Madeleine – body decomposition – Maria Beatriz

Correio da Manhã is running with a very odd news item today, about human body decomposition.

A woman called Maria Beatriz has been found mummified in a flat in Penhora, in Lisbon. This is the apartment block.

The body was found earlier today when one of the block minders let the PSP into Maria’s apartment. Correio da Manhã speculated that Maria Beatriz may have been dead for 10 years or more.

I have no further details, but I am sceptical about what Correio da Manha has reported.

Penhora appears to be well-located within Lisbon, making such apartments desirable. From the photo, the block seems to be in decent condition. Quite why such a flat should be unrented for 10 years baffles me.

The mummification aspect is also puzzling. There is no suggestion that this is anything other than a natural death. Equally there is no suggestion that mummification was anything other than natural.

That is not how I understand body decomposition. I would have thought the corpse went through bacterial attack first, followed by attack by insects. That suggests an awful smell for the neighbours, and worse.

The fragment of the Correio da Manha report does not say what triggered the inspection. It could have been the block caretaker or the PSP.

Thus far, Maria Beatriz’s story has more questions than answers.


Wednesday morning at 6 o’clock

Wednesday morning at 6 o’clock as the day begins.

I was up, out of bed, doing my ablutions, and sorting out Gonçalo’s overnight ‘presents’ and his breakfast. The overnight washing was put out to dry on another day of fine Algarve sun. What Gonçalo had messed up was put into the washing machine. The kettle was boiled ready for an early morning cup of tea.

My beloved rose at 6.30 am, in time for a shower and to finalise the packing.

Yellowfish was booked for 7 am. Yellowfish is the taxi service we use on the run to and from Faro airport.

The timing is interesting. Adding up the journey time and the check-in time, the flight home can hardly be described as early morning. There is no rapid access to the A22 from here. One has to hack about a bit. Consequently, the journey to Faro airport must be similar in duration to the one made by the Smiths on 4 May 2007. Luz has more rapid access to the A22.

I don’t consider 6 am (myself) or 6.30 am (my better half) to be described as a very early start (Martin Smith).

The main possible difference is that my beloved is flying to southern England, whereas the Smith family was flying to the Republic of Ireland. Although I can’t see why flights to Ireland should be significantly earlier than those to England.

My beloved is flying home with our granddaughter, so at 6.50 am, she knocked on the door to say she was ready. Gonçalo has already worked out we have a normal schedule and this was breaking it, so he knew something was up.

Wednesday morning at 7 am and the sun was rising in a clear, azure sky. Yellowfish had turned up 5 minutes early, so there was just time for a couple more swigs of tea, a farewell hug, then my beloved plus granddaughter got into the people carrier, and headed off on the journey to England.

This means I am alone, or rather with Gonçalo, for the next 5 days. I have some stories relevant to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann simmering on the back burner, so if Gonçalo is quiet, perhaps I will get the time to publish those soon.

Wednesday morning at 9 am. It’s time to publish this story, crack on with more housework, and spend some minutes amusing Gonçalo.

Madeleine v Easter 2018

This is just a little bit about the culture of Portugal. Please don’t get this snippet wrong. This is the Catholic facet of Portugal and Portugal has many, many other facets.

Easter Friday celebrates the Passion of Christ. Here is the ceremony in Lisbon.

A little to the north of Lisbon is Porto de Mós. There is one place by the same name near Luz, but this one is near to Fátima, which of course was visited by the McCanns.

The scene being re-enacted is the Via Sacra.

In the Algarve, we are having much better weather than Lisbon or the north of Portugal. It looks like our Easter egg hunt will be held outside in the garden.

Madeleine v Gonçalo Easter 2018

Our dog, Gonçalo, had its final set of inoculations a few days ago. The vet advised us that the puppy should not be let out until Easter weekend.

Gonçalo pees and poos for Portugal, indoors he is not to be let out yet. Plus, when he first arrived, he was not happy sleeping overnight in a strange room. He yipped and yapped constantly. Now we have him in a large cage where he can hear us, so he sleeps fine in the night. One problem down, several to go.

The secret to a dog’s brain is through his stomach. This is Gonçalo saying ‘where is the food?’

I intend to have a trained dog. That mean the basics, like peeing and pooing outside. And at the moment the puppy is teething, so it is trying to eat everything, including us. That will stop.

I intend having a dog that walks alongside me without the need for a leash. And one that sits beside me peacefully in the Algarve sun. Something like Gonçalo here.

Madeleine – Portelas 22 Jun 2007

This is my take on Portelas 22/Jun/2007. It is from Google Earth.

Here is what I see.

I see rubbish dumped on the tarmac.

I see a JCB. It can only be moving rubbish from point A to point B.

I see a bunch of open lorry containers, arranged such that the JCB can dump rubbish into them.

The configuration of this work zone has changed significantly over time.

But in June 2007, the image shows a simple garbage in garbage out operation.

By the way, why are you online so late on a Saturday night? My excuse is that I shall be dog-sitting our new puppy while I watch the Australian Grand Prix.

Madeleine v Gonçalo #1

We have a new arrival in our family. It became mine yesterday. I am getting old now, but for the first time in my life I have my own puppy.

The dog came to us by an odd route. Two days ago there was a French Bulldog up for adoption in Aqua (a shopping centre in Portimão), with a rescue centre. I didn’t want a bulldog, but our email address was exchanged. The same afternoon, we got an email saying a Cocker had just come up for adoption. Cocker is the Portuguese for Cocker Spaniel. We requested photos of the puppy. They came in that evening, after the rescue centre had shut. We decided we would have the puppy, and sent them a message we would pick the dog up in the morning.

By the time yesterday morning came, we were told we were too late, as another family had reserved the puppy. I was not too down-hearted. If I was not meant to have that puppy, I was not meant to have that puppy.

Early yesterday morning we were told the family that had reserved the puppy had not turned up. Did we still want the puppy? A ‘high speed’ dash along the EN125 to Portimão ensued. And so we now have ‘my’ puppy.

The puppy is now called Gonçalo.

We went through a long list of names when it became known I wanted my own dog. I am going to train the dog in Portuguese language, so I preferred a Portuguese name.

My first choice was Eduardo, but my better half insisted that would be shortened to Eddie, which I don’t want.

The dog was born on 31st December 2017, so my next offering was Xmas. That got rejected as being stupid.

And so I have settled on Gonçalo. It seems a ‘ç’ is hard to text on a mobile, so I was asked if I could change it to a z or an s instead? But it is a Portuguese puppy, so I am insisting on the Portuguese spelling, and my puppy is now Gonçalo.

Here is Gonçalo on 17 Mar 2018.

We have been told we are not to take the dog outside of the house until around 1 May 2018, due to the risk of various diseases, including rabies. That’s OK at the moment because on 17 Mar 2018 it was t***ing it down in Portelas.

But we’ll see when the weather improves.

Madeleine – 3 May 2007 – 7.30 pm

By 7.30 pm on 3 May 2007, in apartment 5A in the Ocean Club, the trio of Madeleine, Amelie and Sean McCann had been put to bed. There was an hour before the restaurant booking at the Tapas Restaurant. Kate and Gerry McCann seemingly used this time to indulge in small talk over a glass of wine. They had a Sauvignon blanc that came from New Zealand (via Baptista supermarket). It seems to have reminded them of the time when they were both in New Zealand, becoming romantically engaged.

There is nothing odd in this. We put our kids to bed. We keep the volume down for a while. We indulge in quiet pastimes, like backgammon or Scrabble, Masterchef or Endeavour. Then we check that the kids are solidly asleep. This is pretty standard.

The Smith family from Ireland should have arrived at the Dolphin by this time, as 7.30 pm was their booking slot. I cannot remember any evidence to say whether they arrived on time, early or late. This point is important. It affects when they left, and when the they left is very important indeed. Perhaps all 9 Smiths walked down from Estrela da Luz to the Dolphin in one group. Perhaps they got there in dribs and drabs, like the the Tapas 9 arriving at the Tapas Restaurant.

In Germany, Werder Bremen were preparing to host Espanyol, to determine who would go to the final of the UEFA Cup, scheduled to be held in Glasgow on 16 May 2007. Werder Bremen were facing an uphill task as they were 3-0 down from the first leg.

In Seville, the UEFA Cup holders Sevilla were about to try to retain their trophy. They were playing another Spanish team, Osasuna, and yes there is also a football story behind this.

Two teams would go out of the UEFA Cup this night. Two teams would go to the cup final at Hampden Park in Glasgow on 16 May 2007. That is when an early showing of the video of Madeleine – Don’t You Forget About Me, was shown at half time.