Billy The Kid

It was a year since I’d visited Algarve and as we left home around 2.30am I felt the old tingly feeling of excitement start in me. We drove through the dark sleeping village and made our way towards Boston, then onto Stamford and eventually the A1.
Normally, flying from Stansted is quite a relaxing affair and after checking in, we usually have time for a coffee and to relax after our long drive from Lincolnshire.
Not so this time! Because of recent terrorist threats all security was tightened and we came face to face with seemingly endless queues through security check into departures. I said a hurried goodbye to Hub and seeing on the board the ‘no lipsticks in bag’ sign, I hurriedly dug down into my shoulder bag, fishing out 2 new lipsticks and shoved them into an embarrassed Jamie’s hand !
With time to spare and not having had any breakfast, I bought myself an egg sandwich and large milky coffee and waited for the flight to be called.

A smooth flight and as the plane circled out to sea before coming into land at Faro, once more I had the warm feeling of ‘coming home’ again.
As I stepped out of the plane the heat hit me ! We’d had some nice sunny weather in UK but this was different and I had forgotten just how fierce the Algarve sun can be! My immediate thought was ‘slow down Ellie.. you’re on holiday.. relax into it’

Friend David was there to pick me up and being the relaxed amiable chap he is, the journey to Carvoeiro seemed a quick and easy one and I was soon ensconced in my Monte Dourado apartment; I call it ‘mine’ as I’ve stayed there so often its beginning to feel like home !
Its then that the tiredness and the hot weather gets the better of me for a few hours, so after some tea and toast and with windows thrown wide, curtains pulled, I settle down for a little siesta.

By around 8pm, my stomach was telling me it was time for dinner. There is always one place I go to on my first evening; the place I feel comfortable in and where I always receive a warm welcome.. that place is Colombos. There was also another reason for being there that night, it was friend Trickys (Chris) last night of her hols and we were hoping to meet up.
As I walked down the steps, Geninia was there to greet me with a hug and kiss on both cheeks. Pedro was also there and as he called out ‘ Hello miss Ellie, how are you? and I answered his question, a young man flew past me, balancing a tray of drinks in his hand, up the steps to waiting customers.

I sat at the bar as Geninia made me my favourite ‘Rosy’ wine spritzer with lots of ice, and we chatted away for half an hour, catching up on ‘a years news’ until my dinner was ready. I remarked on the new young fella who was working there and Geninia said, ‘That’s Peter, he's been with us some months now’
I said he seemed a very good and fast worker, she answered that he was and had picked up the bar work very easily and was popular with the customers; their ‘nickname’ for him was ‘Billy The Kid’! though I thought maybe ‘Billy the whizz’ may have been more appropriate, with his speed of movement!
I had just finished my meal when a little voice floated over to me from the steps saying,
‘I don’t know, the people they let in here !’ and I immediately recognised Tricky’s voice and laughter.
We hadn’t seen each other for over 2 years, so we had a lot to catch up on; we chatted away about events and family with lots of laughter thrown in, then after about an hour, Chris’s husband Brian and their 3 lovely children joined us.
After a lively chat with the family, it was time for them to leave; they had an early flight the following day. As they left I felt a little sad. I’d enjoyed their company and their departure had me feeling somewhat lonely.
‘Did you enjoy your meal miss Ellie?’
It was young Peter.
‘Can I get you anything else?’
I ordered just a ‘café com leite’ ..within a few minutes the white coffee was there in front of me.
I must explain that all the staff at Colombos call me ‘miss Ellie’ was a joke some time back, with talk of the t.v series ‘Dallas’, you know ? JR, miss Ellie etc.. and so the name has stuck!
Over the following days and weeks, I got to know Peter quite well. Although I enjoy the company of people of all ages, I find the younger folk very appealing and refreshing.. I love to know of their plans and ideas, enjoy their eagerness for life and they always give me a sense of hope.
Peter comes from Manchester, and is a very keen Manchester United fan. He has been living in Algarve for some 7 years now and lives with his now retired parents in the Carvoeiro Clube area. Not only is he a keen football supporter but he is also into more extreme sports, or what he himself calls ‘Risk-taking’ ones !

For 6 years he was a very keen tennis player at the Carvoeiro Tennis Club but since then he has developed a taste for the more daring sporting events, the most ‘risk taking of these being ‘Cliff Jumping’ ! When he told me this, I think my eyes must have bulged and to tell the truth, I’d never heard of it before. I remarked, that wasn’t this highly dangerous? (visions of rocks hidden in the sea beneath the cliffs appeared in my head)
He laughed and said he always made sure of the area of sea he was jumping into before the attempt. I asked about the heights of these jumps and he said the highest he’d done was around 40-45 feet and from Praia da Albandeira. Being someone who suffers from vertigo, I felt quite dizzy at the thought!

Besides cliff jumping, Peter is also a keen skier and he has also carried out ‘Bungee Jumping’ in America, at 200 feet.. I believe it was at this point that I asked him to stop as my imagination got the better of me, trying not to envisage throwing myself from that height with the aid of an extra thick elastic band !!

But Peter isn’t only a risk taker where sports are concerned, he also has an unusual mode of travel to work every night…this being by ‘Long board’! He skate boards down to his job at Colombos from Carvoeiro Club vicinity, every evening. As he told me this, he went behind the bar and brought out the ‘longboard’..much bigger than the usual skateboard.

I said ‘Blimey ! D’you take passengers ?’
He replied that yes, he did actually; that a friend often joined him on the board on his way to work… well I did ask!

As I’ve mentioned here, Peter is very fast on his feet and as I watched him work the tables I thought ‘he has the movements of a skateboarder’ even when walking.. its true!
‘Billy the kid’ had his schooling in Algarve and is fluent in Portuguese but he is now on a ‘gap year’ working hard and saving and preparing himself for college at Worcester UK, in the Autumn of next year. His subject he has yet to decide. But of one thing I am certain, whatever that subject turns out to be, I am sure, with his enthusiasm and undaunting, hard working approach to life, he cannot fail to succeed.

Boa sorte Peter.. it was good to meet you!