Newsletter July 2009

by: Carol Carpenter

Hi everyone – I hope you are all enjoying the summer where ever you are and the weather is being kind to you. I hear the weather has been great in the U.K. so far according to my daughter who lives in Gloucestershire. It’s also been great at Wimbledon – let’s hope it lasts. As I have said before I become a couch potato for the Wimbledon fortnight and absolutely nothing gets done around the house or garden. I even send Roy shopping which he prefers to do anyway as he spends less money.
This year Andy Murray gets my full support despite what a lot of people say about him. He has worked really hard and has changed completely both in attitude and the way he plays. He is definitely a lot stronger and more confident I really hope he makes it to the final. We were watching Matthew Wright the other morning who was asking viewers to phone in with their comments regarding Andy. There was one guy who phoned in saying that “He did not like Andy Murray because he was in Dunblane and all he did was to hide under a table” bearing in mind that Andy was only young at the time what else was he supposed to do? More to the point what on earth has that got to do with his tennis game? I cannot print what I actually said about this guy.
The Algarve has been extremely hot so far with temperatures reaching 34 degrees. Last Sunday we declined to play bowls due to the heat and chose Monchique and Foia instead, thinking it would be much cooler up in the mountains. It actually hit 38 degrees whilst we were there. We did enjoy our Piri Piri chicken though washed down with a lovely bottle of vinho verde at Tressinha Restaurant. Monchique was very quiet with very few tourists, which is unusual for this time of year and according to the gift shop at Foia trade has been very bad. As always we bought our sheepskin slippers ready for the winter so that cheered him up a bit.
There have been several events going on this month which have kept us busy, including our St Patrick’s Society Bowls day, which we organise every year. This event is always well supported and includes a first class buffet. The Masonic Lodge organised a BBQ at The Plough and Harrow in Luz which proved a great success even though numbers were down on last year. The food was delicious especially the desserts.

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I think the highlight for us though was a trip to Faro where, following an excellent meal at the Clube Navale restaurant by the marina, we went to the old theatre modelled on the La Scala in Milan but in miniature to watch the one-man show ‘Jimmy Joyced!’. This show was written and performed by Donal O’Kelly about famous Irish writer James Joyce’s crucial year 1904, the year he left Dublin and wrote his renowned novel ‘Ulysses’. It looks back at the year through the eyes of JJ Staines - a stallholder in Dublin’s Rathmines Market, with a dangerous obsession for all things Joycean. Highlights include his battles with his mad father, a night of gunfire in Sandycove tower, his rescue from Monto by the man who became Bloom and his passion for Nora Barnacle and their fabled walk on Bloomsday, the 16th of June. I am sure all our Irish readers will know the story, but as we are not Irish we knew very little other than his novel Ulysses. We decided therefore to look on the internet for more information and were very pleased that we had, we would not have followed the play otherwise. Donal O’Kelly was truly remarkable and the audience were mesmerised throughout the entire performance. For us it was a little heavy in parts, as we have little knowledge of Dublin or it’s back streets but hearing the laughter coming from the Irish, it was obvious they understood. The following day, the committee of the St Patrick’s Society were invited to lunch at Bar Bacchus Café, Porches Pottery by ‘Mr.Vincent O’Herlihy First Secretary at the Embassy of Ireland. We were then introduced to Donal O’Kelly and his team - director Sorcha Fox and production manager/lighting Ronan Fingleton. It was a superb lunch and they were all really interesting people, we wish them the best of luck and hope we get the chance to see another of Donal’s plays. Our grateful thanks go to Mr. O’Herlihy for his kind invitation.
The alterations to CVO (please see Barry's photos) have now finished for the time being anyway. The square is almost complete although nobody really likes the orange trees that are in the tubs. According to the Freguesia there will be seating areas but they are still waiting for them to arrive. I did ask about flowers but by their expressions, probably not then! The tombstones as we called them each costing 150 euros were removed because a Portuguese child had a very nasty accident, injuring his leg.
I was in the square the other day and was appalled to see the cars travelling so fast down the in road. They are treating it like a race track even though the speed signs are clear. They also race around the square to go back up the out road, without a thought for the cars coming down restaurant hill. There are no signs here to say who has right of way and also it is confusing to pedestrians, I am sure there will be an accident soon. I mentioned this to the Freguesia but they told me I must speak with Lagoa Camara. The little cut through road next to BPI Bank is now no-entry from the in-road, you can now only turn into it from the out road to enable you to go up past Ma Ja’s.

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I must admit I like the out road apart from the steel-posts as we can now walk along leisurely without having to avoid parked cars. That’s as far as it goes though as I still think they have ruined a lovely village.

We were in Tavira last week and thought the square was really attractive, very well designed and well thought out, as were the streets. They also have posts to stop the parking, but it has more style. In between the posts there is either an attractive lamp or a tree and it looks really stylish, also the posts are further apart and not as high. The new shopping centre is worth a visit as they have many different stores to those at Algarve shopping Guia and Forum at Faro.

I noticed we have an Optical shop on the in road and also the swim-ware shop that was along by the post office has now moved across the road by Cheers Bar. Talking about Cheers Bar, we were there the other night and thought we would have a glass of Champagne just for a change - never again 19 euros for two glasses was a little steep!! We have spent a few nights in The Black Stove listening to the bands which are very good. It is always crowded when the bands are playing, has a good atmosphere and you can also dance there. There is smoking at the back of the bar but there is plenty of ventilation and you cannot smell any smoke. Piu in the square are now charging €7.50 for a Guinness and all the pizza prices have increased. The €8 pizza is now €12.50 but they also do a family size that will feed six people for €18.50 - sounds a lot but they are huge.

The toilets are still not finished but the tourist office should be soon. There is a new Seafood Restaurant O Gordo Comilao located along Rua do Barranco (the out road) on the right hand side just before you get to Le Doce and the Anteak Bar. There was an article in the Resident about this restaurant and it’s definitely on our ‘to do list’. There is also a new café on the corner of Monte Dourado next to rent a car.

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That’s all the news for this month I hope you enjoy it, have a great summer.