Did you notice the John Lennon title link to my last post? I’m thinking it’s probably easier to write here than to try to keep up with each of you individually, lovely as you all are. Yes, I wanted to come back with a brand new blog, full of the pure exuberance of life and the beauty of the Algarve, but it’s not practical at the moment, for a variety of reasons. So, simply an update.
You know those Indian Summers we sometimes talk about in the UK? We’ve definitely been experiencing one here in the Algarve. Temperatures have just started to dip a little, which is good news for my walking friends. The first Striders walk of the season, on 2nd October, was kept to a miserly 10km in the Algarvian hills, but nobody was sorry when the walk was over. A long table was set up beneath an awning but, by the time we’d finished eating, the sun was avidly gobbling up the shade. It was time to down the wine and move on. But not before coffee and cake, of course.
The Strollers walk on the following Friday fared a little better. We were near the salt marshes, with a hint of a breeze now and again. A different mix of people, some of whom we hadn’t seen in a long while, and another wonderful accompaniment of hugs, smiles and traded stories. Does it feel different now that we’re to become a permanent part of the community? Not yet, but I have noticed subtle differences. At one time I couldn’t bear to be out of the sun, and would feel myself twitching if I was in the shade a fraction longer than was absolutely necessary. Now that sunshine has more or less become a constant, I can seek shade with equanimity. Maybe Winter will change that, but for now we find ourselves adopting the Portuguese custom of pulling down the blinds in our house to keep out excessive heat.
Our third walk included a train ride with a ticket collector who was greatly amused by 27 Brits, smiling and brandishing passports at him at 8.30 in the morning. Our discounted fare was 80 cents for the 10km, two stops, ride. We then walked back, a loop of town, pine forest, beach and countryside totalling 14km, all on the flat. More reunions and friendships renewed, and lots more hugs and smiles. We are all so appreciative of what we have here. Not just the wonderful climate, but the lasting warmth of companionship. Few of us have been unscathed by anxiety or illness, but a sympathetic shoulder is never hard to find.
Since coming here, I’ve cast a fresh look around our home. Aside from outstanding DIY (phew, Mick’s department!) there are a few issues about storage and how we use the space we have. Cupboards and wardrobes have been given a stern looking at. We’ve joined the local library and a small army of English language books will be making their way to a new and worthwhile home. An antique television set, weighing a ton but producing not a single programme, in any language, has made it’s way to the refuse collection, located down an exceedingly pretty back lane.
The negatives? Knee deep in photo albums prior to departure, I forgot a couple of things I normally regard as essential to my Algarve life. The cable to download photos from my camera and my memory stick, so I’ve had to improvise for photos. And my diary! Unheard of, this last, so I’ve taken to recording events online on the notepad. Not entirely satisfactory. Still to do? Partly due to a wretched cough I’ve not yet joined an exercise class, nor a language class, but I will!
You’d laugh! As I finish writing this, rain is bouncing off the table on the patio. But I’m smiling indulgently and enjoying the sound. Good thing we finished that painting! And tomorrow is set to be dry for another walk. Have a great weekend, and I’ll catch up with you when I can. Our Internet is feeble, but we’ll fix that too.