Monday 12 August 2013


After all the grim upheavals of the past couple of weeks (see previous blogs) it was good to get away for a week with the family in Portugal; the idea being to do as little as possible, in fact ideally nothing at all.

You may argue, "Why do you need a holiday? You don't actually do any work"!

True, but the week was for the Dark Lady who does work, and very hard too; out there in the harsh realities of the commercial world.

She needed the holiday and what with it being the summer, the step-children thought they deserved one too.

So it was to a villa in the Algarve we went. Armed with those things you need for a week doing nothing, nothing at all.

A mountain of luggage!

Every time we go away we have this discussion.  We are not on a polar expedition or attempting to find the source of The Nile. We are going to spend a week in a very comfortable, well-appointed villa thank you very much!

I would be spending 90% of that time in my swimming trunks. The other 10% (look away now if you are of nervous disposition........naked in bed or bath.)


So it was decided that we would share a suitcase and the children would pack what they needed in their own cases.

I did point out that I was only going to need three pairs of trousers, a pair of shorts, two pairs of trunks, seven pairs of pants, socks and about ten shirts.

I was outvoted.

The children rammed their cases with similar amounts of clothing and a number of electronic gadgets, without which no teenager’s life is worth living.

To the airport and breakfast.  

So far so good although by this time we had picked up another smaller suitcase with emergency clothes in. So that made four in total.

I shudder to think what we'd do if we had to go for a fortnight.


I took my phone and one of those crazy gizmos called a book.

We arrived at Faro airport after a flight which was so uneventful I dozed throughout

We then picked up a rather dented hire care with a rear windscreen wiper missing and covered in sun creamy handprints and headed off to find the villa.

DL had been given copious notes by the owner giving us a choice of routes; the faster route using toll roads or the scenic (cheaper) route.

We soon discovered we were heading towards the motorway and thought,

"Hang the expense we are on holiday".

We then managed to get lost.....

By the time we rediscovered the route we were back on the scenic (cheaper) route and we, (well I) breathed again.

The villa was excellent although it was a little out of the way.  

Eventually however it won't be…that is when they build some more apartments. Portugal is in the teeth of a recession and as the rest of Europe isn't faring much better. No one is building. So we were surrounded by scrub-land, a few other buildings, a lot of pavements and street lights that didn't light.

Just waiting to be finished.

So we got out the sun loungers by the pool and decided to get stuck in to doing nothing.

This involved a lot of TV and DVD watching, particularly by the children as there was a satellite system.

Remember you can travel nearly anywhere in the world and you need never miss Jeremy Kyle!

Once we arrived, the hard work began. Relaxing.  It's harder than it looks I discovered. I'm normally the sort of person that likes to be up and doing stuff on a vacation rather than sitting in the sun by the pool watching the world go by. (However the villa was so peaceful the world wasn't going anywhere).

The children busied themselves doing nothing. I read my book and the Dark Lady relaxed by cooking and cleaning and tidying.

This led to a little tension.


"I am doing"


"I find this relaxing."


I think my passive aggressive behaviour wasn't actually helping in truth.  I just couldn't see how housework could be deemed "relaxing".

"I'm enjoying this in my own way....I find it therapeutic".



At that point I realised the matter was closed and I went back to my book.

My stepson Jamie and I took up scuba diving last year in Florida so we'd booked a couple of dives. This time the sea being much colder we had to don wetsuits. This involves contortions that a middle aged man should not be called upon to attempt.

We also had to go out in a far smaller craft called a ‘RIB’ (Rigid Inflatable Boat).  And there was the whole toppling over backwards into the water thingy, which was quite disorientating the first time not knowing which way was up. On top of this my mask leaked and I found it difficult to see.

We had a good time, however Jamie had trouble with his ears so we opted out of another days diving. Not such exotic fare as Florida; no sharks but we did see a pipefish. 

The second day there was an oily swell so even though I didn't succumb a few of the other divers decided to be sick over the side!

Meanwhile back at the villa the Dark Lady was a whirlwind of relaxation; cleaning, washing, cooking. It was exhausting to watch.  I read my book and occasionally cooled off in the pool waiting for the next culinary onslaught.

Apart from a couple of evenings out we stayed in and barbecued. We watched films and "House of Cards" together, it was pretty restful. The children, now 14 and 17 didn't feel it necessary to be at each others throats the whole time.  I think I was the one who was the most trouble. I'm going to have to relax about my adorable wife's desire to relax by being very busy doing stuff.

So from now on my angel, if you want to wait on me hand and foot, I'm not going to argue of it gives you pleasure.

"You couldn't get me a cold one from the fridge could you pet"?


"Oops sorry. Forgot. Holidays over".

Just unpacked the suitcase and discovered that we hardly wore any of the clothes we took with us.

Baby what a big surprise!


Martin Lower said...

I have a sister-in-law who describes ironing as a hobby!

Glad you enjoyed your hols, Dark Lord.

Jansparrot. said...

Packing,you only need three of the same items,one to wear,one as spare
and one in the wash. Shoes one pair of comfy walking shoes and one pair to go out at night in.
I can fit that lot in a large holdall.
Agree with the Dark Lady tidying things is therapeutic, you can let your mind relax and wander.
Pleased you all enjoyed your hol, pain coming back isn't it.