Newsletter June 2006

  by: Karen Telling

May arrived with a real feel of summer in the air, and with daytime temperatures in the mid-late 20’s it is now warm enough to swim most days, either in a pool or in the sea, so it was good to see that Carvoeiro town beach has been awarded blue flag status for the coming season. To qualify, the beach must satisfy a number of criteria including Environmental Education and Information, Water Quality, Environmental Management, and Safety and Services so those of you who enjoy a swim in the sea can do so, reassured that the water is clean, and the beach properly equipped. Other neighbouring beaches with blue flag status this year include Centeanes, Caneiros, Pintadinho and Ferragudo.

My brother and his girlfriend arrived on Monday 1st for a short break in the sun, and on Tuesday we sat out in the garden for most of the day, before walking down to meet up with my parents at Rascals for a few pre-dinner cocktails on the terrace, overlooking the sea. We then carried on down the hill to A Vela for dinner, this was their first visit and they were very impressed – particularly with the Picanha and the famous orange tiramisu!

The next evening I met up with friends, and we walked from their apartment to A Palmeira – this restaurant often seems to be overlooked as it is tucked away down a side road off Estrada do Farol, but it is well worth a visit; the staff are friendly and welcoming and the food is good, and very good value. On Thursday evening it was time to introduce my brother and his girlfriend to Bella Vita at Clube Atlantico, with the lighter evenings we took advantage of a table by the window, overlooking the pool, and the meal was excellent as usual.

The following Monday I set off for Faro airport to pick my husband up – it is not my favourite place to drive to so I left in plenty of time and actually arrived 45 minutes before the plane was due to land! I quite happily handed over the keys for him to drive back – and he very happily accepted. On Thursday we joined Gambrinus and Roy4eyes at Algar Seco Bistro for the regular meet-up – if you are planning a trip to Carvoeiro this summer, pop up and say hi!

After a busy day on Friday 12th, we popped into Imprevisto for a drink, then decided to walk across to Ele Ela for a late dinner. The bar and kitchen area has been extended, and the outside eating area has been made more permanent – there is also a new menu, and my husband particularly recommends the lamb!

The following Wednesday I saw a message on the forum from Thunderbolt, asking for help to find her missing kitten, so we volunteered our services and spent more than an hour searching Colina Branca and the surrounding area, constantly calling for Cleo. There was no sign of her at all, so we headed into Carvoeiro, ending up at the Grande Muralha Chinese restaurant for dinner. Having lost 2 of our rescued cats in the last year, I didn’t hold out much hope, and know how upsetting and frustrating it is not to know what happened to them. Happily, the next day, Thunderbolt was able to report that Cleo had turned up, apparently none the worse for her disappearance – hopefully all the searching and calling for her helped to bring her home safely.

Despite the increasing temperatures, all the rain through the winter seems to have had the desired effect, and the Instituto da Água, the national water institute, has announced that there will be no drought this summer. Apparently we had the ‘right’ sort of rain at the right time, and they are only now starting to use the reservoirs to ensure the water supply. There are, however, plans for a new water management system to help plan water use and avoid further drought situations in the future – hopefully it will be successful and we won’t have a repeat of the problems faced last year.

On Friday 19th we got an unexpected call asking my husband to go back to the uk the following day, so I hurriedly booked a flight and accommodation on the internet, and 24 hours later he was setting off for Faro once more. A couple of hours later, our one-eyed cat, Camões, came in and went straight to his food bowl as usual. As he walked past me, heading for his usual spot on the armchair, I noticed that one side of his head looked swollen, and as he turned round I could see a dart-like grass seed sticking out of his remaining eye, which was almost closed. On my own, at 11 o’clock on a Saturday night, there was not much I could do except pull out the seed and apply some antibiotic cream, but I went to sleep dreading how it would look in the morning, and wondering whether I would have to call the emergency vet. By morning, the swelling had gone down enough for him to open his eye, thankfully the eye itself looked fine and he didn’t seem to be in any pain. Despite his disability he is the most adventurous of our four cats and refuses to stay in the house, so I applied some more cream and let him out as usual. Fortunately a subsequent trip to the vet confirmed that his eye was undamaged, but it is typical that it had to be the one-eyed cat that gets a grass seed in his eye!

On Sunday afternoon my parents came over for lunch and a swim, as my resident chef was away I managed to cobble together a passable prawn salad and we spent a lovely afternoon sitting in the sun. During the afternoon I got a text message from my husband – he was planning to drive back to Portugal, taking the ferry across the Bay of Biscay to northern Spain, then into northern Portugal and eventually back down to the Algarve. However, the ferry was overbooked and he had to drive 3 hours to another port to get a ferry to northern France instead. Having been looking forward to a ‘mini-cruise’ and hoping to see some whales and dolphins, he was more than a little put out to have to drive the length of France instead!

Next morning I got another text message, the weather had been bad overnight with force 8 or 9 gales in the channel, and the boat he should have been on had been battered by the waves and had had to dock in Brittany for repairs. All the passengers had been offloaded and the boat was out of service for a few days, so although he was a day late getting home, not getting on the boat had actually done him a favour.

One of the benefits of driving back from the uk instead of flying, is being able to bring back some of the things that are either very expensive, or not available here – I always ask for the Sunday papers with all the supplements that we don’t get here and my husband misses mature cheddar cheese - other people miss other things and we went off to Algar Seco Bistro on Thursday night with a precious cargo – a box of Shreddies for Roy4eyes!

The following Saturday we joined friends celebrating a birthday at L’Orange restaurant, surprisingly, after 20 years visiting Carvoeiro, and 3 years living here (within walking distance), this was our first visit. We had a lovely evening, complete with birthday cake and candles, finished off with a few drinks and songs at Round Up. There were some very professional-sounding singers on the karaoke that night – if you were one of them, well done!

On Monday, Nuno, the dog groomer, arrived to give Barney his summer hair cut. As he started bringing his equipment into the garden, Barney obviously decided to go for the sympathy vote and started hopping around on three legs – he even remembered which leg was hurt when he was hit by a car in February. His leg has been completely healed for the last two months, so his act didn’t save him from two hours of brushing, shampooing and clipping but the end result was well worth it – he looks like a puppy again, and must feel the benefit now that the summer is here and the temperature is climbing.

About half way through the grooming process, the sky clouded over and the temperature dropped a few degrees, and it actually looked like it was going to rain. The weather stayed overcast, but warm, for the next couple of days, and although rain threatened it never actually arrived. On Wednesday 31st we were invited to dinner with friends at their apartment in Carvoeiro, we had a lovely evening sitting out on their balcony overlooking the sea, and after lots of restaurant meals it was lovely to have a home-cooked meal for a change.

Até a próxima!