When thirty-three years ago André Viane first came to Portugal (after living for some time in Spain), he was bowled over by the amazing light and the incandescent sunsets in the Tavira area. As a painter, he knew that he had to escape the dreary atmosphere and gloomy light of Belgium in order to benefit from the Algarvian light. He chose to move to the hills above the quiet city of Tavira and he has now lived there for twenty-nine years. Like many of us estrangeiros, he felt that in the Algarve he had arrived home.
In recent years, British Consuls to the Algarve have come and gone, but in 2010 long-term Algarve resident Clive Jewell, 54, took up the post, and he’s hoping to be in it for the long-haul. A fluent Portuguese speaker who loves living here and “adores Portuguese food”, he’s intensely proud of his new responsibility which he says “goes beyond the job title. It is about making a difference in people’s lives when they need help the most”.
Multi-lingual, with a background working on European issues, the latest British ambassador to Portugal is mother-of-two Jill Gallard, from Northern Ireland. Taking up her appointment as the 2nd female ambassador ever to have been appointed to Portugal, Ms Gallard said “I look forward to further developing the deep relationship between the UK and Portugal - the oldest alliance in the world - and to promoting our close partnership, both in the bilateral political and commercial context and in multilateral fora such as the EU, the UN and NATO.
I don’t think Sylvy Keenan would like to teach the whole world to sing but in the Eastern Algarve she is very happy teaching a small group of people to sing in close harmony. Sylvy gets a buzz from ringing chords and hearing the overtones. It gives a fantastic feeling which is addictive, she says.
Although Sylvy´s family is musical, she herself had no formal training in music. Like many of us, she used to sing when she was alone for example in the bath or when she was vacuuming. It was not enough for her and looking through the local clubs and associations in the library in her home town of Amersham she came across a Barbershop Chorus.
Ex merchant marine engineer Clive Jackson has spent the last 15 years in the Algarve dedicated to his passion for astronomy. He and his wife Glória came to live in Portugal just over 15 years ago when Clive established the Astronomical Observatory of Tavira, of which he was Director and astronomer. In 2005, Clive also set up and is the manager of the Camera Obscura in Tavira. The Observatory sadly closed in 2010 and the model planets from the Observatory may now be seen at the Camera Obscura.
Chris Wright is so interested in sport and reporting sport that This Sporting Life was the obvious title for this piece. Within the context of the Liga Zon Sagres (the Portuguese Premier Division) this title might create confusion with Sporting Clube de Portugal, Sporting Clube de Braga or even in the Algarve with Portimonense Sporting Clube. But why let potential confusion spoil a witty headline?
"In an ideal world the words tolerance, solidarity and charity would not exist," says Tela Leão. If we instinctively treated each other with trust and respect we should not need those insulting and patronising words. Developing this concept, her friends José and Raquel Martins of Casa das Artes in Tavira decided to launch a project based on an idea by the Swiss artist Doris Sanders (and her Portuguese husband António Almeida) to generate Tavira Ilimitada - Against Racism and Xenophobia.
"I woke up at 4.30 am with a sudden flash of inspiration. If there is no hospice here in the Algarve why can´t we just make it happen?" said Alison Blair. And that was the beginning of the charity association Madrugada.
'Madrugada' is Portuguese for daybreak and new beginnings and Alison´s early morning inspiration is already changing the way in which the terminally ill are cared for in the Algarve.