bottle of gas (pictured above) even though we didn't immediately need it to keep the potatoes (if you can get them) boiling at 5RdA. Didia the check out reckoned gas would be the next thing to run short and she usually knows what's what. As it happened, José Antônio had a few bottles left but that could have changed by tomorrow in which case I shall be open to offers for my bottle shrewdly acquired today. You have to take your chances while you can.

12 comments:

Kathie said...

What, no locally-grown "new" potatoes yet? My recollection is that a lot of householders throughout the Azores raise at minimum a good-sized patch of potatoes, onions and Portuguese cabbage (for caldo verde, if nothing else). I don't know when Flores' vegetable growing season begins, but on Terceira the potato foliage is definitely up and visible by the end of February.

Marisa, could you provide further detail?

Kathie said...

P.S. I recall in mid-June 2002 clambering over a shoulder-high garden wall* in Santa Cruz das Flores so I could snap photos of an impressive household vegetable plot that contained tomato and sweet pepper plants already laden with ripe fruits (some of the peppers were even starting to turn yellow or red!) -- indicating that the growing season at least on the east (leeward?) side of your island allows for such tender crops to be transplanted probably by late March, or even a tad sooner. So hardy crops like spuds should be able to go in a couple months sooner, right?

* I accidentally knocked my camera lens cap off the top of the wall and into the garden, so had to climb gingerly down into the plot in order to retrieve it -- and just hoped like heck that the occupants didn't catch the crazy old lady in their garden. (Although just in case, I was all primed to smile as ingratiatingly as possible and shout, "Turista, senhor[a]. Sou turista americana!)

Marisa said...

yeah you should buy a land and dig your own potaoes and vegetables, as you do tomatos already.
Kathie there are several seasons during the year. I will send you the "Almanaque do Agricultor" (farmer's book). And to Neil too.
But I guess Neil can buy potatoes from a local neighbour.

Kathie said...

Yes, Marisa, I was under the impression that one of the things that made survival in the Azores feasible for centuries was the multiple growing seasons each year.

Neil & Carol, perhaps you have an elderly neighbor who's no longer physically able to garden, and who'd be delighted to allow you to raise vegetables on their garden plot (quintal) in return for sharing part of the crops with them.

Marisa said...

I meant "Almanaque do Camponês"...

Kathie said...

Neil & Carol, did your ship come in yet?

Neil King and Carol Duncan said...

Yes, boat came in last Wednesday Kathie.

Kathie said...

It only just now occurred to me that you could've titled this post, "Carry On, Ex-Pats" ;-)

Neil King and Carol Duncan said...

I don't understand Kathie ...

Kathie said...

Aren't you old enough to recall the "Carry On" movies? My mother took me to the first few when they ran at our neighborhood foreign-film cinena.

Neil King and Carol Duncan said...

Oh I see. Yes, we remember the Carry On films alright but "Keep Calm and Carry On" was a government propaganda slogan during the war which became popular again recently with lots of merchandising (mugs, T shirts, fridge magnets etc.) for reasons I'm not sure about - Anybody??

Anonymous said...

Hello! I've noticed you've stopped blogging? I've read your entries and enjoyed them very much.

I am bringing my parents to Flores where my fathers family originated in May. I've learned so much from your blog so thank you!!

Kim
Kimkarmira@hotmail.com