Thursday 13 August 2009

Palm Tree

If you thought Larry the laranjeira was a sad case, then spare a thought for Percy the palmeira (palm tree).

Palm trees don't grow naturally on Flores and there are just a few of them, mostly in gardens and public parks, but Percy was planted back in March outside the casa do povo.

Casa do Povo translates literally as "house of the people" but it's sort of a cross between village hall and community centre. Most Azorean villages bar the smallest have one. In Britain, they would have some humourlessly politically correct name like "local authority service point" but in Portugal (or on Flores anyway) they all have rather nice, low key bars in them. The one in Faja Grande is a bit like a hotel residents' lounge - there's a comfy leather sofa and a big plasma telly on the wall and you serve yourself from a sort of mini-bar in the corner. The presidente of the junta da freguesia (parish council) opens it up at the back of eight and then puts the lights off and shuts up shop once the football match (or whatever) is over - all very laid back.

This wouldn't be allowed in British "local authority service points" because in Britain alcohol is regarded as a bad thing. Especially in the People's Republic of Scotland (for my non-British readers, Scotland has autonomy from the UK so stands in the same relation to the UK as the Azores and Madeira do to Portugal). Recently, the People's Commissar for Health and Banning Anything That's Remotely Fun, Nicola Sturgeon (doesn't the name even give you the creeps?), announced in tones of horror you could buy your recommended weekly intake of alcohol in Scotland for less than £3.00 - Am I the only person who thinks that's a good thing?

That's what Nicola looks like. She'd obviously already had about £2.75 of her weekly intake in one go and is trying to snog the fat bloke on the left but has missed his mouth. I think Nicola needs to come on a fact finding mission to Flores as the casa do povo in Faja Grande strikes me as the very model of responsible drinking. After a small glass of port (when in Rome), I'm sure the junta would be happy to lay on a cock fight for her entertainment (only joking, of course, but it would be a great wind up of someone as humourless as NS).

Anyway, I've digressed again as this post wasn't meant to be a rave against the SNP Scottish soi disant "Government", it was about - what? - oh yes! Percy the palm tree. Now at this stage parental guidance is advised (La Sturgeon would approve) because the following picture contains images that some may find upsetting:-

He's not looking too clever is poor old Percy. Apart from having lost most of his foliage, he seems to be sagging at a kind of tired of life angle. However if you look closely, there's still a hint of greenery in the middle and all may not be lost. I'll keep you posted.

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