Madeleine – Netflix #1 update

Bar Carib is a bar/restaurant located in the west of Luz. It is the only facility in a very large area of Luz. It has the advantage of ample car parking, which is useful as the area is hilly and many of the ex-pats are no longer spring chickens.

Bar Carib is the dot in green. It is fairly close to the circle in pink, which is 27 Rua das Flores, the villa used by Kate and Gerry McCann when they left the Ocean Club. The map layout is a little confusing at this scale, because it looks like there are several car exits from 27 Rua das Flores, but many of these are pedestrian-only. The reality is cars go via Rua dos Hibiscos.

If the McCanns went jogging from 27 Rua das Flores there is a good chance they ran up Rua dos Hibiscus, and if so, they would have passed the sign for the Bar Carib. For all I know, the McCanns may have used it as their local.

Other than this sheer speculation, I have not heard of any connection between the Bar Carib and the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. At least until now.

The yellow dot on the map is apartment 5A, close to Baptista supermarket (and the Tapas Restaurant). The blue dot is the Millennium, around a 650m walk from apartment 5A.

The orange dot beside the Millennium is the Mirage. It gets a couple of little mentions in the PJ Files, with possibly two more flying under the radar.

The owner of the Mirage is David Jones, co-creator of Fireman Sam. The Mirage has been closed since 2014, because it was losing money. Mr Jones was in the Carib recently, and the locals do enjoy a good gossip when they socialise.

Mr Jones said that he had indeed been in touch with Netflix. He told them that he had no significant knowledge regarding Madeleine’s disappearance. In my opinion, he is in error on that point, but I assume he does not know the slivers of gold he is sitting on, like many a person in this incident.

His interview with Netflix was restricted to whether Madeleine’s disappearance had an impact on his business. Since I was not at Bar Carib to hear his story first-hand, I will simply say he does indeed think there was a Madeleine effect, a very detrimental one.

If you look at the map again, the Mirage is not best placed for general business. There is car parking, though not a huge amount. The Mirage is adjacent to the Ocean Club, and it is an obvious connection that as the Ocean Club went into terminal decline, the Mirage would struggle badly. Picanhas Brazilian grill opened just a mile or so east of Luz, and that appears to have killed off the Mirage.

Since Mr David Jones is prominent in the Netflix gossip and will probably pop up again, here is a photo of him (on the right).

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Madeleine – Netflix #1

I had an enquiry from a member of the Miscarriage of Justice Forum as to whether Netflix was active in Luz on its 8 part special re Madeleine McCann.

At that point my best information was that Netflix had cooled on the idea, but I sent out the Irregulars anyway, to see what could be scraped up. I have just had a report back that yes, Netflix are active in Luz. Here’s how it goes.

David Jones is a writer, of Fireman Sam fame. He owns the Mirage, a restaurant/bar close to the Millennium. It seems he has been interviewed by Netflix. I have no idea what that was about. As far as I know, the Mirage enters the story of 3 May 2007 only because two people from the Dolphin restaurant went there at the end of the evening to play pool and wondered why it was empty. All of the patrons had gone to search for Madeleine.

Just before to 10th anniversary, AFP from Lisbon visited Luz and also had David Jones on their ‘to-do’ list. I don’t know whether they bagged him or not.

If you want more information on David Jones, just Google him with Fireman Sam. Enjoy!

Portugal – Vieira de Leiria forest fire

This post is about a place called Vieira de Leiria, which is far to the north of Lisbon.

In the English news, I see that your sun is turning red, and that this effect is being blamed on a cocktail of Hurricane Ophelia, sand from the north of Africa, and the Portuguese forest fires of 2017.

So for those of you worried about Ophelia, here is Vieira de Leiria. This is what has been sucked up.

Vieira de Leiria is on the coast, roughly as far north as Pedrógão Grande, so they are having a tough time up there with natural disasters.

I am told that the burning season has started in the Algarve. That means the time when one is legally permitted to burn the agricultural dross one could not dump in summer. I believe the farmer across the valley did a bit of burning 3 days ago, judging by the smoke.

We happen to live on a village spring, so our chances of disappearing in flames are small. But the Portuguese bureau responsible for predicting fires has now placed two of the regions of the Algarve on the highest warning level (along with 4 in the north and centre of the country). The farmer to the south-east of us was out on Saturday morning ploughing his land and his tractor disappeared in a huge plume of dust, so the land here is definitely parched.

Portelas v Venus

This is a photo of our garden in Portelas, taken around dawn a few days ago.

Our land backs onto acres of farmland, then in in the distance on the hills sits a set of uninspiring blocks of flats. They are the orange blobby things on the horizon. The N125 from Lagos to Odiáxere runs just the other side of those hills.

The orange illuminating the flats comes from street lights. We also have orange street lights, but they are at the front of the house. Here, at the rear, we have kilometres of zero street lights before those flats. Not quite perfect darkness, but the best I have seen in my life.

And that is why I could use my little camera to take a photo of Venus, which is is the tiny white blob in the middle of the picture.

The larger orange layer is due to the fact that the sun was emerging from the horizon to our east. Probably at this time of year it is east-south-east, or similar. But as I am not an astronomer, I will not quibble.

Indeed, I had to look up on the Internet that the brightest object in the sky, after the Sun and Moon, was Venus. Otherwise I was just looking at a bright white blob. Now I know the blob as Venus.

I won’t be doing a great deal of astronomy. I don’t have the kit for it, and unfortunately I don’t have the eyes any more. But as this better than average view is now available, I might as well get some use out of it.

Madeleine v Algarve soil

Here is the second of two attempts to dig a hole in the Algarve by purely human effort.

On this occasion, the requirement was to dig a small channel to fit a tiny pipe to repair our irrigation system. We’ve got water, we’ve got pipes, we’ve got a garden and we have fruit trees. But the odd pipe is broken and needs to be replaced.

Bear in mind the June 2014 dig by Operation Grange in central Luz. That was fantasy. This is reality. It is a miniscule trench that was dug into soil which was heavily watered beforehand to soften it up.

This is roughly what you can dig by hand on the Algarve, based on a lot of sweat, a lot of time, and a lot of noise. A channel to fit a small irrigation tube.

This ‘trench’ was dug by someone who is – as young as Smithman – physically fit – and who had plenty of peace and quiet to muscle through it. The result is a channel where you can bury a miniscule pipe.

I still have not worked out a valid reason why Operation Grange dug up the Mound in June 2014. Not one.

Portelas – Os Cinco

We are now living in a relatively rural area of the Algarve, away from the coast and the cities. I have had a brief walk to scope the area, and it looks like most of the locals prefer Portuguese to English. So I need to improve my Portuguese, and I need to do it quickly.

Now I believe that learning a new language (or any subject) should be easy, fast and fun. My 6-year-old grandchild has been tasked by his school with reading a vast number of books in Portuguese this scholastic year, so here is my take on this challenge.

Os Cinco e o Colar de Pérolas. This is a children’s book from 1985, originally in French and then translated into Portuguese. If you are old enough, you will recognise it is a variant of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five.

It is a book for children, so it is easy. It does not use complex words or complex ideas.

At 190 small pages, half of them comic-type illustrations, this book is fast. It is not the size of The Bible, Encyclopedia Britannica, or anywhere near the list of books my grandson is expected to read.

Is it fun? Well it is for me, because I can still think like a 6-year-old. Os Cinco e o Colar de Pérolas. The Five and the Necklace of Pearls. Novas Aventuras dos Cinco.

If you want a grown-up adventure, try this real-life story. My adult-but-young son started out for Lagos bus station at 11.30pm last night. That was 10 hours ago. There he got the 5 hour bus journey to Lisbon, then however he did it he got to the airport. And there he is waiting for his tin can to take off to cross the Atlantic. If it flies on time, he will depart in about two and a half hours from now, bound for the USA.

I don’t know how long his flight takes, but it is not direct. So he stops in the USA, waits, connects, and flies on. Where he then has whatever time it takes him to get to his destination.

The joys of being young. It Must Be Love, Love, Love.

Portugal – local elections 2017

Here is a map of the political outlook of the Algarve after Sunday’s local elections.

You don’t need to know much. Portugal has gone PS pink, and PS stands for the Socialist party, so that means left-wing. Lagos local councils are all PS. I have no idea what they were last time out.

There are 4 local councils – Luz – Odiáxere – Bensafrim e Barão de São João (which might be ours) – and São Gonçalo de Lagos.