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Boy, these summer holidays seem to be lasting forEVER! It seems like Christmas was more recent than my boys breaking up this year. My two have been off for 11 weeks already and they still have 4 left!

On the plus side, even El seems to be ready to get back to school, and anybody who knows him will know that this really is quite something! He’s missing his friends and, quite honestly, just missing something to do with his days. He’s a social kid and he needs school so much, especially the change of school. It’ll be great for him and he’s really excited about it. I honestly never thought I’d use the words “Eliot, Excited and School” in the same phrase. There ya go!

On the subject of school, I’ve just added a bit of information about school reports when moving from UK to Portugal. It’s neither gospel or exhaustive (different schools have different interpretations and levels of jobsworths, unfortunately) but it’s a very definite guide based on our and others’ experiences. If it helps someone, it’ll be worth the type up.

We’ve had a fairly uneventful summer really. Not too many visitors and pretty much just sunny weekends and working weekdays (with the occasional** obligatory trip to the Marina for a “business meeting”, of course).

Tapas at The Lighthouse on the Marina

A quick trip to Meia Praia beach

Lazing around by the local pool

 

Apart from back-to-school (can I get a “woohoo!”?), we do have a few other things to look forwards to too. At the beginning of October, I’m visiting my little sister in England for her birthday so that’s nice for us both! When I return from the UK, my Mum and Rod are flying back out here to Portugal for 8 days, so we’re all looking forwards to that also. Oh, and before I go, we have friends coming to the Algarve for a few weeks, so we’ll hopefully get to see them once or twice, which is always lovely.

By the time Mum and Rod go back, it’ll be mid-October! How the heck does it get to be two months until Christmas so soon? Good thing I’ve started Christmas shopping or it’d be homemade ginger cookies all round!

** in the loosest sense of the word.

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Two posts in as many weeks! I know, right! Actually, I have my V planned too so that’ll be along shortly!

Meantime…

U is for Ups and Downs

kidsjump

Let nobody ever tell you that moving to another country – and I’m sure this doesn’t just apply to leaving your home country. A major domestic move can be just as tricky – is easy!

Some days, you’ll look out at the rolling waves, the clear, blue skies and the warm sunshine and all will be right with the world.

Some days, however, no amount of beauty will make you believe that you did the right thing.

It’s not all blue skies and positivity

Recently, we – well, I – had a particularly wobbly moment when I truly believed that everything we had done in our three years here was a mistake.
I won’t go into too much depth but we had a bit of a to-do with Eliot which resulted in him accusing us of ruining his life by bringing him to Portugal and taking him away from his friends and his native language.

Unfortunately, my psyche at that time agreed with him and I sat for some considerable length of time, in floods of tears, ready to pack my bags and move us all back to England the very same day.

Fortunately, Jake stepped up and said that he was happy here, and this went some way towards bringing my emotions back to a more rational level.

Now, those of you who don’t know Jake very well probably won’t think too much of this, but those who do will appreciate that this kind of admission wouldn’t have come lightly from my 13-year-old. He has struggled constantly (and, for the most part, silently and tolerantly) since we moved here. He’s a quiet, unsociable sort so settling in was (and still is, to a certain degree) difficult for him, so for him to come out and say this, was a HUGE thing. I think that’s why it affected me so much.

Eliot, on the other hand, at 10-years-old, is a hot-head. He’s out-going, confident and temperamental. This has meant that his settling in at school has been somewhat easier than Jake’s, but his outburst just reminded us, I think, that it’s not all plain sailing for him; for either of them, in fact.

There comes a point where, when you change country with kids, you kind of reach a point of no return. They’ve now had 3 years of Portuguese schooling, and I cannot even begin to imagine how they could just settle back into an English curriculum again. We’re past that point now, I’m certain of it.

It’s not all doom and gloom though.

Eliot at Praia da Rocha for sunset.

At the skate park (which is usually MUCH busier!)

Our Eliot, he’s an outdoor-sy kinda kid. Once the wobble was over, he settled back into everyday life and went back to enjoy being able to spend weekends at the beach or the skate park. He’s even started walking home from school on his own several days a week (it’s about a 15-20 minute walk for him from school to our apartment).

This is a big thing for him. It gives him the opportunity to feel like a big kid, and he likes that. When he moves to Jake’s school (hopefully next year), he’ll only have a 5 minute walk and he is enjoying the freedom right now. He doesn’t do it every day. He does 2 days until 4pm (usually finish time) and 3 days til 5.30 (when he has PE twice after school and Science once). At the moment, it’s looking like he is happy to walk at 4pm and sometimes after science but he prefers not to after PE (which is kinda understandable. I wouldn’t want to after an hour of running about either!)

He’s a pretty independent sort really. He has his whole life planned out already. He really could NOT be any more different to his big brother!

So, anyway. Suffice to say that it’s not all sunshine, sandy beaches and cheap beer when you move abroad. Sometimes, there are seemingly endless grey skies (metaphorically speaking, of course), and it helps to remind ourselves once in a while, that nothing is perfect but everything usually turns out OK in the end.

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Firstly, oops! It wasn’t my intention to completely ignore the blog. It’s not that I had anything specifically better to do (just the usual routine of work and family life), I just… well, didn’t get around to updating.

The last time I posted (apart from our Italy posts), the kids had been off school for a few weeks and were (probably) already driving us bonkers. That pretty much sums up the remainder of the summer holiday up until the point where the boys went back to school on 17th September.

back_to_school

The return to school itself was a mixture of blessed relief and stress.

Eliot was fine. He was, I think, quite happy to be getting back to his friends, and there’s no denying that we were relieved to be getting back to some sort of routine and normality. Once we’d got used to the early mornings, that is!

Jake was less pleased. He’d been moved out of his class group AGAIN due to scheduling issues with his “Portuguese as a Foreign Language” that he does in place of mainstream Portuguese lessons. We understood completely why they’d had to do it, but Jake wasn’t happy about it at all.

That said, now that we are 7 weeks or so in, he’s settled in OK.

He does need a fair amount of blackmail and bribary this year though. This school year is a big exam year for both boys, and they need to pass this year in order to move onto their next stage of education.

If Jake passes, which we hope he will but it really is anybody’s guess, he will move into year 10 which is a change of school. I think in years 10,11 and 12, they choose specifically subjects or subject areas to study, rather than the obligatory set curriculum that they do up to the end of year 9. I have to confess that I don’t know nearly enough about Ensino Secundário (years 10-12 – secondary education) here in Portugal. If anybody wants to educate ME in that area, please do!

If Eliot passes his year (and, it is an “if”), he will move into year 5 and up to the school the Jake is currently in. This is a huge bonus for us because it is just around the corner and it means he will be able to walk or cycle to school rather than us having to drive him there.
There’s a very real fear that he will not pass this year though, specifically because it IS a big exam year. His Portuguese language skills are (apart from his speaking/understanding) just not good enough and he is reluctant to accept additional help. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how it goes. Maybe failing this year is what he needs to accept that he does need some extra help.

Having said all that, I don’t want it to seem like we are expecting him to fail. I think, if he put his mind to it, he could do a lot well, but from a long-term “bigger picture” point of view, we are far less worried about him than Jake actually. Eliot is a strong, independent boy and will succeed in life, I think, whatever he chooses to do, and I don’t believe that his ultimate success will be governed by his academic abilities.

For example, he is outgoing and adventurous. He thinks nothing of chatting to people and being a general sociable soul. He has a particular love of dressing up and going out into town (on his own, I should add) just generally entertaining folk.

How many ten-year-olds do you know that would/could do that?

Eliot in his Morphsuit tn_IMG_1912 tn_IMG_1917

Eliot kinda freaks out some more unknowing lady!

As well as his green Morphsuit, he also has an Assassin’s Creed costume which he sometimes goes into town wearing. He does so love to entertain his audience!

Eliot’s Assassin’s Creed costume

This thing was (and is) truly a battle of wills. It was his birthday present and had to be ordered from overseas. Needless to say, Portuguese customs held on to it for 3 weeks before they delivered it (and they didn’t even charge duty or anything for it, so goodness knows why they held it!).

It’s made up of about 15-20 individual pieces and takes about 10 minutes to even put on! I actually don’t think it is correctly worn in the above photo but it’s the only picture I have of Eliot wearing it. Ask a few tourists from Lagos this summer. They probably have more photos of him than we do! In fact, when he wore his Morphsuit one time, we had got as far as the Marina bridge and it was up for a boat to go through. As we waited, several tourists had photo ops with Eliot!

He definitely has a calling… and i’m fairly certain it has nothing to do with his academic abilities!

So, what else have we done? Not a great deal really.

Back to school, work, general stuff. I visited Wendy for her birthday in early October. We’ve done a few trips out locally but mostly just been getting on with real life.

There have been a few beach visit.

Eliot body boarding

Eliot body boarding on Meia Praia beach.

And a few trips along to Praia de Rocha (the chippie here used to call to us occasionally – it has closed for good now so we probably won’t venture that way often any more)

Sunset across Praia de Rocha

Obligatory sunset “wonky tree” shot

Nik is off to the final round of the MotoGP in Valencia this weekend – lucky him! I’ll just stay home with the kids and watch it on TV. I’m not bitter about it. It promises to be a good end-of-season race. It’s down to two riders for the championship title. Defending champion Jorge Lorenzo or newbie Marc Marquez. We’re all rooting for Marquez here (even though Nik is a die hard Rossi fan!)

The resident Rossi fan (and yes, he’ll be wearing that at the MotoGP this weekend)

I say “Team Marquez!!”

Anyway, it’ll be a big race and I can’t wait to see it (on the telly!)

In other news, we are all going to England for Christmas this year. It was decided that we would do it as a treat for the boys, who are missing their English friends quite a lot. They’re both very excited about it, as are our families. Nik and I are kinda sorta excited mixed with a feeling of “what are we thinking? It’ll be freezing!”

I’m sure it’ll be fun though, and it comes with the bonus of not having to bother putting up Christmas decorations and suchlike and not having to worry about how we are sorting out everybody’s gifts this year. We’re just getting them all shipped to the UK and can do them all face-to-face, which will be nice.

Then, next year, we can get back to having our Christmas in more favourable weather! We shall miss our traditional Boxing Day walk in Alvor! I can’t see us finding a Lincolnshire location that would rival it!

We’re still having some wonderful weather here, with days still reaching high 20s in the sun. We’ve had a few spells of iffy weather, overcast and a few showers, but on the whole, it still feels like summer if you get out there in the sun. Obviously, we don’t do that as often as we’d like really, but we do try to make a point of visiting our local bar, The Lighthouse,  and sitting outside in the sun once in a while.

It doesn’t hurt that it means I can sup a pint or two at the same time, of course.

Quick pint at our local “The Lighthouse” in Lagos Marina

So, I think that’s all our news for now anyway.

I have my next “A to Z of Portugal” post topic sorted and will try to post that soon.

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Yay! I’m back on my A to Z, finally!

I had a whole load of choices to pick from, for my “S is for” post but, in the name of photo goodness, I’ve made my choice.

S is for Seasons

Meia Praia Beacj

Meia Praia Beach

One of the first things that people ask about, whenever we find ourselves talking to people about where we live, is, of course, the weather!

Everybody knows that Southern Europe knows how to “do” summer. Long hot sunny days during the summer are pretty much a guarantee. I won’t lie that it was definitely one of our reasons for moving!

What many people don’t know, however, is what kind of weather the Algarve gets during the other seasons.

Spring weather in the Algarve

Since being here, we’ve become aware that, during the Spring (particularly early Spring), when the UK has, in recent years, enjoyed it’s “summer” weather, we in the Algarve have actually been having worse weather than the UK! It can be cool and wet for days on end although often there will be periods of warm sunshine mixed in (for example, one day in early May 2012, it registered near 40C!)

Sunny Spring afternoon in Portimao - April 2012

Sunny Spring afternoon in Portimao – April 2012

Autumn weather in the Algarve

Autumn seems to be rather an unpredictable seasons. It seems perfectly capable of holding on to its summer heat one minute and the next minute it can rain for a full 24 hours straight!

Recent visitors of ours will agree that you take your chances the further through Autumn you decide to visit. After about mid-October, don’t bank on wall-to-wall sunshine for days on end. Factor in some “rainy days” too”

Some of the wildest weather comes in Autumn too. From the 2011 mini-hurricane that relieved Faro Airport of much of its roof (mentioned in this post), to the 2012 tornado that causes significant damage through the central Algarve (which I mentioned in this post) it’s easy to see that hot 30+C days come at a price!

Beach afternoon late October

Winter weather in the Algarve

Perhaps the most surprising season, here in the Algarve, is winter.

Mild days and cool nights are pretty much par for the course. If the sun shines (which it usually does!) temperatures can regularly reach the high teens and low 20s during the day but beware the cool breeze as it can certainly make you feel a good bit cooler in the shade (something the tourists seem not to bother about, as they pad about in their shorts and t-shirts!)

Overnight temperatures on the coast rarely drop below about 5C but, with houses having little in the way of heating (we just use our wood burning fire, not central heating) it can feel particularly chilly during the evenings and night-times. Slightly further inland or on higher ground, frost can develop but we have never seen it here on the coast, since moving here.

If you’re heading out in the daytime, just grab a few layers because, if the sun is in and out, you’ll be warm/cold/chilly/hot in possibly equal measures over the course of a day!

Portimao early November (note the removed jacket!)

Vilamoura early February

It is even biking weather in early December!

Summer weather in the Algarve

Of course, it goes without saying that summer in the Algarve is beautiful. But you didn’t need me to tell you that, right?

boys in pool

 

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I had a few ideas in mind for my R topic. Some more personal (and, perhaps, more opinionated) than others but actually, I decided to go for something along the “useful information” lines. It’s a rare treat 🙂

R is for Recycling

In the UK, you could say we were (well, I was) passionate about recycling and reducing unnecessary waste. We used washable nappies on both of our boys, to save sending hundreds of disposable nappies to landfill and, for the past 10-15 years, probably 80-90% of our household waste has been sent to recycling rather than the dump!

In fact, we used to fill our big blue recycle dustbin (which was only collected once a fortnight) in just one week while our weekly collected household waste bin wouldn’t fill in a fortnight! I recall numerous times when a small child would be lifted (feet first, obviously!) into the top of the blue bin, in order to trample down the recycling to make more space!

I was very pleased to notice that Portugal (certainly down here in the Algarve, at least) has a very good network of recycling facilities for the general public (whether the general public, particularly holiday makers, choose to use them, of course, is a whole other matter!)

Portuguese households don’t generally have a dustbin collection themselves. Household waste and recycling is taken, by the householder, to the nearest recycle point (ecoponto) or large green skip (for general waste)

Ecopontos, such as the one pictured above, are commonplace. Blue for paper and card, yellow for packaging (ANY packaging), green for glass and brown for biodegradable waste such as food scraps.

The above bins are a fairly new design, being emptied by huge trucks which life up the entire underground chamber, accessed by lifting the large square panel that the metal bin is sat on (like below)

It’s quite an impressive system.

There are also numerous recycle points like the one below which sometimes also include a small orange bin, on the front or the side, for old batteries.

Image courtesy of lxversusporto.blogspot.com

Even the beaches are equipped with a basic version of the ecopontos you find elsewhere.

A typical recycling point on the beach. Image courtesy of http://oeiraslocal.blogspot.pt

It’s also worth mentioning that there isn’t much you CAN’T recycle here in Portugal. All paper and card (blue bin), plastics, metal and all packaging (yellow bin), clothing (there are clothing banks around too) and food/organic waste in the brown bins. Pretty much everything has some sort of collection point really and it’s not really much effort to split it all (if only the majority of tourists bothered)

In fact, our kitchen says it all.

We make far less general waste, in our small white kitchen bin, than we do recycling!

The eagle-eyed among you will notice that I use my green bag for my yellow recycling because I don’t have a yellow bag! My bottles (which would go into the green bin) are better in the box anyway so, while this set up does seem to confuse everybody else in the world, it works in my head!

Don’t worry about all those wine bottles either. I’m not an alcoholic! We just don’t take our bottles as often as the rest of the recycling gets emptied. It is Jake’s job to empty the blue and green bags (and the kitchen bin) as and when required. He usually cycles with the rubbish and recycling to our local bins which are only about 2 minutes cycle away. We don’t ask him to take the bottles though because they are both cumbersome and heavier. Eliot usually gets the pleasure of dropping in the bottles when we take them in the car. To be completely honest, this often only happens when the box is running out of space which delights Eliot because he loves the smashing sound they make when they drop into the underground bins (an experience which makes me pleased we don’t live right next to an Ecoponto!)

I’m pleased that Portugal has such widespread recycling facilities. In our 21st century world, it’s a small thing we can do that could potentially make a difference.

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It’s taken me a while to get chance to sit down and continue this A to Z. I’m starting to think that the entire alphabet is going to last more than a year. That’s something I never could have imagined at the start! Still, it’s a nice project to be getting on with and a bit of motivation to do more than just post photos on Facebook each time we do something fun!

Anyway, I’ve had my P topic for a while. Actually, I had several ideas for my P topic but lately which one to choose has become clearer.

P is for Priorities

In order to make our move to Portugal, we had to take a good look at our priorities.

Our life in England was comfortable. We had modest income (topped up with tax credits) to allow us to be self-employed and spend some time with our boys but we constantly felt restricted. There was little around us locally that inspired us, as a family and it’s no secret that we’d had itchy feet for a long time.

A move abroad, however, would come with huge sacrifices and definitely required us to look long and hard at our priorities.

In the UK, we could live comfortably in our own home and not have any real worries about money. We had our own 3 bed home with large garden in a pretty outlying village. We had a nice, smart, modern car. We could be in full control of our own business. We could visit family and friends whenever we felt like it. We would be in as much control of our lives as is possible to guarantee in this day and age.  Despite this, we weren’t settled.

In Portugal, there is always a concern that we won’t make ends meet. We work hard to ensure that our business makes enough money to cover our basic living expenses plus a little extra but, in order to do that, we have had to significantly change the way we work. We’ve had to sub-contract out various parts of our business and rely on others working with us. This is a scary position to be in, I can tell you.

We also now live in rental accommodation, something we’ve never done before. Our housing situation is also a little out of our hands as we are constantly aware that our landlady could decide to sell, if she so wanted (fortunately, she has other, empty properties she could sell first and that’d be difficult enough in a stagnant property market!) We had also had to take in tenants in our UK house and this puts another financial strain on our household. All well and good while the tenants are in but a huge burden should they decide to move on.

We own an old banger of a car. But not a cheap car. Oh no. There is no such thing as a cheap car here in Portugal. We now own the oldest car we’ve ever owned (it’s 15 years old) which cost us the most we’ve ever paid for a vehicle!

We’re now half a day or more from family and UK friends. The boys have lost contact with many of their school friends they grew up with and we’ve all had to find new friends in a foreign land.

Life here isn’t easy, by a long shot. It’s financially unstable and, at time, emotionally draining.

However, at the same time, it is beautiful and full of new opportunities.

Ponta de Piedade

Ponta de Piedade

Despite having less money, we are surrounded by things to do.

With the beach just a few minutes walk away, we can visit all year and enjoy the ever-changing scenery it presents us.

A trip to the beach in July

Meia Praia Beach in February!

The boys have both made new friends in school and Eliot, in particular, is happy to find friends where-ever he goes. He can be bossy in TWO languages now!

Boys playing with new friends at the Skate Park, Lagos

We have made some great friends ourselves and now get to spend quality time with them too, often enjoying outdoor visits, picnics, meals and new places together.

Our newly made good pals Dave and Aly (wave, guys!)

As well as making new friends, UK family and friends visit us here which is something that never happens in England!

My little sis on one of her (many!) visits

We get to learn about and share in a new Portuguese way of life, with it traditions and festivals.

Loulé Carnival 2012

And, as the Algarve typically has few weeks of bad weather per year, for 90+% of the year, all this happens in the sun, of course!

Sunrise on Meia Praia Beach

So, yes. We’ve made sacrifices with our move to Portugal.

We’ve sacrificed income, control, our own home, a nice car, ease of communication and having family on our doorstep.

In return, we have beautiful days, fabulous places, great friends and regular visitors.

A fair trade-off? I’d say so.

It’s all about priorities, innit?

It’s a hard life but someone’s gotta do it!

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It seems like ages since I posted a school update although, I suppose, it probably is!

Well, the school year is over and we’re 2 weeks in to the long, long, long summer holidays*

I have to admit, the holidays are easier for us this year, now that I’m not working for anyone except us any more. While this does mean we have a sizeable drop in income, it also means I have more time (well, more flexible time) to spend with my boys and, as long as we are still managing financially**, that’s worth more to us. I still do design work, if a client requests it though. That extra money is definitely always welcome!

So, end of another school year and definitely a different vibe to last year.

Last year, it was all something of an unknown. We hadn’t realised that Jake, being in year 6, would have big end-of-year exams in Maths and Portuguese in order to move from 2nd cycle to 3rd. Quite how he managed to pass those I have no idea. I guess we’re fortunate that he is intelligent enough in Maths to get a good grade and lift him out of the “automatic fail” group (which a failure in both Maths and Portuguese could be)

Year 7 has been a challenge for him though. Academically, it has been far more intense than Year 6 as there have been more subjects (Year 6 General science became 2 Science subjects in year 7. History and Geography split from one subject into 2)

There was a complete change of teachers, in all subjects, and an almost complete change of classmates as the classes are “scrambled” between each year and only a handful of his year 6 classmates were in the same year 7 class as Jake.

That said, Jake has coped admirably. Apart from some early wobbles with his Maths teacher (what is it about Maths teachers?!), he’s had a good year.

Results came out last Saturday and Jake, much to his relief, passed year 7 with flying colours! (in fact, coming 5th in his class of 21, with 4 students not passing at all!)

Well done, Jake!

So we’re all looking forwards to year 8, when they eventually go back in September.

Yesterday, we had Eliot’s school teacher meeting although we’d already been told his result. Actually, should I say, Eliot was told first, he told us and I had to confirm with his teacher at the end-of-term party.

Escola EB1 Meia Praia End of term mini show and party

Eliot hasn’t done so well this year. In fact, despite having a support teacher for 3 sessions a week this year, he seems to have progressed less this year than he did last year (come back, Professora Ana, all is forgiven!)

He’s had little or no homework and, apart from a huge improvement in both his oral and aural Portuguese, has gained little. He still struggles to comprehend written Portuguese and write Portuguese. All perfectly normal, under the circumstances, of course (Jake has had private lessons all year to help his. Eliot hasn’t) but it has meant that, unfortunately, Eliot didn’t pass year 3 this year.

In fact, this is actually a good thing. He has so much more to learn before he can enter year 4. Year 4 heralds the end of 1st cycle school and comes with big exams at the end of it. He’s a long way off getting there. Repeating year 3 will be a huge benefit to him. He probably should have repeated year 2 but hey, that’s in the past.

Obviously, he was pretty upset about “failing”. We’ve tried to explain to him that it’ll help him a lot to repeat year 3 and he’s starting to understand that. His classmates from year 3 will still be in his “class”, because they are a mixed year 3 and 4 class anyway, so that definitely softens the effect slightly.

In fact, yesterday, at the parents’ meeting, we also learned that, next year, due to class numbers, his class will consist of years 1, 3 and 4! (I can only assume that year 2 is a large group!)

That class mix might sound slightly strange (although remember that last year his class was years 1, 2, 3 and 4!) it will actually work to Eliot’s advantage. His teacher (whoever that might be. It may not be Professor Nuno again) will be able to involve Eliot in some of the year 1 work which could benefit him greatly and enable him to pick up some of those missing “basics” alongside his modified year 3 work.

I’m sure it must be difficult for a teacher to manage but, hopefully, it will be helpful for Eliot. Even if his homework is year 1 and his school work his adapted year 3 (they do adapt his standard curriculum work, to a certain degree, also), it should be much better for his progress. Meantime, he’s been sent home with four Year 2 books to do “holiday homework” from. Lucky boy!

So, as we head into the 3 month summer holidays, there are mixed emotions Chez Hand. Fortunately, we have lots to look forwards to. Visitors and visiting, days out and, no doubt, the occasional day when we batten down the hatches and hide from the sun!

Eliot and I are heading to London for a few days next week as a birthday treat for him. It’s something I did with Jake a couple of times, while we were in England and he was littler, but I’ve never done with Eliot. Needless to say, he’s very excited about playing tourist and staying with Aunty Wendy.

Nik and Jake will be left home. This doesn’t bode well for getting anything done. Xbox 24/7 is likely to be order of the day(s)! I won’t bother with a “while I’m gone” chores list.

Eliot will be starting at Click Kids Club in mid July. He’s looking forwards to that too. The interaction (in Portuguese as well as English) will do him good and, hopefully, Sofia, being the magical magician that she is, will be able to coerce Eliot into working through his homework (they have allocated study time, twice a week, which is BRILLIANT!)

Of course, a summer post wouldn’t be complete without a weather report, would it?

Weather has been warming up gradually over the past month or so. We’ve had some days in the high 30s and the past couple have been hazy but hot! I don’t suppose we’ll see much, if any, rain before about September/October now. It’s a tough life, eh?

I never get bored with our balcony view (apologies if you do!)

Click for our current 5 day forecast (you know you want to!)

*Did I mention how long the summer holidays were?

**Jury is still out on that one but so far, so good!

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