I’ve won on the lottery. Life is great

Serra da Estrela

Playing the lottery is exciting for me but more about that later when I know the exact  amount I have won. Now who would guess that the above picture was taken right here in Portugal ?  When people think of Portugal they think of the sunniest part of Europe with great beaches, great food, great wine and great people.  But not so far northeast of here lies an area called Serra da Estrela, an area of mountains, forests and lakes.  It seems like Portugal has everything for everybody.  But what we do have right now is a severe drought and the government is asking its citizens to use as little water as possible.  We’ve had some showers in the past couple of days but that’s just a drop in the ocean and we need a lot of rainfall this winter to get those reservoirs topped up again.

I’ve just checked online and seen that my three winning numbers will pay me €4.08 so it’s hardly going to change my life but it does make playing a bit exciting. Maybe one day I will get a big prize.

Yesterday afternoon a friend, Rocha, came to pick me up to view a two bedroomed  apartment close to the ferry port of Cacilhas. Well I already live in Cacilhas and I wasn’t thinking of buying a new apartment but a friend of mine from Ghent in Belgium does want to buy an apartment here so I thought I’d take a look around to see what was on offer. It turned out that the apartment was €120,000 and more than Vincent is willing to pay but it was interesting to see this apartment for sale. After viewing the place we dropped into a place next door,  an old Portuguese grocery store complete with tables, chairs and locals drinking coffee and chatting.  It was very much how I imagined a general store in the wild west, 150 years ago. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience because I’ve never seen anything like it before.


An extra hour tonight

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Cristo Rei

I love this picture. This huge statue and view are very near my home. That’s Lisbon City across the river. This morning Portugal put back the clocks one hour which meant an extra hour sleep. Well I tried to sleep for an extra hour but it didn’t work and here I am battering my poor keyboard at 3:48 am (aka 4:48 am). I went to the kitchen fifteen minutes ago to make a mug of tea and I could hear Kumar snoring in his room. Glad to know that I’m not the only one who snores.

Summer is still lingering on in this part of the world and the past few days have seen temperatures above 30c. I think (and hope) we will start to cool down from today. I still haven’t bought an airconditioner but possibly today I will. I love all the sunshine but that’s all we get here from April to the end of October. Winter is coming soon and we should get far more cloud and wonderful rain.

I’m working as hard as usual. Sometimes I think I can’t stand the pace for much longer but I always do. I actually enjoy work but there’s just too much of it. Today is Sunday so Kumar will be at home and will give me lots of help. This morning I have already replied to several messages and done some printing.

Yesterday on the way to the supermarket I dropped in to see Pedro who owns a very successful local restaurant. Pedro works incredibly hard and I realised that I am not the only one who has to work hard. Also yesterday I encountered the most amazing rudeness from a member of Pingo Doce’s staff. Pingo Doce is a local supermarket and sometimes the people there are very kind and friendly but sometimes shockingly rude and unreasonable. I wish I knew how to complain to a director because I would do it.



Mixed thoughts from Dai at 6 am

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Bhai Tikka 2017

Just look at that spread. It was the Bhai Tikka day, part of the huge Tihar festival in Nepal.  More popularly known by the Indian name ‘Diwali’  Russ sent me lots of Tihar pictures today so I will go through them all in full size, later. Usually I post pictures of Russ so today here is a picture of Rekha and Raju. Raju is home from Doha, Qatar, for the Tihar festival.


I don’t know who else does this but I always love to browse through my old blogs and see how my life changes. What has happened to blogging anyway?  I guess it was just another passing phase. Now everything seems to be Tweets and whatsapp but I don’t have apps and don’t even use a smartphone. I’ve resisted the temptation to carry one so far although a few years ago I went to Castlepoint and spent a lot of money on a new smartphone. I hadn’t realised how often we need to recharge the things and once home in Kathmandu, I quickly lost all interest in spite of all the efforts from the family. My smartphone spent most of the time with a flat battery in a drawer somewhere.  Kumar resurrected it and still uses it to this day. He needs two for his daily life.  I am using a cheap but good Alcatel mobile with a large clear monitor which is great for checking the time when I wake up during the night. I have to sleep and wake up at all weird times these days because of  business. This morning is exceptional for me because I have no urgent work to do and I just love the feeling of having so much free time. Well that’s why I’m here in WordPress instead of rushing around from laptop to laptop.  Well I was busier earlier when I first woke up and found myself replying to messages from Brazil, Italy and Morocco but that didn’t take me long and now I have an hour or so to do as I want.

Throughout my life I’ve always been terrified of death but these days I am coming to terms with the fact that everybody must die. Death is just a part of life.  When we get to my age we never know how many days we have left on this earth. The most difficult thing is trying to discuss death with our close ones. There are so many things to do in preparation and people don’t seem able to discuss the matter but just say things like ‘you have many years left in you yet’ or maybe ‘shut up and don’t be so depressing’.  But there are many things to do, knowledge to pass on, wills to update, legalities to take care of.  For sure I am far from ready to pass into the unknown but I do believe that people should straighten out their affairs so their heirs should not be left in chaos when the time comes. I find this a terribly difficult subject to discuss with people but it needs to be discussed.

This morning I was remembering an old friend of mine called Paddy.  Paddy was quite a character. I was actually his boss but you would never know it.  We were great friends. Paddy was quite gone over a French au pair called Marie-Therese but she already had somebody back in France and Paddy had to give up his aspirations about her.  I drove over to Ascot several times with Paddy where we met Marie-Therese and Stephanie and had good times.  I also remembered a time when I rented a boat for the day on the River Thames. It was a hot sunny day and we played Cilla Black’s  ‘You’re My World’ on my transistor radio. We were joined by one of my friends from San Sebastian or Bilbao or somewhere like that. I met her in Tenerife many years later but she had changed into a bitter old lady with a sharp tongue. I’d upset her somehow so she wasn’t talking to me by the time I left Tenerife.  I was trying to remember her name this morning. Something like Anita or Annie. It’s a long time and my memory isn’t what it was.  I remembered going to France with my old friend Martin,  my girlfriend at the time (Georgina) and a frigid girl called Terry.  Martin liked her but she was not interested.  I think there were just four of us. That day we all had hangovers after an all night party. I was the driver. We had a great day but it was marred by too much alcohol the night before. I sure couldn’t keep that pace these days.  I remembered my cousin Frank and when we waited on Gambir Station in Jakarta, for the train to Bandung. I grew up with Frank around and he is superb company and a perfect easygoing travelling companion. We backpacked to the UAE, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia, Bali, Malaysia and Thailand together. I was young and fit then. I hate growing old. He retired to Thailand and married Darunee, a property developer in Chiang Rai.  We are in frequent contact.  I must look up Paddy to see how he’s doing these days. I have no idea how we managed to lose contact but it shouldn’t have happened. Sometimes it’s great fun to sit with free time and reminisce.

I think I’ll take a siesta for a couple of hours. It’s now mid afternoon and I dug my blog out of drafts before it got forgotten. I have two friends from Cheltenham Spa in the UK arriving by car after midnight tonight.  I need a siesta so I won’t fall asleep late tonight. I’ll probably have a glass of wine with Kumar about midnight, when he gets back from work

Yes, time goes by.  And by.  Endless wonderful memories

Feeling happy and sad this morning

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Flocky Kukur Tihar 2017

Today is Kukur Tikka when all dogs get worshipped in Kathmandu. They also have a super meal which most humans would love to have. I’ve just received several pictures of Flocky from Russ in Kathmandu. Well I’ve been hoping to get some for the past few days. It’s terrific to get the pictures but at the same time I’m sad because I cannot be there. I’m missing all the family and Flocky terribly.

I’m well but very busy as usual. Business is booming and it keeps me busy from early morning till evening and sometimes even till after two o’clock in the morning.

Best one of Flocky. Kukur Tihar 2017

Happy Tihar to anybody and everybody and especially to all the family and Pooja in Lodz.

World Travel Awards in St Petersburg. Portugal gets ‘Oscar’ for best destination in Europe

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Downtown Lisbon with Cacilhas across the river

You see the brightly lit port across the river  (in the left of the picture) ? That’s where I live. Not right in the port of course but just ten minutes walk from the riverside.  Can you see the huge shining white statue near the beautiful red bridge ? That is the famous Cristo Rei statue from where we can have the best views in the Lisbon area.

So in the prestigious World Travel awards in Leningrad, Portugal has won the title of Best European Destination. I guess it’s because I live here. But people just love this country and I’m no exception. The people, the food, the culture, the cost of living; it is a terrific country. It’s a shame they put onions in everything though.

The days are zooming past and I’m really busy almost all the time.  I don’t know where my time goes. Our business is incredible and I had no idea we would be so successful. I’m trying to repaint the entrance hall but each time I start, something happens and I have to stop my work. Maybe I will try again tomorrow when Kumar will be home all day to cook lunch and help me out generally.

I hope all my readers will have a pleasant weekend.

Greetings from sundrenched Lisbon. A blog specially for Mariza Dos Santos in Sao Paulo.

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Leo & Celia at Cristo Rei (near my home)

Pooja, I’m not trying to make you jealous with my subject line. But we really are sundrenched.

In this picture you can see two of my friends from Brazil, Leo and Celia. They are staying in my home for a few days and I think they are enjoying Lisbon. That place is called Cristo Rei (Christ The King). It’s a thirty minute walk from my home and offers some magnificent views of Lisbon, The bridge and the estuary where it opens into The Atlantic Ocean.

Here they are again in the city centre, across the river.  I want to send this blog to their Mum in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  I hope Google does the correct translation.

Leo & Celia in Lisboa

Everybody is welcome to visit us here in Lisbon but only two people maximum at a time, please. Lisbon is now the ‘in’ city of Europe and everybody seems to have a wonderful time here.

20 more questions copied from Pedro

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Computer desk in twin bedded room

This picture was taken after I had cleaned the windows. They are not always that clean.

These questions are by courtesy of Pedro Fernandes. Some of them are only for Portuguese people but I will answer what I can.

01.   Have you ever gone on a diet ?

Yes I have, three times I think. The first two were successful but short lasting. The third one is long lasting and I’ve lost 16 kilos in the past year. It’s horribly difficult but I’m good at it now, I think.

02.    Name three of your successes in life.

I have always been successful with business, including our present business which has gone up like a rocket.  Now we must work hard on a new venture of Kumar’s. Fingers crossed. When Luma and other family members get here, they will all be assigned jobs hahaha.

03.     Porto or Lisboa ?

I can’t answer this one except to say that I live in Lisboa and I’ve not yet been up to Porto.

04.    Name three of my failures.

Oh wow this is difficult and I’d need to search my memory banks because I can’t think of much. I don’t think I’ll answer this one.

05.    Do  you recycle your waste ?

I recycle everything I can. Scrupulously.

06.   Right or left handed ?

I’m right handed but my handwriting is disgusting these days due to so many years of using keyboards.

07.    Name three of your favourite movies.

God’s Army 2

A Good Year

The Holiday

Well I have so many favourite movies in addition to these.

08.    Are you 100% honest with these answers ?

Well very few people are 100% honest but yes, all these answers are 100% honest

09.    Do you have the latest iphone ?

No, and I’ve no intention of buying one. I am not a mobile phone person but I am totally addicted to my laptop.

10.    Name three of your biggest disappointments in life

There have been several but the three which come to my mind first are :-

a.  Many years ago I gave a ‘friend’ a lot of help over a two year period to get to the UK and start a new life in Bournemouth, only to later discover that the person was a total fake, using me to the full.  I was quickly cast aside when the person achieved his ambitions. I haven’t heard from the person in years and that says it all.

b.   I failed my GCE O level in Art after I thought I had done brilliantly in that exam. I still can’t understand it.

c.    I was bitterly disappointed many years ago when I discovered that a business partner was stealing money. That was the beginning of the end of an otherwise great business relationship. I won’t go into names because there are still relatives to consider.

11.    Do you try the lottery ?

Not these days. I’ve so many things to do and to think about. I used to buy tickets regularly and won dozens of minor prizes that weren’t worth the bother.

12.    What news has shocked you recently ?

a.  North Korea playing incredibly dangerous games and risking a nuclear war.

b.  A Nepalese man stabbed another Nepali to death in the city centre a few days ago. He also injured another Nepali with his knife.

13.    What about Madonna living in Lisbon ?

Uh ? I hadn’t heard. Everybody seems to be moving to Lisbon these days. Everybody loves Lisbon. And Portuguese people are super nice. I wish people were as nice in the UK.

14.    Do you support bullfighting ?

I am disgusted by it.  I am disgusted by anybody who kills or hunts for pleasure. Many say they are hunting for food but I think we all know that they get a big kick out of killing animals.

15.    What about Antonio Costa ?

I don’t have an opinion and I wouldn’t write it anyway. I don’t get involved at all with politics here in Portugal.

16.    Have you ever stolen anything ?

Yes I have when I was young. Now I wouldn’t consider it.

17.    Name three things which traumatized you as a child.

a.   My mother died when I was 15 and at a time when I had very bad relations with my father.  I left home and went to live with my grandparents.

b.   My father once hit me on the head so hard that I saw stars and almost passed out on the shed floor. He had given me something far too heavy for me to carry and I spilled the kerosene on the floor. It wasn’t my fault. There seemed nobody to turn to at the time. Later in life I had excellent relations with my Dad who seemed to have changed completely.

c.  I was in an accident where somebody got killed. It’s a bit hard to talk about this one.

18.  Should Portugal remain in the EU ?

I’ve no idea. Would it be called Prexit ?

19.    Do you give your seat to elderly people or people with disabilities ?

Hahaha, people give their seats to me all the time here because I am elderly and I have a disability. Portuguese people are wonderful in this respect. The way it used to be in the UK.  This has to be one of the best places to live in the world. Except for the heat.

20.   Are you proud to be Portuguese ?

Maybe one day but right now I’m still a British citizen. Yes I would be proud to be a Portuguese. A lot of really great people in this country.

I don’t have time to edit this for mistakes. I’ll try to do it in the coming days/