Newsletter December 2008

by: Carol Carpenter

I cannot believe how quickly the months are passing. My father always says that the older you get the quicker time passes - well that’s certainly true. No sooner do I post one newsletter and the next one is due. Still it keeps the old grey matter going!!

It has been quite a busy month for us here in CVO, with our diary full of engagements – in fact last week we were out every night from Thursday until the following Tuesday, Roy is also very busy work-wise. I only wish that I had a lot of news to tell you on the alterations to CVO which were due to start in October but alas no. The only change is the demolition of the old building next to ‘O Patio’ on the beach.

gal/Newsletters/December_2008/_thb_PB240809.jpg  gal/Newsletters/December_2008/_thb_PB240810.jpg  gal/Newsletters/December_2008/_thb_PB240808.jpg
please find all the photos in larger versions here

Unfortunately, other then that, there is very little going on in the village. As usual most of the restaurants are closing or have closed for the Christmas break. Ele e Ela is now closed until February along with Oasis. Ma-Jar’s are still open but only from Thursday – Sunday. They are also open for Christmas dinner and New Year’s Eve. We had a really great time there last New Year and fully recommend it. This year we will be in Spain so unfortunately we will miss the evening. Happy’s are closing on 28th November until January 16th but we have been lucky and booked the last table for their closing night and hope to have some photos of this.´Big Will’ is again off to Brazil so the Roundup Bar will be closed until March.

gal/Newsletters/December_2008/_thb_PB280822.jpg  gal/Newsletters/December_2008/_thb_PB280818.jpg  gal/Newsletters/December_2008/_thb_PB280820.jpg
please find all the photos in larger versions here

I have been on several walkabouts this month keeping my eye on the work that has been started - and also left I might add - so do they all have cash-flow problems? On my last walkabout I was actually looking for Andy so I ended up at the school around three pm. I saw this guy talking outside the school and I was sure it was Andy so I approached him. He immediately jumped back hands in the air saying “I didn’t do it” yes, that was Andy.

This particular day was probably the coldest we have had this month. The sea was quite rough but there was one person in a speed boat who, although he must have been freezing, was having a whale of a time.

Even though it is extremely quiet in CVO at the moment we still have difficulty in parking. I have been told by someone who shall remain nameless, that this is due to the car rental companies who have no where else to park their cars. I am not sure how true this is but we certainly do have a problem.

I will endeavour to keep you all up-dated on the alterations once they start, but this is Portugal and they will probably start in the spring causing utter chaos for all the tourists. I shall now bore you to tears with all that we have been up to this month.

At the beginning of the month we set out to find the new Algarve Motor Park in the Serra de Monchique. We set off on the N125 hoping to find directions along the way. Realising that there were absolutely no directions on this road we headed for Mexilhoeira Grande as we knew this was the locality. We were not actually going to attend this rally, as we are not ardent fans and also the tickets were very expensive 30 and 40 euros each, but we were hoping to get a few photos for the newsletter. Unfortunately we got completely lost and though we could actually see the planes above the circuit could not get there. We also looked down on it as we went further up into the Monchique area but still we could not get there and after a while we gave up trying and decided to tour around instead. We came across a fascinating little place called ‘Hansel and Gretel’ Pancake and Lunch Restaurant. It is 8km north of Odiaxere on the Barragem da Bravura. Fairytale food for an enchanting price is what is written on their card and how right they are. Roy just had coffee but I opted for the most delicious apple pie with cinnamon and ginger, covered in cream - very calorific !! They also have a very nice lunch menu, and lots of different pancakes. As it had been Halloween they still had witches hats, pumpkins with candles and broomsticks around. Just as we were leaving, I was grabbed by a Portuguese lady who promptly stuck a witches hat on her head and mine requesting a photograph. Fortunately for us there were very few people inside at the time, but those who were there, found this quite amusing. The Dutch waiter was also bemused and even more so when he learnt that we didn’t actually know each other - it proved to be a really great afternoon. For those of you that enjoy walking, Free Walking Tours are available and maps are provided. This enchanting place is well worth a visit. If you would like more information their website is

gal/Newsletters/December_2008/_thb_PB020759.jpg  gal/Newsletters/December_2008/_thb_PB020761.jpg  gal/Newsletters/December_2008/_thb_PB020764.jpg
please find all the photos in larger versions here

Returning on the A22, from where it was sign-posted, we did eventually find the race circuit just as every one was leaving and got caught in the traffic jam. The aerial photos have been supplied by Rene after going for a flight with Roy and the photos of the low flying planes (estimated at 50 feet) were supplied by our good friend Len Port of Vista Iberia. I am very grateful to both of them - “Muito Obrigada” How they got away with this extremely low flying I will never know, last year Roy was fined 800 euros for flying at 300 feet off Alvor beach whilst flying with photographers who were covering the kite-surfers competition. These pilots were flying over thousands of people at a dangerously low level - something is definitely wrong here.

gal/Newsletters/December_2008/_thb_Race_Track_012.jpg  gal/Newsletters/December_2008/_thb_Race_Track_018.jpg  gal/Newsletters/December_2008/_thb_Race_Track_043.jpg
please find all the photos in larger versions here

Carrying on the subject of restaurants we also discovered Restaurant Brancazul at Luz the other day. This restaurant is very smart inside and on a nice day you can dine on there private terrace by the pool. Fatima and Miguel are the names of the owners who make you very welcome. They have a good prato do dia for 6.50 euros. If you prefer an evening meal they also have live music every Friday night. Follow EN125 to Luz after turning left at the lights, take the next right turn at the first roundabout to Burgau, carry on straight for a few minuets and you will find it on the left hand side. E-mail Reservations Tel: 282 763 393
This year we attended the ‘Sao Martinho’ celebrations at Sir Cliff Richards vineyard, having been kindly been invited by Len Port and his partner Joan. This is held every year and celebrates the end of the harvesting and the tasting of this years wine reserve. Hot roasted chestnuts were in great demand along with roasted pig and chicken, which was all washed down with numerous amounts of Vida Nova. We also sampled his new wine Onda Nova which is produced from 100% Syrah grapes; this had a really good spicy – red berry bouquet. The Rose was also very enjoyable. Everyone from farm workers to bankers mingled with each other at this local event. There were some really interesting characters here, Jerome (Joan’s son) is a ceramic artist and you can view some of his work in the adjoining shop, Clive Batchelor the architect who, is well known throughout the Algarve having lived here for many years, along with Jenny Grainer the author just to name a few. The whole event was organised by Nigel and Max Birch the co-owners with Cliff of the three vineyards which supply the winery. Sir Cliff sometimes attends these events but unfortunately he was not in attendance whilst we were there.

gal/Newsletters/December_2008/_thb_PB140793.jpg  gal/Newsletters/December_2008/_thb_PB140796.jpg  gal/Newsletters/December_2008/_thb_PB140797.jpg
please find all the photos in larger versions here

St Martin does not appear to be an official patron saint, though here in Portugal he is often associated with harvest festival celebrations during November.

After attending this event it was off to the ‘Brasserie Rosal’ which is towards Benagil for a quiz night, organised by the St Patrick’s Society. It proved to be a very successful evening with us actually coming third. This was a little disappointing for our team, as we had hoped to win, but I was really quite pleased with this result. We did have a good team though consisting of five intelligent souls Jeremy a writer and his wife Sandy, Rene (Gambrinus), e-Richard and Roy. I think I was there only to make up the numbers as my input was minimal but it was really enjoyable and the food was delicious as always.

gal/Newsletters/December_2008/_thb_PB140800.jpg  gal/Newsletters/December_2008/_thb_PB140801.jpg  gal/Newsletters/December_2008/_thb_PB140802.jpg
please find all the photos in larger versions here

We came across a delightful wooden workshop whilst out walking with a group of friends. It is situated in the hamlet of Torre just outside Alte. We had just come to the end of our circular walk, when we noticed the workshop door open. It is run by three women who make the most delightful wooden toys and we were all invited in to view their work. We were astonished to find that they also make earrings, slides and brooches out of all the local woods. I bought some acorn earrings and also a pair made from Perceves, olive and fig trees. This is a charming place and well worth a visit. The walk was really interesting covering Messines de Cima and Coreiros de Messines amidst some stunning scenery. After the walk we chose to visit the Alte Hotel for lunch, this was most enjoyable and again the views remarkable.

gal/Newsletters/December_2008/_thb_PB140772.jpg  gal/Newsletters/December_2008/_thb_PB140774.jpg  gal/Newsletters/December_2008/_thb_PB140777.jpg
please find all the photos in larger versions here

Well, that’s about it for this month and I hope you enjoy the read. I have been writing this newsletter now for the past two years - again how time flies - and I really love writing it but I would hate to over stay my welcome. So, if there is anyone out there who would like to have a go, would you let the Webmaster know (and myself of course). If not, I shall be more than happy to carry on.

We will be in Spain for Christmas and the New Year so I am afraid the next newsletter will be a little late - that’s if I’m writing it of course!!

I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and hope next year is a better one for all of us.