Bird of Paradise Flower
two scrubbers
two scrubbers
N37.42264 W7.45490 south of Alcoutim
Mines Sao Domingos
Pod at Luz
Lucefecit Baragem
Povoa Baragem
Les Lobbs Diary
March 2012
Contact us
Time to move on - we're going to Silves, for a last walk round, update my Ipod, and empty the loo! We then begin the SLOW journey east towards the Spanish border. G&T have given us lots of info on places they visited that way, so we're looking forward to places new. With G&T going up t'other side of Portugal, we may meet up again further north; I think it's called a pincer movement. We're still enjoying the avocados that Marina gave us, but we are getting low on oranges; so I think we'll go a Lidling, on the way to Silves. 09.00 - it's raining!
Advice:- when you're in big trouble, look straight ahead, keep your mouth shut & say nothing.
pm - We did visit Lidl and filled the fridge, and a few cupboards with "essentials". When we got gas at Portimao, Roger spotted a tap, which we used to fill our water tank, while the gas was filling. There is a Staples office store just outside Portimao, so we tried there for a printer cartridge; no luck. Before we settled at Silves, we topped up all our water bottles at Falucha and bought some veg, and a large jar of honey, from a stall at the roadside; we had the broad beans with our salmon this evening, and they made an enjoyable change. The water at Silves has apparently been cut off, and nobody seems to know why, or for how long.
What was the Biggest Selling Album of the 80's?
I've done it - booked the ferry! We've got "ants in our pants" and we're off again this morning, towards Paderne (I've checked the spelling) and Boliqueime. Marina has given us another sack of avos, lemons and oranges so we are scurvy free for a while longer.
Starting this month, I am going to put links to video clips on these pages - the link will be the clapper board you can see on the right; where ever you see it, you can click on it for a short video clip. When the clip is finished, click the left arrow at the top left of the window to return to this page.
Paderne Fonte, sunny
After showing us where the LPG station was at Boliqueime, Roger led us to Paderne Fonte; as we pulled in we saw Alan & Val's van, a couple we met at Silves earlier in the year. This is a fascinating place; it's a purpose built (1967) wash house, using a natural spring for it's water supply. Trucks with tanks on the back come and collect water from a large pipe, similar to the old steam train water towers. Gloria and Dawn soon tried out the facilities, and we now have lines of washing, drying nicely in the sun. There is nothing else here, so after another load today, we will probably move on. We spoke to Phil & Pat this afternoon - they are back at Nottingham, and have put their van to bed, while they finish their jobs around the house; we hope to meet up with them when we are back at the marina.
Quarteira (fish market), sunny
We topped up with water and, after a half hour drive, arrived at Quarteira; we were told not to put ramps or chairs out, as they are only allowing parking; there are about fifty vans here. Rumour has it, that the manhole cover we used for cassette emptying has been sealed off - we'll find out later. Yesterday I filed down a drainpipe elbow, which now serves as an extension to our water filler; this makes it so much easier to fill the tank from bottles. There is a major problem in the area with the shortage of water; there has been hardly any rain this winter and the reservoirs are very low, they also have a scorching hot summer to come. We take water so much for granted in the UK, it's not till you see how desperate these people are that you realise how valuable it is.
The milk of what creature will not curdle?
While we were having a coffee t'other day, we heard (you couldn't help but hear) two English couples comparing notes on which cafes/restaurants they had eaten in. There was a lot said about the cost of the meals and how many courses they got for their money, but not once did they mention the food or the quality of cooking. This made me think of an observation a French friend of ours used to make, quite frequently, about the different attitudes of the French and English, when it comes to food and the pleasure of eating. It used to go something like this (imagine a French accent!) "If a Frenchman has been out for a meal and you ask him what the meal was like, he will tell you, often in great detail, what each course consisted of, how it was cooked, what sauce it was served with, and what wine he drank. If you ask the same of an Englishman, the first thing he will tell you is the price!" Annoyingly, it is usually true, (try it); I'm a good example, I can hear myself saying "3.95€ for a full English" when perhaps I could have said that the sausage was pre-cooked, the tomatoes were out of a tin, and not very warm; but hey ho, "Vive la difference" as they say in Scunthorpe.
Shortcut on your desktop screen
Several people have asked how they can make a shortcut to my pages on their desktop screen, so here's one way :-
Make sure there are no other program windows open, then reduce the size of this screen, so that you can see part of your desktop screen at the side of it. Then, using your left mouse button, drag the blue underlined link above, onto your desktop screen and release the mouse button; you should then get the shortcut on your desktop, or the option to make a shortcut there. (easy innit?) If you have any probs, shoot me an email (let me know what browser you are using) and I will send you more details.
Think you're having a bad day??? Read on:-
A man was working on his motorcycle on the patio, his wife nearby in the kitchen. While racing the engine, the motorcycle accidentally slipped into gear. The man, still holding onto the handlebars, was dragged along as it burst through the glass patio doors.
His wife, hearing the crash, ran in the room to find her husband cut and bleeding, the motorcycle, and the shattered patio door. She called for an ambulance and, because the house sat on a fairly large hill, went down the several flights of stairs to meet the paramedics and escort them to her husband.
While the attendants were loading her husband, the wife managed to right the motorcycle and push it outside. She also quickly blotted up the spilled petrol with some paper towels and tossed them into the toilet.
After being treated and released, the man returned home, looked at the shattered patio door and the damage done to his motorcycle. He went into the bathroom and consoled himself with a cigarette while attending to his business. About to stand, he flipped the butt between his legs.
The wife, who was in the kitchen, heard a loud explosion and her husband screaming. Finding him lying on the bathroom floor with his trousers blown away and burns on his buttocks, legs and groin, she once again phoned for an ambulance. The same paramedic crew was dispatched.
As the paramedics carried the man down the stairs to the ambulance they asked the wife how he had come to burn himself. She told them. They started laughing so hard, one slipped, the stretcher dumping the husband out. He fell down the remaining stairs, breaking his arm.
Still having a bad day ?
Faro Island, N 37.00841 W 7.99477, sunny and windy
On the way from Quarteira to here we spotted " Cartridge World", so we stopped to get a new printer cartridge; because they had not got one suitable, he refilled my cartridge and didn't charge us. It's quite windy here, and we are right next to the beach; we haven't had a walk round yet, but I can see an ice cream sign in the distance, so that's reason enough to get blown about a bit. Roger and Gloria are staying at Quarteira for a few days, and just before we came away, Alan and Val pulled in. The manhole there has been sealed with some sort of resin, so that's a no-no.
We've come to the stage in our trip when we seem to be saying a lot of goodbyes, till next winter; P&P are back in the UK, G&T have gone west and R&G are staying near to Portimao, where Gloria is getting her treatment. It seems quiet not having Gypsy & Sandy popping round for a biscuit, with Roger not far behind calling "Gypsy, Gypsy" and Gloria in the distance shouting "ROGER, ROGER". We are very lucky to have met such good friends, and will look back on this winter with many happy memories; Christ I'm sounding a bit serious, I'd better find a joke to stick in here.
What's the difference between ooooooooh and aaaaaaaah?
Pedras de El Rei, N37.08169 W7.67773, sunny
Last night, at Faro Island, was not the quietest place we have stopped at; there were youngsters with cars and scooters kicking up a din until nearly 2.00am (grumpy old man syndrome!). This morning we looked in at Olhao and Fuseta on our way here; lots of traffic on the N125! Dawn has just done a bit of ironing, while the batteries are fully charged, and is now ray-soaking. This area reminds me so much of Blakeney in Norfolk, with it's tidal marshes and salty sea smell in the air. We've started off well here - the Dutch gentleman we parked near, said we were too close to his van (ten feet!) and so he moved, after having a good old grumble; it's perhaps as well that he wasn't at Silves, where three feet is adequate for most people. Gloria tells us that there is talk of a water tap been put in, next to the old football ground in Silves. The above co-ords are for the dump point on the parking area here, it is on the seaward edge of the parking area, and marked by a cane stuck in the ground, near a flattened pile of sand.
Here's a couple of "how many" pictures, hearts on the left, dolphins on the right - get counting!!
Faro Island
Pedras de El Rei
Begin by standing on a comfortable surface, where you have plenty of room at each side.

With a 5-lb potato bag in each hand, extend your arms straight out from your sides and hold them there as long as you can. Try to reach a full minute, and then relax.

Each day you'll find that you can hold this position for just a bit longer. After a couple of weeks, move up to 10-lb potato bags.

Then try 50-lb potato bags and then eventually try to get to where you can lift a 100-lb potato bag in each hand and hold your arms straight for more than a full minute. (I'm at this level.)

After you feel confident at that level, put a potato in each bag.
Alcoutim, N37.47493 W7.47467, sunny
We left at 9.00, after emptying tanks, and kept on the N125 to Castro Marim, where we turned to follow the Guadiana river northwards.
Our first stop was to look at the parking at Foz de Odeleite, where we found a small parking area, alongside free water taps (N37.35348 W7.44297).
The next stop was at a viewing/picnic area above a bend in the river, see pic, where there is ample room for an overnight stop (N37.42264 W7.45490).
After a coffee, we carried on alongside the river through some very scenic countryside, to this aire at Alcoutim, where there are full facilities from a pod.
Police are making people put chairs away at Quarteira, so R&G are moving soon.
Heard from G&T; they are at Sagres.
Announcement :- To keep the physical page size down, I'm going to do more mouseovers; so if you put the cursor over a picture, you might find another one behind it. - well that's t'plan anyway!
What Is The Largest Lake In The UK?
Mines Sao Domingos N37.67234 W7.50433, sunny
The dawn chorus this morning consisted of the usual birdsong, a few goat bells, a cockerel off in the distance and the sound that we have become accustomed to in Portugal - barking dogs. We filled and emptied at Alcoutim and then Lulu took us up the side of a mountain, as we headed for Mertola. It was a switchback road that gave us some great views of the valleys below, but it was a little while before we could get into third gear. When we got onto the N122 we had an easy drive through the Guadiana national park, the countryside is very rocky and rugged with small conifers everywhere and eucalyptus at the side of the roads. At Mertola, Dawn walked into town for some shopping and returned puffing like a good un, and muttering about muddy hills or something like that! Next stop was the old Mines at Sao Domingos which is a beautiful place, and consequently well inhabited with vans; we found a spot and parked up, and now Dawn is washing out a few smalls (oxymoron if ever there was!) while I "play" on the computer. We've just heard that R&G were "moved on" from Quarteira by the police, but I think they were going to move anyway.
New videos added
Mines ......., sunny
Well most of the shreddies dried, with just a couple of unmentionables to finish drying on the dash today (keeps the burgliers away!). There is a post office here, so I now have sufficient credit on my dongle to last me through Portugal, and then it will all go quiet as we pass through Spain, unless I find a free wifi source.
Dawn got a loaf from the small store here, and what a tooth-tester it was, I nearly had to resort to the bow saw to slice it; it tasted ok though, with a good layer of pate on it. We think we are staying here till Monday, and then we can call at Serpa on our way to our next stop, for our last big shop before we get to France. Yesterday we bought some oranges from a van that toured the site; they weren't as good as Linda's!
New stuff added to Jokes, general, cartoon and elderly, and some new video clips.
If you don't see the new stuff, click the reload icon
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How many words are there, in the English language, beginning with " dw " ---- basic words, no plurals or different verb tenses.
I've just found a very useful site, listing lots of supermarkets in Portugal. You can find it on my links page.
I've also converted the info into a pdf file (this makes it searchable) which you can get from my Files page
Mines ....., dark,
We spent most of yesterday relaxing - why not? Dawn popped down to the small cafe, and came back with the bargain of the week, two for one on Cornettos! It's about 3.00am and I have been playing with the info from the above site for the last hour or so; I've ended up with a pdf file which you can search, by just entering the town name into the "find" box, and then jumping between the stores found. The address can then be put into Autoroute to give a fairly accurate lat/long for the sat. nav.. The thing that started all this, was a web search for the address of Lidl at Serpa, where we plan to go first this morning, before heading to Luz.
Pm Luz, N38.34380 W7.37525 sunny - very hot
We found Lidl and did the shopping, then headed north east, through Moura, to arrive here at 13.00. We are in an olive growing region and everywhere looks a lot greener than in the south. On the road into the village there are vines as far as you could see to the right and olive trees to the left.
On the right is the pod at Luz.
The lift up grill is for cassette emptying, with the left tap labeled for cassette rinsing and the right hand one for drinking water !!!! HSE would have a baby. Fortunately for fussy buggers like me, there is a font just to the left of our van on the village square
Lucefecit Barragem,
Luz is definitely the cleanest town we have visited; it looks as though they have just finished painting it. There is a clock there with a lovely musical chime. Before leaving we had a stroll around the square near the bull ring; the taps on the font are threaded, and you can drive right up to it. We moved off fairly early because the sun is getting seriously warm in the afternoons. Our first stop was at Monsaraz, which is on top of a hill, and has some great views over the barragem. Trevor: just before you start the hill climb to the town there is a crossroads, and two vans had taken the right turn and were parked on a headland next to the brgm. The countryside around here has lots of boulders and rocky outcrops, which reminded me of the miles I have trekked around Dartmoor with a fly rod in my hand.
A short distance away is the town of Reguengos de Monsaraz, there we shopped at a Continente (N38.42460 W7.52400) which is in a small parade with Warton, the electrical store and a Chemist. After a coffee, we had a fairly straight run to the Lucefecit brgm; the book co-ords took us to a lay by, past the road to the brgm. The correct co-ords for the road junction are N38.63011 W7.40373, and then just follow the road to a large parking area overlooking the brgm. The further north we travel, there seem to be more cattle, sheep and goats in the fields, and there are lots of vineyards.
We have spent the afternoon sitting in the shade of the van, with occasional moves out into the sun. I have been watching a bird of prey, which I think must be an Osprey, taking fish from the brgm, while an angler, with about six rods out, is still waiting for his first fish. To me, this is what "wild" camping is all about, beautiful scenery and tranquillity - I just wish I had a fly rod with me. There have been fish taking hatching flies from the surface all afternoon, but the locals don't seem interested in these, and keep putting all their baits on the bottom.
One thing we have noticed, this winter, is the number of people using Kindles and other E Readers; we often get asked about them, and where we get the books from. We also get the odd comment like "you can't beat a proper book", but I suppose some people said the same about candles, when electric light was introduced.
How many bones are there in a normal human hand, 22, 27, 29 or 35?
Povoa Barragem, N39.47915 W7.55135,
Last evening we watched a beautiful sunset over the Lucefecit brgm, and had a very quiet night, all by ourselves. This morning's run, (120km, a lot for us) took us by a large marble quarry at Vila Vicosa and into mimosa country, the roads are lined with it.
The first stop we came to on this brgm, was a lay by, beside a narrow road; neither of us fancied it so we carried on to this area beside the dam. This spot is edged with some fairly large eucalyptus trees and is where we will stop for the night.
Dawn has just spotted another van, a bit further round, and down by the waters edge; if you squint a bit you can see it on the under photo.
This morning we are heading to Cacares, in Spain, so I'll have no internet for a few days; we hope to be in France by the weekend and I should be able to find wifi there.
Cacares, Spain. N39.48028 W6.36872
As we left this morning, we passed another parking area N39.48280 W7.54859, which is much better than the one we used, and has a toilet block nearby. It was a good trip on decent roads with little traffic, and one we will most likely use in the future. We crossed the border at 10.40 and got stopped at a G.C. roadside checkpoint at 11.00, welcome to Spain! They were very friendly and after being surprised at all the categories I was licensed to drive, he gave us a friendly salute and off we went. This aire is much as we remembered it, with vans parked all over the place, and electricity leads trailing everywhere; the first part seems to be buses only now, but we'll see what happens later when more vans arrive.
12.30, Spanish time
Palencia, N42.00445 W4.53462
Sure enough, the bus area was full of vans when we left at 8.30am; traffic in town was light and we were soon on the Autovia, heading north. It's an easy run up through Extremadura, but not particularly attractive; I set Claud at 100 in 5th and only had to change down a few times before Salamanca, where it gets a bit hilly! Our neighbours at the Mines were a couple from Belgium, who gave us some real Belgian chocolate; I nibbled some as I drove today, it was deeeelicious. For the first time in yonks we had the heater on, because the crew's feet were cold. We topped up with diesel as we came into Palencia, only to find it cheaper at the next pumps we saw - makes the head of finance so cross when that happens. There were only 2 spaces left when we got here at 12.30, so just goes to prove, the early boyd catches the worm.
Darts - What's the lowest number that cannot be scored with a single dart?
08.30 - We had a text from G&T last night, they are trying to catch up with us so we'll stay here today. When they parked at Monsaraz, a German lady from the van next to them said "I hope you are not going to put out chairs, or play loud music"; that's the sort of time it would be nice to pull a generator out of your locker. Generators don't seem so popular now, with people preferring the solar panel/inverter option, which is a fit it and leave it system and frees up more locker space. Lots of vans have already left this morning, which is good, because the main parking area is used by visitors to a nearby hospital.
Consciousness: That annoying time between naps.
Cap Breton, France
G&T arrived yesterday afternoon and, in the evening, they came to our van, to tell us of their adventures; we had a smashing evening, comparing places visited, and friends we have met, but I think the thing that impressed Glenda most, was the size of my plums. This morning we left them enjoying their breakfast, whilst we got underway at 08.30 and, after a pleasant drive, arrived here at 12.55 to a rainstorm - Dawn says it was sleet. We topped up with diesel just before the border, a good move as it is about 30c dearer in France. I'm getting free wifi, courtesy of Orange, so should be able to upload some stuff.
Roullet St Estephe, N45.579750 E0.045067
What a night! Hailstones as big as your fist, well praps not that big, but there were a lot of them. This morning we said our bye byes to G&T and set off in good weather to join the, seemingly endless, stream of lorries heading for Bordeaux. There are major works on this road, and it looks as though they are adding a third lane, which will make a big difference for the lorry drivers, who are now stuck with miles of no-overtaking; there were no hold ups and we got here at 12.40.
Vivonne N46.42588 E0.26288
After a peaceful night, we filled and emptied and were on our way by 9.30. We filled with diesel at Auchan nr. Angouleme, and reached Vivonne at 11.00. There is a smashing boulangerie here, so we have tried a couple of choc au pains, just to make sure they are keeping up their standards. Dawn has finished the scarf she has been knitting, and has now started crotcheting another throw, with her "re-claimed" wool. I can't find wifi here, so I will have to wait till we get to Le Lude to upload this lot.
Le Lude
There was light rain when we left this morning, but it brightened up as we neared Poitiers, and is now dry, but overcast. Dawn has just gone into Lidl, so when I'll see her next is anyone's guess. We have lots of friends to visit in this area, so after a sarny we will start ringing to see who's at home.
We've just enjoyed a splendid meal with Howard and Gloria and are spending the night parked in their garden, behind the house; it is good to catch up on the local info. and gossip.
Le Lude
Howard called us this morning, to tell us that breakfast was nearly ready; a real fry-up, they're spoiling us. Next stop was La Fleche, so that Dawn could look round Noz (a French discount store) and then onto Le Clerc for a bit of shopping. After a bit of lunch we called on Mike and Glenys, for a good chat over a welcome cuppa; then it was on to Mike and Marie's where we are staying tonight. Marie has just come home, after having a hip replacement, so Dawn offered to do a curry for the evening meal; that should get her up and running again!
Le Lude
We are spending the night on the aire in Le Lude, not the quietest aire, but convenient for us. Tomorrow, I think we will start meandering (good word innit!) northwards and look at a few of the aires on the way to Caen. The ferry is at 8.30am Tuesday so, if we are close by, management can stay abed a little longer - mind you she will still be asleep in the cabin before he has thrown the strings off. It has been good catching up on the news here; we visited Lindsay in her cafe, for a chat and a slice of low-calorie lemon meringue pie; we couldn't stay too long as she was going to the Marie to collect an award for the cafe. We've just had a text from Gloria to say that her treatment is working well - brilliant news.
Fresnay sur Sarthe N48.28178 E0.02976
This morning we upset Lulu by heading to La Fleche, because head of housekeeping wanted some cushion covers that were "bargain of the week" at Noz; when we turned towards Le Mans she calmed down, but I think I sensed a bit of a sulk. There was very little traffic about, even Le Mans was quiet for a Saturday; perhaps they had been warned we were coming. This aire is opposite an old railway station and has filling and emptying points; it is a level hard standing, so it will do us nicely for tonight. Dawn is still busy crocheting throw mk2, in between the multitude of other jobs she has.
What is the next number in this series?
La Ferriere aux Etangs N48.659550 W0.517217
A very peaceful night, and a good kip was had by all. As we left town on the D21, we passed Super U and Lidl, which is useful to know for the future. Lulu really excelled herself today, she took us through some beautiful countryside and villages we have not visited before - I was glad it was Sunday with no trucks on the road, because some of the roads were quite narrow. This aire is next to a lake and, although small, has water, dump and free leccy from the pod; this means, of course, that there is a matrix of cables on the ground between vans - we are considered bizarre, because we don't want to plug into this lethal arrangement!
Ouistreham, sea lock car park
We had zigged off to the west, so today we zagged back towards Falaise, and then past Caen to Ouistreham, where we get the ferry tomorrow morning. We were very impressed with the villages we visited in Normandy; it's a region we usually speed through on the main roads, on our way to and from the ferry. It's our lucky day, we have got a parking space alongside the sea lock near the ferry port; the first thing we did after parking, was to watch a ship and two tugs going through the lock - gongoozlers! This lock is the first one we went through in 94 with Karen Marie; we were worried then about how it worked and we had lines fore and aft, only to find it rose a gentle couple of feet only. Claude has been getting a bit temperamental, and will not disengage with a touch on the brake pedal as normal; I've just found that the brake lights are not coming on every time, so it looks like a problem with the brake light switch. Our main topic of conversation now is "the boat", what we need to take, where we are going to cruise, and how will the winter have treated her.
Wife sent text to husband at work ............

"Windows at home frozen - what should I do?"

Husband - "Spray some de-icer or pour hot water on them."

Wife a few minutes later - "Done that - now computer won't work at all"!
Taunton, England
We found out this morning why we managed to get a parking place so easily, they have banned overnight campers since we last stopped there; this was confirmed by the parking ticket under the wiper blade. Good start, but it got better; we must look like a couple of drug runners, because French customs pulled us to one side, made us get out of the vehicle and went into, over and under it; they even brought out the sniffer dog. After we had convinced them that the tank beneath the van really held waste water, they let us get on the ferry. The crossing was very smooth and we left the Portsmouth terminal by 14.00; can't say the same for the English roads, they seem to be in a worse condition every time we come back. After we had parked up here, Julie and the boys came out to see us and let us know that we could use Steve's car while we are here.
Totals for this trip
Days: 149
Distance: 5922km
Diesel: 736ltr
Gas: 211ltr
Well we've had a busy few days since we got back. Mum is looking well and was busy baking hot x buns yesterday. Dawn has got an eye test next week and the mammogram unit said they could squeeze her in next Thursday. I've visited the doctor who, (that's not the "Doctor Who") reluctantly, is referring me to the bone merchants to see what they can do for my knee, before it disintegrates completely. It's sad to see our old shop in Silverton being turned into a mini housing development, but we've got good memories of our time there. It looks as though our summer will not go to plan - does anything?- as it will depend upon hospital appointments etc.. We will probably do shorter trips, near our base in Gt Haywood, until we get a more definite idea of what they can do with my knee.