Terry and I have just arrived home from a brilliant couple of weeks in Portugal staying with our great long-time friends Lin and Airdy at their amazing villa.
Other friends Bob and Sal and Barry were there at the same time – Bob and Sal don’t actually come back until mid -June!
It was great to be in such good company.
It is always a nervous time before we actually leave Turnip Town as we worry that the hospital will call at the last minute to say that Terry can’t travel. But we’ve now done the short haul flight to the Algarve 4 times following her improvement and it is a great tonic (even without the gin).
Sadly a trip to Australia is not on.
So, two weeks ago, loaded up with a permission to fly letter from the specialist, approval to carry more drugs and syringes that the bloke in Breaking Bad and travel insurance that cost almost as much as our first house we set off.
Terry didn’t let me mention this here before as she is convinced that it will let burglars know we are away and they will steal our enormous collection of prize turnips.
I have given up trying to assure her that hardly anyone reads this tripe – least of all vegetable thieves. But there you go – we are home again and the ingredients for a turnip surprise are safe.
It was a marvellous two weeks and Lin and Airdy are wonderful hosts (more Lin than Airdy, obviously).
I drank more alcohol in two weeks than in the last 2 years and this may well account for the fact that I slept pretty well – something I hardly ever do! Terry even had a couple of little beers – one a week – and if you’re a consultant from the Linc clinic, I just made that bit up.
Lin’s cooking was first class, we also ate out a fair bit and enjoyed several of the Airdy’s famous BBQs – where I am told there was even some food.
I went to golf (notice the absence of the word ‘played’) with Airdy, Bob and Barry and it would have been hard to believe that I had ever seen a 7 iron, much less ever picked one up. I am to golf what Eric Pickles is to Pilates.
Airdy and I actually won, although as a partner he would have been better off with our dead cat, Alan.
I was even useless at manoeuvring the buggy – as Airdy put it “you’re a crap driver” – although he may well have been referring to when I stepped off the first tee.
I think I’m more likely to get a call to join the British and Irish Lions next week than ever to attempt golf again.
Still it did give the others a good laugh I suppose.
One evening we went to something called Fardo which is apparently the Portuguese idea of a good night out. In fact it turned out to be great fun – we went with the Airdy’s, Bob and Sal and Ronnie and (another) Terry – the Irish next door neighbours.
The entertainment was going on right next to our table and we practically had to shout to make ourselves heard – we were competing with the very nice singer – and to be honest mostly winning.
Predictably we were told off for all the noise – the only saving grace being that the French mob on the next table were even louder than us. They were also cautioned to be ‘plus soyez silencieux’ a request which was met with typical dismissive Gallic shrugs. I can tell you, we felt quite superior and smug.
Terry and I walked on the beach a lot (not during the Fardo obviously, that would have been even ruder than the Frogs).
I carried the portable chair so that she could sit and rest as she needs to sit frequently – it is an important part of our luggage and we use it in Turnip Town too.
Airdy and I watched a fair bit of sport on one of his enormous boxes – size being important as we were frequently pissed at the time and it is hard to see little blokes running about when you’ve had a few.
One night Airdy bullied me (using lashings of vino collapsing) into staying up into the early hours to watch ‘Saving Private Ryan’. This was memorable for a couple of reasons – firstly he switched it off 3 minutes from the end so we missed the moving climax in the cemetery and then he insisted that one of the blokes being ordered about by Tom Hanks also starred in the ‘Sound of Music’.
This seemed unlikely to me as the films are some 30 years apart and the bloke wouldn’t have been born when Julie stamped all over some strangely spelled flowers on hills in Austria.
However since Airdy is from Yorkshire I didn’t see much point in arguing the point. With the TV off he attempted to stand and promptly fell flat on his face – taking me down with him.
Lin had singularly failed to get to sleep blaming Mr Hanks who was noisily blowing up tanks with sticky bombs and she arrived as Airdy and I were laughing loudly on the floor. I couldn’t work out why she didn’t join in. Terry of course, fuelled by a shedload of drugs, slept through the slaughtering of Nazis and our witty and hysterical guffaws.
The trip home this morning was eventful – Easy Jet forgot to order the ‘Special Assistance’, despite us checking in at the desk with that designation. So we sat waiting for 90 minutes for a non-existent bloke to turn up and help us through – several times the helpful S Assistance assistant insisted he was on his way before realising that she hadn’t told him we were there!
At this point the gate for our flight was closed. However, I managed to purloin a wheelchair and tag us on to another bloke who got us through security. We finally boarded 20 minutes after the flight was due to take off. Naturally I was panicking even more than my lovely wife.
At this point I realised I had left Terry’s vital portable chair in the back of Airdy’s car. What a nob eh?
Obviously I’ll be ordering a new one tomorrow.
At Bristol we instantly realised that we were back in Britain when a porky bloke attractively dressed in a T shirt that would have doubled as a marquee started shouting – his physique would have made the average obese bloke feel positively sylph like. The tattoos and shorts helped him portray a sartorial elegance that wouldn’t have been out of place at a BNP rally.
He was shouting abusively about it was only bombers who were responsible for the long queue at passport control. When approached by one of the officials I would like to say he was contrite and apologised – he didn’t. The official went to inform Special Branch – served him right too I expect, although we didn’t see the outcome.
It was a great and welcome break – our eternal thanks to Airdy and Lin.
The picture on the left was last year – you can see how good my tan is coming along!
They don’t know how much we value their friendship – without their support and kindness we wouldn’t be able to get away at all.