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Mr. António, the Scissorhands

The sound of the harmonica is unmistakable and announces the arrival of Mr. António, the amola-tesouras (a typical Portuguese name for professionals that repair umbrellas, scissors or knifes) to Mouraria. Every month he goes around the neighbourhood looking for any umbrella in need of repair, or scissors or knives in need of a new life.

Amola-tesouras for 30 years, he relies in older customers, who are still happy to arrange objects they are fond of. “The young people do not care, when things are broken they throw them away, buy another”. While we were chatting , Mr. António repair two umbrellas, a scissor “Corneta” – ” this is very old, is a beautiful scissor” – and a cleaver of respectable dimensions, “be careful because is pretty sharp now!”

Every month Mr. António drops by Mouraria and travels the country from north to south, always with his faithful companion: a bike! “At least she didn’t abandon me, as my wife did”. It’s the bike that keeps all the utensils needed to make all the little arrangements.

Old people say that the arrival of the amola-tesouras was an announcement of rain. Is this true? “That’s because in the past we worked more during winter. In the summer we were in the fields, picking tomatoes”. (The day we were chatting with Mr. António the weather was grey and rainy!)

This time it was Mr. António who ask where he could lunch “good and cheap” in Mouraria. We gave two suggestions: Trigueirinho or Santa Rita.

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