6th March 2012
Easy run into Portugal, and onto the N125 to avoid the tolls after the bridge across the Rio Guadiana - obviously the correct thing to do as the road was full of foreign motorhomes, although later talking to Bob who lives in Calcelha (who we met in Conil and came over to see us on Friday), the latest situation vis-a-vis tolls is that the post offices have no documentation to register foreign vehicles for the electronic toll system but the police are still stopping & fining vehicles without the registration. And as he lives here he obviously knows. ( to make matters worse the French have now enacted a law making it compulsory to carry a breathalyser in your vehicle and illegal to have a satnav showing fixed speed cameras even though every french road map shows their location.)
Anyway, arrived Olhao after stopping for fuel ( Diesel is €1.50 in Portugal, €1.35 in Spain) and supplies at the Intermarche, found a great pitch in the sun and found Paul & Marianne when wine was taken - it rained for a while, the 3rd time in 2 months but the grass needs it, whilst we swapped stories of the last 2 weeks. M is not well either so she and the GF swappped histories and compared medicaments.
On Friday, Bob & Carol came over and with P&M we all went to Sergios for the €8.50 menu of the day which was as superb as usual - I had the mixed grilled fish which was a large Dorado, 3 something else and 2 huge sardines, dishes of fried potatoes, boiled potatoes,green & mixed salads. Fresh pineapple as dessert-(mousses,flans & ice cream available) and coffee.Including bread and a litre of white,litre of red and bottled water the bill for 6 was €8.50x6 =€51 or £43.50 and was more than enough to eat. And of course the place was as packed as always. Back to P&M's afterwards where I was introduced to the latest wine experience which comes from the local bodega they have discovered in town, more of which later. A very jolly afternoon of which I have only a faint recollection and no recollection of arranging to visit B&C 18th March by train to see their house and go to the local market which only happens on the 3rd sunday of the month.
Saturday was no better. We went into town for the rather fine market held on saturdays (So much better than Spanish ones, full of fresh food and local produce at silly prices - I bought local honey made by bees that frequented the orange groves for €3 which would have cost £5.75 in Martlesham farm shop). Paul & I cycled, the ladies took the shuttle bus and by the time we met up several beers had been consumed. After a bit of shopping for veg and some meat from the indoor market, we repaired to the aforementioned casa for lunch, where a huge plate of serrano ham shaved from the haunch, a whole cheese,a basket of bread and olives and a litre carafe of the house wine came to €12 for the 4 of us. We then purchased 5 litres of this wine for which they filled empty water bottles from a huge barrel for the princely sum of €5.50 although I decided to go upmarket with the 'especial' for €7. The girls headed home on the bus but missed it and had to walk (it's only a mile), Paul & I cycled back via Smokey Joe's and had to stop for liquid refreshment so we didn't get back till 5pm when we discovered that M hadn't taken her keys to the van so couldn't get in and wasn't feeling well and the GF was convinced I was in hospital as I wasn't wearing the cycle helmet ( it not being Spain so I don't have to) so we were in deep shit.........we were not allowed out to play together on sunday apart from making inroads into my 5 litres whilst watching the France-Ireland rugby.........
On Monday we went to the quiz. A weird format but fun and I might explain it next week. We were robbed however of the top prize over the question of 'What does a vintner sell ?' Completing our sheet with a run of 7 answers, I confidently handed it in expecting to receive €22 or thereabouts only to be informed that the answer of 'wine' to vintner was wrong and that the correct answer was 'fish'. 'oh no it isn't' I said.'oh yes it is' they replied. A spirited exchange took place when I was informed that I was thinking of a victualler (?) . As I had been a licensed victualler for 30 years I told them I was not thinking of victualler and that I had bought my fish from a fishmonger and my wine from a vintner........we were not given the prize despite nearly everyone in the room agreeing with me when the answers were read out.
This morning an apology was offered as I passed the quizmasters van..but not the money..... and a lame excuse about reading the wrong answer in the quiz book but I am aggrieved. I would have been furious but I had won €35 on the bingo so the night ended up in profit anyway.
1 month ago