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September Song

‘Oh it’s a long, long while from May to December and the days get short when you reach September’
It will be September by the time this is published and never have the lyrics of that lovely song meant more to me than they do this year as the days of 2014 flash pass, taking me ever forward to a new decade.
So far it’s been an eventful year in which many occasions have brought back memories good and bad. The respectful commemorations of the two great wars and the fascinating stories that time has revealed of all the armed forces that fought bravely for a just cause, to other disturbing wars that have led to large numbers of dead, injured and displaced people, with fanatics seizing their opportunity to bring back indescribable and forgotten punishments to people who have committed no crimes.
Horrors leading to death and destruction hard to imagine possible in this so-called civilised world; whilst in peaceful countries mighty acts of nature have swept through causing major damage – even reviving historic and forgotten diseases, reminding us of long ago terrors. Whole communities have had their lives ripped apart robbing them of their homes, livelihoods, families and friends.
Of course not all is doom and gloom. I have two new grandchildren I consider a great blessing – one a boy my son and his wife adopted at birth. Taken from his sadly unsuitable parents and given an opportunity for a very different life, living now alongside my three granddaughters who adore him. Finally my son will get the chance to kick a football one day, instead of drowning in an all female household!
My youngest son also got his first experience of parenthood at the end of June, although the poor little mite was born with floating hips and has to spend her first 12 weeks of life with her legs anchored apart until the hips settle into position.
Sometimes I just feel guilty having so much happiness and living in such a paradisiacal part of the world when others are suffering so.
August has been a pretty interesting month too. I don’t normally go out a great deal socially but I couldn’t miss joining the 500 or so people queuing to get in to the Adega do Cantor for the fundraising event held in the name of the late Peta Birch. Both The Suoniamo Youth Orchestra and Cliff Richard kindly gave of their time and talents to provide the entertainment, and the evening raised over €10,000 for the animal and children’s charities that Peta started and that the family are continuing to run.
Peta was a great friend of mine. I have known her since she, her parents and sister arrived to live in the Algarve along with the two brothers they then married.
Peta was one of the kindest people I have ever known – the kind you perhaps don’t see for a long while but when you do it’s like you’ve never been apart. That she should have suffered such a cruel death on the notorious EN125 is one of the many tragedies of life that is beyond all understanding and – from time to time – reminds me that evil strikes even in Paradise.
Sir Cliff I’ve known since I was 19 and in a summer show with him and the Shadows in Blackpool. I was in a backing group doing the ooh ooh’s and ah ahs in the background.
When I came to live in Portugal in 1964, I found Cliff had the house beneath ours in Cerro Grande; the other three belonged to the Shadows and Frank Ifield. Albufeira attracted a lot of actors, singers and musicians at that time as they were unknown to the local people and were treated like ordinary people.
Sir Cliff Richard gave a wonderful performance that night. I’m sure that for him, performing in such simple surroundings with the wind whistling round the microphone and without all the usual back-up paraphernalia around him, just the setting sun and glorious countryside, gave a very natural background and must have taken him back to his very early days before fame struck.
His easy and intimate chatty style with his fans that evening is hard to reconcile with the evil accusations we were all to hear of just a week later and I would rather not dwell on.
As September starts so plans are being made for those of us who live here to decide what we will all be doing over the winter months. I for one have started the search for new talent for my yearly ‘Grand Variety Show’ which this year will be on Friday November 7.
I would really like to hear from anyone who has seen any talented performers with something perhaps a little different to offer, or is a professional entertainer happy to offer to appear for one night.
These shows are for charity and over the last seven years have raised considerable sums of money for many different associations and individuals. It takes a lot of kind-hearted people to put on such a show. Apart from appearing on stage and backstage we need folk behind the bar and selling tickets, showing people to their seats and handing out programmes all on a voluntary basis.
The wonderful facilities at Lagoa Auditorium provide a fantastic professional background to showcase talent – so… if you’ve got it, come and flaunt it to the great and generous public who always come to support these shows knowing they will have a great evening for a worthwhile cause.
Please contact me on jennygrainer@sapo.pt or telephone 963 518 184 and let’s talk theatre.