Madeleine – the Pig’s Head 2016

Luz Tour #3 has come to an end and when I started writing this yesterday (8 July 2016) my visitor was in the long process of travelling home. During my guest’s visit, the weather was cooler than usual due to a fair degree of cloud cover, which happens to be perfect if you wish to do a bit of exploring in the Algarve in July. Even with the cloud cover, a sun hat, sun protection spray and always seeking shade, I managed to turn my face beetroot red, and the nape of my neck burned to the extent of producing small blisters. My blog writing efforts yesterday got interrupted as the weather returned to its norm of cloudless, the temperature soared, and my better half and I decided to sit outside on our covered patio area indulging in some Portuguese rosé and hours of conversation. 32°C in the shade is fine for sitting, sipping wine and chatting, but definitely not the weather for exploring.

On Wednesday 6 July 2016, my visitor and I decided to check out the Pig’s Head in Burgau, in the evening. A board outside the hostelry was advertising that they could get Portugal v Wales live. In our household, we have been struggling to get certain games live, due to British broadcasters putting embargoes on British content being shown here.

So, I wanted to kill 3 birds with one stone, and have some pleasant company in the process. Thus it was that my visitor and I entered the Pig’s Head around 7.15pm, about 45 minutes before kick-off.

The pub/restaurant is actually surprisingly large. I would guess when we went in it was perhaps 20% to 25% occupied. There were lots of spaces to sit around the main part of the bar and a large screen TV at each end. We picked up a small lager for my guest, and since I haven’t had a cider in a couple of years and it was on draft, I had a small cider. As it happens, we were served by Robert Hurst, the landlord, one of two people working behind the bar that evening.

As kick-off approached, the Pig’s Head began to fill up rapidly, and it became very hot inside. The conversation noise grew much louder. The channel on the TV was switched to pick up Portugal v Wales, and someone cranked the TV volume up really high. My visitor and I decided we would see if there was somewhere to sit outside.

The Pig’s Head has 4 large screen TVs. Two are in the main pub area, one in the games room, and one in the garden area outside, which is used for alfresco dining. We were lucky to get a table in the garden area as that was also filling up with families dining whilst the menfolk watched the football.

There was a very young baby in front of us who decided my visitor was a person of interest, so there was a lot of interaction between the pair of them as the evening progressed. Then the game ended and the Pig’s Head emptied quite rapidly. Within 15 minutes of the result it was back down to maybe 25% full. Many folk had come for the game, eaten and drunk, and then left.

As the world knows, Portugal scored twice in the space of 3 minutes to send Wales home and to progress to the Euro 2016 final. But what are my 3 birds killed with one stone?

First, my guest confirmed the idea that the Pig’s Head is not the type of haunt likely to be frequented by Clement Freud. It positions itself as a simple pub/restaurant serving non-posh meals at a price that families can afford, and that is what we saw in the garden area. It is obviously a formula that works, because for the duration of the match the Pig’s Head was stuffed and the staff were working flat out.

Second, I have a theory about phone usage on 3 May 2007 and I wanted to see if it stacked up. My better half had warned me that phone usage in 2007 is totally different to how phones are used in 2016, and I have to admit my test fell flat on its face. The main phone traffic in the Pig’s Head around the time of the Wales game was from people who had no interest in the football. It was from the women and kids who amused themselves on their smartphone while hubby/daddy was engrossed by the TV.

Third, I wanted to check out the nature of the the pub, given the recent allegations in the Sun and the Daily Star. Inside the Pig’s Head, there were a number of single male individuals, but it was clear that their interest lay in the Portugal-Wales game. There were adolescents inside, but they were in the games room playing pool. Outside where my guest and I were, it was all family groups, the only exception being we two. And the only person monitoring the goings on was me.

I can’t say what the nature of the Pig’s Head is outside of the twice I have visited (once for this game, once for Sunday lunch), but on the evidence I have seen it is a typical family-friendly pub/restaurant rather than a meeting place for paedophiles.

As a bonus, I learned there is a smarter way to get UK TV than the one we use at home.

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