As we said in our last Blog we returned to the UK for the Christmas festivities and how we wished the thought had died at birth as the next 11 days saw our time near Settle marred by cold, wet, misty miserable weather including one morning when SHE who must be obeyed looked out the window and excitedly stated she could see the sun shining on top of a hill, to which I replied it’s not the sun woman it’s someone with a torch. Fortunately our family and Santa Claus made up for the horrible weather so that was a plus. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly the time goes and though we had hoped to see friends and relations it just did not work out much to our disappointment.  Even on our last day at 6 am we found the weather was against us when the taxi arrived at the Hotel to take us to Leeds/Bradford Airport the rain was pouring down, the wind was touching 50/60km/hour and the Taxi driver (may Allah have no mercy on his soul) dropped us off in the bottom car park and left us to struggle uphill in the dark and gale with our luggage. Just to top it all off the flight was delayed on the runway for an hour until the wind dropped below 50km/hour and we could take off back towards the sun and the warmth of the Algarve. There are times when I admit to being a Victor Meldrew as in ‘One Foot in the Grave’ and this was one of them, my mood was not helped by a text message from friends in Faro saying “It’s sunny here”..

At Faro we were picked up by Jim and Gill in glorious sunshine  and the drive back to Espiche was a pleasure to say the least and since we have been back hardly a day has passed when it has not been warm and sunny which in turn is causing a problem which may lead to a water shortage later this year.

The saga of the Motorways, especially the A22 which spans the Algarve from Spain to (the end of the world) Sagres in the west, now being Toll roads continues with Cameras being shot at, equipment booths being blown up or set on fire and go slow marches all in the hope of getting the Government to change it’s mind. The whole thing has become a farce, for instance if you use a Toll road accidentally (that’s easy to do) you cannot pay your FINE  for 48 hours which means if you were on your way out of Portugal ??  A couple of UK  motorhome users tried to pay for their error in Lagos but were told to go to Porto Mao about 15 minutes by Train and on arrival were told there was no option for Foreign vehicles to pay but sometime in the future they may receive notification of payment which must be paid in 5 days or interest is applied. Now if I say that last year Traffic fines brought in €230.000 a day you will realise this is a major source of revenue for the Government.

As most folks will be aware Portugal is struggling and austerity measures are certainly causing grief with shops and restaurants closing down  and none of them helped by the fact that VAT has jumped to 23% which is definitely hurting everybody, but it is not all doom and gloom and visitors from the UK are still coming here for their Hols. but as prices have jumped up we wonder if they will come back again.

Kit planted a small Orange tree a couple of years ago and this year we have had a whole two small oranges off of it  so I guess we can call that a success hoping that we will have more when it produces fruit the next time.

I will be updating the Gallery and Travel pages at the same time as this goes onto the web page so with that

it’s cheers for now ... Jack and Kit.

THE  ABOVE was written at the start of February but I ran into trouble when I updated my FTP program (I never learn) and could no longer access the FTP site to update the  Web page. The next 10 days saw me trying all sorts of things to regain access without result.  Last Saturday I gave up then found out that the FTP Company I use had I believe a Hacking attack and changed everybody’s password but did not let us know.

All’s well that ends well and once we knew what they had done an exchange of emails sorted the problem.

I am sure there must be a Latin saying for sheer frustration and stress.

BNCU, Jack n Kit.

                                                      The sky over Espiche

The sky over Rathmell