#thursdaysspecial

Spot the theme?

I’m interpreting the Weekly Photo Challenge to suit myself this week.  On Monday’s chilly walk I suggested that I still have a few warm Algarve images to share, and here they are in  Variations on a Theme

Those of you who know me will have spotted that the theme is Tavira.  I’m heading there this weekend and this will be my last post for a while.

I couldn’t leave without one more tribute to Paula.  She works hard and still manages to bring us Thursday’s Special each week.  Two views on the same subject.  What do you think?  Take care, till next time.

Present meets past?

I wanted somewhere suitably elegant to end my daughter’s visit to the Algarve, and they don’t come any more elegant than the Estói Palace.  In A palace in warm sunshine, back in November 2014, I suggested that it might make a good venue for afternoon tea.  Do you remember it, Paula?  Long overdue, I think.  The sun was just sliding down the sky when we got there and the terrace looked so inviting.

What a study in opulence this place is.  No need to introduce you to azulejos after Monday’s post but I can never resist sharing a few more beauties.

More restoration work had been carried out since my last visit.  The small summerhouses were a picture, with their vibrant stained glass and painted walls and ceiling.  The grotto was open and my son-in-law, who has a particular interest in ironwork, studied the details with interest.

Enough of admiring our reflection.  It’s time to go indoors for refreshment.  Truth be told, it really couldn’t compete with the decor.

Does that window look familiar, Becky?  You’ll be happily ensconced in your Algarve life by now.  I’ve taken liberties with your Past meets Present.  I’m sorry!  You did such a nice job on the Palacio not long ago.  Paula- I thought you might like an update for Traces of the Past?

Oddly enough, the waiter said they only had cheesecake.  Ah well!  Cake’s cake, isn’t it?  There wasn’t a crumb left when son-in-law had finished.

Festive

Fizz!  Bang!  Whoop-whoop-whoop!  I know they’re a dreadful waste of money, but I can’t help the excitement I feel whenever I see fireworks.  The child in me claps it’s hands, and beams at the sky.

When my Polish family invited me to Norfolk to join their New Year celebrations, I knew there would be dancing, vodka- of course!- kissing, and more food than I could reasonably be expected to eat in a week.  I wasn’t disappointed on any of these counts, but the promise of fireworks at Cromer on New Year’s Day was the icing on the cake. (and yes, there was plenty of that, too).

Impatiently, we waited for the lights to dim and the show to start, gazing across the water for signs of activity on the pier.

And then, finally, the count down.  5-4-3-2-1- whooppee!

Impossible to replicate the sounds, the colours and the pure joy.  This week Paula has asked us to Pick a Word in Thursday’s Special.  I’ve picked an easy word, Festive, to stave off the January blues.

Six word Saturday

Sleigh bells ring, are you listening?

This is how Christmas looks in my part of the world.  Darkness and Light.  And a few Square skies.  How about you?  However you spend it, I hope that your Christmas is full of love.  And maybe just a little magic?  Thanks, Tom!

Now, off you go to Debbie’s world, for a little upside down skiing.  And don’t forget to take Six Words with you!

Finding a sequence

This is SO not the day for a walk, as storm Caroline huffs and puffs her way towards us, but Paula’s magnificent Sequence this morning sent my mind drifting back to late summer.  I was pootling around in Saltburn-by-the-Sea when I spotted a signpost promising a clifftop walk to Marske.  It was only a mile or 2 down the coast, but the climb up to the cliffs appeared a little daunting.  I knew the views would be great, though!

With a sense of achievement after my climb I set off on the clifftop, peering over the edge at a lone rider and, off in the distance, the towering offshore wind farm at Redcar.  Sweeping views right along the coast.

Soon Marske was ahead of me and I needed to get down off the cliff top.  Uncertain of which way to choose, I made a delightful discovery.  A row of terraced houses with themed seaside gardens overlooking a lovely cove.

And what else, draped in all their winter finery, but a Sequence of tractors, for Thursday’s Special.

Can I just remind you that Becky is playing with square skies all of December?  The lead photo needs to be square, and contain sky.  Like mine!

A sad story?

Up a flight of cobbled steps, on the corner of a tiny square, stands one of the most bedraggled, unloved houses in Tavira.  In a town where every other street has a ‘do-er upper’ – part of it’s charm – this one is nothing uncommon.  Often I look at a ruin and think, ‘that would make a great little home’, and pass right on by.  But this lost soul always stops me in my tracks.

I first saw it a dozen years ago, when I’d been puffing up and down hills, exploring Tavira’s delightful back streets.  It looked the perfect size.  And maybe I could have a tiny roof terrace where I could closet myself away, and peer down at the occasional passer by.  And then, one Christmas time, I saw the little square decked in all its finery.  What wonderful neighbours I could have!

But the years have rolled by, and I haven’t claimed it as mine.  Time hasn’t been kind and now I can see inside to the wooden ceiling.  Weeds sprout from the roof and gutters.  And still I’m tempted!  Why hasn’t it been snapped up?  Did I mention the steep, cobbled steps?  How would I ever get the shopping home as I get older and dothery?

It’s not as though there aren’t plenty of others to feel sorry for.  Spare a kind thought for these.

Why am I sharing these today?  Well, I thought I’d cheer up my old buddy, Sue.  She loves nothing more than a good ruin.  And Paula’s back with Pick a Word in another engaging Thursday’s Special.  I chose Remains and Non-Human to illustrate.

Forte de São Luís de Almádena

Forte de São Luís de Almádena sits on a rocky promontory, midway between the villages of Burgau and Saleema, in the western Algarve.  The fort was built in 1632, by order of King João III, in order to protect the local tuna fishing community from raids by corsairs and pirates.  It was finally abandoned in 1849, after sustaining considerable damage in the earthquake of 1755.  The ruins include 2 ramparts, a moat, gates and a barracks.

I considered myself very fortunate to discover these ruins.  We’d been strolling on the golden beach at Burgau, and as we left the village a sign pointed along the coast towards them.  A slight change of plan and 5 minutes later we were there.  In golden silence we surveyed the coast in all directions.  As I shielded my eyes from the glare of the sun, I was sure I spotted the masts of a pirate ship.

You’ll realise, of course, that it’s a Thursday and we’re all waiting for Paula to come back and be Special, as she always is.