Beach work

Paper Wasps: we have more of these nests than we would really like. One wasp is whirring his wings like a fan, I guess to dry the latest application of 'paper' to the nest

Paper Wasps: we have more of these nests than we would really like. One wasp is whirring his wings like a fan, I guess to dry the latest application of ‘paper’ to the nest

Our fig tree gave us a second harvest this year, unlike last. The figs of the second harvest are small, purple and intensely sweet

Our fig tree gave us a second harvest this year, unlike last. The figs of the second harvest are small, purple and intensely sweet

The gin-and-tonic spot

The place to view the meditation hill, and perhaps drink a gin and tonic

washing line

The swallows enjoy the view of the meditation hill too

 

Galpgate has opened, and doesn’t look like closing any time soon. This is the revelation that the oil company Galp – who recently postponed ‘indefinitely’ their drilling plans off the coast of Aljezur in the western Algarve – have been mining Portuguese politicians for human resources to add to their bookable reserves.* A privately chartered aeroplane took, among others, three secretaries of state to France for the Euro2016 games: all expenses covered and tickets to the games supplied, including, in the case of Rocha (‘Rock’) Andrade, secretary of state for fiscal affairs, a seat at the final. That particular Rock was no doubt well worth drilling, since as fiscal boss he is in charge of Galp’s many and large tax debts to the state, which the oil company is refusing to pay. The other two grubby-handed secretaries are Jorge Costa Oliveira and João Vasconcelos. Vasconcelos looks particularly grimy because he is in charge of Galp’s application for public subsidies for the building of an oil refinery.

Once the bright light of publicity shone on them, the three secretaries of state claimed innocence of any unethical behaviour while simultaneously offering to repay some or all of the expenses. No doubt these men still remain highly ‘bookable’ in Galp’s terms.

Here on the ground we keep up our fight against all the oil and gas companies. In preparation for a beach event this coming Saturday, a discussion and rehearsal group gathered one evening on the sands. Saturday’s event is an art attack, requiring creative, devil-may-care, outgoing types, of which we have plenty in the group. Feelings, however, were running high. What is at stake – the health and wellbeing and livelihoods of the many against the destructive greed of a tiny few – would make anyone febrile. Add to that some anxiety about how things will turn out – the human chain event was a huge success, but who can guarantee the same again? – then toss in a few unpredictable aspects of the artistic personality, and fissures start to open up. We ended up with some constructive decisions, plus a whole lot of hurt feelings, and a few people wondering whether they can even participate. The price of activism. It’s worth it, but it’s a difficult journey in so many ways.

Meeting on the beach

Meeting on the beach

sunset

Sunset at the beach (Ilha de Tavira)

 

Against all this, there is such joy and peace to be found at home. We have two new chairs, hand-made by Robert Harris. They are on the front veranda, from where we look out at the meditation hill as the day fades, watching the tree-spotted, straw-blonde earth turn slowly to rich ochre and then eventually to grey. At the other end of the veranda, the swallows are as happy in their home as we are in ours, and sometimes like to sit on the washing line and enjoy the same view that we do. Still no sign of chicks being fed, but so much activity in and out of their mud house that surely it can’t be long. Just as I was about to post this blog, Husband came dashing in. He’s heard the sound of chicks, he says.

* An oil company’s market value is enhanced by being able to lay claim to oil/gas reserves still under the ground – known as ‘bookable reserves’.

7 Comments

  1. BeckyB

    The chairs are wonderful, could happily sit there on your veranda with a G&T listening to the chicks

    Reply
  2. JerryG

    Beaches are good places to write slogans, if you know anybody local with a photographic drone?

    Reply
    1. Edith (Post author)

      Hi Jerry: funny you should say this. Writing in human letters was part of the plan, and the group does have a friend with a photographic drone. Will reveal how it went this week.

      Reply
  3. Hazel

    Am feeling a little ashamed of our green-plastic garden furniture now! Still, it’s not too uncomfortable, and if we ever get a balmy evening, it’s nice to sit in the despised chairs and watch our swallows miles above! Your new Robert Harrises are so stylish, and you don’t need binos to watch the swallows . . . Heaven! Rooting for the anti-oil-and-gassers against the corrupt despoilers: bravo! xx

    Reply
  4. Patricia Roberts

    Love the chairs,cushions to put your feet on then the swallows,and the view, you are working hard to try and stop the ruiination of your coast,bravo Mab in the meanwhile enjoy your break from work much love From Marsie.

    Reply
  5. Terry

    I too love those chairs! Do you have contact details for Robert Harris please? They’d make a great surprise Christmas gift for my husband. Your blog is great! Thank you

    Reply
    1. Edith (Post author)

      Hi Terry, I shall get in touch with Robert on your behalf. Thanks for reading the blog! E.

      Reply

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