It's all about good use of power
The throw, tis 'ansome
Swimmin pool at Silves - just see vans in background
Rescue boat
Trip boat
Crochet with thin stringy stuff
The cardi
Solar boat
Xmas dates
pork and apricots
Tommy Cooper, eat your heart out !
The chefs
Modern transport for Father Xmas
Silves cafe near P.O.
Les Lobbs Diary
December 2011
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Silves, sunny
We're on the move again !! This morning we emptied our tanks and had a trip to Portimao, to do a "big" shop; there's a Lidl and Aldi close to each other, so we were able to get most of the stuff there. The main coastal road is being fitted with cameras, for use as a toll road; our friends who live in Portugal say that the system does not recognise foreign plates, so hopefully we will still have free use of it. As our friends Phil and Pat had moved to Silves, and are happy there, we decided to give it a go; there are dozens of vans here and we've got a good spot near the river. The forecast is for the weather to break up over the weekend, so we are making the most of the afternoon sun. A chap has just come round selling oranges - 1€ for a carrier bag full (18 oranges) so guess what we've got for breakfast, dinner and tea.
Silves, brightening up after overnight rain
This morning I have been trying to help Phil fix his generator, which runs for a short while then dies. They are ingenious devils who design and assemble these things, but we eventually managed to get the carb. off and blow down every orifice we could find, but when we put it all back together the problem was still there, so it looks like a shop repair job.
This picture shows how essential a generator is !!
Silves, sunny
We are parked near a leisure park with a swimming pool which has been hosting a swimming gala over the weekend; to compliment this there has been a meeting of rally cars in one of the car parks near us, so not exactly a quiet time. Generator latest :- Phil rigged up a bottle and tube to feed direct to the carb, in case the pump was faulty, and we thought he had sussed it, but no, it stopped after a few minutes. I looked on various forums on the net and about half the answers suggested low oil level, Phil had already checked this and it seemed OK, but we thought it was worth a try so he squeezed a drop more in and voila, it worked; perhaps the sensor is a bit more critical than normal, but it matters not, the thing is now running like a sewing machine.

Silves, misty start but clearing
The swimming pool near us has got a free wifi area in front of it, with my long range aerial I can pick this up from the van, so am saving on dongle charges. There was a panic yesterday when the pressure dropped at the water point we use; it was back to normal in the evening and we think it was reduced while they worked on a broken pipe in the road. We had a stroll round the town yesterday, it is cobbled paths and roads, so not easy walking but loads of shops and cafes. Management is still abed so don't know what the plan is for today. I've added a weather link to the main picture.
Faro Weather
The throw completed.
Swimming pool at Silves, this is the free wifi area. You can just see the vans in the background.
Quite a lot of activity on the river today !!
Silves, another cracker
Now that the throw is finished, Dawn has got the "doin sumthing" bug; fortunately friend Jean in France has got a couple of patterns for cardys, which John has emailed to us. The present project is a cushion cover, crocheted in very fine string stuff with a titchy hook. We had a bit of activity on the river yesterday, when a rescue RIB came creaming upstream; there was also a trip boat from Portimao, which comes by most days and is powered by 2 outboards fixed to the sides of the boat. More vans are arriving here, with a few Swedish vans near us; one of the Swedes plays some lovely guitar music, so it's like a mini Glastonbury, without the mud.

Time for a bit of head scratching - don't forget, NO plurals
Silves, sunny
Yesterday Dawn went to post a couple of letters, only to find that it was a holiday over here, and the Corrieo was closed; she was with Pat, and on the way back they saw some kids scrumping oranges, so thought they would take a few - that'll learn her, they were Seville (marmalade) oranges and too bitter to eat. Whilst they were away the "orange man" came and I bought a bag of clems and another of oranges for 2€ - some of these have pips in so we expect, next year, to see a small orange grove growing along the river bank where we are throwing the pips. This morning we tried again (the Corrieo not the scrumping) and, when she got to the head of the queue, found that she should have taken a ticket, so get a ticket from the machine and back to the end of the queue and start again.
2011's First Christmas Joke
Three men died on Christmas Eve and were met by Saint Peter at the pearly gates.
'In honour of this holy season' Saint Peter said, 'You must each possess something that symbolizes Christmas to get into heaven.'
The man from Mussleburgh fumbled through his pockets and pulled out a lighter. He flicked it on. 'It represents a candle', he said.
'You may pass through the pearly gates' Saint Peter said.
The man from Leith reached into his pocket and pulled out a set of keys. He shook them and said, 'They're bells.'
Saint Peter said 'You may pass through the pearly gates'.
The Edinburgh man started searching desperately through his pockets and finally pulled out a pair of women's panties.
St. Peter looked at the man with a raised eyebrow and asked, 'And just what do those symbolize?'
The Edinburgh man replied, 'These are Carols.'

Silves, cloudy
There is a large fish market here, so we are looking for a BBQ, as cooking fish in the van makes everything smell for days. I have just emailed the Caravan Club to ask them to find out about the A22, the Algarve motorway, which has now got toll sections, controlled by cameras; some people say that their system does not recognise foreign plates, while others say that a bill will be sent to your UK address, after they have got it from DVLA.
Silves, changeable
We've given up the idea of a BBQ after the head of finance found that they were 27€; it was also too heavy to carry around in the van, we're heavy enough as it is !
The internet from the swimming pool has been very weak over the weekend, but I am using it again now, at a strength of only 2 bars. A lot of vans are coming and going, with people making arrangements for Xmas meetings with other campers. Our resident hairdresser has just given me a trim on number 1 - I now know what a coconut feels like, but at least my hair does not keep dropping into my eyes.
Portuguese Toll Roads
For anyone intending to use these camera controlled roads, here is a link to an info sheet which makes interesting, or terrifying, reading. Toll Roads
Silves, overcast, but warm
Wash day today; we took two bags to the laundrette ( bedding etc.) and it will be ready tomorrow about 11.00am. This afternoon the German bread lady came round and head of catering came back with a fruit loaf and a couple of buns - all low calorie of course. We have not been sitting out much today because as soon as we put the chairs out it drizzles and we have to bring them in again. We have a French van behind us now and we were surprised at how much French we remembered when he came over for a chat; he is a French dairy farmer and has just retired, so is enjoying the relaxed way of life in his van.
Silves, too early to tell
We collected our laundry yesterday, all nicely folded. I've been tweaking (fiddling about with) the log spreadsheet, so it now gives more info on gas usage; when we are camping off-site the fridge is running on gas and we need more hot water for showers, washing up, etc.. If it is dry we will take a stroll into town this morning and get some chestnuts on the way back from a fella with a barra, he usually gives Dawn a few extra, feels sorry for her when he sees me I should think. Most afternoons there are people playing boule on the ground behind us, so it is like bonfire night with all the oohs and arghs; it's a nice atmosphere that we don't seem to find on campsites, most people there are more worried about their satellite dishes and if they can get stenders.
Silves, rain overnight but sunshine now - that's how it should be !!
We've heard from G&T that they should be with us by the middle of the week, so we are looking forward to that. The local Continente supermarket does spit roasted chickens, with piri piri sauce if you want it, so we bought one on Friday and had it with cous cous and salad; it was really good. The cardi that Dawn is knitting is coming on well and we went into town to get some more wool yesterday, but it was market day and there were stalls everywhere; we bought a large jar of local honey for 5€. We stopped for a coffee and it was a great atmosphere, with xmas music in the streets and everyone looking happy. Some of the vans are getting decked out in xmas mode and playing carols.
Crochet work with tiddly hook and fine cotton
The cardigan, from a pattern J&J sent us
Silves, sunny
Big drama this morning - a German girl had her van broken into during the night and her laptop pinched; she wasn't in the van. I heard form G&T this morning as they were leaving Palencia; they should be with us in two days. Yesterday we had a stroll to Lidl and did some shopping for a few xmasy bits; still undecided what we will have for xmas lunch, duck or ready cooked chicken seem favourite at the moment (most likely end up with sausages!). The temperature dropped quite low this morning, during the early hours, and I put the heating on; after showering, there is still some hot water, so Dawn is doing a bit of washing before we go walkies.
A few clever anagrams.
Silves, another cracking start
G&T arrived safe and sound yesterday afternoon, complete with working solar panel. We bought yet more oranges from the "orange man" who visits the site - no chance of scurvy here! Whilst shopping with Pat, Dawn saw a BBQ that warrants further inspection, so we are off to 'av a decko' this morning; apart from that, I don't know what our itinerary manager has got planned. BBQ was a no go, it was too big and heavy; Roger has offered us the use of his. Our new neighbours, Doug and Ann, have decided to stop here for xmas, so we will soon have enough for a knees up. We had another boat come past today, see right, it is powered by all the solar panels on the roof.
The Age Gap

At 85 years of age, Roger married Jenny, a lovely 25 year old.

Since her new husband is so old, Jenny decides that after their wedding
she and Roger should have separate bedrooms, because she is concerned
that her new but aged husband may over-exert himself if they spend the
entire night together.

After the wedding festivities Jenny prepares herself for bed and
the expected 'knock' on the door. Sure enough the knock comes, the door
opens and there is Roger, her 85 year old groom, ready for action. They
unite as one. All goes well, Roger takes leave of his bride, and she
prepares to go to sleep.

After a few minutes, Jenny hears another knock on her bedroom door,
and it's Roger. Again he is ready for more 'action'. Somewhat
surprised, Jenny consents for more coupling. When the newly weds are
done, Roger kisses his bride, bids her a fond good night and leaves.

She is set to go to sleep again, but, aha you guessed it - Roger is
back again, rapping on the door, and is as fresh as a 25-year-old,
ready for more 'action'. And, once more they enjoy each other.

But as Roger gets set to leave again, his young bride says to him, 'I
am thoroughly impressed that at your age you can perform so well and
so often. I have been with guys less than a third of your age who were
only good once. You are truly a great lover, Roger.'

Roger, somewhat embarrassed, turns to Jenny and says: 'You mean I've
been in here already?'

The moral of the story:

Don't be afraid of getting old, Alzheimer's has its advantages.
Silves, sunny but breezy
We now have police patrolling the area during the night, so everyone feels a bit more secure. It appears that the area we stopped at in Quarteira is being developed and campers must be gone by 1st Jan; there are plenty of places to stop so it is no problem. G&T are going to barby a pork joint for xmas lunch, so we will do the starters and pudding. We squeezed the van forward to let G&T get behind us and I drove over our bowl, easily done, so this morning we have been to "China Joes" for a replacement, and of course a cup of coffee. Bought some more oranges from the "orange man" - we're going to miss these when we get back on the boat.

Silves, sunny start, bit misty
We've got a few last minute bits and pieces to get this morning, then we should have enough to feed a busload. A few vans are going onto sites for the holiday but there are still plenty here, enough to give a good atmosphere. Dawn spent last evening stuffing dates (after stoning they are stuffed with marzipan and rolled in dedicated coconut), I don't know how many she ate, but she seems to be a long while in the loo this morning.
Just back from the market; we've got loads of sprouts (just to make Marie jealous) and another jar of honey; Dawn has gone to Continente with Pat and I'm chilling out.
Pork and apricots
With a fez you'ld think it was him!!
The chefs God bless 'um.
Silves, sunny
Xmas morning started slowly, with everyone phoning or Skyping friends and family.
(BC- sorry I couldn't skype yesterday; let me know when you are on line next)
The weather was hot enough to eat outside, and the girls did us proud; we had prawn and avocado for starters, then for main it was pork and apricots with roast potatoes dusted with blackened cajun, sprouts, carrots and creamed leeks. We had a double cheeseboard, because we had both bought cheeses; there was a good range of French and Portuguese to choose from. After a rest, to "aid digestion", we completed the repas with tiramisu, and of course it was all washed down with several glasses of the local milk of amnesia. Incidentally, that is not Tommy Cooper in the pic, tis our mate Trevor, demonstrating the versatility of "Colin the Cobb".
Father Xmas came to see us as you can see on the right >>>>>>
Dawn and Glenda
Silves, sunny
Silves is pronounced as in silver without the er, and the last s sounded as sh.
Back to normality today - we're taking the laundry in. Boxing day does not seem to be celebrated over here, and most of the shops and cafes were open yesterday. We had a coffee, and a toasted cheese and ham sandwich at what has become our favourite cafe; that lasted us until teatime, when we had a bowl of porridge. There are a few vans coming and going; some went onto sites for xmas and are now back here. The wifi signal is not as strong as when we arrived, and although it is good in front of the swimming pool, it is very weak at our van; I only use it for updating the ipod, and rely on a dongle for most other things. We're getting quite a backlog of oranges, so will have to get stuck in when we get back from town.
We visited China Joes while we were in town, we are now the proud owners of a mini BBQ; he was a good salesman as we also came away with charcoal and fire lighters. Tomorrow it's down to the fish market to see what we can find to christen it with. Tony - dvd is on it's way.
Silves, still blazing sunshine
Yesterday we collected the laundry, had a coffee, then returned to the van and spent the afternoon catching rays - the sunny sort, not thornbacks. Our resources dept. has worked out that we are using about 20 ltrs of water a day, that includes cooking drinking and showers, not bad really. This morning it was back to China Joes for a can opener, ours has finally given up the ghost; I think we originally got it as a wedding present. As my stomach was making some strange sounds we called in for a toasty and a coffee at our usual cafe; we had only been there a short while when Roger and Gloria joined us. Gloria had taken a tumble on her way into town and had grazed her leg and hand - in the UK she could have sued the council, but over here it is the norm to find uneven and missing paving stones.
Silves, Sunshine but a sharp frost left the van roof covered in rime this morning!!
Ann got a signal from the swimming pool yesterday, so when the frost is gone from the roof I will try our aerial (saves on the dongle). It's thawed and we are getting a signal ---yipeeeeeeeeee.
Silves, sunny
Well that's another year nearly over; looking back, on the whole, it's been a good one for us, a few more aches and pains, but who hasn't. From our time on the boat I think the places we remember as having enjoyed most, are Lymm in Cheshire, and Ely in the fens; though after giving it more thought, I could list at least another dozen!
The trip down in the van was interesting and the weather here has been really good, if a little chilly overnight sometimes, but we can always burrow deeper under the duvet.
Next year's diary can be found on
If you use Internet Explorer, you can save the above page as a favourite and then using the right mouse button drag it onto the desktop, and make a shortcut there.

We would both like to wish everyone a
Very Happy and Healthy New Year
Very Happy and Healthy New Year