Rainy days and sunshine

I’ve lived through over 40 years of winters in the Algarve and I don’t remember ever being as cold and miserable as during this one.
Of course other problems haven’t helped. If ever one has concerns or dark, worrying things going on in one’s mind, a sunny day will do great things to improve matters, but dull, black and just grey days will make for even more depressing thoughts. Throw in bitterly cold winds, blinding rain and the loss of my favourite TV programmes … well, let’s not go there!
As Scarlett O’Hara would have said to Rhett Butler in ‘Gone with the Wind’, “tomorrow is another day”.
Realistically, we have been a lot better off here in the Algarve than, for example, much of the population of Britain. At least we didn’t have a Christmas ruined whilst we waded in waist high water and sewage, or watched our prized possessions float away or just get totally ruined.
But can it be that tomorrow is almost really here? Is the sun still shining as I write this? And did I really go out this morning without my raincoat on and no umbrella? And did my computer manage to connect me once again to dear Mr Selfridge? Oh the bliss of it … even the dog is smiling at not getting her paws wet when she made her morning visit out of doors with a cheerful mummy. She actually had time to sniff for the right place!
The streets abounded with people on them and the shops were annoyingly full of them. I could probably run the risk of going somewhere that tourists are and understand them wearing shorts and T shirts and not have those accusing looks, which say to those of us who live here “You are personally responsible for ruining my holiday.”
Hopefully this all bodes well for the carnival weekend coming when the whole of Portugal lets their hair down and celebrates. I really do hope that the weather will hold for those brave young girls who shimmy on the floats wearing just a few strategically placed spangles but, even if it doesn’t and its drizzlingly wet, they will stoically be there with a smile on their faces throwing confetti and flowers to the excited happy children and parents, who will turn out in all weathers to support them, and give them and their little ones a chance to wear fancy dress.
Well, by the time you read this, we will all know how it was and if my hopes were fulfilled …
Some good weather would also be a great help to beleaguered construction companies and smaller repair men who have been unable to do even the little external jobs that so many people have needed doing during the bad weather.
Still, summer will be with us soon and spring is the optimist’s start of the sunshine and heat to come. Better to be optimistic and look to all the good things we can expect soon, some of which are happening already.
Milder weather has already brought some colour to the plant pots I have all over my large terrace, with blooms bursting out practically in front of my eyes in the welcome warmth of the sun. Almond blossom has survived and everything is looking green and fresh.
We have ‘Robin Hood’, the Algarveans’ 20th pantomime starting on March 12, which will, as always, be something to look forward to. It’s later this year because the Lagoa Auditorium is getting more and more cultural things to find dates for, as the youth of the Portuguese community progressively engage in more and more artistic pursuits along with sports.
When the Algarveans started their amateur dramatics group, there were no theatres, only the gymnasium in the International School in Porches in which to perform, and although there are a number of excellent new theatres now, there are still not enough for the number of people who want to perform in them.
On March 22 and 23, the A Portada Theatre Group is using the lovely old and revamped Cine-Teatro in Loulé to stage their new play ‘Remnants of an Empire’, written by Nicky Moran and directed by Priscilla Morgan.
I know also that David Butler-Cole is planning one of his brilliant revues for Easter at the enchanting little Teatro Gregório Mascarenhas in Silves, so lots of things coming to keep us theatrically entertained, plus cinemas, art exhibitions and visiting ballet companies.
It really is time to stop moaning and instead enjoy the many pleasures the Algarve has to offer us. We really do live in a very privileged part of the world – even if it does rain and we don’t have the TV we want…
By Jenny Grainer
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Jenny Grainer arrived in the Algarve to live, work and raise a family in 1964. She is a freelance writer and her book ‘Portugal and the Algarve Now and Then’ is now in its 3rd printing.