Friday, May 3, 2013

The Gardener

The house on the corner
 Now I told you about “Timex' the rooster who lives somewhere out behind the apartment, crowing out his own unique time announcements, and where there are roosters there are likely chickens, so I guess there must be some urban agriculture going on here in Olhão. Looking out the front balcony however it is solid chock-a-block houses all the way to the water, so there are not many inner-city garden plots to be seen. I see lots of container plants perched on balconies and rooftops trying to survive the almost complete lack of rain here, but not many real gardens.

Walking across the bridge
The one exception is the house on the corner up the road. The building is almost twice as large as any other house around it, so it must have been an important house at one time, but it is now showing it's age. The architecture is much more elaborate than most of the houses in the neighbourhood. It has a fancy sloped tile roof and the entire roof is surrounded by a walled terrace accessed by a built in stairway. Although the surface is in dire need of paint, it still holds onto a style well above the other smaller places beside it. There are built in tiled sections, and the doors and windows are elaborate and ornate. I look down on this house from across the train tracks at a height from my third floor balcony, so I can appreciate some of the former glory that I can imagine this house had, but from street level it looks sad, old and possibly deserted.

It is not completely deserted however; the gardener lives there. Because this house is bigger than others, it has a yard, and in this yard that goes from the house to the wall for the train track the gardener has made on oasis of green in the surrounding concrete plaster and walls.

He has fruit trees, flowering ornamental trees, and even what looks like a bonsai tree. There are rows of flowering lilies and pots containing other flowers everywhere. In between there looks to be herbs and possibly vegetables. The yard is not big, but he has filled every square inch of it with plants. I can look down at it, but anyone who walks across the the bridge over the railway line gets a brief view of his beautiful garden.

I often see him out working on the garden. It can't be easy to produce the beautiful plants he has in an urban setting like this, so I figure he works hard at it. One day I passed as he was watering. Twenty minutes later when I returned he was still patiently ensuring that his plants got the moisture that never seems to come from the sky.

I'm sure that Colin & Suzanne, our hosts (Who also are subjected to my constant blogging) will know the actual facts on the 'Gardener of Olhão' and his house but really it is more fun to let my imagination roam – I never said my blog was all fact . . . . .

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