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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.”

6208aUsing the free survey programme from Survey Monkey, the algarvedailynews.com team ran the 2016 readership survey on June 21st.

Thank you to all of those 'Dear readers' who took part. The responses received are sufficient to give a good idea as to reader attidudes and interests.

(In questions 1 and 3, just ignore the answer fields that show no result - these popped up in the final version that did not show up on the final draft.)

Grazie Mille VeneziaIt was time. Her song was next.

The conductor raised his arms. The 4 rows of choristers stood straight. With a wave of his wrist, a young girl on the front row began, “I am a small part of the world.”
Another clear voice followed with, “I have a small hand which I have to hold.”
Then Grace’s rich tones filled the Chiesa San Stae with beautiful sound as she delivered the remaining 3 lines of the opening verse. We were filled with unparalleled joy.

This week: It's all about numbers Written By Len PortFudged figures - As Portugal and other EU members wait with bated breath, it seems that Britain’s referendum on staying or leaving is likely to go down to the wire. The expatriate vote could be decisive, it is said. But does anyone have any idea how many expatriates are out there? The Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn told TV viewers, “there are nearly three-quarters of a million British people living in Spain and over two million living in other parts of Europe”. Completely wrong, according to the BBC. The Beeb reckons the true figure for UK-born permanent residents in Spain is 306,000, and for the EU as a whole 1.2 million. The generally accepted figure for British expats in Portugal is only 40,000. No one knows how many if these are eligible to vote. Every vote counts, as they say, but given the confusion and contradictions in the ongoing referendum rigmarole, how many eligible voters will bother?

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