Pauls 2012 Diary – June/July

This is ‘Pauls Diary’ simply entitled in my name as it’s ‘my’ diary. I have done this so if my wife doesn’t agree with the content then I can remind her that it’s mine and not hers. For earlier entries cobbled together  written in April and May they are now on separate pages.

As with other months entries – some of the following may be made up, exaggerated or simply lies!

July 31 – The last entry for July already – my how time flies! We pop back to the UK tomorrow and have packed all those fleeses that we brought away in April and have hardly used since. We have cancelled the milk and the papers and look ofrward to seeing everyonein good old fashioned black and white. Forgive us if we seem to ignore you but it will take a day or two to get used to viewing you in the half light. I will be updating my diary whilst away so look forward to some killer posts in August with reference to my ‘brass monkey balls’ etc…

July 30 – I saw sense today and bought a cycling helmet – I reckon I got off lightly the other day and as hospital food, drinking out of an orange cup or listening to a beeping life support machine would only annoy me I thought it the best route. If nothing else it makes me look even more daft when I go out on the bike. Alison is going to bring hers over when we travel back from the UK next week. We fly on Wednesday and return next Monday evening to visit friends and family and to work at a car show at Tatton Park (VWNW) After over four months away we are both looking forward to catching up with everyone. The motorhome will stay on our pitch at Parque da Gale and we will be returning to ‘touring’ shortly after our UK trip.

July 29 – as predicted I woke up feeling like I had gone several rounds with Muhammad Ali but on the bright side – at least I woke up! Alison would have found a coma far too time consuming and probably had them pull the plug out at lunchtime to save on the electric. We went for lunch at the top of the road today and they forgot Fred’s pizza completely with the waiter never wondering why one person at the table didnt eat whilst the other three tucked in to two courses before we asked where the worlds most simple meal to cook had got to. “He forgot” was the reply – he then forgot to bring the ladies two extra drinks but DID remember to put everything we had on the bill after we reminded him twice to bring us the bill (he’d clocked off by this time) We ‘forgot’ to tip them – that’s fair enough in my book.

July 28 – we went out for a bike ride to Armacao de Pera today and I invented two new sports. One was drop a motorist in the doo-doo by dobbing him in to the two GNR cops on bikes just in front of us – he panicked when he saw then and virtuallyran me into the parked cars. I rapped on his window and later his boot lid to which he got all uppity – this alerted the GNR to the kerfuffle and they ticked him off whilst we cycled off. Later on I hit a rut in the road and combined Cycling, gymnastics and boxing in a new split second event. I hit the road and the glasses flew off – I was very lucky to not lose both legs I have to say and the doctors did a great job of stitching my head back on. Regretably they popped it back on the wrong way round and my remaining foot points the wrong direction. I would like to thank the two cars behind me who swerved just in time to avoid a buckled offside wheel and imagine you didnt stop to see if I was OK because you couldnt give a shit were late for being late for work. Hey ho. Seriously I was very lucky to not come off worse – I may retrain as a stunt cyclist when we return to the UK.

July 27 – Thanks to Steve’s sat dish and a makeshift connection we got to watch the Opening Ceremony for the Olympics tonight. Great Britain can do some stuff properly or what! I loved it and bollocks to the ‘naysayers’ and Danny Boyle did us proud. We wont see much of the sports as we wont be near a telly and/or couldnt be arsed but good luck to all those having a go at chucking a spear or ‘top-bombing’ from their nearest diving board. From some of the salad dodgers I saw on various teams from Micronesia and Littletittleton (yes I made that last one up) I hope the 1 metre Pasty Munch goes well.

July 26 – Back pain can be cured with Naproxin (2 a day max) and you can add a Diazapan if you are really troubled but they can make you sleepy. Add a few glasses of wine to tha…………………………………………………… zzzzzzzzzzzz!

July 25 – I managed to walk to the bin today so I am clearly on the road to recovery as well as the road to the bin. The bins out here smell nearly as bad as ours back in the UK – which is quite something given the temperature here – the UK ones only win as they arent emptied as often – all part of some EU directive to make us all feel equal I suppose. We have telly tonight thanks to a redirected satellite cable from our motorhome to the one next door who are ‘away’ in England for a few days. I’ve watched the news and frankly I might just accidentally cut through it tomorrow just in case we catch the news again.

July 24 – I spoke too soon regarding my back as I managed to pull it out again raising the ‘rear legs’ (ooooh errrrr) on the motorhome so we could go grocery shopping. A bit more rest and some gentle exercise until its better then. Evidentally it doesnt get you out of doing the drying up though – I’ll have to check that out on ‘google’ or similar later on. It did get me out of ‘lowering’ the aforementioned legs later that day though – good job as I would never have managed it.

July 23 – My bad back seems to have fixed itself and I even managed a three mile walk this afternoon. There’s hope for me yet! We had a bit of excitement today as we had a power cut for an hour – I nearly had to eat hard crunchy pasta and cold tomatoes until we remembered that we could always use the gas cooker rather than our swish electric hotplate (which would look more at home in a student bed-sit) The lack of computer meant we had to play old fashioned games rather than rely on the laptop so out came the backgammon. I did suggect hide and seek but it’s all over way to quick in here.

July 22 – Jenny and Reg are two people I am not going to forget in a long while – they took us out tonight for a meal (they paid and everything!) and like many people that we meet on our travels we have swapped addresses and numbers. They are off tomorrow to pastures new and to meet up with a sister or two. I’m sure – like many others – we will meet up with them again. Thats the nice thing about what we are doing – because of the nature of what we do we will probably bump into them again somewhere. That’ll be a spot of back luck I suppose as it will be my turn to pay next time!

July 21 – Another lazy day – well you have become to expect it I am sure. Whilst I write this my neighbour Jenny can only see a couple of images of her that I posted earlier – I shall tell her that the pictures are here forever (which she will hate). Meanwhile I must say that I am itching to get out and about – this bad back malarky is getting tiresome – I want to walk/bike and get about. We shall see what tomorrow brings!

July 20 – Its been another quiet day as I really do not wish to put my back out any more than currently pushed. I managed a few tasks like emptying the toilet and filling up the fersh water tank but that was about it. I wandered a bit too near Freds big RV and was dragged inside for a cold beer (which is good) and an hour later Alison found me, cam into Freds RV and was dragged inside for an cold beer (which is also good). The whole motorhome scene is way beyond anything anyone can ever imagine – you encounter new friends every day and quickly befriend each other in a way that no other ‘scene’ (and remember I’ve been a ‘car show’ person for years) has ever created. We asked our next door neighbours around for dinner tonight as had a BBQ and a few glasses of wine – it was like we had known them for ten years. Our other neighbours are regular guests and us theirs too – it’s just like that (well here anyway) and Steve will lend you a drill/ hammer etc etc. I like it – but you knew that.

July 19 – I have spent the day being somewhat careful so that I don’t strain my back any more. I had a lie in despite the 35 degrees turning our motorhome into an oven and then tidied up to give mself some exercise at least. I managed a few games of Backgammon with Jenny next door and did beat her (although she beat me three times). I have been a bit of a site busy body today making sure that anyone who turns up to empty the toilet and fill up with water at least pays the 2 Euro fee to do so – it is amazing how many people (that own a £30K motorhome) will object to paying just 2 Euros to empty the waste and fill up with water – and then try and sneak off without paying the small fee – shame on you.

July 18 – DIY is dangerous – ‘FACT’ – I moved the shelf above the door today to stop me banging my head on it and on putting the drill (that I had borrowed from my RV owning neighbour Steve) away pulled my back out. I couldnt breathe and it took me nearly ten minutes to walk to my chair. Yes, it would have been easier to move the chair nearer! I have since had some Diazapan and red wine which work a treat and in five minutes I will be break dancing about the site. Ironically the height of the shelf would stop my head from hitting it if I were not bent double due to back pain when I do walk underneath it. I’m hoping that a bit of (even more) rest will sort it our in a day or two – as happened last in the UK however that rest was in the drizzle we call late summer – I’d rather have a bad back here!

July 17 – Managed a beach free day today and stayed around the ‘campsite’ keeping as cool as possible in and around our microwave motorhome. Yes it has been warm, and whilst that’s no complaint I did wonder what the boiling point of my brain actually was just in case I managed to exceed it. Tomorrow I plan to get up a bit earlier (not that I was late this morning) and put the awning out before 0800 hours when the vehicles decorative stickers and decals become in danger of falling off. I also plan to beat Jenny next door at Backgammon again. It’s a hard life.

July 16 – We went to the beach with friends Reg, Jenny, Bob and Sally (yes it does sound like a dodgy seventies film title!) and joined the entire population of Northern Portugal who had already arrived by any mode of transport available. It was so busy and crammed that I was able to break wind and blame it on the people behind us – who might well have been doing the same and blaming it on us. You cant blame it on the dog as they dont allow dogs on that particular beach – but I imagine that its not possible to allow them anyway as the beach is full and smells of farts. We’ll be back I am sure as we are gluttons for punishment its so much fun.

July 15 – All praise the great ‘Kindle’ – books, 3G internet and emails all in one slimline gadget – you may never need to speak to the missus ever again – other than telling her when and what you want for dinner, unless of course you thought ahead and got her the 3G one as well and you can email in your mealtime requirements! I currently read the Sunday paper on mine and as I have paid £150 for it I am no longer tempted to launch it across the room/campsite in a splenetic rage (due to stories about immigrants/spongers/taliban/one legged single lesbian mums or similar – or indeed all four traits) as I’d have to foot the bill to fix it. Mind you I am sure that sitting reading it in a ‘palm’ filled garden in 28 degrees of sunshines helps to keep all the bad news at bay.

July 14 – great news! My ‘Kindle’ arrived today – thanks to Linda and Derek who are over here because they thought their house in England was going to float down Marple High Street. It hasnt yet but July isnt over yet. I heard there were/are more than 50 flood warnings issued for England but I reckon thats because they have lifted the hosepipe ban and everyone has been watering their gardens a ‘bit too much’. We are back in the UK for a long weekend in a couple of weeks – it’ll be great as we will be reminded how crap the weather is and we can hurry back here to the sun again. I will try and resist telling everyone how nice the weather here has been*.

*a lie

July 13 – So it is Friday the 13th! and we got my without any horror stories – quite the opposite in fact. we went to the Classic Car Show at Villa Moura and saw some lovely old cars – both UK and European stuff parked on the marina in front of boats owned by people who wipe thier bums on twenty pound notes – because they can. We waded through the odious waft of wealth and returned to our motorhome celebrating, like a pair of Lotto winners, that we had ‘won’ some shade from the big billboard now behind us. We looked like people who had found the cure for cancer. Two minutes later when we started the motorhome up and headed back to Gale we had forgotten all about that success as we perspired every liquid drop out of our bodies back on the drive ‘home’.

July 12 – we moved on today – albeit it just 20 yards at best. We decided to move nearer ‘Jenny’ just so she hasnt got as far to walk to mither us/show us her ‘arse’. She doesnt read ‘my crap’ so I can say anything I want about her (until her hubby Reg reads it and then I am in bother) We went for a walk down to the beach earlier before BBQ-ing some sardines and stuffed tomatoes and consuming some Sangria – a great way to spend the afternoon in my book. The beach is full of all sorts of people pretending to enjoy themselves whilst hating (understandably) the idea of being splattered with sand whilst their partners paddle in the water – that’ll be me sometime over the next few days – spare me a thought please.

July 11 – we intended to go out and have a walk but however we ended up having a late atfernoon beer/wine with Mark and Lesley. This happens as many of us have nothing to do. I had gone to the bin to throw away some rubbish at 3.00 pm – I got distracted by Mark with a jangling beer bottle and at 7.00 pm we were still there Alison having joined us as at 4.00 pm she wondered how I could have been over an hour going to the bin that was just 3 minutes away. Such is our life at the moment. Mark and Lesley joined us later for yet another drink as Lesley is returning to the UK tomorrow (to see if it has sunk yet) for a few business matters so we needed to say cheerio. Mark will return tomorrow if he knows whats good for himself.

July 10 – it’s getting like Little England here – there’s freshly baked scones being exchanged for genuine Spanish (visiting Portugal) tapas, half the site is occupied by long term ‘Brits’ and as I mentioned yesterday I introduced the Portugeuse to the art of vehicle washing – no one has follwed suit yet but there’s time. All we need to do now is coach the German next to us to stop throwing his smelly grey water on the ground (and in the purpose built disposal for that exacr purpose) and we’ve cracked it. I was introduced to some French people today as the guitar teacher – I half expected them to toddle down in the afternoon to learn ‘Frere Jacques’ (note to self – look that up on the internet). A quick bike ride to Guia today saw the cobwebs blown off the bikes. Might need a rest tomorrow!

July 9 – well so much for ‘touring’ – we’ve been on the same pitch for three weeks! We have ventured out to the shops a couple of times in the motorhome so I assume the engines not seized! I even washed it today as it’s got dusty. It is now the cleanest one on the site – and the lowest milage! A couple pulled in yesterday from England who chose to stay here as a result of my blog – thier search for places to stay near here came up with – here as it happens. So that recommendation certainly worked and I’m glad my blog ramblings have helped someone.

July 8 – yet another BBQ with other motorhomers leads me to suggest that you do meet some great people whilst motorhoming. Its ‘salt and pepper’ ribs tonight and kebabs with salad with Steve and Lorraine from the big RV. They will help you out with any problem you might have, give you a lift and pick up stuff from the supermarket. I wont embarass them any further but it is suffice to say that they are what this is all about – helping others out – as we like to do. Great evening too – ribs, wine, port, and great company.

July 7 – I struggle sometimes to work out what it is that makes some people the way they are – when we arrive at a campsite or aire I like to position myself such that I am a/ not too near anyone else and b/not too near anyone else (un-necessarily). Someone parked right next to us yesterday in an otherwise virtually empty site with no more than four foot between us. I can’t see the point in parking so close to someone else that I can hear them make the bed up (like I heard last night). Alas he has gone – no doubt to annoy someone else – our other neighbours however are great! Tonight Jenny brought two glasses of cheap red wine round for us. I guess it was a bribe so that I dont paste her photo on the internet – as she would hate that. I might do it tomorrow.

July 6 – We treated ourselves to corn on the cob today (flash so and so’s we are). Its not easy to find as the Portuguese dont really eat it – they grow it – to feed to chickens. So we thought that we’d eat the food that the chickens eat and in a strange paradox we had a starter of corn on the cab and then chicken! The best of both worlds really. We have had a quiet night in tonight after a couple of late nights with the neighbours. I’m in bother for eating the last of the Cadburys eclairs – there was only a couple left so I thought I would help tidy the glovebox up by eating them – evidentally that was the wrong move….

July 5 – I forgot to wish the Americans a happy Independance Day yesterday – oh well, they forgot to slap me on the back on the Queens Jubilee Day so we are even, My new guitar student – Angela – coralled me into a ‘concert’ tonight so we/she could sing the songs that she made me learn and I sang the Nick Jonas/Miley Cyrus song with her. On her learning my surname is RILEY she had nicknamed me Riley Cyrus which I suppose I was asking for really. I have taught her how to play one of her favourite pop songs by Jason Mraz entitled “I’m Yours” on my guitar – she wants to learn the guitar and I have always believed that the best way of getting a young person interested in an instrument is for them to learn to play something they know and then take it from there. She has and that’s great. If I do no more with my guitar this trip then what has evolved over the last couple of days is fine by me. Well done Angela.

July 4 – Off to Albufiera we went to today for lunch at a place we found four years ago to see if it is still as good – and it was. We set off to get the bus to get there but the guy who lives in the house behind our motor home on the site saw us and offered us a lift in to the centre – I can now confirm that life viewed from the passenger seat of a Portugeuse drivers car is way way more frightening than witnessed from hiding behind the steering wheel of our motor home! I assumed he might have a bit of a ‘clop on’ because he was late for work – he must have been three weeks late for work cos the potential ‘life spared’ on the way was huge. It has done me a huge favour to be honest as I will never ever worry about any potential motoring mishap i might encounter as it will pale into insignificance when weighed up against any thing our neighbours might re-create. I was grateful for the lift however as it saved us 4 Euros.

July 3 – We went to see if we could get a better photo of the flamingoes this afternoon but alas they are all a bit camera shy – must be those long knobbly legs – and I’ve asked her to cover them up several times (boom tish!). My ‘student’ guitarist has returned today so I had to not only play a song but sing the ‘male’ part of a Nick Jonas/Miley Cyrus song. These people are ‘news’ to me as well so don’t feel too bad. The wailing appears to have kept the midgies away at least.

July 2 – Each month brings a new photo for ‘My Diary’ and as you can see this months picture features my new hat. Bought not to make me a more believable as a singing cowboy but to stop the sun from burning the many bald bits on my head. Factor 30 hasn’t been sufficient to stop the continous stream of UV from frazzling my napper. I realise that if you are reading this from England you cannot possibly have a clue what I am going on about as I understand it is still ‘damp’ there. We havent seen rain for eight weeks now. And long may that reign.

July 1 – The first day of another new month. It’s great here at Camp Idle as Sundays are even lazier than any other day of the week. The sum total of our day is that Alison went to Lidl and I learnt two songs by the American artist known as Jason Mraz at the request of our Spanish neighbour who would like to learn how to play the guitar – for some reason best known to her, me learning ‘new’ songs counts towards her learning the guitar. Still, I don’t mind as I actually quite like the songs she has set for me to learn and now I am ‘quite hip and trendy’ (if they still use that kind of lingo!) I’ve put ‘Norwegian Wood’ on the back burner.

June 30 – The last diary entry for June so lets keep it light hearted ( I got a bit mawdling yesterday)  We have stayed at Praia da Gale for nearly two weeks now and show no sign of moving just yet. Its nice and cheap, lovely surroundings and the owners and their neighbours (who live just along us) are friendly and pleasant people  – no more so than the man who sells ( and obviously sometimes doesn’t sell) donuts down on the beach – he came around tonight with donuts that he couldn’t/didn’t sell today. He gave them to us and wouldn’t even take a token payment. So – to re-cap: Water, Electric, WiFi, nice folks AND free custard filled donuts – we’ll be here until Christmas!

June 29 – Today, once again, I learnt what a small world it is.  I went on my bike up to Canais to where my lovely aunt Jean used to live – I had a scrap of an address and an idea of what it looked like from photos she had shared. I rode around the ‘urbanisation’ looking for Lot26 to be told by some english speaking locals that there was no such thing as Lot26 as it finished at Lot 21. I mentioned that I was looking for ‘Casa Shamal’ when one of them said “thats where Jean Baldwin used to live”. So, 2200 miles from home I found Jeans friends – who lent her the land to put ‘Casa Shamal’ (a caravan) on. They invited me into their house – somewhere Jean will have spent many an hour with them – and showed me pictures of her enjoying the Portugal lifestyle. ‘Jolly Jean’  you are sorely missed. God bless.

June 28 – I spent some of today learning to play (on the guitar) a couple of songs by ‘Jason Mraz’ – he was introduced to me by our ‘neighbour’ Angela from Spain. She is just 16 and I thought I might end up trying to learn a typically ‘pop’ song which I would normally avoid. Alas he is quite listenable and tuneful and I quite like the two songs that I have learnt. She, so far, is blissfully unaware that the ‘old bloke’ camped next to them has learnt these and I await her response when she is told that she can now ‘sing along’ whilst I play them.

June 27 – Peter and Lesley ‘finally’ left today! Only after he poked his drain pipe with a length of wire but that’s another story. You can see a picture of them on my ‘Good Morning’ photo for today as I am running out of things to photograph having stayed here over a week now. We left Camp Idle in the motorhome to go shopping – an once again it was torture. We went to ‘Algarve Shopping’.  It would seem that even whilst people come to the Algarve on hiliday they find the urge to go somewhere that they can buy all the stuff that they can buy in the UK and then marvel about how they can buy it 2000 miles from home. Folks! – it’s easy – someone sticks it on a boat/plane/wagon and sends it to ‘foreign-land’ so that you can buy it dearer than in the UK – and then tell the person in the next villa to you about the process.  We bought local type stuff to make us feel superior to everyone else.  I then drove uder a bridge/underpass warning that effectively told me that if my vehicle wasnt shorter than 2.75 M then it would be by the time we came out of the other end (albeit not as neatly). It was and we are still intact.

June 26 – Peter was so pleased with his blog that he spent too much time playing around with it and then took too much time packing stuff away so that he and Lesley could travel on today. As a result they have spent another day here at ‘Camp Idle’. But, thats the beauty of this sort of holiday – the days just drift by. We have seen flamingoes today so that’s another exotic creature added to our ‘Exotic Creature List’. You might have noticed that I have mae separate pages for old April/May entries – it’s been a busy day!

June 25 – It was hot today and that’s an  understatement. We had a bit of a lie in after a late evening slagging off footballers (see yesterday) and then spent the rest of the day keeping cool. I helped a fellow motorhomer set up a ‘wordpress’ blog so now there’s two Victor Meldrews filling up the ‘interweb’ with rants about potholes, poo and poor driving. It was the least I could do after we systematically drank most of his newly purchased Port and Brandy having introduced Peter and Lesley to the drink that combines the two in the same glass! Cheers and good luck with the blog Peter.

June 24 – England were ‘not very good’ again – shock horror. I am certainly no football fan but I know a crap game of football when I see it. Thankfully I am not bothered the slightest by the result and the po faced fans who will cry about it for three days will simply amuse me. The sight of countless un-interested girlfriends sat in the shade of a pub  when they would rather be on the beach has not failed to amuse me over the past few weeks. Just now they may well be able to take their pale boyfriends down to the beach to do what the holiday was supposed to be about before they realised it clashed with the football. It’s the Olympics next isn’t it? I wonder how many will be spared a tan for that?

June 23 – you make some great new friends on a journey like this and as everyone is as relaxed as you they are keen to strike up conversation and share stories about what you are up to. No more so than the site we are currently at at Praia da Gale. It’s an ideal stopover for any motorhomer as I reviewed in my ‘Aires’ section and currently there are four UK registered motorhomes all in one corner. Its such a small world that we have a connection with all three of the others. Alison worked (briefly) with the lady next door, the other next door know two good friends of ours in Tomar through a meeting at a campsite there and I have worked in the same building as next door but one as he used to live in Hazel Grove and travel to Oxford Road on the same train as me – albeit four years apart. We all chat, Leslie cut Alisons hair earlier, Lorraine shared her home-made coleslaw with us and we have borroweed Peters scales to see how much we weigh first thing in the morning. No one goes to the shops without asking if anyone needs anything bringing back – a real sense of community. They’re not our neighbours in Fielding Avenue but I tell you what – they’ll do for now! We are all watching the ‘footie’ on Peters new satelite dish tomorrow evening – and I don’t even like football!

June 22 – Hurrah  – for reasons best known to Lord Sainsbury today became ‘shopping day’ (we normally do that on a Wednesday) but so we would have enough meat etc for the weekend we decided to go today. So did 4 and a half million other Algarve residents. We effectively gave up on the Continente in Albufeira and went to Lidl, where the poor can shop for less (its great to be honest – good meat, cheap water, nice bread rolls and home of the one Euro red wine)  We came back so late that lunch was nearly dinner, some neighbours brought their new found inexpensive wine over for us to try and it soon became nearly midnight. Job done.

June 21 – It is easy to lose track of time when you haven’t much to do – proved no more so than an event from yesterday – with us realising what happened only today (told you we had bugger all to do). We have been listening to Radio Two online and I particularly like to listen to Ken Bruce’s Popmaster Quiz at 10.30. We switched the computer on at about 9.15 noting that Chris Evans was still on but the sound was ‘jumpy’. Alison re-logged into  R2 site and we were now listening to Chris Evans much more clearly. By 9.45 we wondered why Chris was still on as Kens show starts at 09.30 and even later as 10.30 sailed by we were still listening to Mr Evans. At noon we gave up on any Ken Bruce show and arranged to go out for lunch. We realise now that Alison had logged on to Chris Evans show at the start – ie 06.30 – and we listened to the whole lot nearly three hours after it actually was broadcast. We spent most of Wednesday about three hours behind as a result and neither of us noticed.

June 20 – as I mentioned yesterday it was our anniversary today. As greeting cards here are every bit as dire as those in the UK (if not a trifle more) we decided to make our own – and after all we have plenty of time on our hands. If you look at the ‘Good Morning’ part of our blog you will see the results. They do not trample on ‘Hallmarks’  shoes in any way but they mean something to us.  After 31 years we dont really feel the need to confirm to some greeting card manufacturers desire to sell us a card – our sentiments are already well placed. We had a nice lunch out instead and treated ourselves to a nice bottle of wine coutesy of Gillian and Ian (thanks you two) who slipped us the money for such in the card that they sent us.

June 19 – Apologies for the addition of a photo of me but I think a diary is more beleivable if you know what the author looks like – it worked for Adrian Mole anyway. Tomorrow is our 31st Wedding Anniversary and I frantically searched (on the internet)earlier on to see what ‘gift’ material comemmorates a 31st. Last year it was ‘pearl’ and it cost me a fortune! There’s nothing listed for this years so I am hoping that ‘sardine‘ will suffice so that the lunch out I have already committed to will serve both the purpose of feeding us and providing a suitable gift. Well – it is either that or ‘cataplana‘ which despite the additional cost I may well spring to.

June 18 – I did something quite odd today – I went out to buy guitar strings, got lost, ended up in ‘Primark’ and bought two tee-shirts instead. I did find the Guitar Shop (not the one I’d set out to find but a Guitar Shop nonetheless) and got the strings I needed after all. I also learnt that cyclists – or cars getting around them – is a contact sport (well it is over here).  I hit the back of a Fiat as she stopped, turned right and them indicated all in 1 millisecond and later clipped a white pick up truck as he simply ‘didn’t see me’. I watched drop-jawed as a motorcycle overtook me whilst the rider chatted merrily away on his mobile phone. I got back in one piece with my two ‘Primaani’ shirts

June 17 – Fathers Day – for the second year in a row – in a foreign country. My kids are really getting off lightly!  As it happens I have had some gifts, but more importantly, kind words from my two.  You shouldn’t take us Dads for granted kids – if we really want to get our own back on you we will spitefully live to be 99 and require you to either change our incontinance pants or worse still have to pay the state to do the same!  We risked life and limb on our bikes again today and re-confirmed that should you not be very good at co-ordination/have dizzy spells/be an alcoholic/hate foreigners that you should get a job as a bus driver. The driver of the Alvor to Portimao bus fulfills all the requirements. He’d post his father a card if he knew who he was.

June 16 – I have been fishing again and once again ended up losing a fair amount of weights, hooks, lines and other feathery stuff in the sea. So this afternoon I went to the fishing tackle shop and bought some more tackle and to cut out the having to get up early and muck about poking the rod into the general direction of the ocean I just tossed my carrier bag full of new stuff into the sea. Tomorrow I will have a lie in and go for a Fathers Day lunch where a restaurant will serve me fish that they have caught/bought. On this day I will remember my own Dad who will I am sure loved our adventure.

June 15 – I’ve got crabs! Ha ha – not the ‘social’ kind.  I went fishing today (again) and caught nothing. No change there except I ‘sort of’ spoke to two other fishermen (see that – ‘I’ am now a fisherman!) and one of them shared a few of his fishing tips with me. He also gave me five crabs that he ‘found’ earlier so that, with his advise about fishing, I can go out tomorrow morning and have a better shot at catching one. I can only hope that he hasn’t wasted his crab gift on someone too hopeless at fishing that they eventually die without any purpose.  I managed to ‘bicycle’ the crabs back to base intact with all five still in the cut down water container that he and I fashioned with knife, string and water bottle.  They are now safely tucked away under the motorhome with fresh water and a in the shade to keep then going until tomorrow. One must have got wind of his fate as whilst we were barbequeing Alison proclaimed that there was a crab inching along the rear wheel – some frantic bid for freedom in crab terms I guess. He (or she – as I never checked) is now back with the other four with a freshly manufactured lid on the makeshift pot to ensure that they are all in attendance for tomorrows fishing trip.

June 14 – I’ll never learn – I am sure – I’ve burn my back again.  Thinking that it was conditioned to the sun following, er, the last time I burnt my back I went out yesterday without a shirt on and now my back is the same colour as one half of Portugal’s flag – and not the green part.  The rest of me is quite used to the sun now – and in fact I would give Sanjay down at Poyntons Bargain Booze a run for his money on the tan front – although as he has pointed out in the past – mine will eventually wear off. With my recent weight loss and the suntan I do hope people will recognise me when we do eventually return home. Or maybe I don’t.

June 13 – I have promised myself that I won’t  comment on Portugeuse driving again as (as it is absolutely true rude) but I will comment that I cycled into Portimao today (twice actually) and I am still alive (and there is a Toyota people carrier with some of the black paint off my bike on his rear quarter where he cut me up but I shall deny any knowledge if questioned). My other observation followed our trip by bike to a place on the opposite side of ‘our’ beach. It’s cluttered with old sofa’s, bricks, cookers etc. Now – if you are going to go to the trouble of loading this crap into your truck then why fall sort of the mark and dump it at the beach?  Why not – after the effort of loading it into the truck you own already – take it to the dump or leave it next to the refuse bins where they (the council) gladly take it away? You may have gathered already that I might be grumpy because my back got too much sun (ie BURNT) because my shirt stayed in the bike carrier when it should have been on my body.

June 12 – I am going to highlight the skills of the local drivers once again and whilst normal occasion motorists are forgiven ‘being a bit crap’ professional ones are not. We got stuck behind the bus on the way to Monchique today (beautiful Spa town) but as it pulled over to pick up a passenger we managed to get round it – no drama – just passed it. Minutes later its locked onto my bike rack (or so it would seem) and overtakes us. That is until the next time it has to stop to pick up a passenger. This must go on all day long with him risking his life, his passengers lives, and any poor road user in his way. I was further amused when we got to the top of the highest mountain in the Algarve and the hundreds of people who stepped off the various tourist coaches headed – not to look at the magnificent view – but to look in the gift shop. Such is life!

June 11 – We have ended up back at the Football Stadium in Lagos (not bad for someone who doesnt like football) and bumped into Mark and Lizzie who were here last time and the time before. Now considering we are supposed to be ‘travelling’ we dont seem to have mastered the ‘travel’ part! We are heading to Monchique tomorrow so it will be a new set of scenery. My WiFi dongle works and I’ve nearly slaughtered mastered Norwegian Wood.

June 10 – so with the weekend nearly over we are back to the weekly grind! I washed the motorhome today and it took me two hours – mainly as I was using a sponge best suited to washing a mouse’s back and rinsing it with a teacup. I had plenty of time so the only thing that mattered was the result. The result is that it is clean. I am still practicing ‘Norwegian Wood’ on my guitar having been shown how to play it by ‘Dave’ from Cornwall (Alison wants him assassinated – she should be glad he didnt show me how to play ‘Ive got a Brand New Combine Harvester’. As you can see – we have been busy.

June 9 – We have enjoyed staying around Luz and Lagos so much that we have been here quite a while now. Today we set off from up the coast and decided to check out Villa de Bispo as our solar panel guys wife set up a market stall there and we said we would pop in and see her. As a result we bumped into Iain (solar panel guy) too.  We then decided to pop back to Luz, collect our ‘new’ bank cards (long long story about just how crap RBS can be) and as we check into the campsite we bump into Swiss Andre and his wife and then see that Dave and Marie (from Cornwall) are also on site. We then cycle into Luz to get our cards from Hanna and on the way bump into Jim and Rosie. It’s now turning into something like a trip into Poynton (our UK village home) on a Saturday afternoon.  Whilst with Hanna along pops Lee and then Hanna’s hubby Zaminel (the only person I know with a name beginning with a ‘Z’) Small World isnt it?

June 8 – I wonder sometimes just when the ‘beautiful’ stuff will stop. Today a little baby bird (Ahhhh…) pecked at Alisons ankle – she actually flinched as she thought it was a bug or something –  but it had fallen out of its nest in a palm tree. I managed to pick it up and it walked around on my hand for a while.  A passer by told me what kind of bird it was and what colour its wings would be when (and IF given the nearby stalking cat)) it grew bigger. I asked how we would make sure it would be safe and he said I should ‘throw’ it onto the roof of the news kiosk we were opposite and the family higher up in the nest would feed it until it was big enough to fly. Nice. That doesn’t happen every day, sadly.

June 7 – We are heading up the coast a little tomorrow after a couple of days camped on a beach at Sagres (they named a beer after it so it must be a good beach). I lost the cover to my little BBQ and I am more annoyed than when I lost my gel seat cover a way back in France. This time the wind is at fault – yes, wind that totally useless element that does nothing other than hack you off by causing doors to slam shut and waft the smell of garbage under your nose. It must have blown out towards the sea which is going to leave some shipwrecked soul who might find it in two months time wondering what he might do with a bag for a BBQ out the on Gilligans Island.

June 6 – We have returned to Sagres and despite having already been treated to one trip to the beach this week I asceeded to go again. I managed to sit on the beach and NOT get sand up my nether regions and no one setlled down just five feet away from me – things are looking up!!

June 5 – We are going to move on later I think as we have been at Lagos outside the football ground for ages – we enjoy Portugeuse radio here played from the stadium speakers until ‘reception’ go home. The radio station only has a couple of CDs – so you hear pretty much the same songs over and over. I fully understand now that Bruce Springsteen WAS Born in the USA, Madonna, somewhat unlikely I guess is Like a Virgin and Bryan Adams is doing everything he does for us. So for now (to quote the ‘Dragons’) I’m out.

June 4 – I spent the afternoon at the beach today. Unknown to me my wife must have put up the ‘please plop yourself down really close to us’ together with the ‘large families particularly welcomed near my husband’ signs as I had to move three times just so no-one thought I was with the coach party that seemed to arrive moments after we got there!  I like a bit of space and do realise that I do have to share the beach with others but having the person ‘parked’ next to me turning the pages of my book doesnt feel right. I returned to the motorhome as soon as a quarter of the sand originally on the beach was stuck to me/in my ears/living up the crack of my bumcheeks. I like the beach*.


June 3 – As today is the first working day of the month many of the cash machines about Lagos have run out of money. Its heart warming to know that the banks over here are as useless as The Royal Bank of Scotland banks in England. I won’t go into that story as I’m not on holiday long enough to detail the story. We tried three machines before one would give us some money to may the solar panel man – a wonderful English guy, called Ian (and not just solar panel man) who fitted the panel that allows me to post unlimited pages of drivel as we have lots of stored power now!

June 2 – This is a holiday of many ‘firsts’ – we have ssen Dolphins, Red Squirrels, Falcons, and a mint Citroen 2CV. I’ve camped for ‘free’ at the edge of a beautiful beach this weekend and was able to cook our meal on a fire I made myself nestled in a circle of rocks off the beach. It’s a small tink I know but it amuses my tiny mind.  I ‘washed’ in the sea today and Alison chucked clean water over me as I washed my hair and self on the beach like a proper pikey – but enjoyed evey minute.  I did something else I’ve never done before too – a lack of public facilities and a full chemical toilet make for a desparate man – I ain’t writing about it thought – you’ll have to ask me to my face!

June 1 –  Well. its the start of a new month and no better time for me to slate the Minister of Portugal for their handling of the ‘Toll Motorway’.  I have no problem with a toll motorway – I wont use one (unless the company were paying I avoided the one on England too) but for those that want it and will pay to use it then fine and good.  Portugal’s are unique – they have been built at great expense (probably EU money) and because the toll fee collection is so difficult and complicated no one uses them. You get ANPR’ed and get a bill in the post to pay – you have to drive to the Post Office (miles away maybe) and pay the 80 cent fine which is less than the fuel you have used to go to the Post Office. As a consequence the poorly maintained roads through the villages are rammed with people avoiding the now unused yet pristine motorways.  And there was me thinking only UK Transport Ministers are as thick as pigs droppings.


10 Responses to Pauls 2012 Diary – June/July

  1. Sue rowley says:

    So glad you are both having a wonderful time lovely to read your diary and see what you have both been up to you picked the right time to go weather here in poynton is absolutely wet windy and horrible looking forward to reading the rest of your travels give my love to Ali xxxx sue rowley xxxx

  2. Giles Parker says:

    You just don’t get it do you? I work every day, have a WC and free electricity! seriously, a cracking read.

  3. kev donlon says:

    loving your ramblings Paul, keep it up

  4. Giles Parker says:

    Nothing sociable about crabs pal!!

  5. Dave and Maria says:

    Hi Paul
    You must have mastered Norwegian Wood as i’ve not been assassinated yet.
    Dave and Maria

  6. Paul Carr says:

    Hi p&a it’s been a while since I last spoke to u both, hope you are both well, yes it’s the nut with a T4 calypso same as yours without the turbo and I see your a muso like me, anyway,as always I have a problem, this time with the thetford loo that.all of a sudden won’t flush, it’s got water in and blue in the flush tank but alas, when I turn knob flush nothing, any ideas ? And if we ever meet I’ll let you hold one of my guitars, lol

    Regards Paul Carr

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