A somewhat scattered collection of notes, thoughts and ideas

Friday, 3 June 2016

Sun, Sand and... Cork!

No, not Cork the place in Ireland. Cork, as in the material you find stuffed into the top of bottles of posh wine, sherry and champagne, put there to test your patience when you find you really *need* a small tipple (and to keep the liquid in) - that kind of cork. What has that got to do with sun and sand you ask? One word - Portugal.  Let me go back to the beginning..

Last week I ventured overseas to visit a friend of mine in Portugal. He lives in a little town called Moita, situated across the river from Lisbon. Aside from going to visit him, I went over because I wanted to experience some of the festivities which take place there twice yearly - in May and September. Unfortunately (or fortunately for my bank balance) it turned out the festivities at the end of May were only for one weekend, so I only got to enjoy them for a day. However, that was long enough for me to find and purchase one of my new found loves - a cork handbag. The detail on it is fantastic and it is so lovely that once I clapped eyes on it, I couldn't walk away from it. You may call that greed, I call it a sound investment.

As it turns out, Portugal has a thriving cork industry - it produces about half the world output of commercial cork. On this one day of the festivities, there was a local market with lots of trade stalls including a few different traders selling handmade cork products, and being handmade, they are usually unique and one of a kind items (which is another reason I couldn't walk away from the bag - I knew I would never find another like it). Aside from bags, they also sold cork jewellery, such as bracelets, earrings, necklaces, and even watches with cork straps, plus notebooks and stationery  - all of which make fantastic and affordable gifts for special occasions. I think it is fair to say that I am now fairly obsessed with cork products. As a plus, the bag is treated so that it is water resistant too, which means I don't need to worry about it getting wet in a non-sunny-most-of-the-year country *cough - the UK - cough* and because of the colours it goes fantastically well with jeans too!

Handmade cork handbag and my cork bracelet, which with the same colouring, matches perfectly
You can find bags similar (but not the same) as mine and other items by this lady here.

A closer look at the cork bracelet
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