Luz – 70s and 80s

This is the final set of photos that I have. It shows Luz in the 70s and 80s. I will need to keep my eye open for some that cover the next 2 decades.

Here is the view over Luz beach from Avenida dos Pescadores.

The Avenida is still being treated as a two-way road for cars on what looks like a baked-earth surface. On the beach, the number of tourists has increased. There are still fishing vessels with sails, but they are now competing for space with the tourists.

The photo itself looks like it is over-saturated. The colours look more vivid than life. I remember this effect from colour film back in, say, the 1980s.

This undated photo is obviously some way into the development of Luz. The fishing fleet seem to have shrunk. The tourist trade seems to have grown.

On the right hand side, about half-way up, there is a new white complex. As far as I can tell, that is due south of Rua Direita.

The building in brown or grey just above that is very distinctive. The ground floor only fits one building in Luz, and that is the building in which the Ocean Club 24hr reception is located. The building must still have been under construction, as the facade is lacking cladding or whitewash.

That brown building is 2-storey. The Ocean Club building is 3-storey. That means there must have been a major redevelopment at some time. That is no significant issue. The next photo will show another large chunk of development on the ground, but still no sign of the Ocean Club complex. So this photo pre-dates what is thought of now as being the Ocean Club by some years.

This is the most up-to-date on the historical photos I have of Luz. This has lots of additional development, though still no real sign of the Ocean Club. The area to the east of the church remains undeveloped, as does the area to the north of Rua Direita, where the bulk of the Ocean Club would go.

Luz Tur, the multi-storey, is in the process of being finished off.

The current Supermercado Baptista advert says it was established over 40 years ago (pre 1977) but I cannot make out a sign of it.

To the right of the fish processing factory is a building which itself is nearly completed, but the commercial units on the ground floor have yet to be finished. In modern times, these are the Lazuli, a small internal ice-cream shop, and the Habana. The latter is where you can see the web cam of Luz at http://www.algarveluzbay.com/

The building on the beach in front of the fish factory and the Habana must be the Paraíso. Their current advert says it has been a family-run business since 1965. Both of the incarnations of the Paraíso that I have seen had a strictly rectangular footprint, so this wobbly blob must have been replaced years ago.

There are two other buildings on the beach, beside the little group of 3 cars. One can be identified as the Rocha Negra restaurant. The other I don’t know about. Both of these are long gone.

A couple of things are missing from the photograph. The Roman villa/fish processing plant beside the Avenida dos Pescadores has not yet been discovered. I will need to check when that was excavated.

The other missing object that intrigues me is the Luz water tower. Luz had by now become quite a large village, and it must have had a water supply somehow. The Roman and later fish processing plants must have had a water supply. There was a well (pouço) located near to the centre of the photo (Rua do Pouço, Travessa do Pouço, Beco do Pouço). Perhaps the Fortaleza and the fish factories hauled water by hand from the well, perhaps not. But a Luz of this size was not relying on well water, so how was it getting in?

ETA. Baptista opened a supermarket in Rua Calheta on 16 April 1966 The supermarket moved to Luz Tur in 1974. That is why it is not in the photo. In Sep 2000, it moved to its own building in Rua Gentil Martins.

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Luz at the beginning of the 20th century #2

Here are more photos of Luz supposedly from the early 20th century. I cannot discern anything in them to confirm this date, but I have no reason to assume the date is inaccurate.

Although early 20th century appears to have little to do with Madeleine McCann, it does put into context how Luz evolved up to the time that the Ocean Club was built. That in turn impacts the fact that the Ocean Club is not a private complex. Rather, it is completely interwoven with public roads and areas. That in turn means that it is impossible for the Ocean Club to have CCTV, with the exception of a few internal areas.

If these photos are really from around the 1900s, there is an implication. Today, Luz regularly gets an influx of visitors from Lisbon and Oporto. I was having a sea-front discussion on 2 May 2017, and the café had a large contingent of Portuguese customers, in groupings which looked like tourists rather than locals. But Lisbon is 3 hours away in a modern car on a modern motorway. How long did it take in horse-drawn transport or early cars?

Have a look at this photo.

These are the rocks to the south of the Fortaleza, and the view is east towards Rocha Negra. The ladies appear to be dressed in their Sunday finest. The photo is as posed as posed can be. It looks as if someone may have hand-tinted the photo to add some red effects to the clouds, but that could have other explanations, such as originating with the scanning process.

I have no expertise whatsoever in Portuguese historical clothing, so I cannot use it as a clue.

However, the length of time today for the trip from Lisbon suggest this group is not from there, but much closer. I have already posted photos of early Luz, which show some large buildings on 25th April Street, so a possibility is wealthy citizens of Luz, perhaps after a Sunday visit to Nossa Senhora da Luz.

Gonçalo Amaral raises an alternative possibility in his book A Verdade da Mentira. He suggests that Luz had a certain popularity with the citizens of Lagos, and in the early 20th century, that journey would not have been hard either by horse and carriage or by early motor transport.

Here is another photograph, this time taken near the small beach, to the west of the main beach.

The clothes appear to me to be slightly less up-market, though I would still describe them as posh. This is less posed, but the thing that is interesting is that everyone is on the rocks. No-one is actually on the little beach.

The 1492 in the bottom has no real significance. The Fortaleza was built much later. I have yet to find out what Vivenda Mascarenhas means.

This last photo simply gives a pictorial idea of the scale of fishing in Luz a century or so ago.

The legend says ‘fishermen washing the nets on the beach.’ Presumably, the catch has been taken into Luz to be processed, and the nets need to be cleaned of fish remains before storing them.

It looks like 8 sailing ships to me, each much larger than a row-boat, and each powered by sail. There are 13 fishermen involved in this washing of the nets. I don’t know whether this is the only net used, or whether each boat came near the beach in turn and the collective then helped to wash that particular net.

From the size of the mesh, it looks like they were fishing for very large fish, such as tuna.

The fishing industry in Luz would slowly decline, and cross over with the tourist industry when it began to take off.

Luz in the 1940s?

Let me say up front that I do not have a date for the photo you are about to see. I can only say it appears to be consistent with Luz in the 1940s.

Shall we start with the obvious bits first? All of the land to closer to the photo taker than the church and the Fortaleza turned into a chunk of the Ocean Club plus other developments decades later, so the photo is hardly recent.

The promenade now has palm trees. Those in the photo are deciduous trees.

That big hilly lump in the centre of the photo still exists, although it looks like it has been much reduced in size.

It is possible to line up the church, the Fortaleza, the promenade, and that hill to pinpoint where the photo was taken. I am confident I can identify the photographer’s spot. But what I cannot do is find either of the two buildings in the foreground. They are either gone or heavily modified.

There are 2 further points for your attention.

There is what I would call a station wagon, on the left hand side of the photo, about half-way down. This is a poor match for 1930s station wagons. It happens to be a good match for 1940s station wagons, which is why I think this is 1940s or later. Here’s a 1940 Plymouth De Luxe.

In the bottom right-hand corner of the photo is a person who appears to be staring up at the photo-taker at the moment the shutter was clicked. The watcher and the watched. From the shadows, it is possible to tell the sun was around the mid-day point, and it was spring or autumn (not summer or winter). But I cannot get a year from the shadows.

PS For a bonus, can you see what looks like 2 people having a stroll on the beach?

Madeleine – Xmas day 7 – St Vincent’s

It is now New Year’s Eve in Portugal, so may I wish all the blog readers a Happy New Year.

We have a bottle of Cava chilling in the fridge to celebrate the arrival of 2017. The kids have gone to Almádena to Broadie’s to tuck into a three course meal, before the bar/restaurant customers there also bring in the New Year. Here’s Broadie’s.

day-7-1-broadies-almadena

For my Madeleine McCann connection, I would like to cover some stories relating to the church in Luz. I happen to be an atheist, an agnostic, and a scientist. Scientific literature shows that those who believe in God live longer, recover from setbacks better, and generally are happier. Therefore, as a scientist, I believe it would be cruel to impugn the religious beliefs of moderate people who follow a faith.

For that very reason, I have never entered the church in Luz. I feel it would be akin to intruding on the special place of others.

The church serves two congregations. The first is as Nossa Senhora Da Luz, Our Lady Of The Light. This is Roman Catholic and the concept is ubiquitous in Catholic religion. This is what lead to my current location being called Luz. In modern parlance, it is ‘Luz, Lagos’, in order to distinguish it from ‘Luz, Tavira’, which is along the other side of the Algarve. I have not checked but I can be reasonably sure that ‘Luz, Tavira’ also has a Roman Catholic church called Nossa Senhora Da Luz.

I don’t have any brilliant photos of our local Nossa Senhora Da Luz to regale you with, but it doesn’t matter. If you are interested in the case of Madeleine McCann, you will have seen many a photo of Nossa Senhora Da Luz, as Kate and Gerry McCann attended the Roman Catholic services.

The church is (time-)shared with the Anglican community, when it is referred to as St Vincent’s. I do have some interesting photographs of the interior of St Vincent’s. Let me stress again, I have never been inside the church. These are photos deliberately published by others on the Internet. There are lots of people in them, but I have no reason to believe any of them is connected to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. The photos are all much more recent than 2007.

The first is a graphic showing what St Vincent’s had planned for the festive season of 2016. I note that the ‘Said Eucharist’ is scheduled for 8am tomorrow morning. Perhaps that is for the early risers, while the ‘Choral Eucharist’ at 11am is for those who stayed up to see in the New Year.

day-7-2-st-vincents-2016

The next photo, which is of the interior of St Vincent’s, comes from a site that organises weddings. Let me stress again, there is no reason whatsoever to believe that anyone in the picture has anything to do with the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. I am simply trying to give an idea of the interior layout of the church.

The viewpoint of the photo taker is elevated. Each pew holds about 4 people on average, with 2 pews per row. Have a look at the light sources, because there are not a lot of windows in view. From this angle, it is man-made lights in the main. There is an altar in the background, in the east end of the church. The music facilities are small-scale. There is a guitar on the left hand side and on the right hand side sits the organist. There is a door on the right hand side, the south. Perhaps that is how one gets into the bell tower.

day-7-3-st-vincents-2016

The final photo looks west towards the doors into the church. The people are unimportant, apart from giving some idea of what the ex-pat Anglican community looks like. It seems the capacity is roughly 100. The main source of light appears to be the wide open front doors. And now you can see how the previous photo could be taken from an elevated position. There is what is called a ‘minstrels balcony’ if it was in a house. I don’t know if it has another name within a church.

day-7-4-st-vincents-2016

And there you have it. The best I can give you of a Luz Tour of a place I have never entered.

Now you have to make up your mind, based on the evidence you have seen, about the lurid tales surrounding the church re Madeleine McCann.

The most gruesome is probably the story alleging Madeleine was concealed after dark in a coffin already destined for cremation. I have no idea where a coffin is placed in a service of such a type. But run this idea past what you now know about the church layout and the lighting and decide for yourself as to the feasibility of sneaking into the church at night to stuff a body into someone else’s coffin.

Then there is the story that a tunnel runs under the church to the sea. Clearly, the photos above do not show 100% of the interior, so there could be a crypt or tunnel entrance in a nook or cranny. Quite why one would worry about a tunnel that runs from the church 30 or 40m to a large rocky area near the sea is beyond me.

Happy New Year!

Luz Tukano tuk tuk tours

Yesterday, 27 Oct 2016, the weather was fine, much like a very pleasant Spring day in the UK, so I decided to head into Luz for a stroll and a cup of coffee. For that I went to Polly’s in LuzTur.

As an aside, I noticed that the STOP signs which had mccann circus painted onto them have now had the graffiti painted over, so they are simply STOP signs again.

While I was down on Rua Direita (the high street), I noticed a very strange vehicle turning to go down towards the church, so I wandered along to find out what it was. Now, I did not have my camera on me at the time, but here is a stock photo of the vehicle.

tukano-tuk-tuk-in-lagos

The photo above is near to Lagos marina, and the vehicle I saw was labelled Tuk Tuk Lagos, but it was definitely a Tukano tuk tuk.

The main tours undertaken by Tukano tuk tuks are in Lagos, and it seems a reasonable way to see the sights at surprisingly affordable prices (and no, this is not an advert).

Tukano does one tour of Luz. It lasts an hour and a half, and it seems half an hour of that is for a passeio, a stroll. They pick you up and drop you off at your hotel or villa.

The tuk tuks are 100% electric and described as eco-friendly. I assume for a Luz tour they transport the beast from Lagos to Luz on a lorry. The price starts at 30€ for two. The tuk tuks can hold up to 6.

Anyway, I caught up with the tuk tuk when it had halted at the church entrance. There was one woman, one man and a small girl. The parents were taking photos of the church. The little girl was beaming from ear to ear. She obviously loves tuk tuks. And the passers by were taking photos of this exotic entourage.

Then the tuk tuk moved a few short feet down the road and halted again. This time, the stop was for the Luz ice cream factory.

ice-cream-factory-luz

Bear in mind that this was the end of October, but people were wearing shorts, sandals, t-shirts and sunglasses. Perfect weather for an ice cream, so the trio went in. The ice cream factory is bijou. It’s main product is 12 different flavours of hand made ice cream, in cones or cups. The trio took their ice cream on board the tuk tuk and off it went again, down to the park south of the Fortaleza, where the view is breath-taking.

A few minutes later the tuk tuk headed back up the hill, with the threesome still getting stuck into their ice cream. They were obviously in high spirits, as I got regal waves from the parents, and the little girl was again beaming from ear to ear.

The tuk tuk headed along Rua Direita and I lost track of it so there my little adventure ended.

The URL for the Tukano tuk tuk tours is http://www.tukanotuktours.com/ It is rated as the number 1 tourist attraction in Lagos. What I don’t know is whether Lagos Zoo is included in the competitors, as that is an absolutely brilliant day out for those with young children.

Madeleine v the Mirror

The article in the Mirror dated 01 Oct 16, written by Alan Selby and Phil Cardy, neatly sums up what is going on in the Madeleine McCann case in UK media, and what is going wrong.

The headline screams it all. “Ghoulish Madeleine McCann tour takes tourists where missing tot stayed and cops dug for body”

From this headline, you can be safe in assuming that there is so little going on in the case that the media are scraping the bottom of the barrel for Madeleine-related stories.

Shall we now have a look at the article itself to see what is going wrong?

Tourists are being offered a ghoulish sightseeing tour of the town where Madeleine McCann was kidnapped.

The sick trips take visitors to the apartment where the missing three-year-old was last seen alive and the tapas restaurant where her parents were dining when she vanished.

The twisted organiser also takes his clients to nearby wasteland which police dug up in searches in Praia da Luz in Portugal’s Algarve.

The ghouls are then invited to speculate on the involvement of Madeleine’s doctor parents Kate and Gerry.”

The article has only just started, and already the errors are creeping in.

I have never been inside the Tapas area, so obviously I have never taken a visitor to the restaurant.

The ‘wasteland’ so beloved of the UK press is actually undeveloped land complete, I understand, with planning permission and so is extremely valuable. My first visitor went to this plot and found out why Operation Grange got it so wrong in digging it up. Selby and Cardy are obviously as ignorant now of the reasons for this as Operation Grange was at the time. It goes further than this as the Mirror duo clearly don’t know the true importance of the mound to the case.

Visitors can choose to discuss the involvement of Kate and Gerry, or not, as they wish. Just as they can choose to discuss, or not, the many other people involved in the case. That, by the way, includes the UK media, and how journalists like Selby and Cardy make money out of filling up column inches with another story about Madeleine McCann.

Back to the article. “Last night the couple were said to be distressed by the latest outrageous twist in the story.”

Notice the key phrase “were said to be” i.e. we are expected to take Selby and Cardy’s word for it. The crucial element here is simple. I have attempted to contact the McCanns on several occasions, with the aim of demonstrating to them just how much valuable information they are sitting on, presumably unaware that they have much of value that would advance the search for Madeleine McCann. This happens to include the Smith sighting, where I believe the McCanns are ideally placed to obtain information that I cannot. To date, I have not had a response from the McCanns or from a McCann representative, so if Selby and Cardy really did manage to get my blog onto the McCann radar, it is a step forward.

To the McCanns, or any of their representatives, I repeat an offer I have made previously. If you choose to engage in an information exchange with me, there is much significant progress to be made. This progress will NOT be made by Operation Grange (who lack an understanding of Luz), nor will it be made by a further team of private investigators, nor will it be made by UK or Portuguese media. I am happy to DEMONSTRATE examples of this to show what is being missed. I am further happy to give primacy to the McCanns in deciding how and when such newly discovered information should be deployed.

Once more, back to the article. “And the tours, dubbed the “Luz Challenge”, have triggered disgust among other Brits in Praia.

Yesterday one astonished expat who lives in the area said: “This is in appalling taste. I couldn’t believe it when I saw it.”

This roughly says it all. Selby and Cardy now claim to have a source in Luz, but said fellow has never heard of me or heard of tours which have been running since March. That tells you how good Selby and Cardy’s sources aren’t. By the way, if Selby or Cardy is still reading my blog, kindly stop calling the place Praia. Two journalists should know that praia simply means beach. The place is not called Praia, it is called Luz, Lagos. The Lagos tacked on the end is to locate this Luz in the district of Lagos, as opposed to Luz, Tavira, which is in the eastern end of the Algarve, in the region of Tavira. If you are going to be sloppy, at least make the same mistake that most journalists make and call it Praia da Luz (which is wrong, but generally accepted).

The gruesome tours are being offered on the internet by a British grandfather in his 60s who has become obsessed with the case since emigrating to Praia da Luz.

He says he lives in “Maddieville” and is offering his version of “Mission Impossible” to work out what happened to Madeleine.”

We did not emigrate to Praia da Luz. An early part of my blog makes it clear that within the family no-one had any interest in Madeleine McCann as none of us followed the story in 2007. Oddly, not a single one of us twigged the connection to Madeleine McCann, otherwise we would have probably gone elsewhere.

As to calling Luz “Maddieville”, when Operation Grange decided to fly over Luz in a helicopter in June 2014, followed by sealing off the centre and establishing a circus to entertain the media, then Maddieville became an appropriate term. Mr Selby and Mr Cardy, you are making money off the back of Madeleine McCann each time you write another sensationalist article about her. Do you consider yourselves to be serious investigative journalists? Or is it just that you don’t care?

The Mirror article continues “Our source said: “The guide is obsessed with Maddie. He’s written thousands of words about the case and pored over maps, photographs and police transcripts.

We don’t know why he is so hung up on it.””

If your source knows so much about me, why has your source only just become aware of the tours? Does your source exist? Why have we not met each other in Luz before now?

The tour takes in this block of flats, where Maddie was last seen”. This, Selby and Cardy, is a mistake I have seen before, so quite possibly this is a stock item used by the Mirror. The last time I saw this mistake I simply shrugged it off, so I cannot name and shame the two journalists responsible for that article. But I can name and shame Alan Selby and Phil Cardy for this one. It illustrates perfectly the lack of research you have put in and the fodder you have churned out. Madeleine was in block 5, in apartment 5A, as everyone knows. You have chosen to show a photo of block 6, describing it as “where Maddie was last seen.” As far as I know, Madeleine was never inside block 6.

If this IS simply an ongoing Mirror error, you two need to get off your backsides and get this part pulled, before some other duo repeats the mistake.

As a matter of interest, does either of you know what is significant about block 6 in relation to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann?

Then, in an offensive comment, the sicko says: “You have to come up with a way in which the McCanns, for whatever reason, disposed of Madeleine’s body, and the body was not found in searches.”

In a reference to the officer in charge of the original search, the tour guide says: “Gonçalo Amaral struggled, and in my opinion failed, to come up with an explanation.”

This is pathetically cheap journalism. Throw in the word “offensive” throw in the word “sicko” and what you have is sensationalist claptrap.

Are you aware of public opinion in Portugal? Because I am. I have therefore phrased this issue in a manner which makes it clear that a highly experienced police officer has failed to come up with a reasonable explanation. Therefore anyone who is anti-McCann, and based on my contacts within Portugal, that appears to be just about everyone, is asked not “do they think the McCanns did it” but rather “if they maintain the McCanns did it, precisely how did the McCanns do it.”

That is, of course, completely in contradiction to your implication that the tour aim is to work out how the McCanns did it.

Just as a point of clarification, I remember sitting in the Paraíso for lunch one day. It happened to be roughly where the Tapas 7 congregated following their beach outing on 3 May 2007. A table two down from us was occupied by two couples, obviously British tourists. One of the men said in a loud voice “well, all you have to do is look around to see how easy it would be to hide a body in this type of rough land”. It is a common misconception.

On with the words of Selby and Cardy. “The guide lists several places that his clients will be taken to. They start at Apartment 5A at the Ocean Club Hotel where the tot vanished.”

Oh dear. I don’t have clients, as no-one is paying a single cent for any tour. There isn’t an Ocean Club Hotel. The Ocean Club is a collection of apartments and villas, not a hotel. Do tours start at Apartment 5A? No, they start wherever my visitor wants them to start.

Tour 1 started at a hotel in the north of Luz. Have you Mirror chaps any idea of the relevance of City Sol or Quinta dos Figos? I doubt it very much.

Tour 2 started at a hotel much beloved of the media when they choose to descend on us en-mass. As it so happened, they were choosing to leave us alone that time, so the main activity was to sample some dinner selected from the hotel’s menu.

Tour 3 started at a large but decrepit villa on the eastern outskirts of Burgau. I wonder if you are aware the relevance of Burgau in the Madeleine case?

Tour 4 will start from a smallish, well kept Portuguese home in the centre of Burgau. It is possible there may a visit to one of the local hostelries.

From there they go a few hundred yards to the tapas restaurant where her parents were eating with friends – although the guide says a meal will not be possible as the place has closed. Then they visit the spot near the apartment where the McCanns’ friend Jane Tanner saw a mystery man carrying a child, though police later ruled out the sighting.”

The distance from the garden gate of 5A to the entrance of the Tapas area is important, because it factors into how long each parental check took. It is 20.5 metres, or about 23 yards, nothing like your few hundred yards.

You are aware that the man spotted by Tanner was walking across the junction of Rua Agostinho da Silva and Rua Martins? And that the junction is in front of apartment 5A? And that those using the car park of block 5 to do their parental checks passed this junction on the way there and on the way back? Why would a visitor to 5A not simply do the Tanner sighting as they went round this junction, on their way to the Tapas zone?

Unless you have kept up to date with the case, you will probably not be aware that a Freedom of Information request was answered by Scotland Yard in December 2015. Part of the response stated that Tannerman was still a person of interest to Operation Grange, so he had not been ruled out at that date.

Back to Selby and Cardy. “They will also take in the scene of the sighting by Martin Smith, a retired businessman, who said he saw a man carrying a child in the direction of the beach.” The tour does take in the Smith sighting, if the visitor wishes to do so. It happens to be an important sighting and much can be gained from examining the location in which it took place. You two, however, are showing your ignorance again. Martin Smith did not say the man headed to the beach. His statement says that he does not know where the man went after they passed. And if you check Aoife Smith’s statement, she never mentions the beach either. Judging by DCI Andy Redwood in the Crimewatch episode of Oct 2013, he was also labouring under this “to the beach” misapprehension.

Other places in the tour are the areas where police carried out searches two years ago.

The first is scrubland to the south-west of the McCann apartment, around the size of three football pitches and surrounded by villas and apartments. The two other sites are on the other side of Praia da Luz on either side of the road out of town.”

I repeat, all tours are customised to what the visitor wants the see. The area of land in the centre of Luz has been visited once, to point out some salient facts that Operation Grange missed, and it looks as if you are ignorant of these points. As to the two areas to the east of Luz, I have never visited those in my life, and no-one has requested these areas to be included in any tour.

Another ghoulish spot on the tour is the Our Lady of the Light church in the centre of Luz.” How many errors can you stuff into a single report? No one has ever requested to see Nossa Senhora da Luz, and I have never been inside the church in my life. I am, however, respectful of both the Catholic and the Anglican communities that share the the church, while it would appear that Selby and Cardy are willing to spread malicious gossip about this place of worship.

Police searched there and a nearby cemetery with rumours circulating that Madeleine was put into someone else’s coffin to be cremated.” Unless you have a cite from the PJ Files or another reputable source, this again is cheap sensationalism. I have never heard of a police search of Nossa Senhora da Luz. It certainly was NOT searched by Operation Grange. I have never heard of a search of Luz cemetery. But the question is, do you two ever read back what you write before you publish it? Why would anyone search a cemetery looking for a body that had been cremated? Do you understand the difference between burial and cremation?

From there the guide said he would start looking at all the red herrings and conspiracy theories which had sprung up around the case.

These include the rumour Madeleine could have been been hidden on the nearby beach or under rocks.”

I couldn’t possibly tackle all the idiotic theories or idiotic groups that surround the Madeleine McCann case. The beach one certainly dates back to June 2014, when the UK media announced that Operation Grange was to dig the beach. That dig never occurred.

He is clearly unaware or not bothered by the disgust his warped pastime is causing.

Several street signs have been sprayed with the message “Stop McCann Circus” in response to all the negative publicity the picturesque Algarve town receives.

Critics said the sightseeing tour is in appalling taste.”

The manner is which this is written implies I had something to do with graffiti that appeared in Luz. I had nothing whatsoever to do with it, so I resent the implication.

By the way, Luz isn’t picturesque, a word you would never use to describe the place if you had actually visited. And that point is pertinent, because the construction date and manner of the Ocean Club reflect upon the security systems in the complex and in apartment 5A, so please try to get it right.

Having got that out of the way, let’s tackle the disgust my “warped pastime” is causing. In your article, you have not identified a single person who has come forward to make such a comment, merely unnamed sources. Turning to the idea of warped concepts, who raised the notion that Madeleine went into someone else’s coffin and was cremated? That would be Alan Selby and Phil Cardy writing for the Mirror. Who is getting paid for writing this appalling tripe? That would be Alan Selby and Phil Cardy from the Mirror.

If you were serious journalists you would investigate the case properly, but instead you choose to regurgitate sensationalist material.

““I prefer to remain anonymous, in the background, a non-character in the case.

That means my musings are more likely to be judged on merit alone.

Hopefully, that in turn maximises the chance of working out what happened to Madeleine McCann.”

Anyone can read my blog and make up their own mind as to whether I am putting myself before Madeleine or whether Madeleine is the priority. Those who know me well will also know that I publish on one of the more popular forums devoted to finding out what happened to her. Between my blog and that forum, a considerable amount of progress has been made. That progress would increase if these findings were read by the McCanns, serious UK media reporters, and Operation Grange.

Explaining the twisted thinking that produced the tour, the man says: “My first thought was simple.

I just could not make a ghouls tour of Luz fly. Then the idea began to intrigue me.

How does one make a ghouls’ tour of Luz actually work?

The solution is cheap and cheerful. It comes out of the best penny dreadfuls in Victorian era. You do not bother about the truth. Or the facts. You simply go for the thrill value.”

He continues: “I suppose, at a push, with all the red herrings around, I could develop a ghouls’ tour with at least 20 points on the map.

There must be at least ten more red herrings in the Madeleine story, surely.

The difficulty is my brain is not into red herring stories and my heart is not into this line of action.

And you, Alan Selby and Phil Cardy, have produced the modern day equivalent of the Victorian penny dreadful by not bothering about the facts but simply going for sensationalist thrill value. Whereas the line I have bolded quite clearly shows that while a ghouls tour is possible, I do not do ghouls tours. For example, a ghouls tour would definitely incorporate a visit to Nossa Senhora da Luz to retell the Mirror nonsense about the cremated body, whereas the church has never featured in any tour and I have never been inside it.

While this deluded man amuses himself with his outrageous “game” the British investigation into the disappearance codenamed Operation Grange has cost at least £12million.”

This the the standard end to a Madeleine McCann story. Throw in the cost of Operation Grange. As it so happens, I have sent Operation Grange several pieces of intelligence regarding the case. I have no idea whether these were found useful or not.

In Portugal, Correio da Manha has run with an equivalent story to the Mirror’s, but in Portuguese. I shall be looking at that to see if it gives me an entry point to the Portuguese media.

In the UK media, Alan Selby and Phil Cardy have squandered an opportunity to advance the understanding of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, and instead have taken Mirror money to write a lurid story based on Madeleine’s disappearance. Congratulations guys, you are number two and number three on my list of journalists I wouldn’t touch with a barge pole.

Madeleine – St Vincent’s

The church: St Vincent’s, Praia da Luz, Algarve, Portugal.
Denomination: Church of England, Diocese in Europe.
The building: The church is actually the Roman Catholic church of Nossa Senhora da Luz (Our Lady of Light); St Vincent’s Anglican congregation uses it with the gracious permission of the Portuguese Catholics. It is a squat whitewashed building with a bell tower. The body consists of a simple nave with whitewashed walls and small windows up near the wooden vaulted ceiling, with stations of the cross under the windows. On entering, the first thing you notice is a large golden altar in a stone archway containing a central statue of Mary carrying baby Jesus flanked by two other statues which appear to be a knight in armour and a priest. To the right of the altar is a large crucifix; to the left is a lectern with the sanctuary light hanging behind it. At the back of the church is a small gallery with a circular window.
The church: The chaplaincy of St Vincent’s stretches along the entire south coast of Portugal, known as the Algarve, and comprises three churches situated at Praia da Luz, Almancil and Gorjoes. At this particular church, the Roman Catholics hold their services in Portuguese and English and St Vincent’s celebrates two holy communion services each Sunday and one on Thursdays. St Vincent’s has other weekly meetings such as Kids Club, Bible study, prayer group meetings, and a choir practice. When I looked in the pew sheet at the names of readers, sidesmen and other officials, I noticed some names that seemed to be Dutch, Scandinavian or Germanic as well as English; so it appears that they minister to people from a very broad range of traditions. On the third Friday of each month there is a Vigil for Missing Children (Portuguese and English). I presume this started with the tragic disappearance of the English toddler Madeline McCann in May 2007. I sincerely pray that she is discovered unharmed and returned to her desperate parents as soon as possible.
The neighbourhood: Praia da Luz was originally a small fishing village with little white fishermen’s cottages and cobbled streets. It has expanded considerably since the 1960s and is now a sprawl of villas and apartments. It is adjacent to the very picturesque beach of Praia da Luz, a golden sandy beach with deep orange cliffs on either side leading to an azure calm sea. There is a promenade complete with palm trees and benches backed by a cluster of cafes, bars and restaurants. Besides being a holiday resort, Praia da Luz is also home to many ex-pats from the UK, Scandinavia and Germany. The village has an air of tranquility and contentment, but it perhaps becomes livelier at the height of the holiday season in July and August. Opposite the church is the Restaurante da Fortaleza, which is next to a 500 year old fortress perched above the rocks.
The cast: The Revd John Wilson, locum chaplain.
The date & time: Sunday within the Octave of St Luke, 19 October 2008, 12.00pm.

What was the name of the service?
Choral Eucharist.

How full was the building?
It was a small church but was almost completely full – I would say there were about 100 people. The congregation appeared to be predominantly resident ex-pats, mostly retired, but there were also quite a number of younger parents with their children. All were smartly but casually dressed in summer attire. Many carried shoe boxes covered with wrapping paper, the purpose of which became clear later in the service.

[There is more at http://www.ship-of-fools.com/mystery/2008/1637.html ]

Here is what the interior of the church looked like in Oct 2008.

Church 2008