We were sitting sunning ourselves at Turiscampo when we noticed that two of the pitches in our little circle had become vacant. This is quite an event as pitches with sunshine and vacant possession are rarer than hen’s teeth and give rise to about as much excitement. The chilled out residents were desperate for something to happen to break up their day and they weren’t disappointed. We all waited with bated breath to see who would turn up. First of all, a small campervan conversion rolled up and parked in the middle of the largest of the two pitches. At least twelve pairs of eyes swivelled around to watch as they chose their position, locked up the van and strolled off into the sunshine. Not five minutes later an enormous Hymer A class complete with a car on a trailer and a dog rolled in and saw that they couldn’t fit on the remaining pitch. It was clear from the tone of Mr and Mrs Hymer that they believed that they had booked the larger of the two pitches. Off stormed Mrs Hymer to reception, coming back a few minutes later with the news – the campervan was on the wrong pitch! Our group of pitches was circular and didn’t really have room for the aforementioned Hymer with trailer etc. to wait until the campervan owners came back. Parking it right in the middle of the shared central area was causing a certain amount of inconvenience to everyone else. This did not concern Mr and Mrs Hymer at all as they were too busy going purple with outrage at the gloriously absent and thus oblivious owners of the campervan who were probably in the bar having a pint. Mr H began unpacking his trailer and much of his not inconsiderable amount of stuff and putting it on the pitch next to the campervan. Anyone could see this was only going to make things worse but he had to do something with the head of steam he had built up. Finally, the campervan owners returned, shrugged and apologised for their mistake, clearly unable to see why this had brought on such a display of temper from the Hymers. As if by magic a small crowd gathered to watch the vans attempt to change places whilst manoeuvring around each other, the car that was by now off the trailer, the trailer itself, and a number of random objects that were spread liberally around the pitch. Monsieur Hymer was very nearly apoplectic with rage as the British owners of the campervan calmly reversed it out and waited for them to take their positions on the pitch. Mr H was not in the right frame of mind to do this complex task and many of the crowd, now growing larger by the second, hid their faces as a loud crunch reverberated through the air. One very expensive, nearly new Hymer A class now had a hole in it. You didn’t need to speak French to understand the four-letter words that split the air but if you were slow to catch on, the sight of Mr H with a roll of gaffer tape and a face alternating between white and purple made the position clear. At this point, it became clear that Mr H was blaming his wife for the entire incident and stomped around ignoring her despite her sad little attempts to appease him. Shirley observed all this from the captain’s chair in our van giving me a blow by blow account as I got the ice cream and popcorn ready. Who needs a TV? Not us.
We know we’re getting used to the lovely climate in the Algarve because we feel cold when the temperature in the van is lower than 22c. The other day, when it was very cloudy, it was only 14c outside and we were numb with the cold. I don’t know how we’re going to cope when we get back to Scotland. You can get a fair idea of the nationality of your neighbours based on their choice of clothes. The Scandinavians and possibly people from Newcastle, walk around in shorts and t-shirts every day, regardless of the temperature. On the day when it was 14c and we were inside drinking hot drinks and running the heating they were still swanning about wearing very little, sometimes even braving the unheated outdoor pool. The locals are wearing duffle coats, boots and fur-lined hats with flaps on them pretty much every day, even when its 20c outside. It’s very entertaining and occasionally quite disturbing.
Yesterday was a very warm day and we were in Lidl. I was looking into the chillers trying to decide what to have for tea when I saw a sight that may remain with me for some time. A lady of advancing years was coming towards me wearing very tight, very short, lycra shorts and a massive striped t-shirt. Her body shape and this unfortunate choice of clothing caused me to look twice as I thought for a moment she’d forgotten to put her trousers on. As I did a double take I noticed that her legs were bushy – I mean as in really bushy and she had a pair of black socks and a massive pair of trainers on to complete the ensemble. Will someone please tell me if I take this ‘not giving a stuff’ thing too far and start to appear in public like that? It’s what friends are for after all. Being this relaxed obviously should be carefully monitored.
Getting a Fright – twice
I received an ominous text from Adrian – “Please call me as soon as possible.” If you are a parent you will immediately understand the appalling thoughts that fly into your head when you get a message like that. That was fright number one. On the phone, after a struggle to get decent reception, Adrian informed me that there was an official letter from the Judiciary in the Algarve concerning an incident on our last visit a year ago. If you are a regular reader of this blog you might remember me writing a merry little account of being “picked up by the fuzz” – oh how easy it was to laugh about it then. It turned out that the police officer who took our details and warned us against camping there had misinformed us when she said it was only a warning. It appears that it was a fineable offence and we were instructed, one whole year later and in Portuguese, to write our defence (also in Portuguese) and send it to them within a few days. Google Translate gave us the gist of the demand and also made it possible for us to explain what had happened. We had stayed in a place called Armacao de Pera in a massive car park full of motorhomes. We had paid our money to stay over and then, after a pleasant meal in a local restaurant, gone off to bed feeling chilled and contented. Being woken the next morning by a bunch of police officers wasn’t pleasant but they reassured us that we would not be fined as long as we didn’t return there again so we felt reassured. Gullible I think is the word you might be looking for. We didn’t knowingly break the law but we will probably be told that ignorance is not a valid defence. It took us about a day to calm down and realise that in the end, if we have to pay a fine, it isn’t the end of the world. It’s unjust and makes us feel hard done to but that’s all it is. We can take it on the chin and continue to enjoy our trip.
Van fixed and moving on
We took the van to Camperserv and got all our bits of 12v work done and a new rooflight in the bathroom. While the work was underway we drove up and down the coast a bit, had a lovely coffee in a beachside café, visited a huge shopping centre and had lunch and took the dogs for several beach walks. It was a good day and we were all tired at the end of it. Driving back to Turiscampo for our last night there we found ourselves wondering what was next on our adventure. We were planning to return to the motorhome parking in Lagos for a day or two and then consider our next move. This conscious decision to not make too many plans is growing on us.
So here we are in Lagos, parked amongst the international community of motorhomers, Shirley is in the football stadium next door watching a match with Martin, our new neighbour that we only met an hour ago. I’m here with two snoozing dogs, the sun is shining and we’re very happy.
‘Til the next time …