Apologies once again for my extended absence. We had to pop back to England to attend the wedding of some dear friends, and to earn some money.
As with last time, it was a whirlwind of activity without a second to spare, and we hardly found time to breathe until we unceremoniously landed back at Faro airport, wondering how we managed to keep up with the pace of city life for so many years!
Now we have been away from the UK for six months, our Portuguese life seems like our normal life and it was pleasing to find that we now view and refer to Portugal as “home” without giving it a thought.
As ever, it was good to find time to catch up with some friends but we did find ourselves longing to be back in the Algarve. My wife, especially, experienced home-sickness for Portugal for the first time, although this was perhaps magnified by the fact that there is only so long anybody can stay sane within the purple and yellow confines of a Premier Inn!
Every time my wife and I finished our respective hectic days and reconvened over some kind of hastily procured takeaway food, we found ourselves discussing how our lives had changed, and the general theme was how glad we were to have made the drastic jump to a life in Portugal.
We concluded that there was literally no amount of money that would persuade us to return to a life in London – and we really do mean ANY amount! Getting some distance from the hamster-wheel existence so many people live really does put things in perspective, and although I looked very hard, I failed to see a single happy face on the rush-hour district line. My wife reports that she did see a lady who looked reasonably cheerful walking down a street in South London, but was swiftly reminded she was no longer in Portugal when she tried to smile at her and was met with a look of astonishment and distrust!
I am aware I am sounding really negative about my old home-town, so believe me when I say I am not trying to put across an attitude of “London’s crap, Portugal is great.” However, between incredulity at paying the equivalent cost of a great seafood meal for two one-day travel-cards, shock at just how unsuited the average London shop assistant is to any kind of customer-facing role, and paying coronary-inducing amounts of money for rather mediocre food and drink at every turn, I find it very hard to sugar-coat our most recent London experience.
There were good sides: seeing people we miss (as always,) being able to get fish and chips, taramosalata and Thai food, and being able to buy clothes designed for those of us who eat on a regular basis and can’t fit into clothes made for slim Portuguese men, but unfortunately we had done all of this within a couple of days and were then counting the hours until our return!
Now we are back where the sun shines and just have to shake off whatever nasty bug it was we caught on the plane on our way back, before we can settle back into Portuguese life….then I can start to blog about nice things again