Friday, 18 August 2017

Old Country, New Beginning - Part 1

April 9 - D Day

The last week's wait since Miss P left, took me back to my childhood. Then, the anticipation of a special event would turn into an unbearable wait, and time slowed down to a total standstill, only to flash by once there.

I boarded flight TP363 to Lisbon.

Lisbon - Docas by the bridge, a great place to enjoy lunch

Bacalhau (salted cod) is not just the preferred local fish, it is a national obsession. I'm happy with that.

Lisbon glowing at night. This first night's dinner was drowned by copious amounts of local wine. When in Portugal, it is almost impossible to pick the wrong wine from the menu. I'm yet to find a wine that does not please my palate. No, I don't have a problem with my aged taste buds!

Shaun joined us for a few days. He is particularly fond of the food, the wine, the beer, the weather, the city, the people... he will return.

My gorgeous granddaughter's first trip abroad! Visiting grandad's old stomping ground! How sweet is that?

Family breakfast at the Sana Lisboa Hotel with Katie and Scott

Street entertainment in Avenida Da Liberdade, one my favourite streets in Lisbon. This particular band, Trio Cadmira +1 are a great funk covers band

We headed north to the ancient walled town of Óbidos

where Miss P got into the GoT groove...

and the view from the restaurant of Pousada do Castelo Hotel added to the experience of days gone by.

From Óbidos we drove north to Portugal's second city, Porto, home of the world-famous fortified wine of the 
same name

While in the Porto region we visited vineyards...

 in the beautifully sculpted Douro valley...

and went to see Roberto Carlos in concert while in Porto. The famous Brazilian crooner, one of the greatest singer/songwriters ever ( 62 albums so far)  put on a brilliant show.

Porto is also home to the Lello bookshop, where J K Rowling found inspiration for her Harry Potter stories

The Lello Bookshop

The above took place during April 2017. The next blog will continue the  4 month journey thorough Central and Southern Portugal, Madeira Island, France and Brazil. 

Ciao for now

Sunday, 2 April 2017

To A New Beginning

It's good to be back!

Presently my life is undergoing a momentous change of direction, and it's nothing to do with the uncertainties brought about by Brexit or the Orange Leader's petulant intent to start WWIII.

It is all to do with the forthcoming 2-3 months of travelling with Miss P,  followed by a two year Music Academy Degree course, starting in September.

To say I'm simply 'excited' about the future is an injustice to feelings. I am f*%^ing over-the-moon!

While away from this page (18 months) my family increased with the addition of 2 more grand-children to join little Zack; they are Seth and Isabeau.

They are the cutest and sweetest babies ever, and I'm not saying it because they're my grandchildren. They just are.

Meanwhile, I've been busy working and recording music in preparation for the oncoming academy course, and even found time to play a gig at my local pub for friends and family.

My first gig back in the UK went well

Big bro was there to lend a hand with his sublime harmonies

I intend to post frequent reports of our travels as I want to keep a diary of what promises to be a trip of a life-time.

I will be in sunny climes, travelling and writing songs. Terrible hard work, I know, but someone's got to do it !

A sight-seeing journey interspersed with music, in the company of my beloved Miss P. Yessss!

We will spend half the time in Lisbon

Oh, I nearly forgot to mention the new addition to the household!

CherryBot is being taught by Miss P to interact with us. Not exactly the pet cat I wanted'll have to do for now. At least we don't need to ask the neighbour to feed her while we're away and the place doesn't smell of cat-tray :)

CherryBot is as cute as she is clever

The journey starts next weekend.

Ciao for now!

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Nothing Has Changed...

...yet everything is different!

It's been a while since my last post. But I'm back!

I've been busy working, travelling and moving home. I have also met and fallen in love with a wonderful girl who loves travelling AND music!

We have visited Ireland twice and Madeira Island once in the past five months! And there are plans for more trips before the year is over.

We have just returned from Madeira, on a week-long trip to celebrate my birthday but also to introduce Miss P to this most exquisite and romantic island. It was also a journey back in time for me; an emotional home coming.

 After two and a half years away from paradise I am happy to report the island looks lovelier than ever.

The city of Funchal is most welcoming to all who visit. It is well organised and business is booming.

So pristine and sweet I'd call it 'civic eye-candy'

While visiting the town of Machico I saw my old boat, the Bonança, looking grand and not a day older than when I sold her.

The Casino Park Hotel offered unrivalled friendly service and even remembered my birthday. A bottle of bubbly and some fancy towel display on our bed made my day that little bit more special.

We visited Moynihan's Irish Pub - my home gig for many years - to hear DD (my talented nephew) play. He invited me on stage to sing a couple and it was just like the old days.

I joined a Warm-Up jam session Monday night and had a fab time.



...and more music...

...eating and drinking...

...drinking and socialising...

...interspersed with  the occasional road trip and sight-seeing...

...Machico - one of a dozen or so pretty towns scattered around Madeira's coastline...

...made this visit with Miss P an absolute pleasure.

On Madeira's highest peak, Pico Do Arieiro, with love, reminded me again why I feel on top of the world.

What a difference a couple of years make!


Sunday, 17 May 2015

To The World, With Love

Our precious planet is unique, at least as far as the solar system is concerned.

It is home to countless life forms and varied awe-inspiring geological compositions.

Selfless and without ulterior motives, Earth bestows all its precious gifts without asking for recompense.

Powerful, yet gentle enough to be susceptible to the actions and negative impact caused primarily by its human guests.

And just as a million matches can be produced from a mighty oak but it takes only a single match to destroy a million mitghy oaks...

..every one of us has the capacity to inflict serious, irreparable damage to our beautiful world.

Our capacity to alter and deface Mother Nature's most wonderful master-piece...

...can only be matched by our capacity and desire to enhance it.

Let us ensure our short presence here serves only to beautify the home of future generations.

Let us ensure our brief voyage through this magical kingdom leaves nothing but a positive legacy of our history, engraved only with delicate foot-prints.

Let us care less for the mythical perceived creator of this vibrant planet...

...and care more for the needs and wellbeing of this very real, powerful-yet-fragile, miracle of Nature.

Wishing all the guardians of Earth a lovely weekend 


Monday, 11 May 2015

Weekend To Remember

I will start by retracting some but not all of the criticism directed at online dating in my previous post.

It appears I wasn't the only one trying out Zoosk purely for research and curiosity reasons.

A delightful person responded to one of my messages!

And we have met, several times! this space :)

Yes, I can honestly say I am surprised and bewildered to have found a genuine sparkling gem in what at first seemed to be a dubious market place stocked with unlabelled goods.

I must desist from the annoying habit of jumping to premature conclusions!

On an equally cheerful note, I announce another extremely pleasant experience that happened Saturday night ( no, not that  -_- ) in Basingstoke.

I was at the New Inn pub with pals (and my delightful new-found gem) to listen to my friend Lisandra playing her live gig. 

I was called up to do a song (something I love doing) and then returned to my table, humbly acknowledging the applause (something I love even more) when an unknown chap in the crowd approached me, shook me by the hand and introduced himself as Ralph.

He knew my name and informed me of how much he loves my blog!

Ralph went on to tell me how he is also thinking of starting a blog and reads mine for inspiration.

Thank you Ralph. You will succeed !

I don't know if all these wonderful surprises are actually good for my health but I'm sure as hell not about to start complaining.

A special thanks and huge hug to Lisandra. 

A heartfelt thank-you to my beloved friends Claudia and Marco, for their enduring friendship, boundless love and selfless hospitality. And also for accepting my precious new friend, with their customary charm and open arms.

And last but not least, thank you, sweet P, for making me tremble in anticipation of our next encounter <3