Newsletter April 2006

  by: Karen Telling

The first few days of March were beautiful, with lovely sunny days; however Barney’s accident last month meant that one of us, generally me, had to stay home with him all the time. As a former street dog he is not used to being left alone in the house – especially with our four cats – and we couldn’t leave him in the garden as he was still likely to hurtle around at great speed, risking further injury! The heavy splint on his leg also meant that he got into some awkward situations that he couldn’t extricate himself from, so I resigned myself to playing a combination of nursemaid and jailer to him for a few weeks. As a consolation for not being able to go out we treated ourselves to a take away from Bella Vita on Thursday 2nd – delicious as usual.

The weather changed on Saturday 4th with a day of blustery showers – we took Barney for a walk on the lead and noticed he was walking awkwardly, on further inspection we found that he had managed to walk right out of his splint! He hobbled home and we spent over an hour re-bandaging his leg as we had seen the vet do it, but by Sunday morning he was out of it again, so we had to call the vet for yet another special consultation. Having been told that the splint would have to stay on for 3 weeks we were very relieved when the vet said it could be removed now – Barney still had to take it easy, but at least he didn’t have to drag the cumbersome splint around with him. The vet was amazed at how well he had healed in such a short time – Barney is certainly a tough old boy!

The weather brightened up again and the following week was beautiful, the daytime temperatures really started to climb, we had lunch outside most days and the evenings were milder too. Still confined to the house, we had friends round for the evening on Friday 10th, instead of meeting them in one of the bars or restaurants in Carvoeiro as we would normally do. We started on a quick spring clean, one thing led to another, and by the time they arrived we had changed all the furniture round in the living room. It certainly wasn’t the intention when we started out, but I think it looks much better – now I wonder why we didn’t have it like that before!

The weather continued warm and sunny until the middle of the following week, Wednesday 15th was overcast and then the rain started the following day and continued on and off for the next week. The countryside is noticeably greener than it was this time last year, thanks to all the rain we have had this winter, and the area where we walk Barney is almost waist high in wild flowers and grasses, much more than we have seen in the eighteen months that we have lived in this house. We can normally walk all round this area of open land, but we now have to keep to the paths and Barney almost disappears in the undergrowth. We have also had to weed the garden for the first time since we have lived here, one of the less welcome consequences of all that rain.

My brother-in-law and his girlfriend arrived for a 3 week stay in their apartment in Carvoeiro just as the rainy spell started, but the showers didn’t stop us calling into Round Up on Saturday 18th for a few drinks. The bar was extremely busy and there was no shortage of karaoke volunteers.

On Wednesday 22nd I had lunch in Imprevisto with forum regular Heini, who with her husband Peter, was coming to the end of their annual 3 month stay in Carvoeiro. As they hadn’t managed to get to many Thursday evenings at Algar Seco, it was lovely to meet up for a chat before their return to Canada. They had enjoyed their stay, and we’ll probably see them again next winter – Heini also does her bit for the Carvoeiro tourist industry and seems to bring more and more Canadian visitors every year.

On Thursday 23rd it was my brother-in-law’s birthday so we met up in Imprevisto for a celebratory bottle of bubbly, then went across the road to the Oasis restaurant for some of their famous ribs. The restaurant was very busy, as always, and after a delicious meal we walked up the hill to Rascals to have a few cocktails with Gambrinus, Roy4eyes, Thunderbolt and Sandy, who had adjourned there after the Algar Seco get together.

We had noticed that there had been a lot of work going on in the empty shop between Oasis and Budget car hire, and whilst sitting at Imprevisto we noticed that the shop had now opened as a Super Saúde pharmacy. The shop has a wide range of non-prescription medicines, sun tan lotion, baby bottles and formula …….. and Scholl’s Party Feet which I haven’t seen anywhere else locally! All the female readers will understand, and the guys don’t need to know what I’m talking about! I understand the shop will be open late into the evening in summer for all those last-minute holiday essentials.

The weather cleared up again on Friday 24th and stayed warm and sunny until the end of the month. With the clocks going forward that weekend, sunset is now around 8.30 pm and there is a real taste of summer with lighter, warmer evenings and people sitting outside the bars and restaurants until well into the evening. We had a barbecue on Monday 27th and sat outside until about 7.30 pm – until the mosquitoes decided to join us, time to stock up on the citronella candles and insect repellents! I understand from the forum that eating marmite regularly can help prevent insect bites – as it is not one of my favourite foodstuffs I think I would rather put up with the bites, but if you do like marmite it might prove to be an unexpected bonus!

On Tuesday 28th we went to Cheers for cocktails and Kurt’s famous Swiss rosti with a choice of toppings including ham, cheese, egg and spinach, so another place suitable for vegetarians – four of us ate and drank all evening for just over 50 euros, excellent value. With 24 hours notice Kurt will also cook specials such as fresh fish or Picanha (Brazilian beef). We also bumped into forum regular Dalcassian and his wife Nell who were making the most of their last night in the village, after a month’s stay in Carvoeiro.

My mother-in-law arrived on the evening of 29 March for a 4 week stay in Carvoeiro, looking forward to some spring sunshine. She enjoys here independence, staying in an apartment in the centre of the village so she can walk to the local supermarkets and then on to Smilers for her regular morning coffee, which sometimes stretches to a lunchtime G&T! The following evening we took her to A Vela, one of her favourite restaurants, and then joined my brother-in-law and his girlfriend for a nightcap in Havana bar. The bar was very busy and we enjoyed a couple of cocktails and the lively atmosphere.

Sadly for me, the better weather means we no longer need the log burner. I have put my matches and firelighters away and will have to suppress my pyromania until the autumn; at least I have the consolation of a long, hot summer in prospect.