Just after Christmas 2018, my wife and I went on our first holiday together for 7 years. Our puppy Gonçalo came with us, to celebrate his first birthday.
We had one week away in a villa that we have visited around 8 times in the last 15 years. It is on the Eastern side of the Algarve, miles beyond Faro, so it obviously has no connection to Madeleine McCann. Or does it?
I deliberately wanted a week away where I did nothing about Madeleine McCann. You are missing lots of photos that just might help you explain her disappearance, because I deliberately chose to NOT spend our holiday documenting such items of interest. It was to be Gonk’s birthday bash, and our first break in years.
But I cannot switch my brain off.
Gonçalo was good as gold. It took us 2 hours on the EN125 to get there. Then 2 hours to get back. No pees, no poos, Plus excellent behaviour. And Tthat gave me plenty of opportunity to look at the scenery on both sides of the EN125.
I found that I was espying every mobile phone mast along the route – singletons and clusters. And water towers, because where there is a water tower, there is a phone installation.
At the villa, which is just north of Olhão, I took Gonçalo out to explore his new domain. That meant 4 walkies a day, each lasting half an hour or more. Plenty of new smells for Gonçalo to savour, and the villa plot is enormous, so plenty of new territory for him to get familiarised with. He loved it.
Our main failure on the trip was that the restaurants in Olhão were crammed with customers both inside and out, so we couldn’t get somewhere quiet to bring Gonçalo with us. Our single meal out was in the drive-through of Olhão McDonalds! Fortunately, I enjoy cooking at home, and the little shops in our nearest village were well stocked. The meat from the village butcher was particularly superb!
All in all things fitted together well. My wife was busy on her phone and PC. I had deliberately left my PC behind to get a break, so I was happy concocting snacks and meals in the kitchen. While Gonçalo was pleased to go exploring and adventuring in the villa grounds.
As I’ve said, the villa plot is enormous, and it is on a hillside. There a large flattish interior portion, used as an Algarve garden. That means it is low maintenance, it is stuffed with exotic plants, and there is always something in bloom, even on New Year’s Day. Beyond this garden, there is a huge extended area, that is hilly, with gullies, dense trees, and tough scrub.
As Gonçalo dragged me around the terrain, I found I was wondering how many bodies I could hide there, and whether a police search of the type used for Madeleine McCann would find them. I reckon that the number I could hide is around 20 cadavers. That is on just one single plot.
At some point in the future, I need to go back to Luz to make an inventory of the ‘wastelands’ within the primary search zone for Madeleine, The term used out here is ‘land banking’. In other words, you buy anything from a smallish plot to a vast area, with no intention of developing it immediately. You simply squirrel it away, and let the others get on with building around it, thereby increasing the value of your plot. The mound searched by Operation Grange in central Luz in 2014 fits that description perfectly. Called ‘wasteland’, in reality it is an extremely valuable location that has been land banked.
But let us return to the subject of the villa near Olhão, and Gonçalo’s first birthday and first holiday. We went out onto one of many patios around the villa, in order to have tea/coffee and just a little something to eat, in the sunshine. This is Gonçalo saying “Are there any more snacks?”.
The early morning refreshments were over. Gonçalo likes a small sip of tea, but even that was gone. So Gonçalo looked at me and said. “The weather is wonderful. We’re refuelled. Come on you old bag of bones. There is exploring and adventuring to be done. It’s time for walkies!”
So we went for another walky. There were so many potential cadaver sites to check out.
P.S. Please look at the sky in the photographs. We were sunbathing on Gonk’s holiday on New Year’s Day. The weather when Madeleine McCann disappeared is another topic that I am working on.