Sunday, December 27, 2009


I see that the last time I posted a blog was in June. IN JUNE! Where has the other half of the year gone?

It’s said that when one reaches a certain age, the 24 hours in the 365 days that make up a calendar year somehow accelerate and therefore the years actually pass more quickly. There must be something in this. When I was little, the twelve months between Christmas Day seemed more like twelve years, and as for the summer holidays…well, when they actually arrived, the six weeks went on for ever. They were also permanently hot, with cloudless blue skies. What tricks our memories play on us!

But this is even worse. I haven’t just lost a few weeks… I’ve lost half of a whole year.

I do have an excuse …. a limp one, I have to say. I’ve been busy. That’s another memory recall. My Mum was always ‘busy’. Unlike modern mums she didn’t have to multi-task. She wasn’t running a major corporation, and then coming home to a partner (who was running another major corporation), six children, two dogs, several ponies and a housekeeper with a drink problem. No, my Mum didn’t seem to have much to do - except to run a home, with no modern conveniences apart from a Ewbank carpet sweeper. Maybe her annual hour allowance was accelerating too. So that accounted for her ‘busy-ness’.

My being ‘busy’ takes a different form. Being busy for me means several weeks-worth of dust piling quietly up on the furniture; cobwebs strung across the beams and radiating from the picture frames (conveniently disguised for the next twelve days by sprigs of holly and swathes of ivy) and un-ironed clothes spilling from the wash basket. Being busy for me, takes the form of several hours a day staring at a laptop screen, trawling websites for obscure information, and translating it into something worth reading.

Another old adage, like time speeding up with every increasing year, is that it never rains, but it pours. And writing wise I’ve had a bit of a deluge. Not that I’m complaining. Far from it, the extra income is very welcome in this present climate and the kudos is even better. I’ve even managed to crack the elusive UK magazine market, and in job satisfaction, that is worth a hundred web articles.

My Opus Magnum has been writing the content for a new property website which will be on line soon. So I’ve spent the last three months travelling the highways and byways of Portugal (via the flying Googlemobile ). I thought I knew the country pretty well, but I’ve un-earthed some fascinatingly obscure information in my searches.

For instance … did you know there is a town in Central Portugal renowned for leitão assado or roast suckling pig? So renown, that the streets are lined with restaurants serving nothing else? If you’re a vegetarian, or of a squeamish disposition, I would urge you to take a detour around Mealhada.

And did you know that the Casa das Obras, in nearby Seia was the headquarters of the Duke of Wellington during the Peninsular War? Seia is also home to Portugal’s National Bread Museum. Remember that one; it may crop up in a pub quiz one night.