Algarve Incidents…..

Card Tricks

One afternoon, as we sat in our apartment in Lagoa, Hub said to me,
“Joao has been acting very cocky lately and I’ve noticed he and Calado have been tormenting Carlos again. You know how Carlos takes a pride in his work and they get jealous of his skills. Think Ill go and check the workshops and see what’s going on. Do you want to come?”
I didn’t need asking twice. I always liked to go out in the van. Jamie had his own key so he could get in after school; so I eagerly said yes!

We took the back route from Lagoa. This took us through some countryside and a certain twisty lane where Hub had to drive very carefully as sometimes we would meet a motorcycle or a truck coming the other way; and they always drove so fast!
Coming to a main road we slowed down. Just then a Portuguese driver came to a halt to our right. He blew me a kiss and then swept his hand in front and allowed us to pass.
Hub laughed at that and said he was glad I was with him as the driver would not have stopped for him.

This road led us out to the railway station near Algoz and there we turned right which would lead us to the workshops.
We were just approaching the gates to the workshops when suddenly without warning a small red car drove up and passed us on the inside. He was going so fast that he went off the road, almost crashing into a fence. I was furious and as we stopped to go through the gates and along the red dust road to the workshops, I got out and went up to the driver and shouted at him that he could have killed us! I told him he was ‘doido’! (crazy)
At that, he got out of the car and came towards me with his umbrella, using it in a sword fencing motion. He shouted back at me saying I was bad for calling him ‘doido’!
(I found out afterwards when I told Maria, that its an insult to call anyone ‘doido’)

Then Hub unfolded himself from the van. At that, the driver quickly got back into his car and drove off at startling speed; in the process he carved up a truck full of workmen who began shouting at him. We couldn’t help but laugh at that.

As we drove along the red dust track, up to the workshops, we could see Carlos through the large windows, busy at work on the lathe; but there was no sign of Joao or Calado. But as Hub pushed open the main door that led to the office, we saw Joao and Calado, sitting there at the desk, playing cards.
Joao spoke good English and Hub said to him “What’s all this about?”
Calado went very red-faced and for once Joao was struck dumb.
Hub was angry. He was a good boss and paid them well, so he saw this as taking advantage of him.
In angry tones he said “ Nao trabalho, nao pagar !” (no work, no pay).
With that spoken, they both scuttled back to resume their work.

Needless to say, after that incident, we often paid surprise visits to the workshops…

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Joao drunk!
One night after Hub and Jamie had finished playing cards and Jamie had toddled off to bed, we sat and had a bedtime drink before going to bed ourselves. We were both sleepy. Hub had been busy at the workshops and I’d had a busy day on the garden doing lots of mowing and weeding so I was ready for sleep. But we’d had a swim in the pool in the garden I worked in and that was very refreshing. We had permission from the agent to use the pool which was good, especially on very hot days.
 


Ellie and Hub by the pool

Suddenly there came a buzz on our intercom. Hub answered it. He seemed to be having difficulties understanding someone at the door but then he pressed the door button and let whoever it was in.
“It’s Joao. He sounds drunk out of his mind!”
I was very tired and said “Why did you let him in, in that state?”
 


Lagoa apartment

But I unlocked the door and after climbing three flights of stairs, Joao was soon staggering through it. He made for the armchair and sank down into it. His eyes were glazed and he was stumbling over his words.
“Ola boss, ola Madam. You told me to call in and say hello, so I am here”
Hub wasn’t too pleased and replied “Yes I did say that but I didn’t mean bloody midnight!”

Joao’s head was lolling about and he seemed really drunk. So, I went to the kitchen to make some strong black coffee.
We plied Joao with several cups of the coffee, though he kept moaning and asking if we had any brandy to go with it.

After a while he seemed to be sobering up a little. Hub then asked him how he had got to us. He replied that he drove here on his motorbike. I was astonished at hearing this; that he had driven his motorbike in such a drunken condition. Hub again was angry and said he could have killed himself or somebody else! But Joao didn’t take the slightest notice of Hub’s words.

I made Joao a sandwich and he wolfed it down and after another cup of the black coffee he announced he was ready to go home. Hub told him he was in no condition to ride back on his motorbike and that he should leave it here; then come to collect it in the morning when he was sober.
Hub went with him down the 3 flights of stairs and into the main road, where he got Joao into a taxi and paid for his trip back to his house.
Hub made sure his motorbike was safe inside the main entrance to our apartments and on coming back up to our apartment we both then collapsed into bed and we were soon fast asleep!

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No Roots!

I always liked to shop in the markets and often went to the fish market which was a short walking distance from our apartment.
One day I was on my way round to the fish market when I saw a man selling plants on the corner of the street quite close to the market. I went over to have a look. Being a keen gardener I’ve always liked plants and although we didn’t have a garden, only a roof terrace I was interested in seeing what this man was selling.

I had bought a large pot, beautifully decorated, which stood outside our apartment door and the idea came to me of planting it up with an eye-catching pant. Looking over this man’s plants there was one that immediately caught my eye. It was in a small clay pot but the leaves were really beautiful. They were a dark green, long and tapering but with a zigzag of yellow all the way along the long strap-like leaves. I immediately fell in love with it.

When I asked the price the man said “Thirty escudos”
If I remember rightly, I think a1000 escudos was about £10 so I thought this plant was a bargain! So I bought it.
When I got back to the apartment Hub was there and he admired the plant too but I needed some soil. So we then went to a small garden centre that was run by a Dutchman and there I bought a small bag of soil.
That evening, after dinner, I filled the beautiful pot with the soil but first putting some pebbles that I had on the roof terrace, into the bottom of the pot for drainage and then took the plant that had been soaking in the kitchen sink and planted it in the lovely pot.
I placed the pot with plant outside our apartment door and stood back admiring its beautiful leaves.

I religiously watered that plant every day and the leaves remained looking gorgeous and I have to say I took a pride in that plant.
A couple of weeks went by and the plant was still looking lovely but then I noticed that it hadn’t grown at all. By now it should have produced more leaves but it hadn’t and remained exactly the same. This made me very curious, so one day I took the plant and pot inside, into the bathroom and stood the pot in the bath. I tipped the plant out of the pot and to my amazement the clump of soil that surrounded the ‘roots’ fell apart and what should I see but single stems of leaves held together with the soil and these too fell apart. There were no roots!

I had been had! This wasn’t a plant at all. It was simply single stems of leaves held together in a clump of sandy soil.
I had to laugh at my mistake. I had been so enticed by the look of the ‘plant’, of it’s beauty, that I hadn’t looked at it properly. What I should have looked for was a central growing part and I had not. I had been taken in by the beauty of the so-called ‘plant’ with it’s beautiful leaves.
But I did put the ‘stems’ back into the lovely pot and once again stood it outside our apartment door.

The strange thing was, the leaves never died. They remained looking fresh and lovely for a very long time…..

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The Naked Truth..

We had just completed our very first job; some garden furniture for people who lived in the countryside. The boys had delivered the furniture but Hub hadn’t been with them. Hub had the address (This was before Jamie started at his school in Silves).

The next step was to go to these people, give them the bill and collect the money for the work undertaken (though we always asked for a 20% deposit).
First of all Hub had to find where the villa was, as it was situated in countryside and we were very new to the area. From a telephone call, Hub was given directions towards Carvoeiro; but he had to turn left at the main crossroad well before the town.

Hub set off with young Jamie sat next to him. He followed the directions that he had written down on his note pad, turning left at the crossroad and followed the road out into the countryside.
He looked at the name of the villa written down and kept peering out to either side of the road. At last he saw a name sign and recognised it as the one he was looking for.

Hub turned up the dirt track, which seemed to go on forever and at long last he came to the main gates.
As he drew up in front of the gates, they swung open and Hub pulled up into a small courtyard and told Jamie to wait in the van.
There were a few steps up to the main door which Hub climbed and reaching the door, he pushed the bell push.

As he stood waiting, he gave Jamie a thumbs up sign just as the door opened. What he saw made him take a step back and his face flush. It was a middle-aged woman but she was completely naked!

Hub gulped and said he had come to collect the money for the furniture they had made. Without any sign of embarrassment she asked him to come in and went to fetch her cheque book.

As he waited Hub, whose face was very red, stood looking around the sitting room. He saw a figure outside the French windows and that figure opened them and stepped inside. It was a man and he was completely naked too! But he was just as relaxed as the woman and told Hub to sit down while he was waiting.

By this time Hub was feeling very awkward. These people didn’t have any inhibitions about their nakedness.
Juts then the naked woman came in flourishing the cheque, which she handed to Hub. She then saw Hub to the door and waited till he got into the van, waving at him and Jamie.

Jamie spluttered “Dad, that woman’s naked!?” going very red-faced.
“Yes son” said Hub, “Let’s get out of here!”
Have to say when Hub told me this, I burst out laughing. I could just imagine his and Jamie’s face as they came face to face with the naked truth……