Posted in English, Portuguese

Apenas Um Minuto

Before my B2 exam I tried playing “Just A Minute” on video to get used to speaking fluently under pressure since the exam has an oral component, conducted on video and it’s my weakest link, so into the exam prep plan it went. At the time I didn’t think much of it and editing it for YouTube seemed too much of a faff, but then yesterday we heard that the presenter of the show, Nicholas Parsons, had died, so I decided to dust it off and post it online. I was glad I did. My grammar is all over the place – absolutely terrible – but I quite like the video as a whole, especially since my daughter agreed to help so you can hear her in the background.

Posted in English

Collective nouns

I wish I could remember half the things I write in here. I sometimes use it to collect thoughts and nuggets of homework but it doesn’t always help it stay in my brain.

Anyway, here, from a book I’m reading called “Camões Conseguiu Escrever Muito Para Quem Só Tinha Um Olho” are some collective nouns for things

  • Alcateia – Lobos
  • Arquipélago – Ilhas
  • Boiada – Vacas, Bois
  • Cáfila – Camelos
  • Coro – Cantores
  • Enxame – Abelhas
  • Feixe – Lenha (a bundle of firewood)
  • Frote – Navios, Aviões Carros
  • Girândola – Foguetes
  • Laranjal – Laranjeiras
  • Magote – Pessoas
  • Manada – Bois, Búfalos, Elefantes
  • Molho – Chaves, Lenha, Verdadura
  • Nuvem – Gafanhotos, Moscas, Mosquitos
  • Olival – Oliveira
  • Pomar – Árvores de Fruto
  • Ramo – Flores
  • Récua – Animais de Carga
  • Regimento – Soldados
  • Sobral – Sobreiros
  • Turma – Alunos
  • Vinha – Videiras

Posted in Portuguese

Quem Quer Namorar Com o Agricultor?

Vi recentemente um programa na SIC que se chama “Quem Quer Namorar Com o Agricultor?“. É um exemplo do género reality TV. O mesmo programa já deu noutros países (não faço ideia de quais, mas um deles é Espanha, tanto quanto sei). Chegou em Portugal no ano passado, acho, ou talvez no ano anterior, 2018.

O padrão do programa é muito parecido com vários outros programas tal como “The Bachelor” nos Estados Unidos. Confesso que nunca vi nenhum, mas ouvi falar deles. Há cinco agricultores portugueses que querem encontrar o amor. As idades deles são compreendidas entre 20 e 50 anos. Depois da apresentação destes cavalheiros, encontramos as senhoras que também desejam um marido. No programa de estreia, estes dois grupos encontram-se um ao outro. Os agricultores conhecem as mulheres e as mulheres tentam deslumbrar os agricultores por serem bem educadas, bonitas e trabalhadoras.

Depois, cada agricultor escolhe cinco mulheres para acompanhá-lo num encontro romântico na sua terra. Para mim, acho que pode haver momentos cómicos quando as raparigas da cidade têm que encarar o dia-a-dia do campo: a lama, os animais a necessidade de acordar com as galinhaa. Mas vamos ver, até agora só vi um episódio.

Pretendo escrever mais dois textos sobre o mesmo assunto porque fiquei viciado!

Posted in English

The Farmer Wants A Wife

I’ve just restarted Portuguese lessons after a long drought over the Christmas and New Year period. I kicked off with a nice easy session, with a teacher who does sessions where you watch, listen or read something together and she explains cultural references. This time I went for something super-lowbrow, namely a show called  “Quem Quer Namorar Com o Agricultor?” (“Who wants to date the farmer?”). It’s a reality TV franchise that has been shown in quite a few countries and arrived in Portugl last year. You can guess the premise: 5 farmers of various ages go to a fancy house where they are introduced to about 20 broody ladies and they have to decide which to invite home to the farm where they will be filmed reacting with horror to various unfamiliar smells and getting theatrically stink-eyed by the farmer’s mother/sister/teenage daughter. Presumbly at the end there will be a marriage or two but I haven’t got there yet.


I don’t really have much time to watch TV, and I’ve never got into any reality TV apart from hate-watching a couple of series of The Apprentice, so it was sort of nice to have an excuse to watch something as unapologetically shit-headed as this. The languge level is pretty basic too, so it wsn’t hard to follow. I actually liked it and will definitely watch more but only when my wife isn’t there to take the piss out of me (which I will deserve of course because I mean really…)

I’ve also been watching, on my own time, a documentary series about the colonial wars in Africa, which is more educational but much, much harder work.

Posted in English


My wife is binge-watching different versions of this fado classic. I’ve heard quite a lot before, but this guy is really smashing it. Easily the best I’ve heard

I’ll translate it for anyone who happens across this and doesnt understand the lyrics. Fado is the national music of Portugal, obvs, so I won’t translate that most of the time, but it also means “fate” or “destiny” and it sometimes makes sense to translate it that way.

I’m from fado! I know it!
I live in a sung poem of a destiny that I made.
I can’t set express myself by talking,
But I set my soul singing, and souls know how to hear me.
Cry, cry, poets of my country,
Stems from the same root, of the life that united us.
And if you weren’t at my side then there would be no fado,
Nor fado singers like me.
This voice, so sorrowful, is because of you,
Poets of my life.
It’s madness! I hear, but blessed be this madness, to sing and to suffer
Cry, cry, poets of my country,
Stems from the same root, of the life that united us.
And if you weren’t at my side then there would be no fado,
Nor fado singers like me.

Posted in English

Urban Legends

I thought this graphic blog post by José Smith Vargas was really interesting. I can’t actually remember now where I heard about it – presumably in the blurb in the back of a printed magazine, but it was a few weeks ago now and my mind basically gets wiped every 3 days or so. I like to see cartoons, BDs, graphic novels, whatever you want to call them, being used to tell stories about people’s lives and environments in creative ways. This one has enough palavras desconhecidas in it that I thought I’d translate it into english for the learns.


A Square in the Centre of the City

Demolitions in the Mouraria to make way for Martim Moniz Plaza, 1946


With the urge toward progress and social cleansing, the Estado Novo [Salazar’s Dictatorship] demolished the lower part of the Mouraria neighbourhood

The urban regeneration of the city was working through the plan to link the airport to Rossio Square via an almost straight line… a continuous link.

One of the oldest neighbourhoods in Europe, and the Bohemian centre of the city of Lisbon was thus broken up, stone by stone.

…Which wasn’t interrupted by widespread confusion and difficulties affecting people’s quality of life in ways that were hard to control*


Simultaneously, the artists and poetic icons of the area were depicted in films and in respectable theatres, thus completing the santisation of urban culture.

4500 people left

The neighbourhood was reduced to an insalubrious hill, an open wound that would never heal.

The plans for the square were repeatedly frustrated for a wide variety* of motives

For more than 50 years, this hole was a cadaverous gap in the architectural continuity of the capital.


The Plaza of Martim Moniz was finally ready in 1997.

Having always been a zone of transition since the 70s, a flow of migration, largely from Africa and Asia established itself in the surrounding area to live and work

“Tell me, Shifat, are you still working for your cousin?”

“Yes, God help me!”

“International calls?”


“This place is impossible – it’s all blacks and asians**”

The square began to gain its own character in this context – a multiplication of communities using it and at the same time, becoming part of the landscape.


The local council installed a series of kiosks to try and revive the area but, not having achieved much success, the ended up being withdrawn.

Now that the area was less cluttered, the kids started skating, and playing cricket and football there.

And demonstrations took place there for the rights of immigrants, out of which grew the 1st of May Procession organised by the CGTP***

[Documents for Everyone]

And there were also processions for neighbourhood festivals, the procession of Our Lady of Health and the commemorations of the end of Ramadan

Life breaks out however it can and with whomever wants it. But for the local council, the square was still unfinished business


The neighbourhood of the Mouraria, which was still pretty run down, was an obstacle in the downtown area. With tourism on the rise, it was a no-go area.

“Where are we? I don’t feel good here”

In 2011, another enormous plan was put into action by the council using funds from a European program

“This is also a way to combat povery and social exclusion”

The streets were put in order and the construction companies and real estate agencies got to work.

The Plaza of Martim Moniz was a strategic point, essential for the execution of the plan. The Lisbon Public Works Agency, EPUL, tendered for a concession. NCS, a company linked to the entertainment industry was the only bidder.

“Since I was little I has a dream of a world hand-in-hand”

“I know that it’s a naive idea”

“At the time, I thought of being a volunteer in Africa or Asia but then I discovered this plaza that had been thrown out with the rubbish…”


“…and I understood that my calling was the Fusion Market” ****

The result would be to show the multicultural plaza to a younger audience, well disposed and with more money, attracted by the plan to regenerate the city.

The few kiosks that remain in the square were used as a streetfood zone

“This is like any commercial centre anywhere. You go and get some food and sit down here in the middle”

And at the weekends, there would be an arts and entertainment fair and the drinks would be laid on by NCS

NCS had a concession contract with EPUL until 2022.

“Look! the beanbags are free!”


Despite the brutal growth of tourism in the city, Martin Moniz still hadn’t begun to be used for business.


In 2018, NCS had got behind with the rent to the tune of €150,000 and left the scene. However, its CEO got together with members of some other property development companies and founded Moon Brigade. The new company renewed the contract with the council to install a new shopping centre in shipping containers.

The failed Fusion Marker transformed itself into Martim Moniz Market

[Hipster Containers]

The space would have private security and would be sealed off at night

In no time, protest movements arose and other ideas were put forward for the future of the square.

[We don’t want Martim Moniz rented out to private companies]

[Martim Moniz Gardens now!]

A movement was established to plant Martim Moniz Garden with the support of the inhabitants, neighbourhood associations and the parish council.

The owners of the joint venture reacted

“You want a garden? You’re crazy!”

“It’ll be a den of prostitution and drugs!”

“There’s a car park under the plaza. You can’t plan tanything!”

“This area is dangerous. Vandalism everywhere!”

“I have a lot of money invested here. You can’t annul the contract”

“I’m the one who’s bringing true social integration”


The municipal assembly stopped the project and grilled the president of the city council about the controversy

“That isn’t good or bad. It’s shit but it’s better than what was there before.”

“What is this going to become in the end?”

In 2019, 73 years after the first demolitions to make way for Martim Moniz Plaza, the interventions continue…”


* = The word “entulho” can mean an abundance but also seems to mean the rubble from demolition so this seems like it might be a pun…?

** = I think the words he uses are a bit more deprecatory than these simple descriptors but I’m not about to try and find english words with the same weight for fear of over-egging it.

*** = Portugal’s largest trade union federation: Confederação Geral dos Trabalhadores Portugueses

**** = No, I don’t know who that guy is either.

Posted in English


I don’t watch telly much so I never find out about these things till a decade after they air but this is really good

Posted in Portuguese

O Impaciente Inglês – Opinião

10714000_10152588508807701_3893736958200846262_o É difícil saber como descrever esta banda desenhada bilingue. Tem os ossos de uma história interessante, com elementos históricos e míticos, mas não sei porque o autor decidiu fazer do protagonista o “Super Pig”. É como se tivesse transplantado uma história do Bryan Talbot ou o Neil Gaiman para um livro do Garfield.

Mas apesar disto tudo, gostei do livro. É divertido, imprevisível, o enredo é bem diferente, complexo e não há nada de estereotipo.

Posted in Portuguese

O Outro Lado De Z (Nuno Duarte)

notebook_image_1040017Hmmm, há muitas coisas para apreciar neste livro: a arte, as personagens, as asneiras… Mas no fundo, a história não faz sentido e deixou-me insatisfeito. Já li uma outra BD do mesmo autor e tive o mesmo problema: o gajo deve de ter mais trabalho em planear o enredo.

Posted in Portuguese

Caderneta de Cromos



Que desgraça. Tenho tão pouca vontade de ler os três livros portugueses que tenho em andamento que precisei de algo mais fácil e acabei por ler isto. Só li os capítulos sobre fenómenos internacionais porque queria ter algo fácil: Knight Rider, Lionel Ritchie, Mullets, V, Casettes… Coisas que velhos tal como eu lembram com ternura e vocês jovens, bebés sem cultura nenhuma nunca irão entender.