Month: February 2014

Wonderful wwoofing, new friends and the unbearable Captain Underpants.

Another great post Natural Nana, especially this part, made me proper laugh out loud:

“In Portugal, when people make wine, after they bottle it, they then still the grapes to make aguadente, the local moonshine. Everyone, it seems, has a home-made still, I love it here!!! The Portuguese are mad for the stuff and make it out of anything they can get their hands on, in the Algarve they use madronia, which is like a tree strawberry, that doesn’t have much taste, but once stilled – wowza, I had two shots of it, with a load of old men in Aljezur and had to hold on to the table, mental stuff! They also use figs to make it, it’s so powerful, it’s used as a cleaning product too, we used it in the kitchen to sort of sterilise things, which broke my heart, what a waste…”

Think it would be an idea to market a drink with a powerful cleaning action – versatile!

Hope you’re having fun with Vix in Porto, can’t wait for the next wwoofing chapter. xx


‘I’m a wwoofer’ I said far too quickly to a startled looking young man who answered the door of the farm. I arrived in Castro Marim on the Algarve near the Spanish border, like a crazed bag lady in a cagoole, emerging from the pitch blackness, at 9pm on the Sunday night.  I was totally flustered after a 12 hour journey, with no response from the wwoof host since the previous day. The wwoofers weren’t expecting to find me knocking on the door and pressing my face against the glass panel, hoping for humankind to respond, they had no idea I was due to arrive!  Luckily Arthur and Luisa, my co-wwoofers, were brilliant, made me tea, offered me food, sorted me a bed and instantly I felt welcome. There was a wood burner heating up the living room, a shower, washing machine, dishwasher, dry bed, the place was paradise compared…

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The case against perpetual progress

As I grow older (and as a parent), the future of civilisation is something that preoccupies my mind more and more. That, and a million other only slightly less weighty things.
So, if you haven’t got enough to worry about, here’s a sobering quote here on Canalside View from Tim O’Reilly’s article ‘The rise of anti-intellectualism and the end of progress’.

canalside view


For so many in the techno-elite, even those who don’t entirely subscribe to the unlimited optimism of the Singularity, the notion of perpetual progress is somehow taken for granted.  As a former classicist turned technologist, I’ve always lived with the shadow of the fall of Rome, the failure of its intellectual culture, and the stasis that gripped the Western world for the better part of a thousand years…

History teaches us that conservative, backward-looking movements often arise under conditions of economic stress. As the world faces problems ranging from climate change to the demographic cliff of ageing populations, it’s wise to image widely divergent futures.

Yes, we may find technological solutions that propel us into new golden age of robots, collective intelligence, and an economy built around ‘the creative class’. But it’s at least as probable that as we fail to find those solutions quickly enough, the world falls into…

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