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Looking forward to all the good things

By JENNY GRAINER [email protected]

Jenny Grainer arrived in the Algarve to live, work and raise a family in 1968. She is a freelance writer and her book ‘Portugal and the Algarve Now and Then’ has sold more than 2,000 copies

By the time this goes to print I will be sampling the delights of the weather in the UK.

I’m actually looking forward very much to feeling the rain on my face and snuggling under a duvet, but I dare say I will be singing another tune and longing for my home in the sun before long.

It should be an interesting stay if not exactly a holiday. I will be in Brighton for the first week where two of my children live, before moving up to Warrington where my other son has his home with my three granddaughters, unknown territory for me, but not before I’ve had a girls day out with my daughter in London and seen at least one West End show – two if I can fit it in.

I’ve been agonising over the newspapers with their adverts for all the shows, plays and concerts; absolutely spoiled for choice. For someone who used to be in the theatre I am suffering from acute withdrawal symptoms and just don’t know where to start to medicate myself.

I have eventually decided to book nothing in advance and instead go to one of the agents in Leicester Square and buy a ticket for whatever is available. My daughter assures me it’s the best way and as I don’t really care what I see, I am going to place my faith in her far more experienced hands.

I’ve never been to Warrington, but in the dim distant past, I recall touring in a musical called The Desert Song with David Whitfield and playing both Liverpool and Manchester, which are either side of where I will be. It will be fun to be a tourist in those places and do, for example, the Beatle’s tour; when I passed that way before they were probably just starting their careers as I was, only they did rather better than me!

I know that Cheshire is a beautiful county and I’m hoping to get on a coach and see some of it. I really don’t know much of England at all. After more than forty years in Portugal I am really looking forward to spending more than a weekend there and in at least one place I really don’t know.

Apart from all the sightseeing on my agenda I will also have the pleasure of being part of my granddaughters lives for nine whole days. Until now I’ve only seen them for a couple of days when they come to Portugal after they have seen their other granny in Lisbon and a host of other relatives of my Portuguese daughter-in-law and that really doesn’t give any time to get to know someone even a little bit.

I can be part of the morning ritual, get to go to the twins play school and seven year old Grace’s proper school (I hope they won’t want special police clearance for me to get in through the school gates). I shall be there when they come home and get to share dinners and play time before baths and bedtime stories.

I’m also planning to remain alcohol free (most of the time) and with all the walking I will be doing while sightseeing, I should burn off some calories and come back a few kilos lighter.

One date I have pre booked is for The Last Night of the Proms in Manchester. I’ve never made it to the Albert Hall, but enjoy watching the proms on television; now I can experience great music with a great orchestra live with the Manchurians who will be there with me at the Bridgewater Hall, and I shall allow all those great patriotic songs to bring forth those deep-rooted emotions that never completely go away.

I’m not looking forward to the darker aspects of life in the UK. I won’t be window-shopping at night the way I used to when I lived in London more than forty years ago. Even in Brighton I shall avoid going out at night alone and even with my family I won’t enjoy the spectacle of young men and women enjoying themselves. I saw how they have fun last year and I’ve also seen the emergency department of the hospital. It’s not a pretty sight.

But I don’t want to dwell on that. I’m looking forward to all the good things that are still there and all the good young people. I won’t exactly be on a ‘shop ‘til I drop’ expedition’ – the budget won’t stand for that, but I’m sure the suitcase will have a few souvenirs that I won’t be able to resist, the odd early Christmas gift and several Christmas cards if I can find any that have anything to remind my recipients who’s birth day we celebrate on December 25.

I won’t forget to also stock up in raffle tickets for the ‘Good Old Variety Show’ I will be doing on November 22 in the Lagoa Auditorium. Lots of new artists this year, but we always need more if you’re interested in performing. This year we will be helping out the children of the Lar Bom Samaritano so I hope to see you there. More news when I get back.