My magical ‘JFK’ moment.jpg

My magical ‘JFK’ moment

By David Lewis [email protected]

David Lewis lives in Praia da Luz with his wife Shirley, and two children, Ollie and Fraser. Having spent more than 25 years in the City of London, he is now Financial Services Manager with the Oceânico Group.

I was sitting having coffee with Bob the Builder when it happened to me.

We all have them, don’t we? Those magical ‘JFK’ moments when something happens to you that is so overwhelmingly momentous, so outstandingly life-changing, that it becomes imprinted on your mind forever.

A bit like when your 16 year old daughter asks you how you would feel if you were to wake up one morning and discover that you had become a granddad overnight. Nothing quite prepares you for it and nothing is quite the same ever again.

In my case, Bob (yes, that really is his name and, no, our postman wasn’t called Pat) had been doing a little building work for us in the garden. Now I realise that I should have been doing this myself, but I can’t and that’s all about it. Let’s be quite clear. I have spent my life sitting behind a desk adding up numbers and, as a result, have as much chance of scoring a hundred for England using a spade instead of a bat as I have knocking in a straight nail, or building a wall that doesn’t collapse beneath the weight of the first alighting sparrow.

Give me a spreadsheet and it’s like watching Leonardo Da Vinci at work. Give me a groundsheet and it’s like Danny La Rue. So that’s where Bob comes in. Whenever there is a washer to replace, a wall to build or, as in this case, a garden to landscape, Bob is the man.

Anyway, Bob was enjoying a much-deserved break from his exertions in our garden when the phone rang. Now, there are only two people who ring us during weekday lunchtimes. The first is my Mother who, since she turned 80 a couple of years ago, has gradually but surely lost much of her ability to hear. A proud woman, she’s not one to want to admit as much, neither will she take any medical advice to arrest the deterioration, which results in conversations which pretty much always follow the same format.

“Hello?”

“Hi Mum. How are you?”

“Hello??”

“Hi Mum. It’s David. How are you?”

“Sorry dear, I didn’t quite catch that?”

And so it would go on with Mum asking the questions, me answering and Mum asking the same questions again. Still, it’s good to keep in touch.

The other regular lunchtime caller is the telesales professional. I do realise that they need to earn a crust like the rest of us, but why do they always have to be so rude? Anyway, nowadays when I hear that it’s a telesales call, I simply put the receiver on the kitchen table and get on with my day.

This afternoon, however, it was neither of these regular callers.

“Hello”, I asked as politely as I could, anticipating what was to come.

“Hi. Is that David? David Lewis?” enquired my caller in an extremely cultured tone.

“It is,” I replied, ever so cautiously.

“Hi David. This is Martin from Oceânico Group, over in the Algarve,” the cultured voice replied.

At this point, I should give you a little background. My wife, Shirley, and I had always harboured a desire to live abroad when I eventually retired. So, a year ago, we decided to take the plunge and buy ourselves an apartment somewhere in the sun. After much flitting from country to country, from Europe to the Caribbean agonising over the best place for us, our two boys, Ollie and Fraser, (and not forgetting our two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels), we had eventually chosen the beautiful Algarve as our summer home from home.  

So, having spent a few glorious days being shown the delights of the Western Algarve, we eventually plumped for one of Oceânico’s lovely apartments in Luz.

“Oh, hi Martin. How’s life over there? Still getting plenty of sunshine? Bloody damp and miserable here you know. Can’t wait to get back to be honest. Anyway, what can I do for you?” I replied. Then, here it comes. My very own ‘JFK’ moment.

“David. We think we have a job you might like and wondered if you’d be interested in working for us over here?”

Now, I know very well that Martin continued to talk after this point. I am also fairly sure that he was telling me what the job entailed, that he’d like me to fly over to discuss it and that he’d like this to happen as soon as possible.

However, absolutely none of this sank in. Instead, I began bouncing around like some frantic Duracell bunny, bursting into the kitchen and silently mouthing “It’s a job in Portugal!! Working for Oceânico!! It’s a bloody job!!” much to Bob’s complete bemusement. Meanwhile, in the Algarve, Martin must have immediately been regretting his decision.

And so, that, as they say, was that. From that moment onwards, we were on our way to Portugal no matter what. Of course, we realise it won’t all be plain sailing. We have no doubt there’ll be the odd hiccup along the way but nothing is going to stand in our way. Not yet, anyway!

David’s book, Fifty/Fifty, is available from the Griffin Bookstore in Almancil.