Thursday, March 31, 2011

And so...

So today the sun is shining and warm, as it has been for the last few days. Is this the start of the 'good' weather, probably not if last year was anything to go by with a very wet April!! But the heaters are off and the bills are coming down (utilities are expensive here) at least until the fans go on, but bill cutting is a 'passion' of mine. I begrudge paying such high rates, I used to pay £25 a month, here I pay a minimum £40 rising to over £100 in winter using electric heaters. My friends who have pools pay staggering rates. But there is only one electric company, like 20 years ago in England, the competition is not there.

Times are tough everywhere, but we have some friends who moved here from Spain, where they had been for a couple of years, they are good friends but things have been tough for them and they may go back to England, which I really dont want them to do. They have some income but need to boost it in order to stay, this week he got some bar work, although its nothing huge, its a start and better than nothing. I hope they will stay, but times are tough.....

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

To stay or to go?

So things are not so smooth and as much as we hope and think we are coming to the end of this very rough road, we just dont seem to get there. With the current shambles of the Government, it is just one more indirect problem / issue that I see no good to come of.

And sometimes I seriously wonder if, like many others, we should give up and go. But I read things and sometimes it seems like we are ants scattering when someone dislodges their nest, not knowing where to go to be better, safer, more secure. And then I try to create a pro and con list in my head, but how do you weigh these things up, how can you put a cost on safety over money, familiarity over better quality of life. I guess that is for each of us to set our own cost or weight, but I can never do it.

But one thing I saw, when I was in England last September for a training course, I was in a train station and no-one looked happy, everyone had somewhere to go, to be but whether they wanted to be there?! Also on a london train, no-one looked at anyone, but all did the same thing, played with their mobiles, either playing games, listening to music or on the internet or email. I found it very sad. So we continue trying to make it work.

Friday, March 25, 2011

This is why we love children!

I was driving with my three young children one warm summer evening when a woman in the convertible ahead of us
stood up and waved. She was stark naked! As I was reeling from the shock, I heard my 5-year-old shout from the back seat,
'Mom, that lady isn't wearing a seat belt!'

On the first day of school, a first-grader handed his teacher a note from his mother. The
note read, 'The opinions expressed by this child are not necessarily those of his parents.'

A woman was trying hard to get the ketchup out of the jar. During
her struggle the phone rang so she asked her 4-year-old daughter to answer the
phone. 'Mommy can't come to the phone to talk to you right now. She's hitting the bottle.'


A little boy got lost at the YMCA and found himself in the women's locker room. When he
was spotted, the room burst into shrieks, with ladies grabbing towels and
running for cover. The little boy watched in amazement and then asked, 'What's the matter, haven't you
ever seen a little boy before?'

5) POLICE # 1
While taking a routine vandalism report at an elementary school, I was interrupted by a little girl about 6 years
old. Looking up and down at my uniform, she asked, 'Are you a cop? Yes,' I answered and continued writing the report.
'My mother said if I ever needed help I should ask the police. Is that right?' 'Yes, that's right,' I told her. 'Well, then,' she said as she extended her foot toward me, 'would you please tie my shoe?'

6) POLICE # 2
It was the end of the day when I parked my police van in front of the station. As I gathered my equipment, my K-9 partner, Jake, was barking, and I saw a little boy staring in at me. 'Is that a dog you got back there?' he asked.
'It sure is,' I replied.Puzzled, the boy looked at me and then towards the back of the van.
Finally he said, 'What'd he do?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Portugal - a country in Crisis

So last night, the Prime Minister resigns after losing a vote for further austerity measures.

On the back end of last year the Government produced a PEC (a stability and growth plan) with a lot of tough austerity measures to counteract the growing deficit problem. This included, cutting wages, merging departments or scrapping them all together, cutting of services, raising taxes etc, etc. Some of these measures are in place from January, some others are about to come into force.

But 2-3 weeks ago, they announce they need to make another PEC with further measures, and so it begins and what a mess it became. This goverment is a minority so they need their closest rivals, PSD to back them to get anything big, such as this, through Parliament, but no-one was backing them, no-one, so the vote failed and the PM resigned as he said he would if it did not go through. Me, myself was very surprised that he did actually resign as he is such an arrogant mug, that I thought it was a hoax. But come on, they should have got it right in the first place, to ask for more measure less than 6 months later, makes them look like a bunch of monkeys! But there has been a lack of transparency in the spending of the Government for a long time, so who knows what mess their predecesors will have!

Oh look, here come the IMF, take cover and hide your money!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Welcome to spring!

So on Sunday night, was the equinox or the start of spring! An equinox occurs twice a year, when the tilt of the Earth's axis is inclined neither away from nor towards the Sun, the center of the Sun being in the same plane as the Earth's equator. This can be understood as the day and night being nearly equal time.

But apart from that it means, Winter is finally gone and Spring is here. The birds are chirping (sometimes a little too much), the sun is shining with warmth, the flowers are out and the trees are green. Spring in portugal doesnt have the striking affect that it does in England but it's still a great time of year. Soon the orange blossom will be out with its heady, gorgeous smell. My favourite! Then I remember why I live in portugal.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Psycho mum


As a mother do you have those days, where your children challenge you at every step and seem to do everything wrong? Im having one of those days, Sophie my 5yr old daughter goes to a kindergarten 3 days a week, sometimes the days change but this week was tue, wed, thur. Now she is home today and monday was exactly the same, her and grace just argue and seem to play up. Grace is great antagonist of her sister and wants everything Sophie has which seems to cause countless yelling and screaming, but Sophie can be wingey and also winds her sister up, occasionally teasing her.

But today they are pushing my buttons and I find myself being constantly challenged and not responding at my best 'mothering', getting overstressed and probably over-reacting. I find myself turning into 'psycho mum', a phrase I use when I see a parent seemingly 'out of control' and something I hate finding in myself. And I wonder why this happens, is it just because they are apart most of the week and now have to share the space or is it me? I work from home and so spend a certain amount of the day working, do they have trouble adjusting to that, or do I? Sometimes I feel guilty when I dont feel I have enough time for them, but I feel I give them a lot of time, more than a lot of mums are able to.

Hopefully this afternoon will be better and we will get out and get some sunshine - always good for the soul.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Fastest Algarvian in the land!

The algarvians are not a fast-paced people, unless of course you are on the road and one of them is hanging off your bumper, trying to have a look at your child! Life is slower here, people are not in a hurry.

When I first arrived from the faster paced life in England, where everything is much more, go, go, go, I found it very frustrating, but have gotten used to it, mostly. But one thing that still bugs me is when people cross the road like they have all the time in the world, like there are no cars, it really annoys me but if im crossing a road I get a move on, one thing I can never do is stroll across a road while people are waiting, it is just built into me I guess. I would say I was a rare breed, a fast algarvian, but I am not an algarvian, dont think I ever will be. They are nice people, dont get me wrong but I am not algarvian, nuff said.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Does not compute

Ok, so im still on about this non-payment situation, my brain cannot compute this information and I feel a bit naive not to have come across this situation before, but maybe I should consider myself lucky instead as apparently it is a common situation.

But I was thinking about motivation and happiness or satisfaction. We spend more of our life (before retirement) at work that if you are not happy at work it can have a big effect on the rest of your life. Mostly people will be motivated by money, so much that you may take a job you like less because it offers more money. But of course there are other criteria for selecting a job, but in these hard times, people often take any job for the income. So what if that income you need so much does not come, not only are you unhappy and unmotivated in your job but it has much wider implications in your life, effecting every part of your life. So now, not only are you unhappy for the 8/9 hours you are at work (as you could be in a job you didnt like but were receiving the basic reward of monetary renumeration) but you are unhappy all the time and your family are also unhappy and worried, all because someone does not fulfill their legal and contractual obligations

Hope my thoughts make some sense, lost track a few times through the usual distractions, all I can do is hope the situation will right itself and people do what is necessary

Friday, March 11, 2011


Hi all,

More a bit of a rant today, I have a friend who has just started a new job, she has been there a few weeks now, after having been out of work for a long time. We were all really pleased for her getting this new job and it all seemed positive. Now we have passed the first payday and she has not been paid, when she asks her boss, who is also the owner of the company,he tells her to ask someone else and no-one will give any explanation or answer to the situation, this is putting her and her family in a really difficult position. On speaking to some of her co-workers, it turns out this is a common situation, but what gets me is how someone can hire someone knowing they will not be able to pay them, what ethics is that? How does that person sleep at night, knowing their staff are struggling financially but still working for them, 9, 10, 14 hour days and not to even seem concerned about it or to give any explanation. It should be against the law, probably it is against some union law or explotation, that is what I feel my friend is being....exploited and it upsets me to see after going though a tough time that what should have been the end of the difficulties have just bought more. But I get the impression from what she has told me that this has been going on so long, that both the owner and the staff just accept it as normal, but it is not right. Most people are primarily motivated by money, its one, if not the main reason we choose a job and go to work, but if you dont even have that basic motivation, how should you be motivated? I dont believe it can produce a sucessful business because the staff are not motivated. But what can she do, with no other job to go to, if she leaves she may not ever get paid but if she continues, she doesnt not know if or when she will be paid, so now like all the others she is caught like a fish in a net.
But I couldnt look myself in the mirror if I was this person or even in my staff's faces unless you have no morality or ethics.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


A little off a year ago, I fell pregnant, everything seemed fine, but at my 12 week scan we found I had miscarried. We were very sad obviously and it was a difficult time. After that we decided we would not have any more children, yesterday a friend of mine had a baby and put the pictures on facebook, so beautiful and now I feel broody, very dangerous.

Today I was out in the supermarket and saw a very small baby and for a moment, I felt a pang! Now I have Sophie looking at a pregnancy book and Grace is looking at a 'baby care' book, is the universe trying to tell me something............
probably not, probably more the changing of phases, Grace is no longer a baby, but really becoming a toddler, my baby is no more

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Time to play up?

How is it that all children seem to have a special gift of knowing when to play up when you are stressed, ill or tired. They always pick the days to act out when you have the least patience, it's like a extra super sense they have in order to drive you crazy! On the days when things are calm and quiet, they are the best, when you least need them to play up, is always the time, its uncanny how they can react so negatively when you are not at your best, even when you may not realise it in yourself.

Or else they just make you feel that way, even without being stressed, tired or ill.

Oh, the joys of parenting......

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Carnival time

So next week is Carnival in Portugal, time for big parades and two days holiday. Almost every town and city in Portugal will have some kind of celebration, and if the weather is good, it means a mini-break for many who use the long weekend. The biggest carrnival here is in Loule, near Faro, people come by their thousands to see it and I think it goes for the two days. Something I have never gone too, mostly due to having two small children would be a nightmare with a pushchair and also I dont like big crowds. Tavira on the other hand is having something more low-key, this friday they have most of the local schools doing a parade in town. The theme at least at Sophie's school is fairies and elves, so today I am out looking for a reasonably priced fairy suit, should be fun!

The next question is whether I will see the parade, I would love to, but Im worried if Sophie sees me she will not want to go back to school, as she can be quite clingy, especially outside her comfort zone (as some children are) and I would hate for my presence inadvertently to ruin her nice day, what to do?!