We are nearing the end of our latest stay in Albufeira, Portugal. This has probably been the best stay we have had here. We’ve met new friends, discovered new drinking haunts (Tunes bar, in particular The New TUNES BAR) and enjoyed some fantastic weather.
One of the best things about living in Portugal for me, is a very relaxed, informal and positive approach to life. No one has anything to speak of, but then no one really seems to want things in the way that people do back in England. When we first arrived we went to our favourite restaurant, O’Manjar, on one of the back streets. The first question that the waiter always asks is “Are you well?” Closely followed by “Are your family well?” The final question is “Are you happy?” These three things are all that matter; not wealth, nor possessions, but to be well enough to enjoy life and share it with your loved ones. These simple things seem to have got lost somewhere in the chaos that is life in Britain – always striving for something more, something better. This way of life is far more suited to me, from the simplicity of the food that is cooked and the time people take to enjoy the simple things in life. There is no need to rush, there is no need to be stressed, life will be what it is. I must try to remember this and hold on to it when we return to Bristol next week.
I have also learned about cake. Wedding cake. I made a cake for the marriage of two friends here in Portugal. The wedding was stunning, held on their private terrace. It was a real pleasure to have been invited to take part in their day. I believe it was a beautiful cake. I can only believe this, because by the time I had completed it I was no longer able to
see clearly whether or not it was beautiful – I just saw the hours of tiny flowers and the trauma that had go
ne into making it. I realised that as with other crafts, I do appear to have a natural talent for decorating cakes, however, I was nowhere near as confident in my abilities to do it well. On top of that, there is a definite time element. There is no unpicking, or fixing, or going back a row. It’s either right – or it’s wrong. And if it’s wrong, it’s very wrong and you have to make the whole thing again. And you only have a small window of opportunity if you want to deliver fresh cakes. Luckily, none of the problems were that bad, but I did have to buy a broom handle in order to complete the icing. The cake was adored by all; it received many compliments, but I think it’s going to have to be a ‘one-hit-wonder’. I think I’ll stick to smaller scale baking and the odd birthday cake in the future.