The butterfly effect. Again…

There are an infinite number of possible paths that may have led to every moment in your life but they all somehow get to the same point. Much like how you always end up with a jumbo set of neon coloured freezer bag clips in your man bag whenever you come home from Ikea no matter which convoluted path round the big blue and yellow shop you take. Some call this fate or destiny some dwell upon the mysteries of Karma others just call it dumb fucking luck. Continue reading “The butterfly effect. Again…”

I f**king hate pikeys


Living in the foothills of the Serra de Estrella in central Portugal is supposed to be an idyllic existence – stunning picture postcard scenery, perfect weather all enhanced by friendly and convivial neighbours. Aging donkeys retiring peacefully by the river, toothless old crones carrying bags of washing on their heads. Just the sound of birds in the trees, the river bubbling through the granite rocks and an old peasant man hacking up some phlegm on his way to market.

What I’ve experienced over the last 20 years certainly has included all of these elements but there are many other bitter tasting ingredients to spoil the taste of this delicious metaphor pie. I won’t get started on the hideous mouldy concrete building developments marring the countryside or the fact that it pisses down with rain for half of the year. I’ll stick to the continual theft of my belongings I’ve suffered whilst living here.

The most recent happened a few days ago whilst we were slumbering beneath a full and shining moon. Some thieving Gypsy bastards relieved my truck of a pair of brand new batteries. A relatively small haul but added to the several thousand euros worth of property that has already been stolen from me it begins to smart a tad. So the security upgrade will continue – more fences and gates. Cameras and alarms. It all just takes the shine away from this supposedly lustrous life.

I discussed the issue with my exceedingly wise mother:

“…maybe you could attach live electricity wires to the truck?”

“…a good idea Ma. But it would be terribly inconvenient to find a smouldering pikey stuck to it in the morning…”

Maybe we’ll just move to Hackney instead.

I didn’t surf today.

Portugal surf report, Cabedelo…

oops wrong turn

…I haven’t surfed at Cabedelo (Figueira de Foz) in a while. My lack of inertia since the winter months has been tough to shake and so has the additional layer of insulation I’ve been cultivating. The waves there are a bit punchier than most around the Peniche area so you need to be pretty fit to make the most of the better days. I timed the paddle out beautifully, the rip whisking me out back in a few moments. A short paddle across the bay led me straight into a perfect left. It was surf-video perfect, a clean long range swell groomed by the light offshore wind lifting up over the banks at just over head high. I was in just the right spot and the wave lifted the back of the board and threw me down the face into a deep bottom turn. After making some good speed mid face I raked out one more bottom turn and then lifted up and over the closing lip. It was the first ‘real’ wave of the year for me. It left me grinning and shaking as I paddled back out to sea…

What followed was a series of humbling events that involved an unexpected, much bigger set. Some underwater time. Lots of flailing and floundering. Some more underwater time. A bit more flailing and finally some nice relaxing ‘down time’ on the beach with just me, my thoughts and my crushed and fragile ego for company.

After a while I stood up (manfully) strode back into the sea (again in a manly way) and then repeated the last paragraph (not quite so manly at this point).

At which point I decided to focus carefully on the first paragraph and strode casually to the car – grinning once again. I then ate a large chocolate cake and drove home. Perfect.

I surfed today. For about 8 seconds. Which sometimes is just enough…

The snail (incidentally) has absolutely nothing to do with anything but could be misconstrued as representing the above post. In a loose metaphorical way.

A glimpse of the real Portugal…

stone village above Lousã

…is still visible if you know where to look for it.

Progress has been marching through western Iberia like a premenstrual Croatian federation wrestler on her way through the chocolate aisle at Asda (Sidcup branch). Tarmac and concrete seem to be enveloping the countryside – new roads bringing prefabricated apartment blocks, supermarkets and petrol stations that spring up like Ikea wardrobes out of a box.

Of course some things seem welcome – who doesn’t want Häagen Daz close enough to home that it won’t melt on the journey back? Or roads that no longer pummel your suspension and tyres into the scrapyard on a jaunt to the Post Office? I love Heinz baked beans, mobile phone technology and electricity is quite good too…

…but the Portugal that I saw when I first came here, the Portugal that was taken to church behind a donkey or bartered for at the market for a bag of carrots and a chicken seems to have evaporated and been replaced with shiny new Seat Puntos and 50″ plasma TVs. I love the old Portugal and it is still out there – you just have to drive a little further into the hills.

I saw an interview on TV today asking an old man in a mountain village if they wanted a cashpoint machine in their village (ATM) and he replied – “we don’t use money – why would we want a bank…?”

I didn’t surf today.

You can take the girl out of the city…

Tango (grrr) at sunset

I was worried that Tango (grrr) would miss the dulcet tones of the Vancouver Fire Department blaring it’s way down West Broadway at ridiculous o’clock or the benign rantings of the local window-licker arguing Russian politics with a bus stop. A lifetime in the city is a powerful draw – midnight delicatessan runs, Malasian takeouts, theatre, film and cultural manifestations on every corner. Being plucked from it’s hectic but somehow nurturing arms can leave you confronted with a great deal of space and quiet that can only be filled by your own thoughts…

Tango is looking pretty darned fine in the country too.

I didn’t surf today. I was too busy gazing…