Dear Editor – Calling all parents!

Calling all parents!

I have a five-year-old son and am a single working mum. I have lived in Portugal since 1996. As my son has needed the company of other children and I need to work, I put him in a private crèche until he was accepted last September (2003) to attend the Jardim de Infância at a local school.

The school is nice and my son enjoys going each day from 9am until 5pm (the last two hours from three to five in prolongamento). I consider myself to be very fortunate with this facility and am happy that my son is speaking the language and enjoying his school life.

The reason I am writing to you is for advice or options. Every time there is a bank holiday, the schools are closed and they don’t offer any form of club for the children. This means that we either take a day off work and lose pay, lose our jobs by taking a day off, leave work early with a risk of being sacked, or go to work and leave our children with unqualified child-minders.

I personally investigated the system here for opening a crèche, only to come across obstacle after obstacle. There are no drop-in centres here and even if we wanted to open one, it is made so difficult that you waste six months trying to find the right person to talk to.

The ATL is an after-school club that also runs during some school holidays for a few hours each day. This varies from school to school. There are parents who need their children to go to ATL and the schools do not have enough places for them. With the summer holidays approaching rapidly, I am crying out for help. My son has school until July 16 and then ATL until July 31. This means that, from August 1 until September 15, I am completely stuck. I work with tourists here in the Algarve, so this means that I am busy at this time.

If there is any way of doing a parent sharing or a playgroup, I would love to hear comments from other parents who need help. Something needs to be done about it. After all, the government spent money on new stadia for Euro 2004, so why can’t we have help or support with the well-being and education of our children?

Beverley Lisle

Who are you?

Dear Mr. Milton (whoever you are or wherever you live),

It looks like you are a very busy businessman, probably in construction, somewhere in Portugal. Anyway, you have had a lot of problems with your deliveries in recent years, at least since 2000.

How do I know this? Because you have given MY mobile number to so many shops and companies over the last four years. I have had the same number since September 1999 and the calls started in the beginning of 2000. Most of the callers were Portuguese and wanted to find out where to make their deliveries. We tried to find out what kind of merchandise and to where in Portugal they were destined, but nobody would tell us! We have asked our Portuguese friends to talk to these people, but they are not told any information either.

We have several telephone numbers from these people/companies. When we tried to call back, nobody knows anything. We have got several calls from our home country during the summers to this Portuguese mobile phone. That is one of the reasons this is becoming a nuisance and has cost a lot of time and money on our part.

So please, Mr. Milton, if you or someone who can recognise you from this, could you try to learn your own mobile phone number, or write it down to remember it! We are quite tired of answering your calls. We have even planned to give all the numbers that have called us to the officials to investigate the situation.

91-number

(name and address supplied)

Boycott bullfighting bank

We are two emigrants from Holland who have lived in Portugal for more than a year now. Recently, we found out that our local bank, the Crédito Agrícola (CCAM), implicitly supports cruelty against animals. In the last edition of the ‘Crédito Agrícola noticias’, No. 7, in May 2004, there is an article with photographs about the XXIII Convívio Nacional do Crédito Agrícola annual meeting, in which the organisation used a disgusting bullfight to entertain their people.

Because we do not approve of these horrible matters, we sent the following letter of complaint to Mr. João Monteiro, head of the department of Marketing and Planning of the CCAM in Lisbon. We also ended our membership of the CCAM and we assume that all modern, civilised clients of this bank will follow our example.

Mr. João Monteiro,

By means of this letter we direct an official complaint to your company. It was a great shock to see in what way you ‘entertained’ your guest during the annual meeting, the XXIII Convívio Nacional do Crédito Agrícola. It is a scandal that you use a disgusting, horrible bullfight to show how you entertain your people. We sincerely hope that this is not what Mr. Adriano Diegues meant by saying, “This represents the soul of the Crédito Agrícola”. We demand an article in the next Crédito Agrícola notícias, in which it is stated that your company will not support this kind of cruelty in the future. We also want a reprimand of the organising team of CCAM at Vila Franca de Xira. Because you promote cruelty against animals in this new era of hunting (Quote from your brochure “Seguro de Caçador”), we decided to end our membership of the CCAM.

May this be a sign for all organisations that this is the era of progress, the era of respect for all creatures, including animals.

Yours sincerely,

Mr. B. Vroom

Mrs. A. Simdorn

Santa Ovaia

Algarveans impress

Recently, I went to Lagos Cultural Centre to see Stepping Out. What a performance! I saw this show in London 25 years ago, with my daughter and sister. It was great then, but the Algarveans were fantastic. Thank you for a great night out.

Pamela Thorne

Amorosa

Explaining football fans

I feel I must help Judy Sharp in her quest to discover more about the world of football, and its effect on its followers (Is it just me? June 18), although I suspect she already knows the answers. Fans buy replica shirts for two reasons: they need to visibly associate themselves with SOMETHING – part of the herd instinct, also visible on beaches, and they also have never stopped being big kids. Fans like to travel to tournaments, even when they have no tickets or reservations, also for the above two reasons but, additionally, to get drunk, as Judy suggests, near the scene of the action, whether it be London, Manchester or the Algarve. It’s all part of the ‘lads’ thing – what men do.

Fans like to drink while watching the matches on TV for two reasons. Firstly, it creates a general sense of euphoria, however dire the match may be. If your team wins you’re halfway to celebrating, if they lose you’re halfway to drowning your sorrows before you take it out on the cat/dog/wife. Also, don’t kid yourself that the above only applies to men. Have you never witnessed grown women out on a hen night, at a pop concert or watching male strippers? Forget the cavemen, Romans and lions, the sight of a bunch of women wearing antennae or floppy ears on their heads, out on the rampage, terrifies me far more than a herd of football supporters!

Michael Johnson

By e-mail

Crime victim appeal

Have my family had a run of bad luck or is crime getting worse here? Parked in Albufeira, I was asked to give a drink of water to two men. They stole my mobile phone. Two weeks later, we visited one of our favourite beaches, Cavalo Preto, and our motor home was broken into, the security locks were tampered with and there was no outward sign of a break-in. I have suffered the inconvenience of replacing bank cards, but worse, our laptop was only three months old and had precious photographs and work-related information. This was the weekend of the celebrations for April 25 and many picnickers were around. Please can we appeal to your readers, via your excellent paper, to come forward if they have been sold a laptop since then which may still have held our photos etc on it. We will be very happy to give a reward for any information – email: christine_laura@hotmail.com

Christine Harrison

Faro