80 Madeira Consorcio Meeting 27.5. 2016

May 29, 2016 at 12:31 pm | Posted in Posts | Leave a comment
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We visited the Meteorological Station in Rua da Lazareto, it was very informative, and we had a lot of questions in regards to Feb 2010.

The Station (www.ipma.pt ) is run by the state as part of a national and international network. The observer Luisa gave us a professional tour; she does this with many groups.

Madeira has 118 stations, including one in P.Santo (but none on the Desertas or the Selvagens, too close). Most of them are running automatically and have to be maintained scrupulously. The one in Rua do Lazareto, active since 1947, is automatic and “manual”, as the observers take measures which cannot be delivered by mechanic devices (they have a scheme how to identify different forms of clouds). The Station has two observers and two meteorologists.

The team has to be one of the rare groups in Portugal which has to be punctual at work, the have to take several measurements at precise times each day.

Luisa then showed us the PCs which monitor the measurements of all 18 stations at any time, and the details they can obtain from each station. She then showed us all instruments to measure, temperature, humidity, air pressure etc in the house: very delicate instruments which were cleverly designed long time ago. She also showed us some measures outside (until we were chased inside by a shower).  One of them works with horse’s hair to measure humidity. They also take wind speed and the temperature in the soil in 50 cm and 1 m depth – no frost here, Sir.

The Station in Funchal (as in Azores and in Canarias, and some platforms on sea) releases a helium balloon every day at precisely 12 noon, with small instruments to measure the same data on the top level of the atmosphere (around 31.000 km). The balloons need around 1.5 hours to get there, then they burst and fall back to earth or into the sea (with batteries inside, but solar would not be powerful enough to transmit the radio signals back to the station). The container is equipped with a small parachute as not to hit somebody in the head, and sometimes people who find such a container, return them to the Station.

The Cupola above the station is not a planetarium but covers the old antenna which used to receive the balloon signals; now they us e smaller, more modern one.

The Station also measures seismic shocks with magnitude and epicenter – not much going on here but it is so sensitive that it registers heavy lorries driving nearby. Madeira has 2 -3 seismic shocks per year, the Azores have around one per day. The paper rolls written by the seismograph are sent to Lisbon for the archive.

All measurements are automatically sent to Lisbon where the national weather forecasts are drawn up. Lisbon also has access to satellite data. Lisbon then sends a 10-day forecast to the Civil Protection, the Capitanias and the Government for Fisheries and Agriculture, also to “Frente Mar” for the safety on the beaches.

Dra J., one of the meteorologists, joined us then, and we spoke about Feb 2010. U. supplied the data and email received by an American scientist about the incident – this was what they call an atmospheric river storm.

Madeira is supposed to have its own weather radar since long time, now it looks as if we’ll get it in 2016/2017; it will be installed in P. Santo. This would give the Station a better way to identify heavy loads of water arriving in the oncoming clouds.

Dra. J.said that the respective authorities were duly warned (“vermelho”)  but as we know from the Bombeiro visit, these guys knew what was coming from their own weather station in Monte.

Anyway, the warning was given and it would be up to the Civil Protection to amplify the warning to the population, by radio, TV or SMS; this is a political matter. Dra. J. said that, after Feb 2010 we had another atmospheric river hitting the Island, but at that time, Funchal received a lot of rain quickly, while the other half of the water arrived in Pico Areeiro and rained off at a much slower rate. This is why this situation, although also “vermelho”, didn’t cause any harm.

Feb 2010 was a lot of bad luck, and the population as a short memory when it comes to disasters. 

79 Madeira Consorcio Meeting 13.4.2016

April 14, 2016 at 10:54 am | Posted in Posts | Leave a comment
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We had another animated meeting in the station! The sea view is animating, that`s why…

We spoke about the obstacle in the form of JM. Nothing is going forward, not for the English page, nor with our idea to create “anuncios” as a conduit channel from citizens to the Town Halls.

Ri. was opposed to the “anuncio” project; he is however, for such a project if it channels positive input from the citizens to “upstairs” and increases democracy on the island

U. is exploring the idea of hopping on another, successful bandwagon, in order to avoid having to start at the bottom in the internet. Ideas which cannot be found in the internet do not result in any action. E. said that we could re-activate the Consorcio Facebook page (eliminated at this time). The reality is that only many “friends” make the content visible.

We were talking again about the purpose of the group.

It does not exist only to move things forward on the island but also as a forum for the members (not just a chatting club), to be able to voice ideas and exchange opinions. We have two projects at the moment, support for E.’s bread and the Club idea which is interesting to many of the members. The group could also focus on one topic, such as education, and create a project with a relevant role. E. mentioned the involvement of handicapped persons in food-making as a social endeavor and education for the non-handicapped. Gr. mentioned the association for rare diseases http://www.rarissimas.pt/. This would need to reach critical mass to become visible.

News on the Food Project. E. is looking for a space to produce professionally, he is receiving more orders on a regular basis.

We also spoke about the Club.

U. thinks it would be a good idea to create a website and have several members from the group offer different experiences. Gr. is after a social atmosphere so that people, residents and tourists alike, could get to know each other and have discussions.

U. could set up a website to take requests. This would be a new peer-to-peer business and disruptive to the existing industry.

78 Madeira Consorcio Meeting 17.3.2016

March 19, 2016 at 4:21 pm | Posted in Posts | Leave a comment
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We had an animated meeting in the station. G. was so kind as to provide our parched throats with Tilia Tea

We spoke about the Bread Project. E.has now ordered 500 long-handled linen bags with a very nice logo, ideal to transport two big loaves. He will continue to wrap the bread in paper bags, this is necessary to catch the Omega 3 which stems from the seeds. T.

He sells around 20 breads a week and wants to buy a professional kneading machine in order to streamline his work.

The legal side: he is now testing the waters and has no special licenses yet. M. and C. said that in their neighborhood, there is a villa where loads of honey cakes are produced in a private environment. U.has the idea that E., instead of renting a place, should try to install his small production as an add-on in such a place. The honey cake “factory” is totally busy, so it would be impossible for him to get space and time, but the members will keep their ears open, maybe we come across such an opportunity. M.knows a baker who closed a bakery in Funchal, he will speak to him about the place, and if he can sell E.used machines. It is very important to keep the costs down at this stage.

E.would like to create a foundation to serve as basis for the project, which, like the Scottish bakery, could employ handicapped people and would not need to make a profit. It would also promote the production of special wheat on the island. He then could create a small business on the side to make money for himself (he doesn’t want to get rich with this, he wants to give support to the island).  The idea of a foundation is a big endeavor and needs to follow many regulations, so D. suggested that he start as small businessman /sole trader in sales, as this could be set up with low taxation. D.said that the idea of a foundation would be better for the grain production.In any case, he has to establish a secure market first. C.said that the demand will inevitably grow as more and more people realize that normal food causes many allergies.

The http://www.herdadedecarvalhoso.pt/  in the Alentejo produces a lot of organic food.

A small excerpt from a text by E.: “The … Project envisions the rebirth of our most genuine and ethnographic traditions, by endowing our breads with transversal societal principles – in short, making bread that bears humanity in itself – foodstuff evolved from the common nutritional projection to a superior dimension… Bread can then be a truly transcendental food, for it feeds kinaesthetically our senses, but our soul too.”

Note: The best baker in Paris is Portuguese !

We also spoke about the Supper Club idea. U.thinks it would be a good idea to create a website and have several members from the group offer different experiences: V.can offer Austrian cuisine (as we know, very yummy), E.Brazilian specialties, C.Smorgasbord, etc. G’s original idea is to have a book club, and members could have a cake & coffee while they are there, they could also borrow and return the books in the other venues. This would create a social atmosphere so that people, residents and tourists alike, could get to know each other and have discussions.

U.could set up a website to take recreation requests. It is very important that the persons attending such an event are members of the club, then this is a private event and the venue does not have to adhere to any restaurant regulations.

There is a link to the supper club “28A” (‪#‎restaurantsareforstrangers) in Lisbon on Fluffbook, there is very little information on it. They cook recipes by Jamie Oliver.

There is also a new Supper Club in Madeira at http://quinta-das-eiras.madeirahotel24.com/en/.  Quinta das Eiras has an all- inclusive price for Lunch and  after 4 pm, drinks and cakes etc.are charged on a normal cost; people can even take out a horse for a ride. The Quinta can take up to 25 – 100 persons and they are well booked.

This is a new peer-to-peer business and it is disruptive to the restaurant business.

Other issues:

U.informed that there is an initiative by a German doctor to create a “sheltered community “ or old age home in Madeira with an international chain. The group thought that this could be a fruitful project. There will be a meeting in mid-April about this.

Note. A. will need a new job as of September, she is trained in biotechnology  and will contact  the lab in Canicalto see if they would be interested. She is also very well suited for administration jobs

Tip from E.: sea water, rich in magnesium, is the best medium to cook vegetables, rice and potatoes (Fajã dos Padres serves wonderful potatoes, you don’t need a main course after that).

Our next meeting will be in mid-April

77 Madeira Consorcio Meeting 17.2.2016

February 19, 2016 at 6:00 pm | Posted in Posts | Leave a comment
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We visited  a printing plant in Cancela.

GM was founded in 1979. In the old days, when printing was done with much more laborious methods, it used to employ up to 65 persons. Nowadays, and with the island still in the grips of the Crisis, the company employs 15 staff. Some of them are with the company since more that 35 years, and salaries, Social Security and taxes are paid in time. The staff seems happy.

For pre-production, GM uses Apple computers. The designers receive the documents from the clients in digital format and after control and correction, prepare aluminium plates with several pages on one plate for the printing presses within two hours.

The printing plates are made of aluminium, the layout is fixed on it by laser; most of the printing machines (black & white , 2 colors, 4 colors) are made in Germany, and therefore may be old but still work well 🙂

Printing is followed by page assembly, cutting and if needed, by folding, the machines they use are very versatile. The amount of waste paper is enormous, it is collected  and sent to the mainland for recycling.

The company needs to invest a lot to keep up with the rapid development in the industry; on the other hand, they lost a lot of clients due to the crisis. The cost of paper and ink is high as well.

The company works in 8 hour shifts and could easily tripe their output with 2 more shifts, as in the old days.

Our discussion afterwards (not in the Café by the roundabout , closed 😦 but in a Pub in Canico:

We spoke about the search for the perfect product for Madeira.

Our banana is 70% “Cavendish” and will be hit hard once we get the bug here that demolishes the Cavendish plants in Latin America.

D. would promote  special wheat – for export as well as for E’s bread – and said that Madeira problem with the terrace plantation could be eased with the use of an open “Funicular” or “cliff railway” ( see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Funicular ). a railway with open cars (there is also one in Lisbon: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ascensor_da_Gl%C3%B3ria ). With such a machine, the access to old terraces and the transport of the harvest might be greatly improved.

D.& P. have 15 terraces on their land below their “platform” with the main house; this might be a perfect example of a property where to use such a railway.

E. knows of a place which employs such a Funicular, we’ll see if we can visit the place on the weekend.

76 Madeira Consorcio Meeting 22.1.2016

January 24, 2016 at 12:40 pm | Posted in Posts | Leave a comment
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We met in the Station in the Lunch room, and started off with a bread tasting. Ca. brought some very good ginger cookies, made by himself!  What a Surgeon’s hands can do…

Z.,  represented her parents, so U and E gave a brief introduction of our work and goals.

We are trying to develop ideas for new business on the island, such as medicinal herbs. We also visit places of interest; such as the Sugar Cane factory in Ribeiro Seco/Funchal, the Meia Serra waste processing plant and the firefighters in Funchal.

One of the issues facing us now if that, if we have good ideas, they cannot come to fruition if we cannot find the person/s best suited to pick them up and turn them into reality. We also want to have more exposure of our work to the public.

E and Uhad a meeting with the managing Director of JM (former Jornal da Madeira) and presented our idea of a communication channel from the population (and from us) to the Government by way of short ads with ideas (not complaints!).

He didn’t pick this up but instead wants us to publish our ideas every two weeks in a column (he said, with 3000 words, it’s more likely that he meant  3000 characters).

 

U. would like to wait until the newspaper is sold – which according to E’s info, should be soon. D.is also of the opinion that it is better to go in with the New instead of going out with the Old (in this case, the management).

In another project with the JM, D. and U. are working with them to develop a once-per-week English page ( A3 folded once =4 pages)  as an add-in and a stand-alone, to reach the foreign Residents and Tourists. Advertising should be able to support the cost. This would fill the gap left by the demise of The Brit a few years ago. In this paper, we could also place our ideas  and have (anonymous) food critics’ reports.

The ferry to the mainland:

We also talked about the subsidy game going on for the Ferry which is still not visible anywhere. Subsidies are killing entrepreneurial efforts. E.said that the group of interested shipping companies is now ganging up to pressure the Government for higher subsidies. The Sousa group which seems to hold an amazing number of essential enterprises on both islands, is probably going to come out on the top again.

The Ferry to Porto Santo:

E.said that there should be a continuation of territorial continuity; this is not a problem in the Canary islands. Ferry traffic there is voluminous and never interrupted.

Public transport is (like water) a public service and should not be in the hands of private enterprises. (Ca. mentioned that for example, telephone connection is not a public service per se.) The ferry to Porto Santo should have a contract which stipulates that it must run 52 weeks of the year. If the transport company is not willing to provide the service around the year, then it should lose the license.

Every discussion leads to the problem of corruption, part of the human nature. Added to this is the fact that the Portuguese, especially the Madeirans, do not have a fighting spirit.

Such corruption can be fought with transparency, another issue for publication in a newspaper. The Diario publishes a list of public contracts every month, with the top ten contractors and amounts. Old Contracts as the one for the Porto Santo Ferry should also be published; in the case of Sousa, his holdings should be made public as well. U. said that if such information is not allowed to be forgotten, by persistently repeating it, it will finally sink in, and  people will react at some point. The question is how far the future owners of JM will be willing to go to publish information which is uncomfortable to the Have’s on the island.

We also spoke briefly about E’s project. He will make an experiment and dry his product(for preservation and export) to see how it comes out. It may, however, turn out to be too hard.

D.said that E.should grow his grains exclusively on the island. These grains are kept in seed preservation chambers, but why not use them now and keep them unaltered?

Z introduced us to the concept of the Hash House Harriers, a movement which organizes running events to support charities, with chapters all over the world.  This is also an expat movement as the organizer used to come from the British Army. Have a look at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hash_House_Harriers

Our next meeting will be in mid-February

Christmas 2015

December 23, 2015 at 11:04 am | Posted in Posts | Leave a comment
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The Team had a great dinner in one of our member’s Quintas (Manor House), built in 1866. A wonderful atmosphere for a Christmas Dinner with much discussion and friendly banter. The best: our hostess is Swedish, so she treated us to a genuine Smorgasbord (google it) with marinated salmon and knackebrot. Aquavit is not that well known on the island so we had that, and we learned (or rather, listened to) the proper Swedish song to be sung before drinking it (good digestive!).

The Madeira Consorcio started its activities in April 2012, and we had 75 meetings so far. We have learned that, having good ideas and giving them to the population, is not working. Of maybe 10.000 farmers on the island, you would have to find the two or five persons who get the idea – say of an island covered in high quality medicinal herbs – to have the project come to fruition. Not easy, and we do not want to approach the Government for input because experience has shown that this is often the wrong approach…We shall develop new approaches next year

Now we are looking forward to a new year, with new ideas and exciting projects!

Ursula

75 Madeira Consorcio Meeting 19.11.2015

November 22, 2015 at 12:09 pm | Posted in Posts | Leave a comment
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We visited the ECM – Empresa de Cerveja da Madeira and found it to be very interesting. It was especially interesting for R. who used to work in a beverage company once and E., as he also works with germination for his bread.

Ana Carina from Marketing showed us around. We saw the beer brewing tanks and filters and the bottling machinery (as there was not bottling going on, we left the place with our ears intact).

The Company has around 200 staff now (it had up to 400 once); the number varies a lot according to seasonal demand.

ECM also produces Brisa Maracuja, for “export” to the mainland and soon, to two other countries in Europe.  Not a bad feat for a company situated on an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean!

They have their own ETAR station on the ground, to assure that the water and spring water is controlled and clean enough for the beverages. ECM was the first beer brewing company in Portugal to receive ISO certification.

Brisa Maracuja: we have by far not enough fruit on the island to supply the quantities needs for the beverage, the juice is being brought in as concentrate from Ecuador. The same goes for the  Cevada; the hop (Lúpulo) is being bought from Germany.

ECM also sells Pepsi and 7Up on the island (they stopped the contract with Coca-Cola and Sprite – the war between two giants, all over the world) in licensing.

ECM is owned 100% by Pestana now.

U.will send an email to Carina to ask

  • what is the payment time for the suppliers?
  • how are the bottles being cleaned, with sound, light or chemicals?

Our suggestions:

  • the company should be aiming to be auto-sufficient in energy.
  • the company could produce water chestnut-based beer with the chestnuts from Curral das Freiras, this would be truly unique and could be high priced.

We shall have no meeting in December, instead, we’ll see which date would be best for a Christmas Dinner

 

74 Madeira Consorcio Meeting 15.10.2015

October 18, 2015 at 10:20 am | Posted in Posts | Leave a comment
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We welcomed Du. A. as guest, he gave us a presentation of his “ML” project.

He started it three years ago because he lost his job, and opted for an entrepreneur’s approach. The Name is based on a franchise from Lisbon, the chain aims to promote high quality souvenirs, produced in Portugal, more modern and appealing to a younger crowd.

Lisbon expanded to Porto; they are planning a shop in Rio as well.

ML has a shop in the airport which brings in more profit every month; unfortunately, the shop will have to go because the airport was sold to the VINCI group. They will redesign the airport and push the shops to a mall on the third floor. Also ML would be in competition with one of Vinci’s outlets so Du. is looking for a new 1a location in Town (the shop behind Mercado – where our Beach Basket now resides and attracts people – is not doing that well).

Du. presented his product line, also upcoming new items, and we liked what we saw! Some details: Textile products are not made in Madeira but on the mainland. Aprons are a hit with the tourists. He also sells canned Tuna.

He has a staff of four. He is also selling the products to other high class outlets and surprisingly, Summer is the best season. He is not working with the “old time” shops, they don’t understand the different approach and stuff his products in some corner. The Story Centre is dead, the space doesn’t seem to have the right location. Good news for him: He will get a shop in the Cruise Ship Terminal, this should give him good turnover.

E. suggested that he contact the organizers of special events, such as Funchal Jazz and the Organ Festival; their visitors want to buy a memento from a concert. We also had another great idea for him.

We might set up a meeting with Turismo with D. and Du to get the point across, they listen much better to a proposal coming from a foreigner.

By the way: the German Consulate is organizing weddings on Madeira, and the numbers are increasing rapidly!

We also spoke about the ad idea from Ursula. The idea is to channel citizen’s ideas to the government via small (free) newspaper ads. The group was in favour of this.

U. and D. are in contact with the Diario for other ads on a weekly English page in the Diario but the Newspaper is overworked and understaffed. E. has a good contact to the Manager of JM, he will talk to him to set up a meeting, other members will be approached to help as well.

As we have very few birds on both islands, R. brought the idea that people should be encouraged to build birds nests, U. mentioned insect houses which are not for honey bees but for wild bees, they carry a much bigger percentage of the pollination process. The negative impact on the birds and insects stems from the extensive use of insecticides.

We discussed the compensation companies have to give to the city when they get building permits. They are obliged to repave roads when they damaged them with their lorries but they try to get away with the minimum instead of doing more and incurring the goodwill of the long-suffering neighbours. Suggestions for such compensation could come from the citizens, they know best what is needed in their street.

Our next meeting will be on Nov 19.

Sondagem

September 23, 2015 at 2:45 pm | Posted in Posts | Leave a comment

73 Madeira Consorcio Meeting 16.9. 2015

September 21, 2015 at 8:35 am | Posted in Posts | Leave a comment
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73 Madeira Consorcio Meeting 16.9. 2015

The Bread Project: The new semester has started, and E. has to focus on the university job at this time; however, since last time, we had a few more suggestions for a good Name.

In any case, E.will need a good business partner; an artist usually isn’t very good at managing his own Project.

U.gave him a contact, Sr. José also bakes only with sourdough. The new “Goji” shop in Rua Queimada de Cima would be a good outlet for bread sales. They sell dried fruit, spices and other goodies.

Sa.said that IKEA has some cool packaging which might be nice for E.’s bread, she will let us have a photo of it.

Reforestation on Porto Santo:

Gr. and Sa. are in contact with each other about an urgently needed reforestation project for Porto Santo. A Portuguese scientist has written a good book about it. We as a group should try to promote such an event with actions.

The Porto Santo residents do not seem to be interested to reforest their island, which is basically a pile of sand, and they don’t even recycle. The water table is sinking and the water is poisoned by the lawn fertilizers used on the Golf course. With the planting of trees, the water table will improve.

U. mentioned that the Government is not very good at organizing tree-planting with the unemployed, they had such an event once in Madeira, They have to combine place, date, time, people, tree seedlings, bus transport, lunch, gloves etc and something will inevitably go wrong. Then the Madeirans have the tendency to give up, instead of trying to improve the system for the next time.

U. thinks tree planting could be handed to the Jeep Safari tours organized by travel agencies on Porto Santo: give them the seedlings and encourage the tourists to plant a few trees in designated areas, afterwards cared of by the Government gardeners. The Ferry could show the respective info during the trip and encourage the tourists to help planting. This should work well!

Here is the link again to a video with a nice story about a man who planted trees: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_7yEPNUXsU

U. thinks that we should place advertisements in the Diario with our ideas. If they don’t get out, nothing will happen but if they do, one or the other can trigger a good response, even from the Government. U. will work on such ads, to better illustrate the idea.

We also spoke about the potential the refugee wave means for Portugal in terms of population numbers. Portugal needs these people to avert a collapse of a viable state a few decades from now. These immigrants will be happy to plant trees; they would not feel themselves to be above it.

The Government issued a sensible information about the coming migrants, to quieten the fears of the Population

The word of the day: “Privilege is invisible to those who have it” from a TED talk.

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