Near Silves, Portugal

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10th December – 17th December 2017

Well they battled through snow, sliding in a taxi across the snow covered roads, abandoning the pet dog with neighbours, enduring a nail biting, will the plane fly, won’t the plane fly scenario to get to us. Just over three hours late their flight arrived. All I can say is well done Jet2 as their plane was the only one to land in Faro that day, all of Ryanair flights were cancelled. Our Mums could not have picked a worse day to fly.

They arrived laden with goodies, packing no clothes but Mince Pies, homemade Sausage Rolls, Christmas Lights, Branson Pickle, M&S Sausages and my Waitrose Shop ! We love our Mums.

We decided to de-camp to a Farmhouse near to the town of Silves. The farmhouse sits in the middle of an avocado plantation and is of a traditional Portuguese style. Owned by friends and having stayed before a couple of times, we thought it would be the perfect base to spend some quality time with our Mums. When we have stayed here before it is during the warm summer months, enjoying the cool interior and swimming pool. In the middle of December it was slightly different. We drew the sofa nearer the huge wood burning stove for heat and Mum’s hot water bottle came in useful. The wood burner was so good though that we all began to melt after an hour of so each evening.

We had an emergency trip to the Drs after David’s wood collecting antics. When we arrived at the farmhouse, there was very little wood for the fire and so we went wood collecting and David whilst attempting to jump on a piece of wood to break it, fell into a cactus bush. The result was a huge collection of cactus thorns in the side of his face and hands. Now after our St John’s ambulance First Aid Course we attended before we left, I took over (not really knowing what to do). I did attempt to get out all the thorns with my expensive tweezers ! But was unable to get them all out. The following day after reading on the internet that medical attention should be sort immediately I thought we better visit a Doctor. Off we went to the nice Dr Ronald Bakker in Carvoeiro (who I highly recommend). Now Ronald did not know if the cactus bush was poisonous and good thinking moi did take a picture of the bush to show Ronald. Ronald then makes a telephone call to another clinic to find out if the cactus bush was poisonous but with Portuguese, Dutch and the English language all being used, the lady on the other end of the telephone at one point thought David had eaten some poisonous Mushrooms ! To cut a long story short €80 later David is out of the clinic with antibiotics and baby rash cream (don’t ask) we headed home.

We ventured out a couple of times during the week, one to Albufeira 30 minutes drive East along the famous N125. Now the last time I visited this resort was approx 30 years ago and then it was the most built up tourist resort in the Algarve. Today it stretches as far as the eye can see with apartment blocks, it even has an escalator to the beach. Most of the restaurants and shops were closed for the season but it must be horrendous during the summer months. Obviously this is just my opinion but a place to avoid unless you want English food with sun. We did find a restaurant that was open for lunch and catered for people wishing to eat Portuguese food and it was lovely. Our Mums had to endure several 100 steps to get up to it, but the view was stunning and my Mum recovered with wine ! Casa Del Mar in the Old Town should you ever be in the area.

Now, most of the time a trip to our local supermarkets are not to be relished, especially at this time of year. But not in Apolonia in Portugal. This is a new breed of Supermarkets that have sprung up since we have last visited. They are a cross between Waitrose and Fortnum & Mason I guess. I spied a small bottle of Balsamic Vinegar for €49, it was in a pretty box though. ! British food products galore, all at a nice exorbitant price. There was no mad queue at the checkout and they happily packed your bags though.

It was a special week with Mum scrumping lemons from the sides of the road and packing her empty suitcase at the end of the week with oranges from the garden. David’s Mum was trying to bottle the last rays of sunshine before we had to drive them back to the airport. A week just wasn’t enough. Life is all about making memories and we made some special ones this week.

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