Newsletter November 2014

Margarida Sampaio @

It has been a busy old month in Carvoeiro over October, proving that the summer may be over but life continues to tick on over here, even if there is nobody to witness it!


While September was a veritable wash out October has seen the return of the summer weather in force and we have been watching the temperature gauges tip over the 30 degree mark on several days this month.

Not only have the days been wonderfully hot for this time of year (or any other time of the year for that matter) the wind has finally dropped so we are not being blown away anymore – we have even had warm evenings too which has been a great surprise, especially for those of us who had packed away the flip flops and the sun cream for the year.

It turns out that while I was out buying umbrellas and wellington boots at the start of the month it was back off to search for new sandals and flip flops by the end of the month.  This did however prove to be pretty tricky because according to all the shops we are in deepest darkest winter now and all you can buy are scarves and woollen hats, I guess they didn’t get the memo.


While the sun has returned, sadly we were unable to make the most of it on Carvoeiro beach for a good part of the month as it was closed off to everyone while they pumped tonnes of sand onto the beach from a boat out at sea.

The plan to put sand on the beach has been in place for months and at one stage it was rumoured that the sand replenishment programme could take place during the peak of the season.  Luckily however the powers that be had the good sense to hold off for a month or two and the works have been undertaken this month with some great results.

For several days the boat used an enormous piece of piping to pump the sand onto the beach where it was then moved into position by diggers and JCBs to help widen the entire area.

This has already been done in several parts of the Algarve including in Albufeira where the beach was widened massively and in vale do Lobo where each year a little more sand is put on the beach to replace what has been naturally washed away.

Of course this is man messing with mother nature again but we have to face reality, very few people would ever come to Carvoeiro if we did not have a beach and the truth is that during the peak of the summer there is barely space to lay a tiny towel on the sand so a solution had to be found and this was it.

If you head down to the beach now you can instantly tell that it is much larger and thanks to the pipe sucking up sand from the seabed it is shells galore on the beach itself now, already the local school children have been down as part of a school trip to see what they could manage to gather up.

If you are not bothered about the shells then at least the knowledge that we will still have a beach after the winter storms should be enough to make you smile.


It may have been bad news for the local shellfish who gave up their lives for the beach project, however it has been good news for the local cat population in Carvoeiro this month with the erection of a new little house for the street cats.

The triangular house, which looks like something between a ski chalet and an advent calendar, is located next to the bins on the O Farol and includes little entrances for the cats to bed down in as well as a designated area for those who want to feed the cats in a safe and healthy area (although how healthy and clean it is next to the bins I am not entirely sure).

The cat hotel went up on October 22 and already it is said that there are a couple of new residents while I have seen food there on most days so I guess the project seems to be working.

The housing is part of a wider project to control the cat populations in Carvoeiro and Lagoa and already 50 cats have been spayed in the local area since the project began back in April.

The local parish council are adamant that they do not want to kill any of the stray cats in Carvoeiro, mainly because it is not exactly a humane thing to do and also because cats are known for being pretty handy at controlling rodents (although if Tom and Jerry episodes are anything to go by I am not sure exactly how accurate this is).

The cat project is now well underway in Carvoeiro and Lagoa and is extending to Sesmarias so we can all rest easy knowing that the issue is finally being taken care of efficiently and effectively.


It has been an exciting time for anyone interested in shopping in the local area too with the opening of a couple of new local stores and the rumour mill working overtime about the land next to Aldi that now has so many workmen and diggers on it that people stop to watch it as the new local attraction.

Firstly we had the opening of a new branch of Decathlon, the sports store, open in Portimão.  The store replaces the one which burnt down at the Portimão Retail Park and is fantastic for anyone looking for reasonably priced sporting and outdoor wear – I always buy my rhythmic dance ribbons from here along with my sea fishing rods and mountaineering equipment – handy.

Closer to home we have seen a new branch of DeBorla open at Parchal next to the recently opened Staples – two other victims of the Portimão Retail Park fire – it looks like the insurance money must have finally be paid out after a few years.

Finally we have the news of what on earth is going on next to our local Aldi on the way to Lagoa, there had been rumours of a Primark, a KFC and even a Sushi place but it seems the most likely of all of the answers is that it is going to be a new branch of the swanky Apolonia supermarkets.

If you have never been to Apolonia before then I will warn you to extend your overdraft before visiting because they have an amazing range of gorgeous products, just sadly you have to pay the price for these!

Apolonia already have a store in Guia and their main one is Almancil and is a favourite haunt of international footballers, local celebs and TV personalities – I like to just hang around the car park to be honest to be able to play real life super car top trumps!

Not sure if the new Apolonia will attract a similar sort of customer but it will certainly save me the trek down to the Golden Triangle for my Wasabi nuts.


Also exceptionally exciting is the formation of a new local football team, FCCU Carvoeiro United – described as the most exciting thing to happen to Carvoeiro since that big wave came along.

FCCU has been set up by a group of local guys (Portuguese, British, Dutch and other nationalities) and is coached by local legend Pompey Paul of Hemingways Quiz Master fame (the quiz by the way has now moved to a Tuesday night to accommodate the football teams training schedule).

Because we don’t have a real football facility in Carvoeiro the guys play their home games in Estombar at the stadium and so far the turnout for the games has been really good and the results have been better than anyone would have expected.

On the first home game of the season the team took away a win with a bizarre goal from a free kick from the goal keeper Adam Rafis which went straight from his box and bounced behind the bewildered opposition goalkeeper.

As you can probably tell from my brief description of one goal, this is not top flight football but it is great fun and you will not only spot lots of local faces on the pitch but also in the crowd who are already very dedicated and have brought their very own special sort of Carvoeiro spirit to the league (make of that what you will).

The team receives no wages, has hardly any funds at all and is desperately looking for sponsors to help them to pay for pesky things like officials, policing and transport, so if you would like to help out then visit their Facebook page and get in contact – they have people to help in Portuguese, English or Dutch so there is no worry with the language barrier here!


I am not sure if it can be technically classed as a sport but while we are on the subject of competitive activities that involve drinking beer we also have seen the darts season get underway in Carvoeiro for another year.

Another local legend, Evertt, is back with the darts league with more than 10 establishments battling it out to be crowned darts champions of Carvoeiro next year (an accolade that is strangely sought after by more people than you would ever imagine!).

The darts are played on Friday nights in bars across the town from 9pm and remind us that winter really is on its way with nights huddled round a chalk board and fighting over what treble 17 plus double 13 plus 7 equals.

If you are interested in the darts league or want to find out who is playing where and when then pop in to one of the local bars including Harrys Bar, Hemingways or Joker Bar to find out more details.


Anyone who is interested in knowing more about what is going in Carvoeiro and Lagoa now has a new place to find out more (although I am sure you guys find out everything you need from the good people at!)

The joint parish councils of Lagoa and Carvoeiro have now launched a website in a bid to enter the 21st century and you can have a look at this shiny new site here .

Sadly the site is only in Portuguese at the moment but that is what google translate was made for so you can still have a little look at the site which at the moment is looking a little thin on the information side but I have high hopes this will change as soon as some news happens here that the council is aware of!


If you are about this November, look out for some bonfire night celebrations taking place at the Fatacil in Lagoa on November 8.

The International School are hosting a traditional style event complete with bonfire to raise money for the local Lagoa Bombeiros …I will leave you to create your own punchlines to the one about raising money for fire fighters by setting fire to stuff…

I am off now to enjoy the massive beach which is completely devoid of any tourists…