Eight days a week – it’s not enough to show I care. It had been Eight days since we got home. Just time enough show some care and cut the grass three times. Moral of the story is that when you go away for 3 weeks and put down some seed along with Feed & Weed expect to be greeted by lawns resembling a jungle.
This was even more of a quick turnaround than normal. Karen managed to fit in 3 days’ work and then wondered why she had so little time to get ready. I played 9 holes of golf; we went to the Theatre and we went found time to go out a couple of times with friends.
Then there was the coronation, although our input was zero. We watched most of the actual ceremony and were suitably impressed.
Of course, it was also Barry’s birthday. He may be now 37 but he will always be our first born and our ‘little’ boy. We had a lovely evening out at The Belgian Monk with him, his favourite sibling and of course Ellie.
Now we find ourselves all packed and ready to go again. This time it is to Vilamoura on the Algarve for what was supposed to be a ‘boys golfing weekend’. The ‘girls’ vetoed that plan and instead we are now going for a week with them also joining us.
All the planning and booking had been done meticulously by Graham & Jo. A 5 bedroom with 5 ensuites await us. The golf rounds have been booked and taxis ordered to take us all various places.
The first taxi was booked for 6.45am to take us from Graham’s to Luton Airport. 8 of us would be travelling this way with the remaining 2 catching separate very early morning flights from Stansted instead.
For us this meant a 5.20am alarm to ensure we were in the car by 6.10am to make the 30-minute journey to Ashby St Mary. Unsurprisingly there were few other cars on the road on a bank holiday Monday at this time.
It was a tight squeeze in the taxi despite all the luggage being towed in a trailer behind. Karen was in the back row with Susie and Sarah, I was in the middle row with Ian and Alex whilst Graham & Jo had to squeeze in the front row with the driver.
We made very good time to the airport which was almost deserted when we arrived. Check in was more complicated than usual as we were taking our Golf bags with us which we then had to take to the oversized baggage belt.
There was no one ahead of us in the security queue and the 8 of us made it through with no problems. I then suggested that I try to get everyone into the lounge. I had no idea how many guests we were allowed but after a bit of persuading, all 8 of us made it in for free.
The hot breakfast was very welcome as were the G&T’s at 10am to wash them down.
The plane journey was a bit bumpy until about 45 minutes prior to landing. That meant they were not allowed to serve Hot drinks to the great annoyance of the current Mrs Clare (who admitted to me as we were taking off that she had realised she had left her phone on the bedside cabinet at home – I just shook my head and said ‘how and why and what?’.
For reasons beyond me I had purchased a food voucher for the flight – spending £8 to get £10 worth of value. I wish I hadn’t as it was more trouble than it was worth. Karen really wanted a coffee but couldn’t have one. Instead, she took a fruit juice. Then 3 minutes later they announced they could quickly serve hot drinks. Cue much huffing and puffing. I got her to ask if she could swap her fruit juice as it was still sealed. Eventually they relented and peace reigned in my row of seats.
Faro airport was just as empty as Luton had been. Within 15 minutes of the wheels touching down we were all getting into the taxi that had been booked to take us the 25-minute journey to the villa.
This time though there was no trailer for the luggage. The normal bags just fitted in the boot area with no inch to spare. This left 8 people plus 3 Golf bags to get into the seats. Karen, Susie and Sarah were put on the back row again with the hand luggage. Graham, Ian and Alex then filled the middle row and had to have a golf bag standing upright between their legs for the journey. I sneaked into the front with Jo and the driver in relative comfort.
At the villa Chris & Claire had already arrived and were waiting for us. The villa was as stunning as it had looked online. Prior to leaving a draw for the bedrooms had been made to make it all fair and square. We had drawn bedroom 3 which was upstairs with a balcony. To be fair when we all had a look in each other’s rooms we all agreed we would all have been happy with any of them.
The outside area was great. A lovely pool with sunbeds. An outside dining area next to a built in BBQ and then another separate outside lounging area. We didn’t know if it was reassuring or not but there were many security cameras everywhere and so it was soon christened the Big Brother house.
Chris, Claire & Graham volunteered to get an Uber to the Supermarket to get some provisions. The shopping list seemed to consist of wine, nibbles, more wine, milk and more wine. This was just as well as we soon learnt that you can soon empty 2 bottles of wine for 10 people with just 1 glass each.
We sat in the beautiful evening warm sunshine supping the wine for a while before heading out for the meal that had been booked at The Fisherman’s Shack near the Marina. This was somewhere that had been highly recommended to us.
Graham assured us all it was only a 10-minute walk. I put on my sandals to get there. Big mistake. It was a 30-minute walk and as my foot was very swollen from the flight and the heat my sandals started to cut into me badly after only a couple of hundred metres. This was coupled with the fact that I had somehow jarred my knee on the journey which was starting to hurt. By the time we got to the marina I was in a lot of pain. I had 2 deep lines of raw flesh on the back of my ankle. Really though I should have known better and worn better footwear and Karen repeatedly told me. But it still hurt.
As we early for our reservation at the restaurant we had a drink beforehand at Luis Figo’s bar. We found that despite a couple of beers being ordered, that 2 litres of very delicious sangria does not go far amongst 8 of us.
At the appointed time we made our way to the ‘shack’ where they were now ready for us. The restaurant is run with an iron fisk by this tiny Portuguese girl. The seating arrangement tonight was boy girl boy girl, where you weren’t allowed to sit either next to or opposite your partner. It worked well and there was loud laughter and chatter all evening.
The food was as good as we hoped. Everyone had Sardines for starters except for me. I had the garlic prawns which were good but not as good as the Sardines so I had immediate food envy. I then had the Sea Bream which was deboned in front of me and was fabulous. Many others including Karen went for the Monkfish and Prawn local Stew type dish which they all loved as well.
Over 2 hours later we made the walk home. A few of us sat outside for a while having a hot drink before retiring. We were all very tired from the early start and the villa was all quiet by 10.45pm.
It had been a good start to this trip.