Monday, 12 July 2010

Electricidade dos Açores

The image above is plucked from the website of EDA, Electricidade dos Açores, our electricity supplier. It depicts a contented young couple about to switch on a TV set powered by electricity delivered to the socket by EDA. He is saying "Oh, Maria do Carmo, aren't we lucky to have our electricity supplied by EDA! It means we can watch the final of the World Cup!" And she is saying "Yes, José Manuel, it's a bit of a stroke that they deliver electricity so beautifully because we've no choice but to get it from EDA!"

Yes, well such scenes of blissful contentment might have been typical on other Azorean islands yesterday evening but not on Flores where there was a POWER CUT in the 115th minute of the final. Yes, that's right, the winning goal was scored in the 116th minute. But those heroes at EDA redeemed themselves by restoring the juice in the 123rd minute - right again: the game lasted 122 minutes.

I blame the ref.

Power cuts are quite frequent here (about once a month) but they seldom last long (about 10-15 minutes although what they make up for in brevity is often lost in terms of unfortunate timing as witness last night). For those interested (did I just say that?), Flores' electricity is generated by a hydro-electric power station ...

(With apologies to Paul Camilli)

... and when the water runs low, an oil fired generator comes on line ...
(With apologies to Isabel & Colin Sharp)

And to back all that up, there are two windmills ...

A new thermic (whatever that means) power station is in the course of being built near Lajes. Can't come soon enough. Let's hope it's fully in commission by the time Euro 2012 kicks off.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Cremoso & Suave

There are two things we do here which we didn't do when we lived in Edinburgh which are (a) eat puddings; and (b) watch Eastenders.

Puddings first: it started with the World Cup. For important games (which we deemed to be England and Portugal games then, once they'd been put out, well, every game), Carol has a Magnum ice lolly and I have a packet of football crisps - that's a big packet of Lays' Ready Salted. (Don't concern yourself because on the back of every packet of Lays' crisps there's a guide to healthy eating which explains how big packets of Lays' crisps can be a vital part of that. So my - and Lays' - conscience is quite clear.)

But that's the wafer thin mint end of the pudding wedge from which it's a short step to Creme Caramel which in Portuguese is called Pudim Flan

Pudim is simply the Portuguese for pudding and it's pronounced "pudeem". The plural is pudins which is pronounced "pudeengsh" and which I just like saying. (I also just like saying "Bastian Schweinsteiger", "Duke of Medina-Sidonio" (admiral of the Spanish Armada) and "flash grill").

So having developed a nasty little recreational pudim flan habit, I realised I must be pretty far down the road to perdition when I 'fessed up to Carol that I'd been glancing in the freezer at Arlindo's supermercado in Fazenda to see if he stocked Carte d'Or vanilla flavour. He didn't. He had every other flavour of Carte d'Or ice cream (including pecan pie whatever that is - sounds quite revolting) but not vanilla which is the only acceptable flavour of ice cream. So there was nothing for it but to slum it with plain Ola Original vanilla.

It's also a jolly sight cheaper than Carte d'Or and Carol worked out that you can get about a cubic metre of it for the price of a Magnum which, all in all, makes Ola Original my kind of pudim.

There's a minor logistic issue about how you transport a small iceshelf of ice cream from Fazenda to Faja Grande in a vehicle which this time last year was acting as a mobile tomato sun drier (drive quickly) but what I find most risible about Ola Original is the slogan on the tub Cremoso & Suave. It's simply the Portuguese for "creamy and smoothe", of course, but to (British) English speakers, cremoso connotes shaving foam and Peter Wyngarde was "suave"

Nice with caramel sauce, though (Ola Original vanilla ice cream, not Peter Wyngarde)

We ate this while watching Eastenders tonight. We get Eastenders about 4-5 weeks late (i.e. the Christmas cliffhanger is always in early February). Where we're at is that Samantha and Ronnie's mother (Makepeace out of Dempsey & Makepeace) has wangled her way in and I think they're bringing her in to replace Peggy Windsor who's getting written out. Lucas seems to be murdering prostitutes but my attention may have wandered by then ... 
Cremoso out of Cremoso & Suave