Gonçalo – April adventures

Gonçalo went to the vet on 26 March 2018. Then he weighed 3.3kg. On 27th April, he was up to 5.1kg.

He is not getting fat. We have been feeding him the correct amount for a 3.3kg puppy, without realising how fast he is growing. He also gets lots of exercise every day.

He gets tick medicine, with dosage according to bodyweight. I have had to increase that as well.

He has gained a lot in confidence. When he first went out for walks, he was frightened of nearly everything. Now, he is the master of his universe.

That universe has expanded a lot. I have re-cut the adventure trail through our meadow, and Gonçalo loves that. It is roughly akin to humans walking on a trail through a forest. I’ll get a photo when the current wet-weather front passes through.

There has been an addition to the meadow. We now have a bee hive, and the bees are settling in slowly. This is the hive, with our resident bee-keeper looking after his colony.

The adventure trail loop is a 15 to 20 mins walk, and Gonçalo normally gets 4 or 5 of these per day, so he is out for an hour to an hour and a half normally. This morning we squeezed in a much shorter walk just before another downpour started.

Gonçalo is showing signs of getting more domesticated. He has improved slightly on the pee and poo front. He has improved a lot on the biting and chew front. We bought him an osso de presunto (ham bone) and that kept him occupied for 2 – 3 days. A rolled-up newspaper is also effective. A smack on the bottom does not hurt the dog, but he learns from the sudden noise.

One of the most noticeable changes is that he has gone from a little puppy yelp to a proper dog bark.

And Gonçalo enjoys a drop or two of lager or white wine. I like to watch a quiz programme on TV called The Chase. When it ends, it is time to put out Gonçalo’s dinner. I have been watching The Chase with a glass of beer or a glass of wine, then wondered what the lap-lap-lapping sound is, only to find it is Gonçalo helping himself to my drink.

What is on the menu for May? Gonçalo is very intelligent and gets bored easily, so I want to expand his universe again. It is time to take him out on a lead to show him what the village looks like and meet some of the locals, both human and dogs.

His toilet training will also change. In May he will get chastised re indoor poos/pees. He already gets rewarded re outdoor poos/pees.


Madeleine – weather front 28 April 2018

On Wednesday 2nd May 2007, a weather front swept across Luz, from West to East. Tennis lessons were postponed. Gerry and Kate McCann went to the Millennium for coffee with Fiona, David and Dianne.

On Saturday 28 April 2018, a weather front is predicted to sweep across Luz. Here it is in 8 maps.

The first is at 01:00, when everything looks completely clear.

In the second at 04.00, there are the first signs of the front, in the Atlantic to the north of Portugal.

By 07.00 the wet weather is building in the Atlantic.

10.00 I still have time to walk Gonçalo.

Because this is what it looked like in Portelas at 10 am. Earlier this morning, we had thin cloud, lots of sunshine, no wind and it was still sunbathing weather. Now it is clouding over a lot and the wind is picking up.

At 13.00, the weather front is nearing Porto and Lisbon but Luz is still clear.

It is 18.00 and the weather front is over the north of Portugal, but it still hasn’t hit the south. In reality, we have been getting rain for some time.

And this is when it supposedly hits the south.

The final graphic is when the front clears out to the north-east. 24.00.

By way of contrast, here is the webcam image outside the Habana on the beach front at Luz. It was taken at 10 past 6, 27 April 2018. It was sunshine, a clear azure sky and no sign of any incoming weather front.

I hope to track and compare the weather here in Portelas and compare it to the Luz webcam and the forecast, in the run-up to the 11th anniversary of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

There is a serious point to this.. The weather conditions around apartment 5A shortly after 10 pm are critical. The issue is whether I can work out exactly what was going on, or not.

Saturday, 28 April 2007 was when Madeleine touched down at Faro with her family, then transferred to the Ocean Club.

Portelas – 20180413 – Farm of the Poppy

Whilst taking Gonçalo out for his morning stroll in our garden, I noticed we have our first poppy since we arrived at the Farm of the Poppy.

This is quite an odd coincidence. Gonçalo was born on 31 Dec 2017. That is the very same day we planted our vegetable patch. It was never meant to be anything but a memory for our 7 year-old grandson, who did the actual planting. He had a vegetable plot for his first festive season here in the Farm of the Poppy.

As expected, nothing we sowed has grown. What we have is a fine crop of weeds, many of which are tiny, pretty flowers, but not what we planted. And a poppy.

After a few days of quite heavy rain, I was quite pleased to get Gonçalo out for a walk in the sunshine.

I am trying to cultivate poppies in a medium size pot, and they are doing reasonably well, as far as I can tell. Although they are some months off before blooming.

It seems poppies prefer rough terrain, and the weed patch appears to work wonderfully.

Whatever, we now have our very first poppy.

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.

2018 – Feliz Ano Novo

Here are the viewing figures for SIL in 2017.

Here is the map showing where the views came from. I assume many of those from places I have never had the privilege to visit are from English people working abroad, but who knows.

At the moment, I am working out how to grow chives and bok choy. Both of these are cold-season. The trouble is we don’t do cold-season on the Algarve.

Moving on, 2018 is nearly here.

Feliz ano novo.


ATP – 21 Dec 2017 – grand openings

The weather improved a lot on 30 Dec 2017, and it was like a very pleasant Spring day with bags of sunshine, so our family played outside in our garden.

We had the opening of our new boule pitch, plus of course the first couple of games.

Then we had the opening of our neto’s (grandchildren’s) new vegetable patch. We have planted cucumbers (pepinos), carrots (cenouras), coriander (coentro) and some flowers called cravo da índia.

I am not a gardener, so I haven’t got a clue whether anything will grow or not. We should find out in about a fortnight if we have had any success.

I thought I recognised the word cravo. It is the word carnation in Portugal’s 1974 carnation revolution. Cravo da Índia is cloves, with a long history behind it.

I just thought my neto was planting some pretty flowers, when actually it means cloves.


In the new year, I will get around to doing a Portuguese word per day that relates to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. But today I want to cheat and give you not one, but 26 words of Portuguese in a tour of the alphabet. Can you guess what they are in English?

Abril [On 25 April 1974, the Armed Forces movement overthrew the 48-year dictatorship of Salazar. Red carnations in gun barrels symbolise this event. And that is why there is a Rua 25 de Abril in every town in Portugal.]


Capricórnio. [This started on 22 Dec 2017].








K. My little dictionary only has 5 words beginning with K, but they all are in use in English. Have a guess at ‘kit’.








Sal [If in need of help, add a ‘t’ to the end].


Usar. Words ending in -ar, -er and -ir, are probably verb infinitives, to do something. What could usar be about doing?


W does not exist in native Portuguese, so I have got a choice of just 3 words. What do you think ‘whisky’ might mean?


Y The letters K, W, and Y do not exist in normal Portuguese, except in proper names.


My cravo da Índia is Syzygium aromaticum. How you pronounce this without a ‘y’ is beyond me.


Bico. This is the Portuguese equivalent of an espresso. It is small, black, and very,very powerful. You usually have a small nibble that is savoury or sweet to go with it. At the moment, I am indulging in a present from Christmas – Turkish delight.


This is still the old high street. It is one of two local cafés. I have only lived here since September, and already 2 proprietors have packed up in this establishment and gone elsewhere.

Someone asked our grand-children where they lived. They said Portelas. “Ah, the place where the electricity goes off!”

I am up to 4 months in Portelas and the power has gone off at least 12 times so far. I am researching where we can buy a generator.

ATP – 12 Dec 17 – village high street


You already know that e (pronounced ee) means and. What of é?

‘é’ is an extremely important word. It comes from the verb ser (to be), and it means ‘he is’, ‘she is’, ‘it is’ or ‘you are’. Pick the appropriate translation using context. Google does not do context, so you are better than Google. ‘é’ is pronounced ‘eh’.


As we approach Christmas, the food in shops tends to get more universal, the type of produce sold in supermarkets throughout the world. But I want to keep trying to bring you a take on Portugal and the Algarve.

On the plot next door are 3 houses, with 3 generations – grandfather, children, grandchildren. The grandfather is an affable man who strolls around his plot and the village. He nods at me and I say ‘bom dia, senhor. (good day, sir). He speaks not a single word of English.

His cat comes into our garden, and the cat has become my friend. It is black and white and only has one eye. I practise my Portuguese on the cat, but of course, it cannot talk back. So I asked the grandfather the name of the cat, using my mini-Portuguese. After a bit of thought he told me it was ‘meal-you’ (which could be French, Portuguese or English).

My effort seemed to please him, because when he had finished pottering in the garden, he came back and gave me two lettuces and two radishes (rabanetes).

You can make salad anywhere in the world, but here is Portelas tuna salad.

Go to your garden and cut a fresh lettuce. Dig up a rabanete. That’s the long carrot-shaped vegetable on the left. Yes, that’s what a radish looks like on the Algarve. Add some chopped onion, cucumber and cherry tomatoes. Season with garlic (alho), salt, pepper and olive oil. Layer the top with tuna.

It could not be easier, as long as your garden grows lettuce and Portuguese radish in mid-winter, as per the Algarve.


The street that we live on is very narrow. Bits of its are just one car wide so you have to know your passing places. It took me a long time to work out that we live on what was the old high street. I would guess it dates back to the days of horse and cart.

The old high street had 4 main buildings. There was a café/bar (not in the photo). Then there was the post office, the large building on the extreme left of the photo.

In the middle, now being converted, was the padaria, the baker’s shop.

On the right, with the red stripe, was the lavanderia, the laundry. I have still to find out if this was what I think of as a laundry, or whether it was simply a lavadeira, a woman who lived by doing your washing in her home.

This picture was taken from the high street ‘square’. It has a little bit more width than the street, for car parking to access the facilities, plus a couple of now-decrepit benches under a shady tree, where presumably the menfolk of the village once sat and talked. The person who buys the padaria has the option of adopting these benches i.e. the local council wants someone else to refurbish them.