There & Back Again


Name that Tune: ‘”It’s very nice to go trav’ling but it’s oh so nice to come home” – It’s nice to go trav’ling – Frank Sinatra

Movie Quote of the Day: ‘The minute I set foot on foreign soil I am transported. I am a new creature stepping into life” – Women in Love

I am home! Back in my own bed, with a duvet, not cold, faintly damp apple-pie bed sheets and blankets to get tangled up in. Ahhh bliss!

I loved the apartment at the Alto Golf & Country Club, loved the indoor pool & hot tub (a tad too cold for the outdoor one to be open), rediscovered a love of tennis, loved the putting green & the happy hour at the on-site restaurant (2 more ‘Algarvian Lovers’ over here please!) but it’s very nice to have my own bed back again.

Managed to survive the flight out and back without freaking out & being restrained to my seat by the cabin crew. The journey out was more nerve-wracking in that it’s been a few years since my last flight so I was very nervous & felt like a battery hen in a pen for the duration. On the return leg I was more relaxed because (a) I had come to terms with it and (b) if we crashed & burned on this journey then at least we would have already had our holiday. I would not recommend a nervous flyer sitting with 2 young children on their first plane journey with faces permanently glued to the window, shrieking unhelpful things like; “I think we are going to land in the sea” or “Can you see those wobbly bits on the wing Daddy?” and “How does it actually stay in the air Mummy? shouldn’t it be too heavy – we will probably crash you know”. It made me want to shout; “Stewardess! Get back here with that drinks trolley please, I need a large gin”. But with wise words from a friend firmly stuck in my head (“The pilot has as much to lose as you”) I put my faith in the amusingly named man at the controls a Cptn Nigel Pitchfork, & stayed calm, smiling grimly through my (remaining) teeth & showed no fear infront of the childerbeast, humming and oohing & ahhing at the appropriate times in that way that you learn to do when you have small children.

We were staying in the small village of Alvor about 45 minutes from Faro airport and the apartment village itself was beautifully kept and there was plenty to keep everyone occupied. It was warm enough to sit on the beach, although it was wee bit breezy at times and too cold on a night to hang around much outside and we had the heater on in the apartment as we caned wine after wine and G&T’s to our hearts content infront of familiar BBC & ITV shows – watching the sun go down over the beach with ‘Lark Rise’ on in the background.

After day one I was eaten alive by some kind of biting insect and sported some beautiful lumpy welts on my arms and feet for the duration. Then by day 4 it was apparent that both childerbeast had nits! Sadly our little guidebook did not have the Portugese for ‘Headlice Shampoo’ in the useful vocab section, so we made do with some serious conditioner and combing until we could do the necessary treatment when we got home last night!

Are you itching now? Hands up if you just scratched your head? Hahaha I knew it!

A couple of days before A’s 4th birthday we had a day at the Fort at Sagres at the very tip of Portugal, passing the village of Praia Da Luz on the way and, not for the first time on the holiday, feeling the pain of the McCanns, who’s own little girl as we all know, did not manage to celebrate her own 4th birthday with her mummy & daddy when she vanished from there in May 2007. I wanted so much to find or see something hopeful for that family which might reunite them, but no such luck. I fear we may be onto another Ben Needham story and we will never know what happened. Very, very sad and frighteningly not altogether unheard of – it happens! I did not let either child out of my sight for the week and although me & Bman did eat out alone one night, Ma B was indoors with the childerbeast all night in the next room in a locked apartment, which was the only reason I went out.

When A’s birthday came on Friday, she started the day off well but by the time we had swum & lunched and then gone to play tennis, both of them showed themselves up hideously infront of Ma B, throwing tantrums of McEnroe proportions because they “couldn’t do it properly” but refused to listen to any practical advice on racquet technique & ball control. After a spectacularly embarrassing display of brattishness they were both marched off the court and put to bed for the rest of the afternoon where they slept the sleep of the righteous for 2½ hours whilst me Bman & Mrs B sunned ourselves on the balcony and drank wine to numb the horror of what we had witnessed. Ma B was so disgusted she quite rightly refused to take them out for birthday tea that evening as had been the original plan and threats were made that they would never be invited on holiday again or even to her house in Boro. They were suitably ashamed and remorseful until they kicked off again on the way home in the Duty Free shop! The dude on the till said as I was paying for my purchases as they ranted and raved outside the store “Oh dear, I hope they’re not on your plane” I said “Sadly they are”. He says “Maybe they won’t be sitting near you then eh?”, “Closer than you think” I replied dejectedly. “Oh goodness! Are they yours? I am sorry” He stammers, looking mortified at his faux-pas…… Not as sorry as I am mate let me tell you.

I love them (as we say in our house) “600,000,000 times round the World and back again a gazillion times” but Man Alive! When they create like that I just want to walk away for their own safety!

So lowlights were the couple of tantrums and the bug bites and chilly night times. Highlights were it being warmer in the daytime than we had hoped, and for me… some big time Parrot entertainment. At Zoomarine Park we saw a bird show & the little feathery dude drove a wee jeep, filled it up with pretend petrol, tossed quoits onto a ring and….wait for it…… painted MY portrait when I was chosen to stand up & pose (quite randomly – I was not jumping up and down waving my hands in the air shouting “Pick me Pick Me”). With that and the fact that I was soaked on purpose by a cheeky dolphin flicking water at me over the side of his pool, I went home that day a very happy and contended lady although I did have to restrain myself from trying to release the birds of prey from their enclosure but was happy to see them flying around untethered later on in the day at the Birds of Prey display.

On the last day we went to Praia da Rocha & spent a very fine hour in a bar called Bacchus, watching football on a big screen outside in the sunshine, drinking wine at 1euro a glass and making friends with the resident parrot called Cadouche…….it doesn’t get much better than that my friend. What can I say? I am a parrot fan – always wanted one, I still want one, but suspect Gollum the Cat would not take kindly to being usurped by a multicoloured birdie that talks back & rollerskates for fun!

Genius! My new pal ‘Cadouche’

Back to school tomorrow for an extra day and then Wednesday I will get the lowdown on what ‘s going on with Alpha although I have already had a cryptic text from my manager saying; “all too ridiculous to go into detail but basically we are all still employed” so Watch this space…


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