Newsletter February 2006


by: Karen Telling

Firstly I would like to thank Nigel for his entertaining and informative newsletters over the past 3 years, I am not sure I am qualified to take over, but here goes!

We spent New Year’s Eve in A Vela restaurant, Antonia and her husband provided a delicious meal as usual, and we were entertained by live music in the shape of Klonakilty, a talented duo playing a wide range of music. I understand that they have a number of gigs lined up across the Algarve over the next few months, and would recommend anyone who enjoys live music to go and see them.

During a telephone conversation with my mother-in-law in the UK she told us that she had been introduced to a former Carvoeiro resident at a New Year party in Woking. It turned out to be Jill Mann, who with her late husband Ric ran the Long Bar, Sullys and Whispers (now Jailhouse). As my mother-in-law had spent 6 weeks in Carvoeiro in the autumn she was pleased to be able to chat to Jill about Carvoeiro then and now, and they were both amazed at the coincidence.

Carvoeiro was fairly lively over Christmas and New Year, with quite a few visitors spending the festive period in the village. Unfortunately some were delayed on their return journey when the firemen at Faro airport went on strike on Friday 6 January over possible job losses. My brother-in-law and his girlfriend had been staying in their apartment in Carvoeiro, and should have flown back to Gatwick on the evening of the 6th, but didn’t actually make it back until the Sunday evening. Fortunately it didn’t inconvenience them too much, but I am sure it must have been more of a problem to other travellers. At the moment there is no sign of a repeat strike – let’s hope they resolve the dispute soon.

As the Christmas and New Year visitors left, the ‘snowbirds’ started to arrive from Canada, Germany, Holland and the UK, all hoping to escape the worst of the winter weather at home and see some beautiful Algarve sunshine – and Smilers re-opened ready for their regular Canadian afternoons. The weather was fairly settled with bright, sunny days and cooler evenings when woodburners are virtually indispensable. I have to confess that I love our woodburner and am known as the family pyromaniac – I can’t wait to get started with kindling and firelighters and try to keep the fire going 24 hours a day at the moment, as the warm daytime temperatures outside don’t always penetrate the inside of the house. At this time of year, with the smell of wood smoke in the air, it is difficult to imagine that the summer will come, when it will be so hot that we’ll be looking for shade and not sun!

On Saturday 7th we went to Bella Vita at Clube Atlantico for a lovely meal, and were pleased to see that they are now offering a full take away menu – not just pizza and pasta but also meat and fish dishes, and even starters and desserts. Later in the month I was on my own for about 10 days as my husband was on a work trip to Italy, and as my culinary skills extend to beans on toast, my parents took advantage of the take away service and brought a delicious (and very reasonable) 3 course meal round to my house. Some friends also took pity on my ‘chef-less’ state and we went to A Galé for dinner on Monday 23rd – as usual it was a very enjoyable meal, and less than 50 euros for the 3 of us.

On Saturday 15th we had arranged to meet some friends staying at the Pedra Grande apartments. When we arrived to pick them up they told us that they had lost their mobile phone while walking on the cliff tops close to the lighthouse that morning, so we drove round to look for it. As they re-traced their steps I rang the number so we could listen for the ring tone, to my surprise the phone was answered by a male voice – thankfully someone had found the phone! When I asked where we could meet to collect the phone, he replied that he was in the lighthouse – right next to where we were searching. He came to the gate and handed the phone to our friends, who were very grateful as it was the only way their family in Canada could contact them while they were in Portugal. I didn’t get his name, but if he is reading this I would like to pass on our thanks for his help and his honesty – it really made their day to get their phone back.

The Portuguese media had been full of the forthcoming Presidential elections which were held on 22 January, the current President, Jorge Sampaio, had come to the end of his second term and was constitutionally obliged to stand down. The polls were predicting that the frontrunner, Aníbal Cavaco Silves, a former Prime Minister, would not achieve an overall majority and a second vote would be necessary, but in the end he won a convincing victory with 50.6% of the vote – his nearest rival Manuel Alegre polled 20.7%. For the first time since the 1974 revolution Portugal has a centre-right President and a Socialist government – only time will tell what difference, if any, this will have on the country!

The fine spell of weather broke around the 25th with a few very wet, cold and windy days – hopefully the rain will have helped top up the water supplies. Some of the online forecasts were predicting snow for the Portimão region and although it didn’t reach Carvoeiro, there was about 2 cm of snow in Monchique, the most snow to have settled in the region for over 10 years. Traffic jams formed as large numbers of people queued to see this unusual sight. Other areas of the Algarve saw their first snow for over 50 years, and the local council in São Brás de Alportel gave schoolchildren the day off, and took them up to the mountains by coach, to let them play in the snow!

As usual at this time of year, some of the bars and restaurants are closing for their annual holidays, and others are re-opening, a lot of places use this time for renovations and improvements, ready for the, hopefully, busy season ahead. I noticed that Café Fino have added steps up to the terrace from the pavement so you no longer have to go into the café to access the terrace, which seems a much better arrangement, and there appears to be renovation work going on at Round-Up too.

The work on the new drainage/sewerage system is continuing on the square, and the main road between Monte Carvoeiro and Vila Nova is now closed except for residents. All the other roads in the area have been closed in turn, so I hope this may be the last stage of the pipe laying process.

The month ended with a couple of beautiful, sunny days, the evenings are starting to stretch out with sunset around 6.30, and the almond trees are starting to blossom, reminding us that spring is just around the corner.

Até a proxima….