Category Archives: Learning English

A more relaxed 2020 summer

As the title says this summer has been pretty chilled out. These bees in the peach tree were stressed out looking for a new home. They left after 3 days.

We are now in September and still very hot. This about nine a.m, once the sun comes up. The nights are pleasantly cool.

Here’s what been going on in July and August. It’s generally been too hot to work outside during the day. You have to start very early to work comfortably in the field. Unfortunately I still can’t wake early enough. But it’s not been bad. I am okay with my performance :). I am also learning new stuff and looking for alternative types of work which I can do – part-time.

Starting with the Mango tree.

Mango, algarve, Belnonte, Kent variety, manga D'algarve
Kent variety

This had been growing promisingly in a pot for the last two years. It’s of the Kent variety. This year it gave me a mango which wasn’t bad. But then disaster. Suddenly the growing tips shriveled and died and now all the leaves have dropped off. I think I may have not irrigated it properly for a few days during this very hot summer. Fortunately, it seems to be recovering.


One of the vines planted back in 2017 finally gave me grapes. Good ones :). They are of the Italia variety.

Nashi pear.

nashi pear, nashi pera, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira

I have two of these. This year one of them has given me over a dozen good pears. The biggest was the size of a tennis ball. The are very sweet when sun ripened. Some type of insect seems fond of them too and I think it lays it eggs inside as the puncture leads to the core. I need to address this to increase next year’s yield.nashi pera, nashi pear, Belmonte, Algarve, Luz de Tavira

I have had about half a dozen tomato plants that grew well and gave me a couple good size tomatoes at the end of July.

sun rioened tomatoes, Belmonte, Juz de Tavira, algarve

Planted some more in August which are still quite small and only just beginning to flower. I have to be more pro active and really make more of an effort to grow more vegetables. I planted onions in August but they didn’t take.

I have sweet potato now given to me by a nice Swedish lady. We picked carobs and almonds together. This year the carobs have a good price backed by the Government initiative to support local producers. It was €12 for 15 kg. As good as almonds were last year.

carobs, alfaroba, Belnonte, Luz de Tavira

The dogs are well. Bonji is on heat so I have to keep her locked in. I let her have a week of fun. I plan on getting her spayed soon. I take Peeps with me when I go out including cockling. She likes the excursions :). cockle, berbigão, Fuseta, Torre de Aires, Ria Formosa, Algarve

The kayaking has been good for me this summer. I still haven’t been fishing due to lack of proper bait.


oliveiras para vender, olive trees for sale, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira
Olive trees for sale

Irrigating the olives at the bottom via a hose pipe is time consuming but they have grown well. Some of them have even got a few olives on them. I hope to sell some of them and transplant the rest around my property.

Renewable energy, Solar PV, battery bank , lead acid, Algarve

My solar P.V. system is non functional at the moment. My lead acid battery bank is exhausted and was getting seriously over charged by the charge controller which is a simple PWM (pulse width modulation ) type. I didn’t realise that this type of charge controller dumps all the current from the solar panel array into the batteries! It depends on the battery voltage to cut-off. You cannot use it to charge an individual depleted battery from a large PV array. The battery boils, gets very hot and has a good chance of exploding. This is what was happening as the batteries aged and their capacity to store charge diminished. The charge controller continued put the now excessive amount of current into them causing the batteries to seriously overheat, the electrolyte evaporate and the plates to buckle . This leads to rapid complete battery failure.

So I am working on a replacement plan. That’s all for now. Until next time!

Bi-lingual puns

What is a pun? A pun is the humorous use of a word to suggest another that sounds the same.

Speaker A: ‘Aren’t those plane trees over there?
Speaker B: ‘Why, Their bark looks quite patterned to me’ (said with a big grin).

We often use puns to make our conversations humorous and to demonstrate our skills at wordplay to either to raise our perceived social standing or less kindly to put someone down.

That we frequently use puns or come across puns or use puns in our conversations is a given. What I would like to contest is that is bi-lingual/tri-lingual speakers etc are more literally creative than mono-lingual speakers in some way because the can they can create bi-lingual puns.

I heard two university professors at a Indian university claim this and heard the pity in their voices for mono-lingual speakers. They claim that usage of bi-lingual puns require the speaker to know the word in both languages which is fair enough. However having a matchings words doesn’t in itself make a good pun. There must be clever humour behind it. This is highly valued my native British english speakers.

Here are three puns that are guaranteed to make a native english speaker smile.

1) Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.

2) Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

3) Atheism is a non-prophet organization.

Here is a bi-lingual pun that educated Indians find very funny.
Speaker A: When would Mickey Mouse write the Ramayana?
Speaker B: When he was a Valmiki.

Valmiki was the Hindu sage who wrote Raymana and so here the allusion that Mickey Mouse is a Valmiki whenever his poster is on the wall etc.

Bi-lingual Indians apparently find this very funny. Sorry guys, I just do not find it funny. I am sure forethought went into it to make the connection between Wall Mickey and the Valmiki but you have to stretch the words to much especially since one is pronounced with a ‘v’ sound and the other with a ‘w’. And it just got worse the more of them I listened to.

I am not convinced that bi-lingual Hindi-English puns are in anyway superior to mono-lingual British english puns. In fact I would argue the other way as English puns have to be delivered with grammatical and perfect pronunciation to work.

On a closing note, maybe Samuel Lee Jackson was right when he said that a pun is the lowest form of humour.