Beware Portuguese Film Certificates!

bruce lee

“What are they watching?” asked Zed, referring to the children.

“Urmm, some film about the life of Bruce Lee?”

“What’s the certificate?”

I left the washing up and admitted I didn’t know.  Only our 14 year old daughter was actually watching it while nine year old Jae was swinging off the stairs and racing along the corridor while rain pelted down outside, keeping him cooped up and indoors.

untitledbruce lee

Bruce Lee

Zed went over to the computer and looked it up.  “It’s a 15 certificate, why are they watching a 15?”

“Ermm, because it’s daytime tv?” I responded, defensively.

Okay I admit I’m so used to the 9.00 o’clock watershed in England where only news programmes are allowed to show completely distressing and unsuitable visuals for children at any hour of the day and particularly at tea time, that it had only briefly crossed my mind.  Surely the life story of Bruce Lee wouldn’t be too bad otherwise it wouldn’t be on at this hour.  “Obviously it was going to be violent and not a PG,” Zed pointed out as I handed him a cup of tea.

The Glass House

The Glass House

I should have known better though because we’d already agreed to turn off ‘The Glass House’ which I’d let her watch in preference to a screechy American cartoon the name of which escapes me, but it was some sort of a hybrid between the voices of ‘The Simpsons’,  ‘Futurama’ and ‘Sponge Bob’, compared to which scraping my fingers down a blackboard sounded like a lullaby.

untitled Futurama

Friday night at Quinta Blackberry in Portugal is film night for everyone except Jae so that we can watch films suitable for 12 and over, the original point being to introduce a back catalogue of classic films but which regularly degenerates into choosing modern day teen fluff.  Daughter’s choice last night was ‘Elysium’, purely based on the fact that it was a sci fi film and available on the Meo film rental channel.  I agreed mainly because I like Matt Damon and Jodie Foster.  Well, okay, Matt Damon.


The film was rated a ’12’.  I knew nothing about its content and soon discovered most of the film consisted of robots and mean guys trying to kill Matt Damon’s character with constant shoot outs, some love interest loosely throw in and plenty of bad language. After the third ‘f**&%!’ we realised it wasn’t going to be anything like suitable for twelve year olds. Ho hum, at least Jae wasn’t watching it too.

images Matt Damon

Afterwards Zed consulted his computer.  Although the film was rated a ’12’ in Portugal, in England the BBFC had given it a certificate 15.  Guess in future if in any doubt we’re going to have to double check the rating.  It’s not the first time we’ve been caught out and I expect it won’t be the last.

images766PIKUH images elysium

I do wonder though why the Portuguese film board (the CCE) think that mass murder and strong language is suitable for twelve year olds and that guys on the rampage with machine guns, knives and metal gouged into their body and brains isn’t likely to cause ‘psychic trauma’ in under 12s.  Maybe they use the well respected BBC daytime news channel as their benchmark.  I know, you all want to watch it now.




Thank You for My Award!


Well, getting this award made my Sunday morning, so a big thank you to  Which, to those of you who know me, is very appropriate, considering the many bags of half finished crafty things and scraps of fabric, jewellery wire and beads we have brought with us to Portugal.

To accept this award I have to tell you eight things about myself and nominate eight other blogs which manage to get a good yarn/information across in the time it takes to boil the kettle for the many cups I coffee I drink throughout the day.

Firstly, I would have included and, but craftinginportugal has already pipped me to the post!

Anyway, before I waffle and break the rules of the award, here are eight things about me.

1.  I have just published a children’s book for 7-9 year olds called ‘The Rivoli Wigwam’.  It will be available on in digital format and in print tomorrow, 9th December.  Sorry, I know, the last sentence is a shameless plug.  Well it is Christmas.

2. I adore sushi.  I miss sitting in Cambridge eating sushi.  But – I also like sitting in Leiria eating sushi.  Which I would probably miss if I were in Cambridge.

3. I love making short films.  I even like running local film festivals.

4. In England I used to organise craft fairs and promote local arts, crafts and food.  This is in the belief that we should all try to eat local seasonal produce and buy recycled or locally made goods when and where possible.  Or encourage it.

5. I love walking through woods collecting kindling then coming back to a real fire with hot chocolate and marshmallows.

6. I fell in love with and bought an old MG which is currently stored in England.  Next spring I hope to import it to Portugal where it can only be driven for six months due to the British plates.  Then I will have to sell it or go back to England.

7. I eat half a bar of chocolate everyday.  Except on weekends.

8.  I am a hoarder.  Although I am proud to say I have just filled two bin liners with clothes to take to charity.  Now I just have to get them out the house quickly before I go through them again.


Now for the nominations – ta daah!

Lost In Translation: Car Wash

'Car Wash' 1976

‘Car Wash’ 1976

Always read the label. Properly. Translate if necessary. Relax, this isn’t a tale of having a drunk a glass of cherry cordial only to find out it was cleaning fluid.

Finally we moved the car...too late

Finally we moved the car…too late

See, that annoying day comes in everyone’s life when it’s time to get the car washed. Ours was spattered with dirt and dust from being parked outside the house while the render was being removed. Common sense would have made me park it further down the road. Enough said. We can’t go to an automatic car wash because we still have the roof top box on, I’ve not yet found a valet service, so it’s down to me.


Now I never really know what I’m doing when I clean a car and generally chuck some washing up liquid diluted in a bucket over it. Then wonder why it smears. Occasionally I’ve waxed it but generally I clean the car when we’re about to visit someone and this means time is limited and too limited for waxing. I even bought a chamois leather in England once to make a professional job of it but hey, we’re not in England any more. I have a big sponge though.

Richard Pryor in 'Car Wash' who knew what he was doing

Richard Pryor in ‘Car Wash’ who knew what he was doing

I splash some blue looking fluid into a washing up bowl out of a 5 litre plastic bottle and dilute it with water. I’d bought the stuff at a pop up shop in the Forum shopping mall. It had a picture of a car on the front. Something about ‘Limpa’. ‘Cleaning. That would do. Maybe I should have gone to ‘Mr Roady’, the Portuguese car chain which fixes our car and has a car accessories shop attached.  But we learn too late.

Someone had enough of cleaning this one. Still life in Castelo countryside.

Someone had enough of cleaning this one. Still life in Castelo countryside.

I scrub at the car a bit. Hmmm. Not very foamy. Not very good at getting off the marks. I scrub a bit harder. Well with a pop up shop you generally get what you pay for I suppose. I briefly wax lyrical about Halfords Auto Shop in the UK. Of course if I was in England I would probably be moaning that it was overpriced. Anyway, the stuff I’d bought wasn’t doing the job. At that point I look at the small print but there is none. Maybe don’t dilute it. I pour it directly onto the sponge. Still no difference.

Mr Indoors comes outdoors to look at my work. “Might be better if you didn’t use screen wash though”.


“Screenwash.  It says ‘Limpa Vidros’. You’re supposed to pour it into the screen wash container where the engine is. Not clean the car with it.”

Oh. Next time I’ll check the dictionary first. Back to the washing up liquid.

Next time I'll take it to the car wash.

Next time I’ll take it to the car wash.

From Lisbon to The Stone Roses

John Squire at Stone Roses premiere - it was this or a pic of the train station

John Squire at ‘Made In Stone’ premiere – it was this or a pic of the train station

Today’s story is about Mr Indoors and the attempt to catch the train on time to get to Lisbon airport for the  ‘Made in Stone’ film premiere in Manchester. Except that Mrs not as Glamorous had other plans for him first.

Yeh, ok, I get it, as one of the editors Mr Indoors particularly wanted to attend this thing.  So all I had to do was drop him off at a train station near Lisbon to get him to the airport for the plane to Manchester.  Mrs not as Glamorous (me) on the other hand is not on the invite, but I don’t mind because really, there’s nothing like staying behind to varnish the new floor. On the way to Lisbon I decided it was a great idea to do a spot of multi-tasking. We just had to find the EDP office in Cadaval to get the electricity connected to the new house, fill out the paperwork and find the train station.  What could be simpler?

I'm sure his wife would rather be varnishing floors too

I’m sure his wife would rather be varnishing floors too

Our estate agent had confirmed there was an EDP electricity office in Cadaval.  I emailed him for the address. No reply.  I tried an internet search for the location but there was no reference to a local office in Cadaval.  We almost went into the EDP office in Castelo Branco but were advised against bothering for Lisbon.  Better to have a three hour drive. With dog. When we bought a house last year from a quite different estate agent, Remax, they took us to the EDP office and translated for us.  Then to the water board.  Then the bank. And anywhere else we needed to be.  Even drove us past the town swimming pool so we’d know where it was.  No help from our new agents. Just saying.

We drove around for twenty minutes then spotted the EDP office down a side street.  It was hitting 12.30pm.  The lady at the desk looked at her watch as we launched into pigeon Portuguese with rehearsed sentences about needing a new meter and connection.  She waved the watch at us.  I rummaged around for the right paperwork.  It had disappeared.  She shook her head and ushered us out, locked the door behind us and skipped off down the road.  Oh dear, come back!  We have a train to catch!

Ian Brown, Stone Roses - "hey Lady at Desk come back"

Ian Brown, Stone Roses – “hey Lady at Desk come back”

We watered the dog then hung out at a café where we were within viewing distance of the EDP office.  We saw Lady at Desk approach and legged it across the road towards the office.  In front of us a local darted out from the side street and straight into the office.  Lady at Desk and local chatted away while a bill was paid, chatted away afterwards, and chatted away while standing at the door on the way out.  We smiled as she looked at us, sharing a joke, and we smiled back as though we understood and tried not to show any signs of anxiety.  I wanted to wave my watch at her.  Finally, our turn!

"Could've stayed at home and gone fishing instead"

“Could’ve stayed at home and gone fishing instead”

This time I had found the paperwork, the deed, proof of existence, a picture of the house.  What else could they need?  Still, she shook her head.  Silly us, she needed the name of the last owner?  No?  The name of the owner before that?  No? Oh, OF COURSE, the name of the owner before THAT.  Otherwise no connection. Sorry.  Our paperwork didn’t go back that far.  There was no record of the house on the computer.  I showed her a picture.  “Look, it exists.  It just needs electricity.”  She made some calls.  Still nothing.  Nothing she could do.  ‘Go away now’, she effectively said, ‘and don’t come back until you’ve got something else’.

It was past 2.00pm. I had to pick the kids up from school, and still drop Mr Indoors at a train station near Lisbon.  I would never make it doing both.  We changed plans to stop at a station instead on the way back to Castelo Branco. We would never catch the planned 14.20 train from Cartaxo and the next one was 17.00 something.  We drove to Entroncamento.  We should have plenty of time this way.

"It's just down this street"

“It’s just down this street”

Have you ever tried to find the train station at Entroncamento?  Ha, don’t. It lures you in with the false promise of logical signposting.  We followed signs that led us towards roads with a big ‘no entry’ notice.  The GPS didn’t recognise this and neither did the signposts.  We were in a maze.  We hadn’t eaten since our mid-morning snack and hunger was making us snippy with each other.  I reversed down one road, up another, turned round in another.  We could see the tracks, we just couldn’t get to them. According to the GPS I was now going to be five minutes late to collect child number one. We asked directions.  Something about a rotunda.  We drove round the rotunda and back up the one way system.  Another sign which took us under the railway line.    Finally we pulled up at the station and Mr Indoors grabbed his suitcase, passport, and said goodbye to me and the dog as I hit the accelerator and drove far, far away from Entroncamento. Portuguese_Railways_2297_EMU_at_Entroncamento_Railway_Station