Algarve Incidents .. continued:

Jamie’s school days
When Jamie started school in Silves he made a flying start. Always very bright from a young boy (his head was always in a dictionary!) he settled in well at this private school and soon made friends. He particularly liked his Portuguese teacher Sonya and he progressed well under her supervision and was soon becoming quite fluent in Portuguese.

But after a while he soon realised that the pupils there were quite gossipy and he found that they talked about one another; this he didn’t like. One day when he was sitting at lunch with a few school friends, one of them asked him what he thought of a certain boy in the school. Now this boy was a friend of his so Jamie said he thought he was nice chap. The other pupils looked at one another and one said they didn’t like him. Jamie thought this unkind and he said so to the other school children.

As time went on, Jamie began to see that there was much gossip between the school kids and he didn’t like what he was hearing. So one day when he’d had enough of their spiteful talk he made up his mind to go elsewhere for his lunch break.

The next day he took a walk around the back streets and saw a pastelaria where the Portuguese went for lunch. He entered the café and going up to the counter he ordered a soft drink and some sandwiches; his favourite was always a tosta misto; a toasted ham and cheese sandwich. After paying the Portuguese man he sat and ate his lunch at a nearby table.

Jamie continued to visit this pastelaria and gradually got to know the Portuguese man who served him. After a while, the man, who was friendly towards Jamie, asked him about certain English words and Jamie explained them to him. In return, the Portuguese man taught Jamie some Portuguese words; ones that were used locally.

Having Sonya as a tutor Jamie was getting on very well with the Portuguese language, so he was able to converse with the Portuguese café owner.
On going to this pastelaria, Jamie became a familiar sight to those in there and as he went into the café, many who sat at the tables greeted him with a ‘Bom Dia’! (Good day).
Jamie became almost fluent in the language and it was a sad day when we had to leave the country as he always got on so well with the Portuguese people.

When we returned to Algarve, to take up the reins of the business once more, Jamie came out on a visit for a holiday. He met up with some old school friends and together they went to visit Portuguese tutor Sonya, who lived up by Silves cathedral.

On his return home I asked him of he missed life in Algarve. He said he missed the Portuguese people but that living back in England he had access to libraries and theatre and also the company of his older brother and they went to football matches together; even to London, as his brother Jeff is a great Arsenal fan!

Hub and I breathed a sigh of relief; as we had always felt guilty at taking Jamie away from Portugal. But he was content and that was all that mattered.

Trouble in Algoz!
We had been to collect some money owed us up at Monte Carvoeiro, by a business man; our lads had made some garden furniture for him.
Hub said to me “Do you fancy staying out and going for lunch in Algoz?”
As always, I was eager to stay out and the thought of lunch out was pleasing to me.
We drove back onto the main road, then diverting through Lagoa we took the back roads that would lead us to Algoz.

“Think I’ll take a look in at the workshops just to see how the boys are getting on” Hub said,
I replied okay. I liked being out and about.
We took the right turning as we approached the railway station and drove towards the workshops.
Turning in the open iron gates we drove along the red dusty track that led up to the workshops. Pulling up outside Hub peered through the big windows, then turning to me said,
“That’s strange, there’s nobody in there. They should be back at work now; it’s past their lunchtime”
Getting back into the van Hub said “Let’s go see if they’re still at lunch”
So we headed towards Algoz, passing by the high white walls of the local cemetery.
As we turned into the town we passed the local wash place (lavagem) area to our right and saw the women at work doing their washing; singing as they worked.
Then we drew up at the café, where the boys usually had their lunch (followed by coffee and brandy!).

We went inside but there was no sign of them in there. So walking back outside we got in the van and drove further into the town. As we pulled into the centre there seemed to be some kind of commotion going on. Two men were squaring up to each other and they looked as though they were about to have a fight! We got out of the van and as we did so we heard shouting. It was Carlos calling to us and as we looked over where he stood next to Joao and Calado, he appeared to be in an excited state!
We went to join them and Joao who spoke excellent English, told us what was going on.

Apparently, a bus had pulled round into the town centre and as the driver did so, a car pulled out in front of him. The bus driver stopped the bus, got out and confronted the car driver, shouting at him for carving him up!
The car driver got out of the car and squared up to the bus driver. Then, according to Joao, they rolled up their sleeves and started posing for a fight. We stood and watched, fascinated by this potential fight as both of the drivers danced around each other in a circle, pawing at the air with little jabs.

Then suddenly the car driver said something to the bus driver and then they both put down their hands. The bus driver patted the car driver on the shoulder; it seemed as though it was all over. Then the bus driver put his arm around the car driver and soon the ‘enemies’ became friend; they were laughing and joking together! All ended peacefully and our boys made their way back to the workshops. We stayed on and went for some lunch at the café used by our lads.
All the time we lived in Algarve I can honestly say I never saw any fights or nastiness amongst the Portuguese. They seemed a peace-loving people.

Lights-on earth & in the sky!
It was a few weeks before Christmas in Algarve; we hadn’t yet moved into Len and Janet’s villa near Porches. As I walked around Lagoa I noticed workmen erecting poles and I knew what these were all about this time. On our first Christmas I had seen a similar activity and asked Maria about it; she had smiled and said “Oh that is for the Christmas lights”.
The lights in Lagoa had always been lovely and cheerful.

Our two older children, Lesley and Jeff were coming for Christmas and we planned to take them into Portimao.
When they arrived we were settled into Janet and Len’s villa and after a few days we took them into Portimao to see the Christmas lights. We had a very nice evening there with a meal out and some drinks afterwards at a bar (we got a taxi to and from Portimao) and the lights were wonderful. However there was one curiosity. As we strolled around the town we came past a large hall where there was plenty of activity going on. Out of curiosity we peeked in and what should we find? We saw cages of pigeons everywhere and boy was there lots of noise! Hub thought it must be a pigeon meet and that the folk in there probably raced them.

After Christmas and when the children had flown home, it all seemed rather dull.
One day we had a phone call from Janet to ask how we were getting on. I said we were fine and then she said “We are putting the villa up for sale”. And she also told me that two agents would be calling on us. Len was receiving treatment for cancer back in England and she didn’t think they would be coming back to Algarve. Of course after a time we learned that Len had died.

Have to say the call had me slightly worried as we had given up our apartment in Lagoa and now our tenancy in the villa could be disrupted at any moment with a buyer for the villa.
I remember distinctly that evening as Hub and I talked it over and he tried to put my mind at rest, saying if a buyer came along we could always rent another apartment.
That night I walked out into the garden. It was a beautiful clear night and the stars brightly lit the black velvet sky. I went up the outside stairs that led onto the villa’s flat roof. I gazed up at the stars thinking how beautiful the night was, when suddenly over to my right way up high in the sky I saw a large bright light that seemed to be hovering there in the darkness. It mesmerised me and I stood transfixed, staring into the night sky.
After a while I hurried down the outside staircase and rushing into the sitting room I told Hub what I had seen. He went out and ran up the stairs, looking up at the sky but the bright object had gone.
On coming down again he asked me if I’d imagined it? I said no it was definitely a round glowing object hovering in the sky.
That night when I went to sleep, I dreamt of a spaceship landing, lol; but then I do have a vivid imagination!
A week later and the two estate agents came to the villa. I invited them in and made them a cup of tea; they were both English so they appreciated the tea and biscuits.
As we sat and talked I said we loved living in the villa and secretly hoped it wouldn’t soon be sold. I said the open skies were so beautiful here and that I often went onto the flat roof to star gaze; then I told them what I had seen the other night. I told them it was a round bright object that seemed to hover in the sky.

I was surprised when neither of the men seemed phased by my story. One of them said that UFOs, bright lights, had been seen regularly over the Algarve, so they were not surprised by my story.
The chap said that both expats and Portuguese had seen strange lights hovering in the sky and they had been reported.
I looked over at Hub and he looked at me, as if to say ‘Yes, you were telling the truth!’

From that night onwards I became a regular ‘star gazer’ and I was almost willing for that bright object I’d seen, to appear again. I was also very pleased that I wasn’t the only human to have seen lights hovering in the sky over Algarve!