Newsletter July 2007


by: Carol Carpenter

Hello again we are now back in sunny Algarve after spending a very cold, wet and miserable month in England.
On arrival our plan was to go straight to our boat (our home in UK) for the first few days during which we would motor her up the Gloucester/Sharpness canal and River Severn to Upton where she is up for sale. However the rain was so torrential that after a difficult drive along the M4 we had to book into a grotty B&B otherwise we might have got washed into the canal!! Roy’s operation went well and his stay in Hospital was only for one night. This was followed by a fortnight of rest and relaxation, two trips to the Hospital for Physiotherapy and short walks aided by a pair of crutches. I was a little concerned that he might be a very bad patient as he is normally a very active person, but I was wrong and he was excellent. There was only one hairy moment! It was when I suggested that he might not be using the crutches correctly, after listening for a while he decided to try walking as I had suggested. Oops! not a good idea as he almost fell ( A over T ) and the air was blue for the next half hour. I made a very hasty retreat to the bedroom until he calmed down. After settling him on the sofa with newspaper, crossword puzzles and plenty of goodies he soon cheered up.

Please find large photos here [opens new window]

We were very lucky to be staying with friends in Great Malvern, whose apartment was once an Old School House. Although the house has now been converted to six apartments, it has retained much of its charm and still has the old arch stone windows in many of the rooms along with very high ceilings. Nestling between the hills and surrounded by beautiful gardens, it is an idyllic place to live.
Our friends had lived in Lagos for five years until last summer, when they found the heat quite unbearable so decided to move back to the U.K. They are both in their 70’s and now prefer to spend only the winter months in the Algarve.
Great Malvern lies in the foothills of the Malverns which are popular for walking and bird watching. The village is very picturesque but also very hilly, not the ideal walking place for Roy but he managed very well. Malvern Theatre is very well known and all shows that leave London to go on tour appear here first. It is also within walking distance of the apartment. The Abbey Hotel was very impressive as was the Priory all of which were built of the same stone as the Old School House. There were many quaint shops and also a small Art Gallery. The scenery was absolutely stunning and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay there. Unfortunately due to the very bad weather, I was unable to take photographs of this beautiful village, but did manage to photograph the view from the apartment windows early one morning along with one of Roy in his sexy support stockings.
After our stay in Malvern we then moved on to visit friends and family in Thornbury, Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire returning to the Algarve on 6th June.
On arriving we were a little disappointed to find that even in the Algarve it was far from flaming June. It wasn’t raining but was still quite chilly in the shade and has remained so. We are still glad to be back though and very much prefer the warm windy weather here than the gloomy wet U.K.

Walking through Carvoeiro I noticed there is now a new Barclays Bank at the top of restaurant hill. It must have only taken them a month to build it as I am sure it wasn’t there when we left. There is also a new Tapas Bar which is next to Catz Pyjamas named Tom Singelo. Apparently it has been open for a year but the owner Antonio and his wife Anna have only recently erected the sign displaying the name. Unfortunately everyone thinks it is his name and are always shouting hello Tom although in fact the name means (Tom - meaning tone or colour of wine and Singelo - meaning simple ) a simple wine bar - I think that’s rather sweet. On Saturday, we decided to go in for a quick drink, before going on to Bojangles for their 1st Anniversary Celebrations and, whilst we were enjoying a jug of Sangria, Karen and Nick came along on an evening walk about. In the end they decided to join us and of course we spent the rest of the evening eating Tapas and drinking Sangria. The food was delicious and the Sangria was the best we had tasted for a long time. The service was good, the staff very friendly and it was very reasonably priced - of course we never did get to Bojangles. We returned a few days later with friends Sandy and Gordon (Rampage) as he is known. In the evening we met up again for a delicious meal, albeit a little more expensive at Simca restaurant in Portimao. It only seats about 15 people and you do have to reserve a table, but it is really something special. The starters are huge as are the main courses, so if you go, I advise you not to have lunch. They are closed Sunday and Monday - for reservations 282423057 or mobile 914836369.


Please find large photos here [opens new window]

Nikki Beach Restaurant & Bar has opened on the Marina at Portimao and is very impressive but also very expensive. We took a leisurely trip over on the ferry from Ferragudo the other day had 1 small beer and a white wine and soda which cost us €12! A bottle of wine ranged from €20-€50 and if you really wanted to push the boat out €200 - €400 for champagne. Guess we won’t be regulars then! although I am sure it will attract the wealthy tourist. Sorry no photos it was purely a spur of the moment visit.

Getting back to Carvoeiro, Flic-Flac Bar has been re-named to Brady’s Irish Bar with live music. The Irish Band Klonakilty, play there on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and what a lively Duo they are. Linda and Nigel performed to a full house last Thursday night playing a variety of ballads etc along with well known Irish songs and the applause at the end was deafening. They are very talented and will also be playing in the square during July and August.

Please find large photos here [opens new window]

There is also a new Art Gallery next to the Anteak Bar called Celebrity Vaults Algarvida which looks very impressive and worth a browse around. The new apartment block opposite is well on its way and seems to be a lot higher than the block next to it, but maybe when it is complete and painted it will look less oppressive.
There are still no changes to the square or the road closure but I will keep you informed if and when things start to happen. The pavements are still quite bad and very slippery even after all the work they did in the winter. There seems also to be a lack of GNR presence at the moment. Tourists and locals are again parking outside the little supermarket in Carvoeiro, making it very difficult for the buses to get past. Last year they would have been quickly moved on by the GNR. This year on my travels I have not seen one Policeman?

The development of Hibiscus Gardens and Monte Santo resorts are well under way, stretching from Quinta do Paraisio over to Carvoeiro Tennis Club. A Sales Office has just appeared in Sesmarias on Quinta da Lapa looks as if it is going to be a huge development. At the moment there are so many new houses up for sale the re-sales will definitely be affected.

Please find large photos here [opens new window]

A new Law has been introduced this year which enables foreign vehicle owners to purchase car tax from any finance office in Portugal. The new car tax disc obliges all owners of foreign cars which have not been matriculated and which have been in Portugal for more than180 days to pay Portuguese road tax. There is also a new residency law which was created in August 2006. The Camara Municipal now has the authority to issue a document called a Certificado de Registo which is valid for 5yrs. After 5yrs, if an EU national decides to stay in Portugal for longer, they must then renew this document, by going to their nearest SEF office to apply for a residency card that is valid for 10yrs. This has led to waiting times dropping significantly and has saved the public a lot of time.

Last but not least Congratulations goes to a young lady who lives on our estate. She is known on the forum as "lil*madam" and she has just won first prize in the 7ª Corrida Fotografica de Portimao. The exhibition of the winners opens 30th June on the riverside in Portimao and lasts for two weeks. Well done lil*madam from both of us at 43.
That’s all my news for this month and hope you all enjoy reading this newsletter. We are now off to the Recinto da Fatacil in Lagoa to watch ‘Off The Wall’ - a Pink Floyd tribute band.