Ring out the old ring in the new. What a difference one non-descript day presumes to make. Suddenly we all want to resolve to do something; do more exercise, eat less chocolate, drink less wine (that’s mine). But it is easy to commit to resolutions from the depths of a sofa, wine glass in one hand, chocolate in the other. When, on the first Monday back at work, we have to drive through the sheets of rain (yes, the rain is back with a vengeance) over potholes down the darkening streets, desperately searching for a parking place. Then venture forth to get bashed around by blustery, wet gales as we struggle to cross the road and run for cover, umbrella whipped inside out. Suffice to say that our daily quest to get to and fro from work here in the north of Portugal is sufficient to make us think of returning home, sinking into that sofa, savouring a slice of Terry’s chocolate orange and uncorking a bottle.How long did it take for resolve to disappear? 3 days?
Not that I didn’t have a good break. Actually it was more like a retreat because my household transformed into little Britain over Christmas, apart from a quick foray out into the land of boiled codfish on Christmas Eve, washed down with some good wine whilst cleverly avoiding the offers of Pão de lô (dryish sponge cake), Bolo Rei (dryish sort of fruit cake/bun) and Rabanadas (type of cold French toast). You guessed, Portuguese Christmas fare is not on my list of favourites. Christmas day however was a haven of roast turkey and all the trimmings, Christmas crackers, Christmas pud with brandy sauce (made by mum), sherry trifle (made by dad) and boxes of milk tray and after eight in front of the telly.
We played Cranium and Scrabble in front of the fire, cracked nuts, had slices of Christmas cake with our cups of tea (made by mum) and followed it up with a Boxing day feast of roast ham and pineapple, more crackers, more of the same. We even carried the party over a little longer till the Friday so the weekend was actually a welcome break. Parents went back home and we had a spicy Mexican just for the hell of it and flopped around recovering.
New Year’s Eve was dressing up for party time at a local Italian Restaurant and then the year began with a champagne hang over and a Google search for the best 2014 horoscope predictions (by best I mean the one that appealed to me most). The rest of the week entailed a mad rush to get the car serviced, MOT’d and taxed before work started up again. But somehow it didn’t quite feel like it was all over till work started.
So, here we are on the merry wheel of 2014 and what has damp Guimarães got to offer after my festive retreat? The national ballet Company will perform this month but the thought of going out in a downpour is daunting. I may have to host a dinner party to ease the back to work gloom a little, but an evening of eating and drinking is not that tempting after the festive excesses. Now all the Christmas lights are down and the rain continues to dampen everything, I think my only option is to have a good grump.
Maybe I should resolve to be less grumpy?
Christine lives half way up a hill overlooking the historic town of Guimarães the birthplace of Portugal. Although Christine has lived in Portugal for most of her life she is still a Brit at heart.
Until recently Christine ran a trading office working with top high street fashion names like John Lewis, Henry Holland and Ted Baker (where she also managed the production in Portugal for a number years). She now works at the British Council teaching part time, works freelance as a translator and, in between, writes.
To connect with Christine via Twitter and Linked in and find links to her e book and other written work visit her "about me"".