One night, our little daughter complained about some undefined pain in her stomach and we went to the little hospital in Tavira for a check. The doctor could not give a precise diagnosis so, to be sure, he recommended that we visit the hospital in Faro, and gave us the necessary requisition. We had never been there before, but found the hospital easily just by following the road signs.
We arrived at the separate reception for children long after midnight, but were met by a pleasant (and English speaking) lady, who guided us through the necessary paperwork in record time. After that, there was zero waiting time before two pleasant doctors took our daughter for a thorough examination.
They could not find a specific reason for the pain so, to be sure, called upon two other doctors and, in addition, took blood and urine tests. After two hours waiting and four (or five) doctors, the conclusion was that there was nothing seriously wrong with our daughter’s stomach, and we could go home again.
“But do call upon us immediately if she feels no better tomorrow.” What an excellent service! I mean, we live in probably the wealthiest country in the world (Norway), but we can only dream about an emergency service like the one we experienced in Faro Hospital. A big, fat “thank you” to the doctors and their kindness. Faro has really something to be proud of!
I am an animal lover and greatly admire and respect the work of the various organisations set up to address the huge problems of abandoned and maltreated animals in Portugal.
For the past three years, I have been going to the Refúgio dos Burros four times per week to give Nan Richardson a little bit of help with her cats and dogs. The neighbours have become very used to the sight of me wandering around the lanes with eight to fourteen dogs and two cats!
At 7 o’clock on Friday, I was returning with the dogs and was within a couple of hundred metres of the main gates when a metallic coloured old model Mercedes came towards us. We were very visible to the driver, 10 dogs and me in the middle of the lane, and I expected that he would take care. Unfortunately, Christie a little black poodle cross, thought the car was coming from his home and excitedly ran towards it.
The driver had ample time to decide on his course of action, slow down, perhaps even stop, drive around the oncoming dog, or run him over. He chose the latter. I have never in my life witnessed such a deliberate act of barbarism and am sure the image will haunt me till I die.
As I picked up the poor broken little body (the car wasn’t halted until both wheels had passed over him), the charming driver was screaming abuse, accompanied by his two macho friends in the front. Two of the three ladies in the back sat impassively, the other opened the window, saying ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry’, as they drove off.
Christie was such a special little guy who was adored by all whose lives he touched and we are devastated that he died in such a senseless, brutal way.
I would like, if I may, to address the driver of the car through your publication. You deliberately and savagely destroyed an innocent. You are an abomination!
Time for change?
The British television company who make a show for Channel 4 called Home from Home is looking for participants. Home from Home is a holiday programme that follows people as they exchange properties around the world.
As a variation on this theme, they are looking to find ex-pats that might want a holiday back in the UK. This might be because you are missing the UK and just need to drop back to meet friends and family. Or you may be thinking that life was better back in the UK and want to come back for a few weeks to see if you have made the right decision.
Whatever the reason, Maverick TV would be very interested in hearing from you. They’ve got a number of people in the UK willing to do house exchanges all over the world. The company is also looking for UK run B&Bs in Portugal who may be interested in doing a business swap back to the UK. They have a family who run a B&B in the UK who are interested in trying their hand on the continent.
If you think your family would be suitable to participate please get in touch with Dan Slee on telephone 0044 121 224 8361.
A big thank you
Thanks to Mrs. Anne Arnott from Salisbury, Wiltshire, who sponsored an abandoned kitten while on holiday at the Hotel Garbe in Armação de Pêra.
Lucky Smokey, as she became known, was abandoned about three weeks ago and just walked right into the hotel reception. She quickly became firm friends with the clients and staff alike. Mrs. Arnott volunteered to help and now Smokey will be going home with João Luís, the night auditor at the hotel.
Re: Resident Top 10 football totty
With a smile, and a bit of shock, I read on page 22 of this normally tasteful magazine, the tasteless result of this Top 10.
Ladies! Put 10 men in a line and see: six are Beckham look-a-likes and four are much better looking! It can’t be his looks, he doesn’t have ‘IT’, so what is it then, his bank account? Or is it that he plays better with his middle leg than with the other two? Or that he can’t score with a football, but seems to do great with the other two?
One thing is sure: Beckham is better at scoring girls than scoring goals! (Ladies: he even scored with you! I rest my case)
If he were the last man on earth, I wouldn’t play football, or any other ball game, with him!
– is it just me?
I mail you to register my own (almost) complete agreement with Skip’s comments on the British drinking culture and its unfortunate association with football – which I believe to be coincident with the fact that football (helped by saturation media coverage) has become an even bigger obsession now than it was in my own young days in the ‘50s.
The drink-based culture is a social phenomenon, not a football one. After all, I used to work in another professional sport and, at one stage, there were signs of the same thing, although my organisation acted quite quickly to control it. But if our sport – cricket – had been as popular as football, no doubt the same effect would have been seen.
My own theory is that much of the bingeing style in the UK derives from previous punitive licensing laws (e.g. three hours pub openings on Sunday nights), whereby a culture of ‘get as much down you as quickly as possible before they shut’ originated. There are people of my own age (50s) who only seem to know one way to drink (three to four pints per hour) as a result – I know this may sound crazy, but I believe it is true.
The association with football is pure coincidence. If the main national sport were perhaps rugby, and it had the same social background, the same thing would be likely to occur.
As to the rest of Skip’s article, I can only also agree with (almost) his every statement about living in the Algarve. I brought my family to live in the Algarve only last year, although I continue to work part time in the UK and part time from home (school fees!). But I am keenly looking forward to being able to be in the Algarve permanently, as the rest of the family already are, as soon as possible.
My wife had some (relatively) serious health problems in the UK, but since being in Portugal has not been better for some years and our overall quality of life, not just the climate, but our surroundings, wonderful Portuguese neighbours and friends, and the general style of life mean that none of my family can see ever wanting to return to the UK.
I know there are frustrations all the time, but, after all, nowhere is perfect and, as the old saying goes, “if you can’t take a joke, you shouldn’t have joined.”
Thanks, Skip, for your comments. I hope we don’t go on too long about the events on the Strip that week (after all, they happen to some extent every Saturday in just about every town in Britain) and can move on, hopefully without too much stigma from our Portuguese friends and neighbours towards us “foreigners”.
Just a final point, congratulations to the hosts for a great show and bad luck at the end (although I thought they would be lucky to get beyond the quarterfinal).
Algoz (and, unfortunately,
also Chesterfield, Derbyshire)