How did that happen? It’s the first of December and I haven’t posted for nearly a fortnight, sorry about that.
In my defence, I have a good excuse, the small matter of finishing a book and getting it out to my Beta readers. Now that’s out of the way all I’ve got to do is edit it again and get it published. If you’re interested in that part of my life head on over to neilhawkesford.com, I’ll be blogging about my writing over there.
I’ve been on my own this past week as Gail has headed back to the UK for three weeks. It’s been strange, we haven’t spent a day apart since the middle of April. Truth be told I used to like spending time on my own but not anymore. I miss her.
It’s been noticeably quieter in the marina these past weeks. There are fewer visitors and it seems lots of folks with boats also have ‘homes’ to go to for Christmas so they’ve already left or will be leaving soon. Now and again I find myself wishing that I too had a place ashore somewhere. I know Gail does. It’s something that’s just not possible for us and I’m happy that for me home is where the boat is, but at this time of year the attraction of a more traditional home and family environment is greatest.
Anyway, I’ve spent a lot of time writing since Gail’s been away but I’ve also spent time ‘decorating’ our cabin. There were jobs that needed doing that would have been difficult when we were both aboard but with Gail away I was able to put the double berth out of commission and sleep in the single cabin while I got the things done.
Apart from a fresh coat of paint I’ve added some more insulation and drilled holes in the plywood bunk base to aid circulation. This time last year we were struggling to keep the condensation under control and even with ventilation mesh and timber slats under the matress it still got mouldy. The milder drier climate here means we have less of a problem but I figured anything I could do to prevent further problems was worthwhile.
I also stripped off all the horrible foil and polystyrene insulation I stuck to the cabin top sides last Winter. It didn’t make any difference and it looked crap. It was a horrible job to remove it and I even found mould underneath so I’m glad to be shot of it. I’ve replaced it with cork tiling. It’s a better insulator and looks nice.
So, all in all, I’ve been keeping myself pretty busy. I’ve only had one trip away from the boat and that was a week ago. I took the train into Portimão so that I could go to the big Aki DIY store for the paint and stuff I needed for the cabin work.
It’s a 20-minute train ride along the coast and it was nice to see a different bit of the country. The train was clean and on time and the fare was €2 each way. I never used the trains back in the UK because they are so inefficient and expensive but here it’s an easy choice.
I had some time to kill after my Shopping so I walked into the town for a look around. Portimão is the largest town on the Western Algarve and far less touristy than Lagos. I walked through the old town and down to the banks of the Arade river. Most of the buildings are quite old and pretty, there was a good variety of shops bars and restaurants and some beautiful little parks. There’s a huge wide promenade running along the river which, when I was there, seemed mostly deserted, despite the warm sunshine.
Hopefully the photos below will give you a flavour of the place.
It was slightly surreal to walk through town in the warm sunshine looking at Oranges hanging on the trees and Christmas decorations hanging across the street.
Gail gets back on the 13th December and then in a few short weeks it’ll be Christmas. It’s going to be a very different one this year I think.