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Two Visits and Winter’s End
written (well finished writing) / posted Tuesday 12th April 2016
Does my title need the apostrophe? Does the “end” belong to Winter? Mmmm, not sure. I’ll leave it and let the Grammar Police put me right if necessary.
Since my previous post Mum and Bry visited us in Lagos for a week and I have been back to the UK for a week.
Mum and Bry came to Lagos on 7th March and stayed in the Marina Rio hotel which overlooks the marina from the other side of the bridge/road. They could see the boat from their verandah and we could see them. They hired a car for the week and Neil and I picked them up from Faro Airport on the Thursday. During their stay they had the best weather we had had since Christmas and certainly better than the Easter holiday weather in The Algarve. One afternoon of drizzly showers was the worst they had. Mum managed to get her legs sunburnt while sat on deck one afternoon.
We had a fairly busy week but not so manic that it was tiring. On Saturday Mum, Bry and I left Neil on board doing jobs and we caught the train to Portimao to the Aqua Shopping Centre. Unfortunately for Bry Mum and I went into every clothes shop in the precinct. Oddly Mum didn’t buy anything.
On the Monday we took Gleda out for a sail around to the entrance at Alvor where we anchored and had lunch. Although it was sunny, there was a cool breeze so we sat in the pod for our lunch. Bry hadn’t seen the boat since we were on the hard in Weir Quay and hadn’t even seen Gleda put together so it was a first for him.
We went out to Cape St Vincent and came back along the coast road from Salema, through Burgau into Pria de Luz. We stopped and had lunch at Sagres overlooking the bay where Neil and I anchored when we first arrived in the Algarve back in August last year. A lovely lunch with a great view. We were anchored just over Mum’s right shoulder as you look at the picture below.
On the Tuesday, which was the least sunny day, we went for a drive up to Monchique in the mountains and then up to the very summit. Although it was cloudy and threatening rain, it was high cloud so we could still see down to the coast from the top and it didn’t really rain until the afternoon when we were back in Lagos. It was very cold on the summit though. Luckily the cafe was open so we could get a welcome cup of hot coffee. On the way up we drove through windy roads and eucalyptus and cork trees. Very different from the flat land near the coast.
We had a great week and ate out a lot. We visited the Marina Bar for their €6 special of half grilled chicken, chips and beer or wine which, as usual, was really nice. We went to the Adega de Marina twice and had a great experience both times.
On the Sunday afternoon we went up to the Pro-Putting Garden which was in town, just by part of the old city wall. It was a really fun afternoon and although they claim professionals will find it good practice it was fun as well. Around the holes were stone frogs which randomly squirted water as you were playing. Neil thought it great fun to try and get me and Mum in front of them but ended up taking a spray in the face from a hidden one. We thought it hilarious, or Karma, of course. Bizarrely though a couple of days later he had a scratchy throat and stuffy nose. Legionella from standing water or a cold? Who knows although as I am just recovering from a cold that started after a few days in the UK I’ll go with he had a regular cold. Neil won the golf. Our card is below. Mum and I came joint second. Feel free to check my maths.
After a full week and good weather we said bye to Mum and Bry at Faro airport and then went to do a “big” shop as we still had the car for a few hours.
It was then only a week until I flew back to the UK. My flight was great. Monarch from Faro to Birmingham. We took off early, I had 3 seats to myself, a newer plane so more leg room, I treated myself to a Prosecco and a muffin and we landed 40 minutes early and my bag was one of the first on to the conveyer and Mum was waiting.
First things first – haircut on Saturday morning then off to Banbury to check out the new Marks and Spencers. It’s huge. Mum and I spent a couple of hours in there and had lunch then had a mooch around the other shops in this new shopping park. Primary, Next, New Look, Outfit, Poundland, Mountain Warehouse, River Island…
Sunday we went round to my brother Gary’s house then we walked over to my other brother, Gavin, for Easter lunch. His wife, Tammy, had made a fabulous roast turkey dinner for 7 adults and 4 children. She had also arranged an Easter Egg hunt around the garden with a letter from the Easter Bunny. Such Fun! Think I enjoyed it more than the kids. When I was little though, we got one Easter egg from our Mum who would hide them in the house with our names on so we knew which was which. I see now that children get loads of Easter chocolate from family, friends etc. The amount of chocolate the kids got between them will keep them going till the summer. I had a Cadburys chocolate buttons Easter egg from Mum which was just what I wanted. It was a lovely afternoon with the boys and their families. I helped Zak and Eva make their Easter finger puppets that the Easter Bunny had left with their chocolate. Still crafting.
I’ve seen Dad in his residential home a few times. I took him in some new photos for his album. One of which is family in America. He still recognised his sister, my Auntie Olive. He mistook her son, Alan, for her husband but as he hasn’t seen them for many many years and Alan does look like his Dad, that was only natural. Other photos were the one of me, Gary and Gavin above and ones I took of the kids so they are nice and up to date. I’m worried that he is going to become bed-ridden. Not because of his physical ability but because of the dementia. He does not stand up easily and it would appear to be his mind that is holding him back. He says he wants to stand up and move, which physically he can, but he does not seem to be able to do it. I tried cajoling, bribing, tempting him up but although he gives every indication of wanting to stand, he just didn’t seem able. The home have advised me that he is going to have both some physical therapy and therapy to try and help his mind. I hope they can help him. Was a bit surprised to see him dressed one morning in his Christmas t-shirt. Really, in April! However, one carer said that when it came back from the laundry she would put it in a drawer ready for Christmas. My last visit on the Sunday after Easter I couldn’t get him to smile for the photo so he will now be forever immortalised on my site as being grumpy. I did get him to smile in the one with me as I was tickling his neck.
I’ll mention here about becoming a “Dementia Friend“. With my experiences of different types and stages of dementia with Dad, Nan and Philippa I can’t emphasis enough that it is not always the memory and being forgetful that are the first signs of dementia and if diagnosed early enough progression of the disease may be slowed down. I’m a Dementia Friend and you can learn more about what this means, here. Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends programme is the biggest ever initiative to change people’s perceptions of dementia. It aims to transform the way the nation thinks, acts and talks about the condition. I would encourage you all to have a look and sign up if you feel you can.
I met up with friends and had a good few hours with each catching up on family news and gossip. I saw two of the Commission staff Tony & Barry and had a chat with them. They are still with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and work on the sites in and around the Midlands area. It was great to see them again and have the chance to say hi. I also caught up with two of the girls who I used to work with in the office; Lisa and Ali. We met for a drink and the time flew catching up on each others news. In some ways it only seems a few months since we worked together but in June this year it will be 2 years since the office was closed. Tempus fugit and all that.
The cold I had dragged me down a bit and I had a few nights of coughing and sneezing and not being able to taste any of the nice meals I went out for. However, managed to get everything off my shopping list, well nearly everything, forgot Shwartz Indian mixes. A very early start on the Monday morning to get my 6am flight back to Faro. The plan was to leave the Marina on Thursday 7th April when our contract ran out and return to Alvor. With my cold though and the weather being uncharicterisatcally cold and rainy (for The Algarve) we have decided to stay for another week. Hot running water for showers and electric for warming our cabin in the evening being the major factors. We are planning to leave this Thursday (14th) before we become too soft and never leave the marina. We managed 6 weeks in Messack and The Fal River in Cornwall, without electric or running hot water in April and May last year and the weather was certainly colder and rainer than it is here.
While recuperating from my cold I have been crocheting, unsurprisingly. I bought 2 magazines back from the UK, Country Life (it doesn’t all have to be about boats) and Simply Crochet magazine which had a little flower project. So while I caught up with the latest series of Call the Midwife (I cried. Yup Ri if you are reading this, you read right. I that is me, cried!) I crocheted some flower brooches.
Crochet baskets have turned out to be the bane of my life. I have left 3 very different ones for Pam when she returns to Deja Vu. Pam had asked if I could make her a couple. “Yup”, I said. “No problem”, I said. According to my crochet blogs and mags, baskets are easy and only take a couple of hours to make a handy receptacle. Yeah, right. I did make one other which I gave to Laurel, my Goddaughter. It was tall and kept collapsing, I should of used a smaller stitch, so I tried starching it (can’t get starch here in Portugal) bought some in the UK. Not sure how successful it has been but hope Laur finds some use for it.
Met up with the girls for my final Coffee Klatch today. Pleased to see that it is likely to continue without the founder members as there are different ladies coming almost weekly and “old”, in the best possible sense, ladies returning after some time away. Pam (founder) joined us briefly on FaceTime this morning. It was 3am where she is and she got up just to say hi – well done Pam; who knew that there were two 3o’clocks in one day! However, technology let us down in that Pam could not hear us, or we were talking over each other. Great to see her though as she left here at the end of December.
So it looks like €6 chicken and chips for dinner tonight as a farewell. So many people on the move and leaving. We have so many great people here over our 6 months and we hope we will see them at some point at another marina or anchorage. The boat is ready and we are ready really. Only a few hours required to do some washing, fill the water tanks and do a bit of a shop and we’ll be ready to go. Oh yeah and pay the bill!