Newsletter July 2008

by: Carol Carpenter

At long last summer has finally arrived and June has been a great month weather wise although in other areas though it was far from great. Firstly there was the fisherman’s strike, then the petrol boycott. - both were short lived but we all felt the effects of them. Not only has the fuel increased, but also most of our essentials. I was quite shocked to find that my Intermarche bill came to 85 euros the other day for relatively very little. I feel very envious of my son who lives in Dubai and fills his jeep with fuel for peanuts.
The saga of our kitchen still goes on I’m afraid. I started to get suspicious the other day when I rang to check the delivery date for our windows. They still could not give me a date so, with the help of a fluent Portuguese-speaking friend of ours who was happy to go and speak with them, I was shocked to learn that after waiting twelve weeks they still had not made the frames. Feeling now, that I was about to blow a fuse, I immediately cancelled the order and told them I would go elsewhere. The frames have now been made by another company and are now ready, but they are still awaiting delivery of the glass. Apparently the double-glazed unit is coming from Lisbon. Here in the Algarve single glazing is not a problem, but double-glazing is a ‘Big problemo’!! I’m afraid we just have to be patient and wait. I think after waiting more than twelve weeks, my patience is diminishing somewhat. Meanwhile the tiling is finished apart from around the patio doors but the builder has a back problem and can no longer knock out the wall for the patio doors!! We now have to find a builder who is interested in doing this - a hell of a lot of shaking heads going on here. I just want this nightmare to end. Cozequipa are fitting the kitchen as I speak and I must say they are doing a great job - it looks beautiful. Manuel, the fitter has worked his socks off this week, stopping only for his lunch although of course we are rewarding him at the end of the day with a few beers. He also lives on Boa Vista so there is no problem with the driving issue. Maybe, by the end of July it will be complete, our family will be here by then so we shall have a celebration BBQ and I shall almost certainly get very drunk.
Carvoeiro is now getting busier with most of the restaurants and bars full, but it seems a lot quieter than other years. We held a fun bowls day for St Patrick’s Society on Friday 13th June, which proved unlucky for me as I had a really bad game. We had invited friends from Aljezur for the event and it was a really great day. After the game Connie and her colleague’s put on a superb buffet lunch and it proved to be a super weekend. Nothing special was planned for Saturday, it just happened and we ended up having a great BBQ followed by a siesta that lasted until 9pm. We then all decided to descend on Carvoeiro where we visited a few bars, ending up in The Bote Bar and Club where we stayed until 2.30 am. Paul and Phil are great guys and we hope they make a success of their new venture. As you will see by the photographs it is very tastefully furnished with very comfy sofas. Their official opening night is 5th July and we hope to be there. Further information on or Tel: 282 357 285 or Mob: 917 542 759.

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please find all the photos for the newsletter here

We had a fleeting visit this month from my sister and her friend from La Manga in Spain. They had driven for 10 hours stopping only for short rests and drinks. The purpose was for her friend’s son to have an eye examination with Roy, as she was not happy with his last optician’s analysis and was concerned for him. A very expensive eye test I know - but at least she went back to Spain relieved and happy!! We took them to Oasis and A Lanterna Velha where we all enjoyed superb meals with huge portions. After staying for two nights at the Carvoeiro Sol Hotel, which they enjoyed very much, their only grumble being about the drain smell that hits you when you enter the hotel. Other than that they had a very pleasant, albeit short, stay in CVO. On leaving they informed us they would return again very soon for a longer stay in this beautiful village. We have also enjoyed a pleasant meal at A Gale with our neighbours who were on a short visit. Thanks very much Roy and Ruth and we look forward to seeing you in August.
We were invited to lunch at the Italian Restaurant La Bella Vita at Club Atlantico by Rene (Gambrinus) the other Sunday. This is my favourite complex and when I win the lottery I intend to buy a place there (she is looking for a rich toy-boy – Roy !!). It’s an absolutely stunning setting, very quiet, with some really beautiful sea views and of course ‘Smugglers’ beach which is a favourite of ours. I am ashamed to say we have never eaten in this restaurant before, but now you will not keep us away. Both service and food were excellent. Many thanks Rene - the next meal is on us. We have already paid a return visit as I forgot to take the camera and all staff were happy to be included in the photographs.
As I am on the subject of restaurants, The Bon Bon Restaurant in Sesmarias now has a new chef Rosalie, from Holland and trained in Amsterdam. We were invited by At, the owner, for a seven course meal last Sunday comprising - Smoked Swordfish served with a delicate truffle oil with apple, Atlantic Sea Scallops with a Champagne & Vanilla ‘beurre blanc’, Langoustine Bisque decorated with King Prawns, Pan Fried Duck Livers with grilled Apples and Calvados sauce, chefs own Pate with a Moscatel syrup, Fillet of Ostrich served on a bed of ‘Yam’ mash with Safari sauce, Cheese Platter accompanied by Fig Confiture. Each course was accompanied, with fine wines from ‘Decante Vinhos Herminio’. With a menu like this it can only do well. I am sure this Restaurant, which has always been a favourite of ours, will be extremely popular and we wish Rosalie good luck in her new surroundings.

I was shocked to hear that my favourite restaurant in Portimao has now been changed to a charity shop. ‘Simsa’ was known far and wide for their fine Dutch-Indonesian cuisine. Proprietor Marga Otten said that circumstances led to the closure. The chef had fallen in love and returned to Holland, the new kitchen would have cost 10,000 euros (this I know!!!) also they had closed the old bridge. This was the final straw as a lot of her clients came from Ferragudo and Carvoeiro. Our favourite time at this restaurant was after the Christmas concert at the Cathedral, it was magical and a great start to the Christmas celebrations.

‘Golfing for Grey’s’ held their Summer Ball at the Tivoli Almansor Hotel last Friday. Although the evening was not formal everyone made a superb effort. On arrival we were welcomed by Mags and David Taylor who organised the evening and given a champagne cocktail. The evening was very well attended and we all enjoyed a delicious meal. After the normal speeches and trophies awarded to this year’s best players we all danced the night away with music from ‘Saraband’ - this delightful duo getting everyone on their feet. I was very impressed with the Salsa danced by Mags and David, who are having dance lessons at Strictly Social Dance in Alcantarillha. Hopefully, if I can get Roy to agree, we shall join them soon. Many thanks, once again to you both for a really wonderful evening.

I was in Aladdins the other day chatting to John and Pauline. They were happy for me to take photographs for this newsletter, but are not happy for everyone to do so. Apparently, last year people were taking mobile phone photos of themselves, modelling the clothes. They are obviously not too pleased about this. The only reason I take them is to try and promote Carvoeiro shopping facilities, which I think are extremely good. Roy was once the Chairman for ‘The Chamber of Trade’ in Gloucester and has always supported the small business sector. In Aladdins you can always find something at a really good price, for any occasion. Also if you do go in try not to go straight from the beach, as the sun creams do leave marks on the clothes, otherwise you are quite welcome to browse and try clothes on. I am sure most of us never do, but there is always one!!

The Souvenir Shop
almost opposite Aladdin’s is also very good for shoes, bags and costume jewellery. The assistant there always greets you with a smile and is very helpful. I bought a great pair of ‘shocking pink’ shoes with matching handbag. I know, it sounds a bit of a ‘naff’ colour but it went very well with the dress I wore for the ‘Golfing for Greys Summer Ball’.
Further along the road is a really good, beachwear shop called ‘Girls Planet’.

The ex ‘Tom Singelo’ is now a new Creperie called ‘La Gallette’ and the owners are Sandra and Decio. I didn’t have time to sample any of their fayre but I definitely will next time. Another Real Estate Company have taken over the old premises, of ‘Celebration Vaults’ called Engel & Volkers, who also have premises in Lagos and Northern Portugal. ‘How many more are we going to have’?

I noticed on my way up to Clube Atlantico, a new building that looks as if it could be a Restaurant. It is just past ‘A Pedra Grande’ on the same side. If anyone knows what it is can you let me know please, meanwhile I’ll do my best to find out more.

We had a great afternoon and evening at Bahia Beach Bar in Lagos last Sunday. This was to celebrate the arrival of the two British university students, after cycling from Launceston in Cornwall to the Algarve. Matt Parnell and Michael Yeomans arrived in Lagos after completing the 1300mile trip. Their aim was to raise £7,000 for ‘The Children’s Hospice South West’ charity. The charity is raising money to build a new hospice in Cornwall. Congratulations both of you on your achievement.

‘White Crow’ (Nigel Crowson from ‘Klonakilty’) and his friend Barney White performed at Ma Ja’s on 14th June. They were excellent and played to a full restaurant. Joining them was a female vocalist ‘Iona’ who has an amazing voice, she also plays guitar and is a pupil of Barney’s. Their next venue was at Poppy’s on 29th but it coincided with the Final of Euro 2008 and was not very well supported. They are due to play again at Ma Ja’s on 14th July so come along if you are in CVO.

I am an ardent tennis fan and have become a couch potato this week. I really love to watch Nadal who is my favourite to win this year. I have even put a bet on with a friend from bowls. Federer is great though and is playing superbly, as are the Williams sisters. Andy Murray was excellent fighting back and eventually winning his match against Gasquet but was outclassed by Nadal. I was on the edge of my seat with my heart racing. I thought tennis was supposed to be relaxing to watch! Chris Eaton who has leapt up in the ranks, will definitely get my support next year - what a potentially great player he is. Have a great Wimbledon week to all other ‘Couch Potatoes’