Newsletter February 2009

by: Carol Carpenter

Hi Everybody – I hope you all enjoyed your Christmas and New Year Celebrations, I would like to wish you all Health and Happiness for 2009.

A lot has happened since my last newsletter. Firstly, I would like to say the Christmas Party that was arranged by the Freemasons of the Algarve (to whom the Carvoeiro badge money was donated) for the children of Pirilampos was a great success. We arrived on Sunday morning 21st Dec to find the children playing with all the new toys. They were then given new Tee-shirts, pretty pastel colours for the Girls and this Seasons Football Shirts for the Boys all with their names printed on the back. After this if they wished they could have their faces painted, anything from Pirates, Butterflies, Clowns or Flowers. Lunch followed and then it was off to the Cinema to see “Madagascar”.

Well that was the plan, but we were running a little late, due to me taking photos of the children whilst they were having lunch. I was asked to leave the dining room by the cook, who was actually laughing, as they needed to finish their soup before they were allowed out. Unfortunately, because of this we missed the first showing, so instead of going to the play area after the film and having a McDonald’s meal, we went before. There were two fantastic young people in the play area who kept them amused with painting, sticking, dancing and even a music lesson. They had an absolutely wonderful time and they all thoroughly enjoyed their day. After watching the film we returned to the home with tired but very happy children. Just as we arrived Santa turned up with even more presents, the children then said a big thank you to all of us, then ran into see Santa. It was a superb day and if anyone asks me what part of Christmas I enjoyed the most, it would be this day, just to see the smiles on these children’s faces. It definitely made my Christmas.

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As you may remember we went to La Manga, Spain to spend Christmas and the New Year with my sister and her partner. I thought Carvoeiro was quiet but this place was absolutely deserted!! On Christmas morning, the only people in our block of apartments were us on the sixth floor. I found this a little eerie to say the least. It was definitely’ Hunt the Human’- in fact I let out an enormous scream whilst preparing the veggies, when, on looking out of the window I spotted one lonely soul on a bike. We had a really great time though and the Tapas Bar was busy on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The New Years Eve party which was also held at the Bar also proved to be a great success.

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Roy has always wanted to take me to Benidorm; apparently 25yrs ago he had a great holiday there. I have never fancied Benidorm but as we were only 2hrs away we decided we would give it a go, it would also give my sister a little break. It was absolutely packed out mainly with Spanish who were there for the New Year celebrations. Apparently the City Council provide the Champagne at Midnight. As you will see in the photos the Credit crunch has also hit Spain badly, with a lot of shops going into liquidation. I was right about never wanting to go there, it was horrid - all those high rise Hotels and bars advertising chip butties, fish n’ chips, bangers n’ mash yuk! “Never again” We did stay in a nice Hotel though, Hotel Royal mainly Spanish and with very good food. Benidorm was just like the TV programme and I even got a picture of the trike!

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On returning to the Algarve I was informed by my daughter that our granddaughter who had a tonsillectomy on 29th December was still very poorly. The poor little thing had this operation cancelled twice. Once when they lost her notes cancelling after giving her the pre-med and the second time when the Doctor was called away and another Doctor was off with Flu. She is only four years old and the poor thing looked as if she had been mugged. Apparently the operation took longer than they thought 1hr 40mins instead of 40mins as they could not stop the bleeding. They also managed to cut her tongue and the side of her mouth she looked a real sorry state. Because of the traumatic time she had our granddaughter was only allowed back at school for half a day and my daughter was due back at work, so off I went to the UK to look after her. Boy had I forgot what its like to rush around in the mornings. I am never up at 6.30am - what a shock! Then fraught because they would not eat breakfast or clean teeth, out at 8am on the school run, mega traffic jam, Thomas our grandson beside himself as he thought I was going to accompany him into the playground, “Nanny that’s so un-cool” quote. Millie-Rose has now decided that she did not want to return to school anyway- mega stress and its only 8.45. ‘HELP’ I need a coffee and a couple of Vallium before I return at 12pm to collect Millie. Joking apart I really enjoyed my week they are both great fun and help to keep me young. I also enjoyed the morning I spent at my daughters pre-school and learnt quite a few different things to keep the children amused. I would love to try them out on the Pirilampos children sometime. Spending time-out with my daughter on the following Saturday was an added bonus, enjoying a shopping spree and having lunch was great fun and also gave me a chance to spoil her a little, as she gets very little time to herself.
December and January have been the coldest months on record. Carvoeiro has been almost deserted with a lot more shops and restaurants closed, compared to last year and there are definitely fewer tourists around. The alterations to Carvoeiro have been started as I am sure most of you know from reading the forum. The square looks like a bomb-site at the moment and all the rain has not helped, I feel quite sorry for the workmen. The out road is now two way traffic and the in road is closed. I was coming down the back road past Dirty Nellie’s and was unaware of this until I got to BPI bank, where I had to turn left; I then turned left again to go back up the out road – not realizing that I could have turned right!!! Straight into the path of on- coming traffic there were no signs on the back road at all, apparently an old man was knocked over as he was also unaware and forgot to look left. They have dug up the in-road twice the first time was for new pipes and drains and now it’s being prepared for the re- laying of the flagstones. If you come down from Monte Carvoeiro there is now a ‘No entry’ sign at the start of the road that runs past the back of the Castelo Indian restaurant and Mare Darte, although I did notice a couple of cars ignoring this. If you go the back way past the new school and where they are building the new Health Centre you can still get into this road, but I’m not sure for how long. There is nothing happening at Algar Seco at the moment (I think the square takes priority) or the site with those odd looking plants. The new Bar / Restaurant opposite Café Fino is coming along nicely. There is another Chinese gift shop along the in road. John from Blue Rock butchers has returned to the UK with his family, I think he still owns the shop but it’s now run by Portuguese.
There are also major works going on in Armacao de Pera along with Albufeira and Lagoa. Apparently the reason for all this is because it’s Election year.

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Brian and Penny Dobson who visit the forum are over from Ontario, Canada at the moment they are here until April. Roy first met them after they answered his request to buy dollars. We have seen them on several occasions and last Friday we all went to the Raj Indian Restaurant at Hotel Garbe for a Murder Mystery evening. Luckily we were given first choice of the characters. ‘Silver Screen’ was the name of the play and we had to find the murderer of Sam the film producer well known for bedding all the young actresses. I chose Malicea Forthought- a film critic, Penny was Losta Morals- dressed to kill all in pink, Brian was Cecil Lothario- who had an affair with Melanie Makeover- a make-up artist and Roy was Donne Cosi-Nostra dressed all in black- a Casino and Hotel owner. It was a really enjoyable evening. (Photo supplied) I’m wearing the ginger wig, Penny on the left, as you look at the picture, Roy at the back and Brian caught taking a photo. The only downside was the meal we were very disappointed which is unusual as normally the curries are very good at these events.
I have some disappointing news for you all (some of you of course may already know about it) - White Crow (Nigel and Barney) are no longer together and also Klonakilty (Nigel and Linda) who play at Brady’s Bar are taking a break as Linda is taking a year sabbatical. I am absolutely gutted about this. Apparently Nigel has got together with Iona and will be playing gigs soon. I mentioned Iona before in one of the newsletters saying I liked her singing and they sounded good - as yet they have no name.
Well that’s about it for this month. I have included some photos that I took of the Christmas lights from various towns and the Network Christmas fair which was held on 1st December I’m sure some of you will recognise the exhibitors Suzie-bear and hubby with their smoked fish, Lesley ‘Elise Cards’ and Stefan ‘Magna Carta’ to name but a few.

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I have also included photos of the Monte Santo Resort, which we visited just before Christmas. It is really lovely and very tastefully furnished [probably with the money they never bothered to pay for advertising on - webmaster]. They were very helpful and we were shown around one of the apartments and were also allowed to take photos of the public areas. They have day passes for anyone who, wish to use the pool areas and gym facilities.

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I will continue to keep you updated on all the improvements going on in Carvoeiro, although the next newsletter will be at the end of March as we are on a cruise to the Panama Canal from 18th February until 6th March. I think by then things should look a lot different in CVO.

Ciao (From a VERY wet and windy Algarve, lucky for us though, no snow)