After my last blog entry about my palm tree, there was no peace for wicked old me, no time to dwell on the previous week’s events as my social life suddenly upped the anti. Of course, now there is nothing to look forward to for the rest of the month as the main social big do’s were on the same weekend, and two nights in a row.
The beginning of last week started off with Camera club meeting at my house for a presentation on the collection of photographs that we took last month. Colin had organised a treasure hunt in Ponta do Pargo, which was incredibly good fun, despite the fact that it pissed down with rain most of the day and the walk itself around the village was a challenge. As I am so unfit, I was ill for a couple of days after as my brain nearly exploded with the increase of blood pressure brought on by huffing a puffing my way up a long and difficult hill. It was a fun afternoon though and we all took plenty of snaps and then deluged Colins’ mail box with them. Philip judged the entries, then came over and gave us a talk, showing the best (and worst) of the bunch. Certificates and bottles of plonk were given out as prizes and I was very happy to be awarded with the ‘best picture’ of the collection.
The weather during last week was filthy, with storms lashing the island bringing with it buckets of rain and high winds. Its a bloody good job I had the tree cut when I did as at least I could sleep easy at night, not having to worry about my roof or if my Palm would blow over. By Thursday it had cleared up just enough to allow me a trip into Ribeira Brava to settle my tree bill and look at a new replacement Palm tree, but it will have to wait till after Christmas as I am looking at around 400 euros for a younger model and I am now broke!
I spent a lovely evening that day with friends who I hadn’t seen for a couple of years, and we nattered the night away over a few beers, sitting outside under cover whilst watching more bouts of the wet stuff blow in off the sea. Whilst sitting in the first bar, we spotted the current Mayor of Funchal, Miguel Albequerque with a bunch of official looking peeps. I was surprised to see how casually he was attired compared to everyone else and more surprised when he casually discarded his cigarette in a pot plant at the side of the street. He spotted me with my ipod camera and came straight over to us to pose for a photo and a chat. Unbeknown to me, one of his sidekicks took a photo of us taking a photo of him and it wasn’t till after he had walked off that I also learnt that this chap could very realistically become our next president of Madeira and in a few short weeks!
I also had guests arrive on Thursday afternoon for a 4 night stay in the apartment. A nice couple in their early thirties from Germany. I feel incredibly sorry for them as they leave me today and go on to stay in Paul do Mar and the weather has been really shit for their holiday. I broke the news to them this morning that we will have much the same for the rest of the week and they did not look happy. Although the weather is out of my control, one can’t help feeling a little guilty about it, particularly when we have had a scorcher of a summer!
Friday was the day we had our monthly M3A dinner, and a first for me not to have organised it. Sandy from Funchal had organised the ‘do’ at the Istanbul restaurant under Moynihans Irish Pub, and I was looking forward to it as I have never eaten there. It was supported very well by our members as 29 people turned up and we literally took over the restaurant. It was great for me, as I didn’t get so bombarded with questions and people all vying to chat and pay me money at the same time. The restaurant looked after us well and some of us went upstairs after and took advantage of the free drink voucher we were given with the meal.
On Saturday we had a slight reprieve from the rain and as I was going out again that evening tried to get as many jobs as I could get done around the house. I managed to mow my very water logged lawn and sweep the garden of the litter and debris from the storms. And my guests were able to manage a few hours outside on my sun loungers and experience a little holiday spirit.
So, it was a mad dash back into town and check into my hotel room that Chris had booked for us, so that we could enjoy the evening without the worry of drinking too much and driving back home. The event for the evening was the Royal British Legion Remembrance Dinner with 65 other Brits at the very lovely restaurant do Forte in Funchal. We were honoured to be sat on the top table with Nick and his wife, but as our group have a reputation for being ‘loud’ and that evening was no different to others, with psychotic outbursts of giggles, jokes and wind ups, I don’t think we will be asked again anytime soon!
As with these evenings, they always start off in a civilised manner and rapidly degrade as the night moves on. When Jorge and I get together its doomed, as we always end up letting the side down by being way too much fun for anyone else to handle. Chris, Jorge, Stephanie and I made our way to the Casino after the dinner, for cocktails and a flutter on the machines or tables. I put 25 euros into a machine and won back 57 euros, cashed it in and then felt smug for the rest of the evening as the Casino had now paid for my dinner.
After several boozy cocktails, Jorge and I made our way down to the Nightclub for a boogy, leaving Chris to man the table with our drinks. She said we had gone for an hour, but it only felt like 5 minutes, but now my body feels like I was boogying for 5 hours. A first for us in that Chris didn’t do her usual – falling asleep at the table. The last time we went out, I got dragged off the dance floor to go and retrieve my friend by the bar manager, saying that it simply was not the done thing to take a nap in Casino as it misrepresented their fun and exciting image!
But as with these nights out, we are very predictable as when one has so much fun, the time fritters away and before you know it, we are the last to leave. Being politely thrown out at 3am in the morning to most people would be mortifying, but to us it is the norm! We were not satisfied with ending the night here, so we took a cab back to Lido to go onto another fun little place we know called Bar Estudantes. When we got there, we were shocked to find it had closed, it was very obvious the night life in town is suffering as well in these tough times of austerity.
Jorge was on a mission not to go home, so it was back to our room for more drinkies where Jorge and Chris sunk a few shots of Bacardi, before leaving us to walk home at around 6am. As I mentioned before, Chris shocked us all by not falling asleep and I shocked them, by it being me first!
The nice part about the Sunday was that I didn’t suffer too badly with a hangover, and we left the hotel at lunchtime, not doing our usual stunt of oversleeping and staying beyond the time when we should have vacated the room. The girls in reception know us well at the Gorgulho and are quite relaxed, but it does get embarrassing when the hotel phone rings at three in the afternoon, to ask if we are actually leaving or staying another night!
And in true tradition to a night on the tiles, it was brunch at Moynihans. Jorge and his other half Alfredo joined us for a slap up, greasy, artery clogging, fried, calorie busting, hangover breakfast, before slinking back home to die for the rest of the afternoon!