November newsletter 2009

by: Carol Carpenter

Hello once again – better late than never as my Mother used to say - well what an effort !! It has taken Roy almost three years to make a contribution to a newsletter (at the bottom of this page) so I guess a big thank you is in order, very impressive - now I only have 500 words to write. PHEW!!

I hope you all enjoyed the summer months and to those of you who chose to visit the Algarve and CVO I hope you had a really great time.

Our summer was a little hectic and at times somewhat fraught, with a lot of family health problems. It started when my 87 year old Father was rushed to hospital with gall stones in July which sent me flying back to the UK to nurse him following his operation. Anyone who has an aged relative knows that you are usually the last to find out they are unwell as they never want to bother you. We all ring him twice a week and not once did he say anything. After being reprimanded by his three daughters he promised never to do anything like that again. Bless him he looked like a naughty little boy so of course he ended up being hugged by us all. It was not long though before he was back to normal and bossing us all about. Pension on Monday, bank on Tuesday, plumber, gardener, window cleaner, and the shopping – “not the cheap cornflakes it has to be Kelloggs”, “butter not marg” and “only the healthy soups not that tinned rubbish” – “oh and don’t forget my smoked Mackerel.” We all had to laugh as we returned from our duties. I’m sure there was a little smirk on his face, especially when he asked for his tea cakes – OOPS!! - we had forgotten those. Joking apart he is a real treasure and an absolute delight to look after. He is now recovering well and is almost back to his old self again.
After my ten day stay I returned to the Algarve for a few days to get the house ready for our visitors. We both then flew back to the UK to look after the grandchildren this time. This was again quite a worrying time for us as we knew that my daughter was also awaiting test results. It was another distressing time for her as she has been suffering health problems for the last few years. However we were all relieved when the test results proved negative and they can hopefully resolve the problem without an operation. Hopefully she will now be on the road to recovery.
We thoroughly enjoyed our time with the grandchildren as they are always great fun and keep us young. The eldest grandson is a budding rugby player, our granddaughter wants to be a pilot and the youngest grandson I am sure will one day be on mastermind. I was up at 5am every day arriving at their home at 6.15 just in time to say goodbye to my daughter. Funnily enough I never once felt tired, on our return however I found it extremely difficult to wake up in the mornings. I really love being with them especially when I have complete control for two weeks – truly magical.
Our last visitors have now returned to the UK so it is back to normal for us. Roy is quite busy and I am now back walking CVO for news. Unfortunately I have very little to tell you at the moment. The local elections are over and there are no changes for CVO it is the same party in the Junta and apparently a lot of people are surprised by this. According to some of the restaurants they had quite a good summer although I have not spoken with all of them. The Galeria da Arte next to Millenium Bank is for rent but I have never seen this shop busy, so I suspect they are closing. There are a few places closed at the moment, but it could just be for holidays, there are no signs advising us The only sign I have seen is outside the take-away on the in road, they re-open 2nd December.
They have started the alterations at Algar Seco and I will keep you informed on the progress. CVO is now very quiet but we are still enjoying glorious weather and still wearing our shorts, the sea is a beautiful blue, the skies are cloudless and the nights are still warm, definitely no need for log fires just yet – well it is only November!!

gal/Newsletters/November_2009/_thb_P1010078.JPG  gal/Newsletters/November_2009/_thb_P1010079.JPG  gal/Newsletters/November_2009/_thb_P1010080.JPG
Please find these photos and more in large formats here [opens new window]

We did manage to meet up with Sandy and Gordon (Rampage) who were over from Borneo, and enjoyed a really lovely meal at Maximes last Monday. After dropping them off at their house we returned home, only to find Sandy peering into the window half hour later. They were locked out as the key would not work. They didn’t have a mobile and the keys to the car were inside their house so they ended up walking back to ours and staying the night. It was really quite funny. The next morning off they went with Roy back to the house, WD40 in hand. Still no joy so they were back 15 minutes later. They ended up borrowing the car, because we were due at a bowls match. Eventually they did get in and returned the car about 4pm. A few days later, Sandy and Gordon arranged a pool party which proved to be a great success as their pool was like bath water. Thanks for a lovely evening great food, great company we always enjoy meeting up with you and look forward to seeing you in March. Thanks once again for the beautiful orchid - it is still surviving.

gal/Newsletters/November_2009/_thb_P1010017.JPG  gal/Newsletters/November_2009/_thb_P1010010.JPG  gal/Newsletters/November_2009/_thb_P1010021.JPG
Please find these photos and more in large formats here [opens new window]

Between our travels back and forth to the UK we did manage to go to the Sand Sculptures, they were absolutely brilliant this year and one of the best I have seen.
Because CVO is so small and not a lot changes each month it was decided that a bi-monthly newsletter might be a better idea. The next newsletter will now be at the end of December and that way I should be able to fill it with a lot more CVO news. I’ll give it a try anyway and see how it goes and would welcome any comments you might have.

December may well be my last newsletter as I have many plans for next year and I could be away on several courses. We are also off to New Zealand for January and February and I feel that I would not be giving my best to the newsletters, so again if there is anyone who would like to take this over please contact Steen (Webmaster)
I have really enjoyed writing the newsletters and it has been good fun. I hope whoever succeeds me will get as much pleasure and satisfaction as I have.




As we have been away for most of the summer resulting in Carol not having a lot of news, information and gossip about Carvoeiro, I thought it might be interesting to give you a CVO residents views on Britain and driving there.

The most noticeable thing is how crowded is Britain compared to Portugal – after 10 hours of stress-free motoring with cruise control in operation for most of the journey from CVO to Santander, I almost needed a Vallium after the drive from Plymouth to Gloucester. Apart from the volume of traffic, road repairs in Portugal and Spain seem to slow the traffic to about 80 k.p.h., whereas in England repairs to one lane (3 left open) at Avonmouth- bridge caused constant stopping and resulted in taking 1.5 hours to travel 8 miles!!

We took the Brittany Ferries ship “Port Aven” which is a vast improvement on the earlier ferries with fittings up to cruise liner standards and very little motion. The food is also good with the dining room buffet selection being better value than the a la carte menu and the bar prices reasonable – although the exchange rate of 1.25 euros to the pound made it much cheaper to pay in sterling – strange on a French boat!!

I used my bus pass in Gloucester and unlike Portugal where the children are well behaved and offer their seat to you (appreciated even though it makes me feel old) the locals remained glued to their seats chewing gum and talking loudly on their mobiles.

At the exchange rate of around parity at the time we found Britain very cheap and brought back £ 200 of Tesco products which we estimated would have cost € 400 in Portugal. We also brought back some delicate optical equipment which would have cost about £300 by a transport company and saved the € 5000 quoted to matriculate the car by getting an M.O.T. (£ 45) and road tax (£190) so the initial apparently high cost of £ 800 for the journey became, instead, a good investment.

The other advice I would give for anyone driving down to CVO is to take the apparently longer journey via Seville – only 8 miles and 10 minutes longer according to my satnav – which is well surfaced dual carriageway virtually the whole way, petrol in Spain around € 0.35 less than in Portugal and only one section of toll road approaching Santander. Our stopping points were Vallodolid north bound (about 2 hours from Santander) at the Ibis situated less then 5 minutes from the motorway - and Salamanca south bound (about 4 hours from Santander) where we had the best Spanish food either of us had tasted at the Oasis Horus hotel (see Tripadvisor for reviews).

I hope my comments are helpful for any surface travellers and it is nice to be back in the beautiful Algarve again even if things are a bit more expensive and we still cannot get my favourite Shreddies breakfast cereal here at anything less then daylight robbery prices :>)

Roy (the other half)