I realised this morning that it has been almost a month since I gave a full update on life here in Portugal.
I have a good excuse. Over the past couple of weeks, I have been putting the finishing touches to Moving to Portugal – the book, and am proud to be able to finally show you the cover:
Over the years, several people have said that I ought to turn the blog into a book. To start with, I dismissed the idea, mainly because I didn’t wish to repeat what I had already written.
The solution was for my wife to produce a brand new narrative from her perspective. This means that while those wonderful people who have read the blog from the start may recognise certain events and situations, there is still plenty of brand new content to read.
The book should be available on Amazon within the new few weeks. You can be sure I’ll let you know when it is!
Meanwhile, summer has gathered pace, and with the exception of an oddly cool and overcast week last week, we are enjoying plenty of heat and sunshine.
When I say “enjoying,” that’s not strictly true. “Observing” would probably be a better word, as we both currently have a work schedule that resembles the one we left London to get away from!
However, some friends arrive next Monday for a ten-day stay and then we will officially switch to holiday mode. Their arrival marks the start of our visitor season; A quick count up reveals we have 18 different individuals coming to visit between now and mid-October.
We are determined to take in plenty of the things the Algarve has on offer this year. We felt a little short-changed last summer. We reached October feeling like we hadn’t done nearly enough in terms of beaches, events and festivals.
This year we have already visited the Medieval festival in Silves, where we had a great evening enjoying hog roast, craft stalls and plenty of sangria consumed from porcelain flagons. Olhao’s shellfish festival and Portimao’s sardine festival are next on our list.
We are also determined to do more swimming in the sea. I think we may have become acclimatized to Algarve weather and water temperature. When I look back at photos of us here on holiday years ago, we were clearly spending hours in the sea even in April; now, in July the sea seems REALLY cold.
Perhaps we were just more determined to make the most of our beach time back then? Either way, I refuse to reach the end of the summer and feel like we’ve hardly set foot in the sea – so from next week onwards, we’re going in every time we go to the beach!
In other news, our region in the East Algarve has been through some awful wild-fires. Now extinguished, the fires burned one third of our borough, according to the local mayor. The fires raged for days and our local firemen, who are mostly volunteers, have been rightly hailed as heroes.
It came as a shock to me that they receive such limited state funding that they require food and drink to be provided via public appeal. However, the success of the appeal meant that, within hours, the local community had provided far more than required. I was pleased to be able to do my bit, and it was heartwarming to know that a “blitz spirit” is alive and well here in Portugal.
The risk of further fires still exists and there was another in the West Algarve only yesterday. It is also important to remember that central Portugal and the Alentejo go through this every year. Our dry winter has increased the level of risk across the whole country.
I think that concludes my update for today. I have five more working days until holiday (yes I AM counting) so I’d better get on with it. Back soon – hopefully with more news of the book.
If you want something to read in the meantime, I recommend this inspirational moving abroad memoir, set in neighbouring Andalucia: