Enough of the glums, they are banished! And creative constipation can go hang because I’m determined to get this post out today – there’s a lot of catching up to do.
Spike Milligan (one of my all time favourite people) famously said ‘We haven’t got a plan so nothing can go wrong!’ and I have to say that I kind of agree with him. For that reason I’m loath to use the ‘p’ word in this post in case I put a jinx on things.Instead I shall talk about ideas – solid, concrete type ones. Irishman and I have had quite a few ‘ideas’ over the past few months about what we are going to do when our sojourn working in Jakarta finally comes to an end. At this moment in time it could be as soon as October, we just don’t know.
Spending the past two years in Indonesia has altered our perception and thinking. The big questions about where we want to be and want we want to do have become even bigger. It’s encouraged us to think more out of the box than maybe we did before; we’ve come to think of ourselves as global citizens rather than just a couple of ancient relics from the UK. Having cut our umbilical chord with the British Isles we could drop a pin almost anywhere in the world and it would feel like home.
All in all it’s been an extraordinary life-changing adventure and until a month or so ago we had thought of staying in Indonesia permanently albeit not in Jakarta, or even Bali. Our idea was to go and live on a remote island and build a home of sorts out of recycled wood parts and bamboo. I’ve watched so many You tube films on how to build a compost toilet and outside shower that I’m pretty sure that I could now make them in my sleep. A whacky, Robinson Crusoe type lifestyle, eco friendly, and as self-sustaining as possible. Swimming in crystal clear waters with manta rays, a parrot swearing obscenities at us from a mango tree, a monkey on my shoulder while I paint – you get the picture. And this idyllic hippy like fantasy is wonderful except for the small matter of how long it would take our children and friends to come to visit us. It’s bad enough the almost 24 hour door to door journey time that it takes already but to add another day to their travels would be a step too far. We needed to come up with a solution where we could quench our thirst for adventure and new experiences, but be nearer to those that we love. Portugal seemed like the answer.
One of the many reasons that I haven’t posted in a while is that 3 weeks ago we had our annual leave back to London. Prior to us leaving I had done a certain amount of research on Portugal, finding out about buying property, and looking for good areas to live (read that as where we can afford) Irishman and I changed our flights back to Jakarta via Lisbon so that we could spend a few days after our visit to London in Portugal and start to do a reconnaissance. Estate agents where skyped, property viewings arranged and we were all set. Except that 2 days before we were due to leave London I met up with a very dear friend. ‘Why the hell do you want to live on the side of a mountain, 3hours drive from Lisbon Lottie?’ ‘Why don’t you head south to the Algarve to Tavira?’ Two bottles of wine later one of my oldest and best friends had managed to convince me to change tack and head to coastal south Portugal instead. Never mind that when I looked on the internet later that evening, every property available even ruins, were double the price of the mountain shacks that I had been looking at.
It wasn’t difficult to convince Irishman that we needed to head due south rather than northeast once we landed in Lisbon. He loves the sun, he loves the sea and as soon as I mentioned that there was a thriving art community in Tavira he was sold.
Tavira, just 18 miles from the Spanish border is in my mind the prettiest of all the coastal towns in the Algarve. Rebuilt in the 13th Century after it was recaptured from the Moors, much of the legacy of that time remains along with hints of the Renaissance and Baroque. Hipped roofs, splendid domes and towers give a special character to this picturesque and unspoilt town. Brilliant white washed houses and narrow cobbled streets stretch either side of the Gilão river which then wends its way down to the Ria Formosa lagoon and the sea beyond the islands.
As we made our way through the cobbled streets and open squares, taking in the delicious sights and sounds around us, we noticed the house martins chattering above us in the eaves of the old houses whilst tending to their nests. Irishman and I both looked at each other with exactly the same thought. Tavira might be a very lovely place to make our own nest one day.
To be continued….Click on landscape photographs to enlarge.