One year in the algarve!

saying that reminds me of victor meldrew, one foot in the algarve.
grab a cuppa, no doubt this will be a massive update
so, that was a very fast year!  i have now been here for almost exactly one year to the day, how time flies when you are having fun.
I left Rugby at 10.30pm on saturday 23rd october and took an easy drive to Dover to catch the 06.30 seacat to calais the next morning.
what i am going to try to type is all the things that i have learned in the last year and let you know how my life has changed – of course, you wont find this boring at all !!!!!!!!!
so where do i start?  i will try to keep it in chronological order (check me out !  not bad for a surfer) but i doubt i will be able to manage it!
it all started with a monster road trip in a 290 pounds vauxhall carlton that took over three days and 1800 miles.  At times , the trip was lonely, boring, stunning, awesome (pyranese), sexy (biarritz), fast (le mans) a wide eye opener to europe. i went through spain completely in the dark – thats not a bad thing if you have ever been to spain!!!
The carlton is still going strong, has changed hands three times since i sold it, spoke to a welsh guy that was driving it just last weekend.
white van man exists in every country, not just england.  Likewise, mercedes and bmw are not fitted with indicators , and their drivers have no lane sense or spacial awareness.
driving standards are different here than in the uk, but there is much less traffic here. most people will jump red lights and cross junctions without giving way because the chances are, there is no-one else on the road.
drink driving is not a problem here – everyone does it – even the local police (GNR). Speeding – no problem, there are no speed cops in the algarve.
i got flashed by a speed camera in may when i drove through france on my way back down with christine but so far , nothing has come of it.
new friends
there are many, some only around for a week or two , others stay around a little longer, some go, only to come back.  My friends now are from all around the world, spain, portugal, germany, belgium, switzerland, ireland, south africa, america, canada, new zealand and of course england.  there is never any shortage of new people to meet and new stories to listen to.
then of course, there is Russ and Sara, without whom, my time here would have been much more difficult, if not near impossible!
and where is gentleman james cole of hampshire ???
i am now lucky enough to have 14 beaches close enough to be called local (within a 20 minute drive from home) Each one relatively empty for 9 months of each year, they are
ponte ruiva
all with their own characteristics that i now know well enough to call a good wave.
to live like an englishman, buying english products would cost a fortune so i have also discovered many new foods, including a most delicious octopus salad! UHT milk is the order of the day, the  skimmed is by far the best. Fresh fruit is grown locally so is cheap and not preserved with chemicals.  Fresh fish is caught locally too. the local fishermen can double their income from a spot of fishing.  Mind you, when you see them perched on the edge of a 100ft cliff, you kinda think twice about doing it yourself.
eating out or drinking in the algarve is more expensive than in lisbon, the capital.  blame this on tourism and the locals belief that all tourists are minted.
I have also discovered an excellent way of knowing when my hair needs washing – things try to nest in it!!!
working is fun again, this is most likely due to russ (cft).  we like a laugh and a good old sing song so work doesnt always seem like work, i bet not many of you can say that.
i havent caught on to the local drinking habits though – beer at 4pm.  i settle for a coke or 7up instead.
many of the locals will drink a lot more than one or two and still go to work.  no-one really cares, its all very laid back.  I think i am the only person in the algarve who worries about being late for work.
weekends are for fun, not for working so you will rarely see me at work on saturdays – i think russ is slowly catching onto this philosophy too.
oh my god!!!!!!  the latina experience is one that i thoroughly recommend.  i am sure you have all seen the photos of my very sexy girlfriend on my site

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it is true, they are very sexy, shapely, temperemental and passionate.  once you have experienced this, there can be no going back to mainstream european.


there are loads of them here, probably more english and germans than there are portuguese.  most of the english are cockneys – or more like mockneys, shaved heads and wide boy attitudes, probably all running from a drug deal that went bad in the uk.  i try to steer clear of them where possible, thankfully, not many of them manage to settle this far west, it is too traditional for them.
please, think twice before you pack your suitcase for your next holidays.  the english are incredibly easy to spot!  some hints
snow white skin
lobster red skin
shorts all of the time – even in the rain
hideous cackles of laughter
very bad dress and colour sense – the kind of colours they would never wear at home – they went shopping before they left, to buy some ´holiday clothes´
talking slowly and loudly to the portuguese, gesturing with their hands like a policeman on point duty, they think the portuguese are both deaf and stupid but they are the ones in a foreign country who dont speak a word of the lingo!!!!
and for the real idiots who actually believe they have blended in with the locals, there is always an england football shirt or any item of clothing in the design of the union jack.
Failing that, go into any mcdonalds and watch them cramming their fat little faces faster than michael schumaker at silverstone.
of course, you cant forget my recent purchase……..there are many photos on my site.  a huge place in need of some rennovation but from the terrace i reckon i have a view across maybe 5 miles of the southern most coast, all the way to the ocean, and a wind sock on the main road to tell me which way the wind is blowing , very important for selecting a beach.
saturday was my birthday, had a beer or two and a surprise birthday cake in the bubble……and yes, they did put 36 candles on it!
sunday, i diecided not to work and grab some beach time.  sat at tonel with sandra for a few hours waiting for the waves to improve – they never did and i almost got sunburn.  imagine, it is nearly the end of october, i am on a beach in my shorts and i need suncream to stay there for more than an hour……how bizarre is that?
saw a little of the old style of portugal this week.  on tuesday a JCB turned up to dig out my driveway so that i could drive onto my garden.  he started work at 07.50 and was finished by 08.50.  wednesday evening, i was working on my garden when the president of the parish council turned up and took a good look at what i was doing…………..either my neighbours or someone passing had seen what i was doing and marched straight to the council to tell them.  imagine what it must have been like living here in the seventies, if you farted, someone would snitch on you and then you would have to pay a fine…..scarily, the communist party still scores highly in the elections so it could all go wrong again.
what am i expecting from the next year?  lots of work on the house and gardens , thats for sure.  more surfing and hope to build up some regular income from renting accommodation in addition to my work with russ.
I hope my surfing will improve – still have to achieve a barrel, a stand up barrel would be awesome but a crouched one will do just fine!!
just got the longboard back after a month in dry dock, wont be long before i break it again thats for sure.
must buy a portuguese car soon too, driving on the wrong side of the car is a real bitch for overtaking.
well i guess that will be all for now,  thanks to the following people for taking the time to come and see me at some point
max, steve b, alex, sam, lindsey, christine, christine collier, roop, chips, mum and david, i trust others will follow in their footsteps
çiao bebes

Have a moan - the beers are on me !!

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