Sunday, 29 November 2015

Events, food, art and life being odder than art!

Sitting in the Centro de Artes e Espectáculos in Figueira today waiting for a Rapidplay Chess competition to begin, I spotted a lady knitting. Presumably she too had accompanied someone there to play chess and had brought her knitting along. No point in wasting time, after all. It's years since I saw anyone knitting at a chess event but then I don't often sit around at chess events these day. As a rule I go walkabout and leave Phil to it. 

The centre is very pleasant, a light and airy modern building. Lots of glass and exposed girders. Art works displayed all over the place. One mother was entertaining her children by doing numerous journeys up to the next floor in the glass lift, all of them waving to friends as they went. I must admit to being tempted to join them. Glass lifts are always very impressive in my opinion. In the Football Museum in Manchester, the lift is like a cable car. But probably my favourite glass lift is the one that goes up the outside of the Reina Sofía art gallery in Madrid. 

Upstairs at the Centro de Artes e Espectáculos there is an exhibition of work by Fernando Dereito, who is an artist who lives and works in Lisbon. I googled him but did not find much information apart from the fact that he was born in 1944 and began his career in Mozambique. Here are some examples of his work displayed here in Figueira. 

Here's a picture of a splendid old cine camera which you can see on the first floor. 

There is a large auditorium up there as well where presumably they have concerts from time to time. Who knew that all this was there? We have walked past this building many times and assumed it was a school, which is why we have never visited it before. 

Yesterday afternoon was the last round of the main chess event here. After the prize giving ceremony, an affair of lengthy speeches in Portuguese, thanking all the local gentry and hoteliers and so on who had made the whole thing possible, we went off for something to eat at the Caçarola restaurant again. We had their truly excellent fish soup, followed by "robalinho", small sea bass. We probably should have had one of these between the two of us as there was just so much to eat. 

One of our party, a young man with no Portuguese whatsoever, apart from "olá", managed to order, or possible was persuaded to try, a local speciality dish, a kind of fish stew with lots of rice in it. Whether it was intended for him to share with companions we never found out but it came in a huge white ceramic dish, which one of our friends compared to a chamberpot. The young man spent a good deal of time selecting pieces of fish and occasional vegetables, all of which he ate with relish. After some time he declared that it was a shame he did not really like rice! When we left he was still gamely making his way through the dish. 

There are some things which you simply could not make up!


  1. It is actually a cine projector but I don't expect everyone to know that. It is interesting that they also have a set of reels behind where one reel would be rewound ready for the next showing. I had a friend who was once a projectionist and he let me into the projection room to see how it was all done. It really was very noisy and there was a chimney pipe which fitted over the bit that is sticking up on big box at the back of the projector which houses the arc rods to make light. As the rods burn they give off fumes.

    1. I actually knew it was a projector, having seen the Italian film Cinema Paradiso, where they managed to set fire to the old film at one point!