ATP – 14 Dec 17 – supermarket strike


One of my Portuguese news channels is reporting that the major supermarket and hypermarket chains have gone on strike for today 23 Dec 17 and tomorrow 24 Dec 17. My other two news channels are not running with this story. We are currently phoning ahead to check if our supermarkets of choice are open, before we set off on the family food shopping trip.

The odd thing is one can have a stress-free Christmas by dining out on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. For example, the chef who cooks for the Bar Carib in Luz is single, so he prefers to be in at work rather than sitting at home on his own. He has already laid in the food required for the festive period.


The word ‘sem’ (pronounced ‘same’) , meaning ‘without’, comes in very handy in certain situations. For example, garlic (alho) goes on most savoury dishes here , and if you don’t like garlic, ‘sem alho’ will ensure your food is served without garlic.


Pastéis de nata. Portuguese custard tarts. These are best consumed on the day they are made. The effort to make them is surprisingly large, so unless you have a large circle of people to share with, you are avoiding the easy route. Go to a café and relax with a coffee and a pastel de nata, or buy the smallest box you can from your supermarket. You can improve supermarket-bought pastel del nata by a light sprinkling of cinnamon on top. An authentic recipe should have cinnamon in the custard, but it is likely your supermarket was stingy with this.

Oddly, quite a large number of the cafés aimed at tourists do not sell pastéis de nata – they are not considered unique enough or upmarket enough. You need to find a café that is genuinely Portuguese. I cannot remember whether Nando’s (Portuguese chicken chain of restaurants) do these or not.


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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Luz – lows and highs

The 14th November brought together 3 disparate stories in Luz.

The first was that after a service for Chadders, a wake was held in the Bar Carib. I don’t think this was his most popular haunt, as it is a bit up out of the way to the NW of Luz. But he was celebrated with a buffet lunch in the sun, and the citizens of Luz were pleased.

The second smaller segment was the weather. Blue sky, perfect sun, almost no breeze, and 26°C in the shade. A perfect UK summer day in winter in Portugal.

The third story started just a day later. A small child of Luz was told that on his sixth birthday he might not be going into school. Instead, he might be going on a magical mystery tour.

The story is long so I shall cut to the chase. The idea was that he would see snow for the first time ever, on his 6th birthday. A 6 hour drive has taken him to between Lisbon and Porto on the highest mountain on the mainland of Portugal – a quest for snow.

So far, the quest for snow has come up empty. Couple of 24°C days may explain why.

The birthday boy has not been short on fun. Enjoy the photo.



Luz – the Queen at 90

It was a bit of an odd weekend. Things actually kicked off on Friday 10th, but I didn’t hear about it till Saturday.

We had glorious weather – blue skies – lots of sun – enough of a breeze to stop us from cooking. Perfect.

Then I noticed I could not get onto the Internet, and my PC display looked a bit dim. We have a large interior patio, inside 3 power-operated shutters, and the shutters were not working.

We had no electricity.

When the electricity is cut off, we get the usual restrictions. No electric toaster, kettle or oven. The gas boiler uses electricity to monitor its status, so it shuts down when the supply is removed, meaning no showers. The fridges and freezers are on high risk. No washing machine and no dishwasher. Luckily, our hob is gas, so though the igniters didn’t work, a match meant breakfast and a cup of tea was possible, as long as we didn’t want toast with our boiled eggs.

And that is when reality struck.

With no electricity our phone system and Internet do not work, so we were without our TVs, which work only by the Internet, and any form of wi-fi connection. So, what to do?

We managed to rustle up two ideas of pastime that do not involve electricity – Scrabble and boule – and since the weather was particularly pleasant, we opted to go out into the garden and played boule for the first time in about a year. I romped into a commanding lead that got whittled down and whittled down, and in the final end, I got thrashed 4-0 to lose the tournament by a very fine margin.

At this point, I offered to go inside and get us a cold soft drink while we soaked up some vitamin D in the sun. And when I went back in, there were house lights on, which meant, ta-ra, the electricity was reconnected, Hurrah!

I took the cold drinks out, and went to the loo for a comfort break, flushed and, ta-ra, the loo did not refill. Now our water was cut off. In a place where we usually use bottled water for drinking, this is fairly minor. Still no showers, washing machine or dishwasher, but at least most things worked.

In total, electricity + water, I would reckon we were cut off for about 6 hours, and there is never any warning here – all you get is that the supply is not working so it must have been cut off.

As it happens, we were relatively fortunate. We have now heard about a slab of Luz that was cut off from 9am to 9pm on Friday 10th. Ouch!

What has any of this got to do with the Queen at 90? When an incident like this happens, you phone a friend to see if they have been cut off, and they phone you to get any info you have.

It turned out that were were phoned by someone trying to pre-prep a meal for a Queen at 90 bash for Bar Carib. The electricity cut did not seem to have caused problems. The water cut was an issue. We could not solve the problem as we did not have mains water either.

Move on one day and it was Sunday, 12 June 2016, the Queen’s official 90th birthday. Once again, it was very fine weather. The Bar Carib is in the NW of Luz. It is away from the tourist areas. AFAIK, there is no connection to the Madeleine McCann case. It is just a place where ex-pats have a get together. Perhaps with a bit of tennis and a bit of swimming, It has a fairly modest interior, but quite a large and pleasant exterior. All together, a decent place to celebrate the Queen’s 90th in the sunshine.

Those attending consisted of 70+ adults, and there was a kids pool party with about 20 children. The festivities kicked off at 12 midday, and it was time for home at 9pm. The food was unspectacular. The memory was unforgettable. There was music, and what was the most popular?

God save the Queen.

John Terry on Big Danny

There was a little family set-to in Luz this evening.

About 10 days ago I wrote that Big Danny’s funeral service had taken place in Luz. Read ‘Another light has gone out in Luz’.

The story developed a little further today.

It turns out that Big Danny was a lifelong supporter of Chelsea FC, and that a friend recommended getting in touch with the club to tell of the tragic demise of a long term blues fan.

Chelsea FC, in the shape of John Terry, replied with a letter personalised to the circumstances of Big Danny’s passing.

That letter went to the Bar Carib (Big Danny’s and Little Danny’s joint venture) this evening. It was much appreciated. Perhaps with the emotions still raw a tad too much alcohol was consumed.

We got involved because of this excess, the old guard called in to resolve the situation. I am pleased to say normal service has now been resumed.

My hat goes off to John Terry. That was a nice touch to a person from a distant corner who was a Chelsea FC fan.