Well, after a day at it, I’ve found that tweeting is quite fun. It’s like standing around the water cooler having a gossip. That’s good networking if you work in an office. If you’re a writer, of course, you’re on your own but it’s amazing how quickly you build up followers, even if (as in my case) you only know one person on Twitter. The nice thing is that, like around the water cooler, you don’t have to say much and can go back to your desk, or you can entertain everyone; the choice is yours. So, in conclusion, after Day 1, Twitter is a useful networking tool for people who cannot easily network any other way and I’m quite sold on it. Incidentally if you are a twitter virgin and want to know all about it, Nicola Morgan (Crabbit Old Bat from The Word Cloud) has written a book called Tweet Right, which I recommend (see http://www.nicolamorgan.com/author/publishing-advice-books/tweet-right-the-sensible-persons-guide-to-twitter/). It can be downloaded to the Kindle from Amazon, http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tweet-Right-Sensible-Persons-ebook/dp/B005GRATNU.
I mentioned working in isolation and that’s what I’m doing, being a stranger is a strange land. I love Lisbon but, so far, only know two people, Henry an old friend, and Miguel, who is a teacher of Portuguese history in one of the local schools. I proudly explained to him my theories about tea and curry and, in the nicest possible way, he shot me down in flames. Here are the correct facts: The chili, which is indigenous to Central America, was first brought to India (to their colony in Goa) by the Portuguese, a century before the British started throwing their weight around there. The Samosa (chamuça in Portuguese) was also originally Portuguese but was adopted into Indian cuisine. The Vindaloo is a Portuguese Indian curry from Goa as well. And it doesn’t blow your socks off.
Now, onto tea. We all know it’s a British thing don’t we? Wrong. Again, the Portuguese were there first. Portuguese princess Catarina de Bragança (Catherine of Braganza to you and me) became our Queen when she married King Charles II and she brought various Portuguese customs with her. One was tea, which was not widely consumed in UK at the time. Coffee yes, tea no. But, if the Queen did it, everyone wanted to do it, and this led directy to the burgeoning popularity of tea-drinking in the UK. I checked it on the internet and it’s true. Damn. Actually, when Charles II died, she came back to Portugal and lived out the last years of her life in the Bemposta Palace, which is a few hundred kilometres from my apartment. It’s now a military academy and is a beautiful old building. Anyway, to get back to the point, we Brits didn’t invent curry or tea. So, I was wrong.
Not often I admit that…..