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?So why all this doom and gloom you may well ask?
Apparently new satellites are being launched and once fully operational viewers in some areas of mainland Europe may/will lose reception of English TV. You can view the map here and decide for yourself.
Ho hum, looks like many of us in the Algarve will certainly be for the chop and as for the rest of Portugal time will tell…
When we first heard the news I thought it was a bad joke blown out of proportion by the usual ‘expat rumour mill’, and my attitude was very much “It’s out of our control, let’s wait and see”. However when they launched the first replacement satellite and we lost the first batch of channels, as predicted, the expat rumour mill, on this occasion, proved to be correct. Satellite dish techies had a Pow Wow and reported they were even unable to obtain the lost channels on larger dishes.
So as I listen to the dulcet tones of English TV in the background I wonder how some expats will fill their days and evenings once the TV Goddess is no more. No Soaps such as Coronation Street or East Enders, no English news so we can shout at the politicians, no quiz shows such as Pointless and Eggheads…nothing. Not even the Queen’s speech on Christmas day!
When I told a couple of friends about the imminent loss of English TV they looked at me as though I was barking mad. (What’s new?)
“Come on you’re joking,” they said looking at me in disbelief followed by horror as they considered the full impact of life without English TV.
“No, I wish I were.”
“But how will I survive without Corrie and Strictly?” said one.
“And what about footie?” said the other, looking at me completely lost as though I had just taken his ball away.
I responded with a typical Portuguese shrug. What else could I say?
Personally, I do not feel passionate about the impending loss of English TV so my world will continue to rotate around its own axis as it has always done because I have a host of hobbies and interests to keep me occupied. I enjoying blogging, reading and I’m now writing my first novel which is extremely time-consuming. I am also an enthusiastic gardener and love cooking, oh yes and painting when I have time. In fact, if I had a twenty six hour day I could probably fill my waking hours quite comfortably.
But what about people who do not have an existing range of hobbies and interests to draw on? There are no evening classes here, unlike the UK, to master new hobbies such as marquetry or woodwork, cookery courses or even crochet for example. Well not in English, and if there are I have never seen them advertised. Yes, there are painting and photography classes, but they tend to be rather expensive if you’re an expat on a limited income.
What will you do on long winter evenings to alleviate the boredom? Hit the local bars? Play board games or cards? Fire up the Wii or take up a new hobby?
However, I do feel sympathy for those who rely on the TV as their main source of entertainment so maybe Portuguese TV is worth revisiting. Personally I even found children’s programs such as “Bob the Builder” challenging while Game shows and Brazilian Soaps made no sense at all. And if I am brutally honest they were not exactly riveting and the acting was dire. Hoping Meo would offer a solution however, I discovered they broadcast very few English programs. So back to the drawing board as they say.
How do you feel about living in Portugal without the comfort of English TV?
Are you a telly addict?
Don’t care either way?
Never watch English TV?
Please share your views in the comments below.
Read Piglet's other Expat Focus articles here