I really should give myself a slap as it’s been over a month since I last posted something on my Blog. In fact you could say it was last year as it was just before I jetted back off to the UK to spend Christmas and the New year with my family.
The last time I went over to the UK for Christmas must have been around 10 years ago, so everyone was excited that it would be spent together in the cold rather than at mine in sunny Madeira. We were very lucky with the weather as it was mild, no frosts or snow while I was there, intermittent days of rain but mostly gloomy days with no sun. My daughter and her fiancé travelled down from Scotland and my sister and her family came over from the Isle of Weight. My son was pleased to have some company for a change, but we were a little over crowded as the granny flat was also occupied by friends who were also visiting family and had come over from Cypress.
Our festive celebrations were marred by the dreaded English plague and mine started on Christmas day, which meant that Boxing day was spent lying on the sofa dying quietly while the rest of the family were in hot pursuit of some mega deals in Horsham as the Sales had started. Eventually everyone was struck down with the Lurgy, all taking it in turns to slurp the super strength Lemsip and moan.
We saw the New Year in, partying at our local working mans club in Cranleigh. A completely different experience to the one I have become accustomed to here in Madeira. No fireworks, no community stalls, bars and markets lining pavements, no dancing in the street…just a pub like setting, an unappetising buffet and pricey drinks, but we were together and that’s all that mattered and we enjoyed our night out all the same!
After the New Year had passed, each of us retreated back to our homes and countries and got back on with our lives in the new 2013. A day after getting back, it felt like I hadn’t been away at all. I had an uneventful first week back, but at least I had come back to the warm and sunshine. It had not rained (and still hasn’t) since the end of November, so my garden was the first job of many to catch up with and unfortunately I lost a few pot plants from leaving them for 2 weeks without a drink.
As we have had another very warm and dry winter so far, we are blessed with wonderful sunsets. During the winter months they set over the ocean directly in front of my house and then move toward the East and around the coast so I don’t see them during the summer. Having spent two weeks in the UK where it gets dark at 4pm it was nice to take advantage of the longer days of light here. Today the sun set just before 7pm this evening.
I would have stayed a little longer in the Uk with my son if I didn’t have guests arriving on the 10th January, who were a lovely couple called Anke and Gil from Germany. We hit it off as soon as they arrived, which was a jolly good thing as I was really worried how they would get on, not hiring a car for the two weeks they were here. They were such great fun, and used the local buses to get around and hitching lifts, which worked out successfully for them, giving them a different holiday experience to the ones my usual guests have, who have their own transport. As it was Ankes’ birthday while she was here, I offered to take them out for the day and took them up across Paul de Serra and down the other side to the North side of the island, we lunched at Chao de Ribeira, then ended the trip with a welcome Poncha or two at the famous Poncha bar in Serra d’agua.
After they went home, I was back on my own again and absorbed myself in the garden again, as I have a mountain of dry garden rubbish to burn. I spent a day and have not made a dent on the huge pile, but figure that it will probably take me another 6-8 bonfire sessions to get rid of it which will keep me busy for the next month or so. On Monday this week I spent the afternoon and evening with Suzi, Fidelio and her two gorgeous children, Cynthia and Kaitlyn. Suzi had prepared a feast for lunch and another for dinner, so I came home, fed and watered and with a touch of jaw ache from all the talking we did!
On Wednesday this week, I had a bit of a more energetic day planned with another friend of mine who has just published her first book. As we were both suffering from a spot of writers block, we decided to take a retreat – up the top of a mountain. We trudged (I huffed and puffed my way up) up the hill that took us to a point that gave us a 360 degree view. The plateau of Paul de Serra behind us, Sao Vicente below and the rugged contours of the highest mountain peaks of Aeriero and Ruivo ahead. We could not have picked a better day as we were above the clouds and it was very warm (and I am now suffering with a wind slapped sunburn). Irena brought along her Native American flute and filled the air with melodic tones of her new instrument, that fitted the atmosphere and ambience so well. We both found a spot to sit in and put pen to paper, basking in the sunlight, admiring the shear beauty of the scenery and the result was an instant recharge and energisation. Irena wrote a wonderful eulogy of her thoughts on the island and I wrote a new synopsis of the book I have been trying to write, that I have had trouble with and now I have finally got the right angle to flow with!
I don’t have much planned over the next week, so unless something happens that is worth writing about then I won’t be doing another post for about a week. This is good though as now I can get stuck in with my other writing and hopefully get somewhere with it this time!