Charting a couple's move from London to Portugal, tales, adventures and moving advice


April – Ten Fabulous Things 1

Posted on April 26, 2010 by Ben Algarve

Monday mornings are a lot easier to deal with when the sun floods through the curtains as soon as we pull up the shutters. I am very thankful that I really can’t find a lot to complain

Montegordo - just before sunset

Montegordo - just before sunset

about right now, and yesterday as I sat on the beach, I started thinking about all the great times we have had this month. It’s time for a list! Here are ten fabulous things that we enjoyed in April:

1. Spending three hours (yesterday) bobbing around in an over-sized rubber ring in a calm and surprisingly warm Atlantic Ocean.

2. Learning how to prepare and cook fresh squid.

3. Watching fish swimming in the top of the waves at Barrill beach on the Isla De Tavira.

4. Sharing our new home with several of our nearest and dearest.

5. Going to the beach with our friend’s eight month old baby and introducing him to sand.

6. Mastering the use of our new barbeque, with the exception of learning how to stop having to clean it being a HUGE chore.

7. Playing boule on the beach. (Hmm, a bit of a beach theme emerging here…)

8. Driving around somewhere that now truly feels like home with loud, sunny music playing.

9. Sitting outside drinking cheap wine on the first of the really barmy, warm evenings.

10. Exploring some more of Portugal (some the Alentejo and the area around Coimbra – more to follow on the blog at some point!)

It is interesting, when I read back over the list, that none of these things really cost money. Luther Vandross and Janet Jackson were spot on: the best things in life ARE free!

In the interests of balance, as always, here are a few less fabulous things from this month!

1. Discovering that Spain, as well as the UK, must have its share of noisy chavs, demonstrated by the group of children throwing wood at each other on Montegordo beach while their tattooed parents shouted at them. Thankfully this was an isolated example!

2. Coming to the realisation that having to go back to the UK every few months to work is never going to stop being rather depressing.

3. Trying to sleep when mosquitoes are determined to make noisy dives at your ears.

4. Finding out that even though Portugal is a far more friendly country than the UK, there are still a few people in customer facing jobs who need to learn to smile. Chinese restaurant on Montegordo seafront, I am thinking of you 🙂

That’s it for today. Have a look at my other blog, for five fabulous foods from this month!

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Broken Britain? 7

Posted on July 12, 2009 by movingtoportugal
Welcome to Britain

Welcome to Britain

I got “started on” today! I don’t think I have even used that expression since school some 17 years ago. It was all very unexciting really – I was cycling into the park to meet my wife in what would generally be classed as a “pretty posh” area of London and a group of 3 “youths” blocked my path in order to cause some sweary low-level trouble. It passed without event and in the grand scheme of things it was nothing major at all, but it was still enough to make me not particularly want to stay in the park, or even go there again really.

I am so pleased I am moving to Portugal in under four months. I have always been pretty patriotic, but it’s time to speak from the heart. This place sucks nowadays. The Friday before last, I had to snatch my wifes bag back from a bag-snatcher outside our very friendly London local – and living in London has made me so desensitized to this kind of low-level crap that I only just remembered about it and hadn’t thought to mention it to my family.

So as not to risk turning this post into an unfocussed political rant. Here are five things that are shit about London and the UK.

1. If you break a traffic or parking regulation in London you will be pounced on and fined immediately, be it by a well-paid, target-driven council worker or an expensive, tax-payer funded CCTV computer system. If however, you prefer higher level crime, you can go for shop-lifiting or burglary with complete impunity because there isn’t enough money to get cops to investigate that.

2. If you don’t fancy working and you prefer to drink or smoke weed all day and have fun by causing trouble in public parks – don’t worry YOU CAN. We have a welfare system that needs completely overhauling so that people cannot make a career out of laziness and stupidity. The Kaiser Chiefs should never have been allowed to release that song that says “It’s cool to know nothing.” For many I fear the irony was lost and it was adopted as a mantra!

3. Still on the subject of public parks. If you get some rare English sunshine and you fancy buying one of those disposable BBQs and having a couple of burgers in the park – YOU CAN’T. There is nowhere within the M25 where it is allowed. “Feral Youths – roam all you want! – Eco-friendly middle classes who fancy a quiet organic burger before clearing away and recycling all your litter – you are not welcome here!” Bloody ridiculous. Did everyone start out stupid or are they reacting to being treated AS IF they are stupid?

4. APATHY. Hold on, weren’t the majority of our politicians caught COMPLETELY RIPPING US ALL OFF a little while ago? Why did no-one DO anything? Well a few people texted a few jokes about it to each other, maybe a spot of light whinging around the watercooler. But then the Champions League final came along….now there’s some common ground we can ALL talk about! Pathetic. Everyone seems to have been so numbed by sport and celebrity culture that they don’t care what is important. Every person in this country who starts reading the paper from the back should be ashamed of themselves.

5. VANITY. A culture where physical beauty and/or sporting prowess are more revered and rewarded than genuine good is rotten to the core. Perhaps this culture is affecting the whole western world, but Britain is doing it’s best to lead the charge of the superficial. I thought all the Susan Boyle business may have been a turning point but it appears to have just been a temporary blip in the collective conscience, and the tabloids soon manged to put a stop to that. “SuBo” anyone? It makes me want to break stuff.

Sod it, it was a political rant, but I feel a lot better now. I just think it’s a damn shame that somewhere I have tried so much to love has been so spoiled. I am also pretty sure that it is going to get a lot worse and that we won’t be the last skilled, hard-working couple to get away and prevent our children having to grow up amongst the scumbags.

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