Algarve

Living the Dream- in the Algarve, Portugal

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Sounds familiar? A dream that many share but, though we chose the same country, my story and that of Alyson are very different. I was excited, and very nervous, to meet Aly not long after I started blogging, by invitation to their wonderful home in Ferragudo. I had been following Algarve Blog and comparing notes and experiences, because she and husband Dave lived almost at the opposite end of the Algarve from Tavira. They were lovely hosts and Alyson showed me her artist’s studio with great pride. It was to become key to their new lifestyle, and the development of Alyson’s own very individual style of painting. Me and Michael were plied with banana bread, and regaled with stories of how ‘living the dream’ became a reality for them. Some funny, some more of a warning for what we might face in our own pursuit of the dream.

Little did I know then that I was getting a foretaste of the book she was to write. What we share is an enormous enthusiasm for the Portuguese way of life. Its kind and generous people, who welcome us into their homeland, and tolerate our wilful ways, with little more than an occasional roll of the eyes and a gentle shrug. Alyson has done her best to integrate into the community, and she and Dave give back wherever they can, fund raising for the bombeiros, the crucial fire fighting service here, and Madrugada, for those who need a helping hand. I know from personal experience of Alyson’s generosity with her time and expertise. I struggled mightily with the technical aspects of running a blog at the outset, and she would often offer help. Her artistic flair was never in doubt, and I take great pride in the logos she designed for me, which I still use on Six Word Saturday.

I don’t really need to say more, do I? The book is a wealth of experience for anyone considering the move to a new country. It’s also a travel guide with many enticing recommendations. And it’s a darn good read! I’ll leave you with an early example of Alyson’s art work. I hope she won’t mind.

Six word Saturday

No doubt about it- shade needed!

A stroll around Loulé, enjoying the shade.  Into the 30s this weekend, so we’ll definitely need it.  Meanwhile Debbie has been having fun on Six Word Saturday.  And if you look closely I think I’ve made a few Weekend Reflections too?  Have a good one, and see you on Monday for a walk.

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Simple fare

Funny how different we are!  My husband loves these little pinwheels coated in white chocolate, or a Kitkat.  Me, I’m happy with a digestive.  I can dunk it, or eat it covered in crumbly cheese.  I really don’t mind.  The one immutable is coffee, when I first get out of bed.

Don’t you love the tiny Portuguese cups?  Ideal size for a bica, but seldom used in my home.  If we have a tradesman at the house I always hesitantly offer coffee.  Often the response is a rueful head shake.  Sometimes a polite request for water.  Leaving me in no doubt that my coffee making skills are far below par.  How do they know?  My reputation appears to have traveled.

The sturdy tray was decoupaged for me by my daughter, as a useful gift to carry my cuppa all the way up to the roof terrace.  I am a bit prone to get two thirds of the way up, a cup in one hand, plate in the other and a book or two under my arm, and trip….  Ribbon cascades of coffee down white walls… not a good look!

So what’s new in the Algarve right now?  Su started Teatime in the blogosphere to nourish and cheer us all up in gloomy times.  I’m happy to say that gradually the gloom is rolling back, here.  With caution.  Our restaurants and cafés have been open for a couple of weeks, and we are becoming more relaxed about meeting in small groups.  Masks are still mandatory in enclosed spaces.  And still no touching, though I find it hard not to lay a sympathetic hand on an arm.  Full blown hugs feel a long way off.  Cake isn’t really a consolation for that, but it’s all I can offer, for now.

Do help yourself!  I hope things are getting better in your part of the world?

Monday murals

Strolling through Faro the other day admiring the storks I came upon these two, and thought at once of my friend Sami’s Monday Murals.  For those of you wondering where I’ve hidden my Monday walks, I’m in laidback mode for the summer.  I will be doing a round up of walks next Monday.  Nothing too strenuous!  Take care till then.

Six word Saturday

They choose the most majestic homes!

There were more storks than people in Faro the other day.  I looked hard for babies but it wasn’t easy to tell with all the bobbing heads.  Today Debbie is seeing triple on Six Word Saturday.  Why not join her?  Have a nice day!

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When ‘living the dream’ goes pear-shaped

Pear-shaped is exactly how it feels, some days.  A sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.  A sadness that won’t be pushed away.  No matter how many times I might repeat ‘get a grip!’  Get a grip!  It’s 18 months since we sold our UK home and renounced life in England, in pursuit of ‘the dream‘.  And yes, we found it.  A world of sunlight and smiling faces.  But often now, I wonder, at what cost?

Of course, we discussed the ‘what ifs’ before we made the move.  What if we’re seriously ill over there, or worse, the youngsters are?  Easily dismissed!  Portugal has a health care system.  Flights are cheap and easy.  Stop right there.  You can see the flaw in the argument now, can’t you?  Why didn’t we?  Hindsight, such a wonderful thing.  It does no good to say, as both children have, ‘but you’re safer there’.  It may well be true.  There is far less density of population here, and steps were taken in good time to help prevent the spread of infection.  But I didn’t come here for safety.  Far from it!  And I definitely didn’t come here to isolate myself from my family.  The dream included happy times shared with them, in this lovely place.  Was I greedy?  Wanting too much?  You can’t have it all, never was truer.

The clock ticks on and there is no real comfort in sight.  Flights can be, have been, booked, but there is no certainty that they will operate.  And what of the quarantine measures that may be applied?  Which employer is going to say ‘go, have a good time, and take an extra 2 weeks when you come back to self isolate’?  If there is still a job available.

The pragmatic view.  All things must pass?  But in the meantime I feel like I have betrayed my children.  Deliberately distanced myself when help, both physical and emotional, might be needed.  Hoodwinked, both them and me.  Overreacting?  Maybe so, but that expression ‘a heavy heart’- I know just how it feels.  Gradually things are starting to normalise here, and I can’t deny spontaneous joy at walking on beaches again, and meeting with friends.  But the future feels precarious, in a way it never did, ‘before’.

Six word Saturday

Don’t you just love wild poppies?

#SquareTops Say it with poppies!  Where’s the link here?  Maybe I’ll have to go for top drawer.  I’m struggling this morning, but I could get lyrical about poppies.  Meanwhile, Debbie says it with bluebells.  Happy Six Word Saturday!

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Photographers on Top

Isn’t it strange, the things your eyes miss?  I don’t know how many times I must have walked past the photographer’s studio on Avenida da Liberdade, in Tavira, and never noticed this handsome pair, looking down on me.  Always look up!  I do, but I have a tendency to bump into things.  🙂

Becky has a beautiful post over on #SquareTops today.  Don’t miss it!

Not so peaceful… Moncarapacho

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Last day of Carnival 2020 and Moncarapacho was making the most of it.  My Dad loved a party!  It would have been his birthday today and I’m smiling as I think of him, tapping his stick and nodding his head to the music.