Portugal is burning


Well I’m not supposed to be sitting in front of a laptop, I should be resting but I’m trying to take my mind off this heat.  As if the London tower tragedy wasn’t enough, Portugal is now in shock over the sixty two people who died in the forest fire northeast of Lisbon yesterday. Most of them were burned to death in their cars as they tried to escape the flames and heat. Most of Portugal is reeling under a severe heatwave with temperatures around 40c and above. It’s little consolation that in the southwest USA, temperatures are even higher. Here in Portugal most people don’t have any airconditioning. It’s out of reach for people on Portugal’s low salaries. I must say that after sweltering through the night I’m tempted to go out to buy an airconditioner this morning. I might leave it until tomorrow after our guests have left.

Yesterday the weather forecast was spectacularly wrong. Our rainfall forecast was 0% all day long but I could see the sky darkening. I was forecasting a storm. At about 6 pm we had wonderful rain and thunder. Well it was more hailstones and thunder and it brought down the temperature for a while. I couldn’t enjoy the cool wind and rain as much as I wanted because I had to close the window shutters. The wind was driving the hailstones into the kitchen.

I’m trying to strike a happy balance between resting as much as possible and doing essential things at home. I’m reading as many blogs as I can but unfortunately I can’t send out many comments at the moment.  I’ve almost abandoned facebook and I’m sure many friends will think I can’t be bothered. It’s nothing like that though.

Have a nice weekend, everybody.  I hope you are much cooler than we are here.


Prawns & potatoes from Kumar and Oksana

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Oxana and Kumar cooking the prawns

A blog after a long time. My friends will know the reason.

Take a peek into the kitchen to see our dinner being prepared. We’re having potatoes and prawns a la Oksana, the Leningrad way. Oksana comes from Murmansk but lives near to Leningrad these days. We’re having super cold beer right now because Lisbon is hot these days. I’m starving so I can’t wait for the food to be ready so I can get my teeth stuck into those large prawns hahaha.

We’ve been sitting here trying to remember the name of those delicious Russian chocolate coated candies which we used to buy in Bournemouth and Tbilisi. I think they are filled with dairy something, maybe yogurt (it’s actually curds)

Today Kumar and Oksana spent the day at the nearby Caparica Beach but I opted out.  I hate sitting on sand.  Caparica Beach goes on for mile after mile and it’s white sand. It’s very famous and popular with Portuguese families and foreign tourists alike. I took the chance to catch up with some things at home and do some relaxing in front of the fan.

These days we’re getting only one sort of weather and that’s blue sky and strong sunshine. I would love some cool rainy days for a change.

Coincidences and regrets

Latest picture of garlanded Flocky edited

Just look at our silly dog celebrating the Holi festival in Kathmandu.  I am missing Flocky more than I can say but now she has a new role in life.She is inseparable with Rasmi in Kathmandu and is her protector and guard dog. I must say that she does a magnificent job and only a seriously foolish person would dare  to enter our home  uninvited.

I won’t be sharing this blog with facebook because it’s sort of personal and only to be shared with my few WordPress friends.  I’m writing my book about my life and of course I’ll be talking about where I’ve lived around the world and about the people I’ve met on the way. This morning I was writing about two amazing coincidences I had in my life with the same person. I had a wonderful girlfriend from Switzerland. I will change her name to Sandra.  One day I was going to meet Sandra in Richmond (London), about twenty miles from my home.  On  the way there, for some inexplicable reason I felt compelled to stop my car at Twickenham Railway Station. I walked into the station and was totally gobsmacked to see Sandra walking up the stairs towards me. God only knows why I stopped in such a place and thank God that I did because I was able to take Sandra with me to Richmond.  Fast forward two years when I was driving to Sandra’s home in Wynigen, Switzerland and again for some creepy reason I felt compelled to stop at Burgdorf Railway Station on the way between Bern and Wynigen, and when I walked into the station, there stood Sandra. We were both  totally gobsmacked at this amazing coincidence.

I’ve never believed in ghosts but many years ago I had a weird and unexplained experience in west Nepal. It sure was scary. It will be in my autobiography and possibly I will write about it here one day.

The biggest regrets of my life ?  Well there have been quite a few but I will list just three or four:-

I have always regretted starting to smoke when I was in school. I stopped twenty years later and can only hope that the damage done has completed healed by now.

When I was in my early teens, my mother was dying of leukemia.  She asked for my help one day and I didn’t give it because I wanted to meet my friends somewhere. I was young and stupid and never realised the serious of the situation. She died soon after and I have regretted my action all my life.

I had a wonderful Hungarian friend. I will change her name to Judit. She married one of my nephews. She came to Nepal but something went wrong between the two of them. I desperately wanted to get them together again in my own peculiar way which meant pretending to take the side of my nephew, so that I could gradually influence him. But the reality was that I wanted him to realise what a wonderful person she was and I always hoped they would settle down together in the end. It didn’t work. The woman turned nasty towards me and I lost one of the best friends of my life. I have always suspected that a mutual Russian ‘friend’ had a lot to do with the break in friendship. The last I heard, she was working in Germany. I should have gone to try to explain.  I suppose everything happens for a reason.

My father suicided himself at the time when he was planning to visit me for three months in India. It’s a long and complicated story but in a nutshell, after getting a distressing letter from my grandmother about my father’s depressed condition, I flew back to the UK as soon as possible. I was too late.

When I was living in Thailand I had a gorgeous German Shepherd, also called Flocky. I took her to stay at a friend’s home while I was away for a few days. She was free to run around on the large piece of land there. We had a phone call from the friends to say that Flocky had been bitten by a cobra. I rushed to  collect her and took her to the Rajabhat Animal Hospital but seven days later she died.

I’ve also compiled a list of some of the best moments of my life but let’s save that for another day. Right now I have to shower and then go out.


Typing mixed thoughts at 2:28 am

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I must be mad, sitting here typing at 2:28 am. My mind was too active and I couldn’t sleep.

It was great to get back home yesterday. I love home, the place where I can relax best. I also love going away sometimes but coming home is always best.

I am sorry that I haven’t been able to comment so much on WordPress and facebook. Time is so difficult to get sometimes and this last week has been crazy for me. These days I  tend to comment to friends who also bother to read my blogs and make comments. That’s fair. The big problem in WordPress is that we must have a WordPress ID to be able to make comments. And most friends don’t have a WordPress ID.

What can be better than getting emails from family and friends ? I love getting them and the pictures  of Flocky which Russ sends me sometimes from Kathmandu. Wow the big news for our family last week was that Moti will go on a Korean sponsored healthcare course to South Korea. That probably doesn’t sound like any big deal for many people but it sure is something big for a healthcare worker from a high Himalayan village. I wish I could be in Nepal to go with Moti to Kathmandu Airport to see her on her way to Incheon. I am so excited for her.

Last week I has messages from Keiji in Germany, my cousin Frank and an old Thai friend called Jiem. I have answered everybody and hoping to hear back soon.  I will never stop appreciating the magic of the internet and instant communication with anybody around the world.

One of my highlights of last week was that Bournemouth drew 1-1 with Manchester United.  I was expecting Man Utd to wipe the floor with Bournemouth but it didn’t happen. Bournemouth is where I have my UK home so it’s natural that I should support their football team.

Yesterday I spent some time after getting back, thinking of friendships old and new. Friends come and friends go but the real ones are there forever. In my thinking nothing is worse than having a fake fair weather friend. Maybe we’ve all had them. They never stop thinking about themselves.  They disappear as quickly as they arrived and of course after gaining as much advantage and help as they can. I have always taken friendship very seriously.  But in general I’ve had many real and fantastic friendships in my life and I have many friendships which go back thirty, forty years and more. I love such friendships that are not  based only on money, advantages, university enrolments and visas.

Well now it’s 2:43 am already and time to sleep. Today will be a busy day and I have much to do and to think about.

Turmeric, immune system boost, anti cancer, anti-inflammatory, super for your skin problems, great for your arthritic joints, a wonderful antioxidant

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I guess there are many people who will think my turmeric and coconut breakfast is disgusting and to be frank, so did I at first but as with so many other things, we get used to them and start to like them. Now I am almost addicted to this simple but AMAZINGLY HEALTHY breakfast of coconut with turmeric which has dramatically improved my health. Oh I almost forgot to mention that turmeric is supposed to kill cancer cells too. I wish I’d known all about the health benefits of turmeric many years ago.

It takes just two or three minutes to prepare and I do it this way.

Two or three tablespoons dedicated coconut

1 level teaspoon turmeric powder

Quarter teaspoon black pepper

Half teaspoon ginger powder

Quarter teaspoon cinnamon powder

Half teaspoon EV olive oil

1 teaspoon honey

Enough soya milk to mix everything into a smooth paste.

If you are diabetic, leave out the honey and use a little more milk. It doesn’t taste nearly as nice but it is still palatable.

That’s the remains of my breakfast in the above picture. I also had toast and banana and a mug of tea

A Search in Secret India (for fake gurus)

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Personally I have never sought any guru but I have met hundreds of people in India and Nepal who have followed a guru at some time. We have all seen those people dressed in orange with mantra beads and a picture of Bhagwan Rajneesh hanging from their necks. I once stayed in Poona (western India) very near to the Rajneesh Ashram where I met many, many Rajneesh disciples. I was never for one minute tempted into the ashram because I simply never believed in gurus at all.

Four or five years ago I was invited to a function cum ceremony in the home of a Sai Baba follower who lived near the Shrestha household in Kathmandu.  Well frankly I couldn’t understand most of what was being said there and I was intensely uncomfortable sitting on that hard floor for an hour but the food and snacks afterwards were tasty. It was an interesting experience but I really think all the people there were being brainwashed by some Sai Baba followers. This event reminded me of a book I had read several years ago about fake Indian gurus but unfortunately I could no longer remember the title of the book nor the author. I thought about this book many times over the past few years and did so many searches to find the name and author but all to no avail. A few weeks ago while searching for something completely different online, I discovered the name of the book. ‘A Search in Secret India’ written by Doctor Paul Brunton.  This book exposes many fake gurus and is one of the most interesting books I have ever read. I ordered the book from Amazon but when I received it, the print was  unfortunately far too small for me to read without the help of a magnifying glass. Never mind because finally I have that book in my collection. I’m going to read some of it this afternoon while sitting down near the boats.

Well I suppose we also have the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses and so many strange denominations and other man invented groups in the Christian Church.  My God is nature. I am a firm believer in nature. Nature is alive and not fully understood by man.  I spend a lot of time thinking about this subject.

Mixed thoughts from Dai

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Sunday is here once again. I can’t believe that a whole week has gone by already. This morning I found myself with some free time and that’s a rarity these days. I love those sunny clear mornings when I have time to sit and think. Once again I am thinking of the best place(s) to live. My heart is in the UK where I have my permanent home but the weather there is so awful much of the time. Being down here in the sunshine is far better I think.


Does anybody know the name of this type of tree ? It’s so incredibly unusual. I wish I could have a large piece of land where I could grow lots of unusual plants and trees.

This morning I couldn’t get Kathmandu out of my mind. I wish it wasn’t so far away so I could afford to fly there often. It’s a very long journey with either one or two changes of flight on the way and I’m getting too old to have frequent long flights. I was also thinking of the family and Flocky, remembering the village and everybody in Gorkha. I thought of dalbhat, afternoon rotis, samosas too spicy for me to eat. And I remembered when I ate buffalo brain in Tebahal. Such wonderful days are now memories for when I have some free time.