Newsletter October 2008

by: Carol Carpenter

Hi everyone - great to be back from a very wet ‘ Blighty’.

We have really enjoyed our summer with the family this year and having the grandchildren here for three weeks gave us great pleasure. I was fortunate enough to return with them to the UK where I spent a further three weeks, visiting friends and family and also to give my daughter moral support. The results of her tests proved negative, which was a relief for everyone, but they still cannot say exactly what is wrong. She now has to wait for further tests, but I do hope they get her sorted out and hopefully on the road to recovery very soon. I was only back for a couple of weeks before we were off again, this time to visit my sister in La Manga Spain. She has just recently opened a Tapas Bar on Thomas Maestro Marina. We were really unlucky with the weather though as it rained constantly - and when it rains in Spain it rains!! Every road was under water and at one point we thought the Mar Menor would meet the Med. We did go for a jolly on her partners rib (rigid inflatable boat – not his chest!!) though which was great fun.

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I hope everyone enjoyed the summer especially those of you that were lucky enough to escape the worst UK weather on record. I only had a few dry days in the three weeks I was there which proved very windy and cool to say the least and as I took the wrong clothes, I almost froze to death. Although it was great to spend so much time with the grandchildren, they knew that I was missing the sunshine and needed to return. I am sure they would have preferred to fly back with me if only they didn’t have to return to school.

Carvoeiro seemed busy to us this year but apparently takings were down in shops, bars and restaurants compared with last year with many visitors preferring to eat at home. Slide n Splash, Zoomarine, Aqualand and the Sand sculptures all seemed to be just as busy though. Friends of ours took their children to Aqua Show Park located on the road between Quarteira and Almancil this year and had a fantastic time, maybe next year, we will try it? All the beaches have been packed and our grandchildren choose Praia Grande at Ferragudo to be their favourite. It is a really pleasant beach for children as there are no huge waves and they can paddle or swim safely. On this beach there were also huge inflatables in the sea for everyone to climb on. This looked to be great fun but as our grandchildren have only just learnt to swim they were not allowed on this year - maybe next year?

Many of the festivals and fairs taking place this year proved to be popular. We went along to the Silves Medieval festival again, taking the grandchildren with us, and they really enjoyed this event especially the jousting in the arena. Our granddaughter thought the Knight on the white horse was the best, whilst we all cheered the Black Knight and what a splendid horseman he was. Unfortunately I was unable to attend all fairs and festivals but I have heard they were all very well supported.

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We discovered a super Italian Restaurant the other day, simply by chance, as we were driving around. ‘La Gondola’ at Clube Rio in Ferragudo - some of you may already know of it. Head for Praia Grande but instead of turning left to go to the beach turn right and go up the hill, about 100 mts on the left you will find the restaurant. They were actually closed on that day but both Ludovica and Roberto her husband were in the kitchen. They had just made a Lasagne and as it was lunch time they kindly offered us some. Of course we could not refuse their kind offer and Ludovica brought out some brochette as our starter, followed by a fine bottle of Chianti it was a truly delicious lunch. The restaurant is quite small inside but has a lovely terrace overlooking the sea. They were a very friendly couple and very accommodating, considering they were closed and we shall definitely make this a regular restaurant.
We attended the opening of Rascals Bar and were welcomed by Mandy the bar owner, who explained that due to a hick-up with the beer delivery she had been racing around all afternoon trying to fill the bar. The delivery actually arrived while we were there, only one guy, who was getting grief from motorists because he was blocking the road. I felt quite sorry for him - how else was he supposed to deliver the beer? It was a good opening night and although we did not stay long, as we had already booked a table at Bon Bon in Sesmaries, we did manage however to consume several champagne cocktails before we left. We found all the staff very friendly and welcoming and they all willingly agreed to a photo shoot. I personally didn’t like Bojangles as it was not my type of bar but after chatting with Mandy I think she has lots of plans for this one. We wish Mandy, Amanda, Steve, James and Karen the best of luck they are only trying to make a living after all.

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We had a super evening at The Bon Bon restaurant where, every Friday night is Jazz night. On this particular evening, performing with them was Matt Lester, who usually plays at Café Ingles on Sundays. We had a really superb meal whilst listening to fine music. We have also paid a visit to Restaurant Troppo as it was their first anniversary. During the month of September they have been offering a free bottle of champagne to all their customers. This is one of the restaurants that has not fared well during the summer months, which is such a shame as they are a lovely couple and Maria always greets you with a warm smile. There is now an outside terrace for those wishing to dine outside. I think this restaurant is very spacious and would make a very nice venue for all those Christmas parties that are just around the corner. Speaking to Maria today they have quite a few bookings for October already so we wish them well and hope trade picks up for them.

The original owners of Restaurant ‘Tia Rosa’ are back again thank goodness and we enjoyed a nice meal with them the other evening. Rosa has been very ill but is now on the road to recovery and they were very pleased to see so many old customers.

Last Sunday we attended a memorial service for Tim Thomas, well known in Carvoeiro and a founder member of AFPOP. Tim was a fighter pilot in the war, shot down, spent 3 years as a P.O.W. in Germany and post-war rose to the rank of Wing-Commander. Several speeches were made by friends all of whom remembered him fondly. Roy spoke of how, 2 years ago, after Tim had suffered several strokes which had affected him badly including left side paralysis and badly impeded speech his wife asked if it was possible for him to have one last flight. After a few minutes Roy asked him if he would like to have a go at flying the plane and in Roy’s own words “it was like a miracle” – he sat up, spoke completely lucidly telling Roy about his experiences of flying starting with Tiger Moths and finishing with Lightning supersonic fighters, and flew the plane perfectly for over 20 minutes. On landing he returned to his previous pre-flight stroke-affected state. Roy said that for him it was a rare privilege to have been perhaps the last person to see the ‘real’ Tim.
There is not a lot to report on CVO as nothing really changes, it has gone very quiet here. There is a new Restaurant being built on the land next to the road where the Thai restaurant is, opposite Catz Pyjamas. Apparently according to the workman it is owned by an Irish man. There is also a lot of movement on the land next to the hotel Mira Chorro, a lot of weird shapes appearing on concrete supported with wire, I am not sure if they are trees or not (see photos) maybe it’s my eye sight, I must book an appointment with Roy! They are being erected at different intervals but I cannot see anything else being built there. On the road out of CVO towards Lagoa there is also a lot of movement on a piece of land, I could not get into the Camara as they were closed, but it was rumoured that Intermarche were hoping to move to new premises, I will keep you updated on this. I am sworn to secrecy about what the old Intermarche might become, but as soon as it is definite I will let you know. There is also a new development being built next to CVO tennis club, villas etc, I can hear you all saying “Oh no not another one” nothing else to report at the moment.

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There are a lot of people here from the Forum, Sandy and Gordon (Rampage) over from Borneo, also Richard and Ingrid along with others whose names escape me, but hopefully we will all meet up somewhere for a meal to catch up, it will be nice to see them all.

I do feel that this newsletter is really boring, as despite my orders for Roy, to get all info on what was going on in and around CVO whilst I was away, he failed big time, typical man, you just can’t get the staff these days. Obviously my offer of 50 cents an hour was way too low – well it’s all I could afford- credit crunch!!