Pete’s marvellous adventures

This blog come courtesy of Pete who has been left to his own devices in Portugal whilst Chris and I have been having fun (and sorting dull stuff) in England…. 

The World According to Pete…

Pete has been a fair way up the river and then down again, mainly in short hops when wind and tide coincide suitably. The tides are very strong at the moment but it’s not too much of a problem as it’s fairly easy to find somewhere to anchor.

There are lots of boats around now, so plenty of people to meet, though it’s also very easy to slip away and find a different anchorage with only a couple of boats or houses in sight.

There are a lot of English and Dutch people living ashore as well, on both sides of the river. In Spain, Pete had a lovely time visiting Peter and Rozy, who’d kindly invited him and Chris in for coffee a couple of weeks ago, and their son Nigel. Peter and Nigel kindly took me with them on an expedition to the Rio Tinto mines, where mining had been carried out by the Romans, Spanish, British (well, British bossing the Spanish around) and eventually multinational firms for 5000 years or so, up until 2002.
It’s an incredible place – the local geology that’s been exploited is fascinating, and the more recent open-cast workings are staggering in their scale. The rock is so rich in minerals that the Rio Tinto itself (pictured) is naturally (since well before larges-scale mining) red and acid (ph2.2), while the Rio Odiel is yellow. NASA and a Spanish agency have been studying the area to figure out how best to hunt for life on Mars, and have tested their little robots in one of the excavations they visited.
 On the Portuguese side, Pete found what might be the smallest blue-flag beach in the world in the village of Alcoutim – but there’s decent room for swimming, golden sand and thatched parasols – it’s a great place to go on a hot afternoon, especially when he’d been doing work on the boat in the morning. But enough of the w-word…

Alcoutim beach - Pete kicking water in the air to distract from the way he really doesn't tan very well

Some of the sailing has been fantastic, especially coming back down the river over a couple of days in company with a couple of other boats. This was great fun, especially at some of the more awkward bends where the wind changes direction suddenly – a bit like watching the skier in front of you hit some ice…
 Pete just made it to the bottom before the wind died and the tide turned, albeit somewhat late for the ‘rapid painting’ event he was aiming for in Vila Real de Santo Antonio. He had to complete his picture especially fast having arrived several hours late with less than two hours to go. He was pretty happy with it, and especially glad that he’d succeeded in obliterating all pointers to the origins of the ‘paint by numbers’ canvas he’d hurriedly obtained in a local tat shop.
Afterwards the 40 or 50 or so painters seemed to all pick up their work and head off in the same direction, accompanied by 30-40 or so supporters. Pete decided to follow suit and was very glad he had when everybody filed into a local restaurant, propped their canvases up around the walls, and were treated to a delicious three-course meal. Conversation was a little difficult but entertaining, especially about half an hour in when it turned out the people he’d been conversing with in hesitant Portuguese were in fact Spanish. Oops.

The post painting party and Pete's efforts

 Pete’s not sure on the next move yet, probably a bit of a rest and then either more sailing on the river or a short hop or two along the coast.

View of the Rio Tinto from the steam train (choo! choo!)

 Back to Caroline….

Chris has been getting stressed with World Sim again this week, trying to sort out getting us another Sim card with the same number as we had before.  World Sim are number one in Chris’ most hated companies because they are infuriatingly slow at doing anything, and even then they may not do it correctly.  Added to this is the fact that he has had to tell the same story to about 100 people (all called David incidentally)  because they do not log calls…It’s soooo annoying. 

Meanwhile in the list of the best companies in the world I must sing the praises of Henri Lloyd (Darling…) who kindly took back my waterproof that had worn a little during all the use it has had, and replaced it with a brand new one saying “we’re very sorry but we had to replace it with the new season’s jacket I’m that ok?” !!  Well, yes….why wouldn’t it be you wonderful people…

Henri Lloyd now join the list which also features Baltic who made our lifejackets and very nicely sent us some new re-arming kits.

Anyway, it hasn’t been all sorting out things and tidying up.  Despite the big projects of tidying up and freecycling lots of stuff – well done Chris for waving goodbye to a lot of things vowing that he will be more careful around skips in future 😉  we have managed to have some fun in England. 

Kirsty and Rich’s wedding was lovely…Kirsty, you looked wonderful and the party was excellent.  As always the McGills did us proud with the food!  Thank you. 

Chris and I have had some relaxation time before we head back to Portugal on Tuesday, enjoying a couple of mini-breaks in Midhurst and the New Forest.  I for one have got used to having considerably more space than we have on the boat so it might take a bit of getting used to again to adapt to 3 of us all being there together again.

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