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Miss Hill (Lara Costa) & Claire Harrison (Deborah Kloegman)Back in 1979 when I was visiting England on a trip, I went to see a new play that was the talk of London, Whose Life Is It Anyway? starring the (then) young actor Tom Conti. It was the rave of the year and his performance earned him a Tony Award. When I heard that this Algarveans’ production starred a woman as the lead, I wondered whether the dynamics would work. I didn't realise that Brian Clark, the playwright, had updated the script to give it a new look for modern audiences.

Halle-lu-yah, Halle-lu-yah SalemaHalleluyah, Halleluyah,” rang out again and again across the esplanade and the beach front for a good 10 minutes. It was an inspiring sound if somewhat mournful. It was sung by members of the local Church of the Navigantes, who had gathered there to hold a service in honour of their religion and to give thanks and also to seek the help of the Almighty in keeping the men of the fishing fleet safe out at sea.

One might ask, what was Leonard Cohen doing in the Western Algarve around 5 o’clock on an August Saturday afternoon. Well, you, and he, would have to have been there to accomplish that. Also the issue of reincarnation would have been overcome. But nevertheless “Halle-lu-yah, Halle-lu-yah” continued with even greater gusto and feeling. The members of the congregation were really enjoying what they were doing.

A car show - "The Best or Nothing"When visitors holiday with us, Saturday night is normally, a restaurant followed by a slow drive home under the stars. This week's arrivals were more adventurous. "Let's go to the Freestyle" became the call to action throughout the day. So, after a very tasty "Chinese," off we went to the Lagos arena.

I parked amongst the 3 euros per night brigade, leaving space enough for those still to arrive. This part of Lagos offers all and sundry a once a month "market of fun." The noise and chaos never fail to amuse. Among the hustle and bustle "Cinceuros" rings out from every stall. Anything and everything, socks, underpants, tools. cork handbags etc, etc are all on offer. It really is a very human event.

Play the poop songI must be getting old. The “Norwegian Easy Jet” has just landed in Oakland and the customs guys have gone on a work to rule. Just what I needed. Two hours later, after 2 US airline flights have landed and picked up their bags we ESTA carrying foreigners finally enter an empty arrivals hall. Thank heavens the grand kids are still awake and rushing to greet us. I’m suddenly re-engergized.

IKEAYears ago I was in Stockholm and was dragged along to the largest IKEA store in the world, (over 55,000 square metres). Now I can claim IKEA Loulé, a somewhat smaller attempt, as part of my portfolio. Yes, her 'Ladyship' is addicted.

We had dropped off the grandkids for an early 9 o’clock flight at the bedlam that currently is known as 'Departures' and after a prolonged coffee visit in the relative tranquillity of downtown Patacão we circumnavigated our way around to the huge IKEA carpark in Loulé’s new half-finished suburbia.

Baobab to you tooThe shades of night are falling fast when we a Botswana village pass, at seventy kilometres per hour. The GPS’s estimation tells us we’re twenty three kilometres from our destination, “Greens” Baobab.” “Yes “Greens” Baobab.

We bounce and rock and sometimes roll down that track, an unmade road, sundown is in forty minutes. Then the sand and deep ruts slow us down and we slew and slide all around, in second gear.

autodrome"The assumption that in a democracy, governments do the best for their electors seems a joke these days." That sentence commenced my article last month; it is repeated here.

Historically, the Algarve was exploited by foreigners and local pirates. First came the Moors, then the Spaniards and bandits; then early last century, dictators and their best friends. The current system, which politicians call a democracy, where more than half of the electors do not vote, allowed the development of the  patos bravos, mainly real estate speculators and builders who bribed officials to build where they shouldn't build and thus destroyed the gorgeous nature which blessed this poor but nice people.

Where do you go to my lovely, Lisbon?From a visitor’s point of view Lisbon is an OK place. There are spectacular views from the Bridges, the Santorio Nacional de Cristo Rei and the Casteljo and of course there is the football, the occasional “show” and the odd triathlon on the water front. The walk around the lower city followed by an Elevador de Santa Justa ride up to the upper reaches of the old Lisbon, is also most memorable. 

Very early on in my years of capital visits I learnt to abandon my car and take to the underground or a taxi. I could never come to terms with the crazy one way system maze, connecting dual carriageways with back alleys throughout the city. It was beyond my patience and my GPS. On our recent visit we chose a hotel just off the motorway which allowed us to use Shank’s Pony to arrive at the “Gulbenkian.”

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