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Columnists > Piglet in Portugal

Piglet in Portugal
To discover more about life in Portugal visit Carole's blog Piglet in Portugal or follow her on Twitter where she tweets as @Portugalpiglet.

Piglet in Portugal

The Algarve Is Buzzing But Are The Residents?

Posted by: Carole on Friday August 21, 2015 (13:20:55)   (2210 Reads)
When buying a permanent residence in the Algarve, it may be an idea to consider the following points and minor irritations of living in a popular tourist destination during the high season.

Taking a vacation for a few weeks a year is not the same as living in a tourist hotspot. For most people it is a fun experience but for those who don't embrace the holiday spirit it can be hell on earth.

It’s August. School’s out and the tourists have arrived in their droves: all nationalities and all shapes and sizes.    more ...

Piglet in Portugal

Grandma Lives In The Computer

Posted by: Carole on Monday February 16, 2015 (03:27:22)   (3737 Reads)
When you move away from your family and friends to retire or work in another country your relocation plans were probably accompanied by a sense of adventure, and a desire to experience a new way of life.

However, if your relocation to foreign shores was a result of a career opportunity and you are a trailing spouse you probably had little choice, so I’m curious: when the feeling of elation subsided was this sense of adventure replaced by a heavy heart and a longing for your homeland, family and friends? What about grandparents – how did they feel?

For retirees who moved abroad while their children were still single and enjoying the highlife, grandchildren were probably just dim rays of hope like distant stars in the night sky.    more ...

Piglet in Portugal

Beach Pilates In Portugal

Posted by: Carole on Monday August 26, 2013 (01:30:57)   (41680 Reads)
Piglet in Portugal
There are many different exercise classes here in the Algarve including yoga, zumba, and aerobics, so whatever possessed me to join a pilates class? I asked myself as I lay on the beach, covered in sand and frizzling in the midday sun.

My friend, who introduced me to the class, was an excellent sales person. Although she convinced me pilates would “tighten my midriff and all my other dangly-bits”, I felt she just dragged me along to make up the numbers. If I went “AWOL” for even one class I usually received at least one email and/or telephone call demanding to know why I did not attend.

My bulging proportions also demanded I take action, however I am still not convinced all the pilates body-contorting exercises are actually conducive to my body shape. My legs and arms are too short and my stomach far too round.    more ...

Piglet in Portugal

Feira da Sopa - Or A Great Excuse For A 'Party' In Portugal

Posted by: Carole on Thursday March 07, 2013 (03:33:06)   (2759 Reads)
Piglet in Portugal
There are so many food fairs and festivals held throughout the year across Portugal, you are spoilt for choice. The Portuguese "celebrate" all types of foods from sardines, sausages and soup to perceves (goose neck barnacles) and sweet potatoes to name just a few. These events usually include entertainment such as music and dancing, and of course the wine flows freely so a great excuse for a party! In the spirit of adventure we decided to venture west to a soup fair (feira da sopa) in the village of Rogil.

The day of the "Feira da Sopa", dawned cold, damp and miserable. In fact, it was the sort of bleak February day where you could quite happily stayed at home curled up in front of a roaring log fire with a good book instead of traveling miles to visit a soup fair.    more ...

Piglet in Portugal

Social Integration

Posted by: Carole on Friday February 15, 2013 (03:15:17)   (3354 Reads)
Piglet in Portugal
When you move to another country where English is not the first language or there are religious and cultural differences these may create barriers to full social integration.

This does not apply to all expats, I hasten to add, however some people do struggle, and not always for want of trying. For example, a chance meeting may lead to other introductions and you soon have a circle of Portuguese friends. But what happens if due to lack of opportunity or language difficulties, you are unable to interact and are left on the outside looking in?    more ...

Piglet in Portugal

How Will You Survive In Portugal Without English TV?

Posted by: Carole on Sunday December 09, 2012 (02:12:29)   (4369 Reads)
Piglet in Portugal
As the Mayan calendar finishes one of its great cycles the end of the world, as we know it, is nigh.

According to Wikipedia “A New Age interpretation of this transition is that the date marks the start of time in which Earth and its inhabitants may undergo a positive physical or spiritual transformation, and that Dec. 21, 2012 may mark the beginning of a new era.”

Taking the ‘New Age’ interpretation I wonder if British Expats in Portugal will undergo a positive physical or spiritual transformation once English TV is no longer available. Will life as we know it ever be the same again? Will property prices slump, alcoholism rise along with prescriptions for anti-depressants? We may even see a mass exodus of expat ‘Telly’ addict’s hot-footing it back to good old Blighty. OK, it reads like a trailer promoting the movie “The end of the World as we know it in Portugal is nigh”. I am joking of course…but am I?    more ...

Piglet in Portugal

"Framily" For Friends in Need

Posted by: Carole on Tuesday October 23, 2012 (23:49:44)   (2308 Reads)
Piglet in Portugal
I’d never heard the term “Framily”, until recently when we encountered a problem and needed help.

One morning our car without any pre warning refused to start. There was not even a gurgle or splutter from the starter motor, just a deathly silence. We looked at each other in disbelief then panic. What on earth were we going to do? There was no way we could take it to the garage 8kms away and we did not know if mobile mechanics existed here, and if so, how did we contact them? And even if we knew of one would we be able to make ourselves understood on the telephone as not everyone speaks English. My Portuguese certainly did not stretch to discussing the finer points of cars and the workings (or not) of the engine! I’m sure some of you may have experienced this helpless-headless-chicken feeling before the logical survival instinct kicked in.    more ...

Piglet in Portugal

Some Like It Hot - But Not On Market Day In Portugal

Posted by: Carole on Friday August 31, 2012 (02:23:07)   (3665 Reads)
Piglet in Portugal
Market day in Portugal is always an interesting and colourful experience. Regardless of whether a gypsy or flea market I'm always keen to find a bargain as I meander from stall to stall inspecting the merchandise.

This week we ventured to a gypsy market as I needed to buy more lettuce and cucumber plugs (baby plants) for an autumn crop. I'd recently tried growing both from seed, but for some reason they’d failed to germinate. I hate to admit defeat; however time is now of the essence as my summer crops are coming to an end.

It was a stifling hot day with not a breath of air as the temperature soared into the high thirties. The midday sun beat down relentlessly, and such was the intense heat all but reduced me to a mere puddle on the ground. My eyeballs on fire I constantly removed my sunglasses as they “misted” up with the steam! Feeling frazzled, my initial enthusiasm for an amble round the market soon began to wane after only walking from the car park to the market.    more ...

Piglet in Portugal

Growing Fruit And Vegetables In My Urban Garden

Posted by: Carole on Sunday July 29, 2012 (15:56:54)   (6178 Reads)
Piglet in Portugal
Since retiring, one of the time-luxuries I now enjoy is indulging in my passion to grow my own fruit and vegetables. I’ll never be self-sufficient due to the limited space in my urban garden, but the rewards and sheer enjoyment of watching something grow then eating it far outweighs time and lack of return on investment.

I’d been relatively successful in the UK growing the usual suspects such as tomatoes, runner beans, onions, marrows and rhubarb. However, the only challenges faced other than lack of sun, too much rain or frost were greenfly and of course the pesky slugs and snails. Here in the Algarve I battle with angry salt winds from the Atlantic Ocean, high humidity, excessive heat, drought and an interesting selection of insects and critters that make my toes curl in terror. I’m convinced they are genetically modified, not only by their size but also in their grotesque appearance. The insects here also display an amazing resistance to both organic deterrents and then standard pesticides used in desperation.    more ...

Piglet in Portugal

The Mosquito Olympics

Posted by: Carole on Saturday June 23, 2012 (02:28:48)   (2436 Reads)
Piglet in Portugal
The forthcoming Olympics in the UK made me wonder if there should be an event dedicated to the pursuit of mosquitoes. The physical dexterity required to hunt them down when they are after your blood rivals many of the traditional sports!

How many times has the high pitch Zzzzzzz of a mosquito woken you from a deep sleep? And how many times have you lain motionless hardly daring to breathe as you listen for further evidence the high pitched Zzzzz was just a bad dream because you can’t be bothered to move? Of course, you know you will have to relent and hunt it down because you don’t want to be bitten alive! I hate these moments as it usually results in gymnastic feats as I jump around the room like a cat on hot coals as I track down the pesky little critter. Regardless of where you live Portugal, Spain or Timbuktu, mosquitoes can make life hell!    more ...

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