Good morning folks and greetings from the land of blue skies. Hope you are all happy chappies whatever you are up to. For those back in Blighty, get your long johns ready for the Beast from the East! We keep hearing that it’s on it’s way. I shall not be missing that freezing white stuff one little bit.
We’ve had a pretty amazing run of good weather here since well before Christmas. Feeling very blessed as it wasn’t so great when we first arrived in Portugal and we did wonder whether we’d made the right choice. The nights are nippy, though, make no mistake. You certainly need your beer jacket on if venturing out after sundown.
We received a message from our good friends Tony and Marion, (who have recently moved from Manchester to become honorary Cornwellians with Maggs down in Perranporth), to say they’d floored it from Santander, crossed the border into Portugal and were heading straight to Armacao de Pera. It’s a firm favourite spot for us so without further ado, we packed up and nipped off to meet them. It was only around 15 miles. Nowhere seems far on the Algarve. Feel like we’ve known these two forever. Such warm hearted, fun people. Just missing Maggie who had stayed behind in Cornwall to sort out her house sale.
We arrived just in time for a sunset jug of sangria at the beach bar and then went on for a curry at Bollywood on the seafront. So lovely to see these guys again. It ended up being a messy one with a big fat headache next morning. Pretty standard! We had a couple more days at Armacao on the Aire next to the beach. Did plenty of beach walking and filled the fridge from the market, one of the best for quality produce around here. Check out previous posts for more info on Armacao and all the pics. It’s a fab town with beautiful beaches, nuff said, I won’t go over old ground!!
On the second night our leisure battery died again. This was becoming a far too regular occurrence. No excuses this time for the solar panel as we were getting wall to wall sunshine, not a cloud in sight. It was charging up ok during the day but dying rapidly at night as soon as any load was applied. Not good when we enjoywild camping so much. We need to keep a close eye on it. Tony and Marion suggested we all go back to Parque da Gale, a pretty little site we spent some time on last year, around the coast from Albufeira. Didn’t have to twist our arms up our back, we adore the place. The beaches are very pretty with lots of interesting little coves and they have a posh Supermarket where you can buy literally anything from any Country. Bonus! Apollonia! I’m in! The sat nav has been acting silly lately. Not sure if the batteries cutting out may be knocking the settings off. Damn thing took us right through the middle of Pera, a ridiculously tight little town when we could have skirted it easily. I was silently screaming, luckily Mark was cool as cucumber and took it all in his stride. Silly Sally Sat Nav likes to have her fun. As luck would have it, we remembered the rest of the way once through the squeezie bit so we switched the nav off. I’ll reset it properly later. The filling station at Gale, (straight on at the donkey roundabout instead of turning right to the Aire, if you’re travelling towards Albufeira) has a self service laundry and LPG. It’s a very easy little fill up point. The left turn in is a bit odd, It’s best to pull onto the forecourt on the right and then kind of U turn back because of the bollards in the middle of the road. You’ll understand once you see it on the ground. Just past the garage is also Oceanic Supermarket which is very well stocked and has an ATM if you need supplies.
Yan, the chap who runs the site at Gale is an absolute smasher. Such a pleasant helpful chap, he can’t do enough for you. Very funny too. Everything is ‘top of the pops’ according to Yan! We got a great, sunny pitch, unfortunately without electricity though. The electric pitches are limited and this is a very popular site. We put our names on the list for electricity when someone vacated just in case the battery issue escalated. We were third in the queue. It’s not so bad as you can charge stuff up in the TV room. Sod’s law struck though and that night the system went down yet again after only an hour with the lights on. Bugger. This would now need urgent attention. We couldn’t possibly last until our return to UK. The solar panel was doing its job but it looked like both leisure batteries would need replacing. There are several decent repair people here on the Algarve. Camperserv on the N125 at Loule, Campertechnik at the Armacao de Pera campsite and Nigel at Algarve Motorhome Services, whom we’ve used previously. He’s a knowledgeable and genuine chap. You can find him on Facebook or Google or message me for his details. He comes out to you which is great if you’re stuck. Very reliable. The problem with buying batteries here in Portugal is that they are around double the price of stockists in UK. You can pick them up at most Marine supplies as boats use more or less the same as Motorhomes. We spent hours emailing and ringing around and got nowhere. There is a good company just over the border into Spain called Ayamar, who came highly recommended. Their prices were reasonable and they deliver to the Algarve. On this occasion their delivery person was in hospital and we didn’t fancy a 50 mile drive just to collect batteries. We ended up contacting a company called Tayna in England as recommended by a fellow on site. They were amazingly helpful. We deliberated whether to upgrade to AGM type batteries but after reading about various issues with charging on the internet we thought sod it and just went for the cheaper lead acid ones. We are promised they will be here within 5 working days. Watch this space!! In the meantime we made do with lamps and lanterns and went out at night either just to the clubhouse to play cards, bingo and pool, bring your own beer, or to one of the several little bars roundabout. We’ve had some pretty raucous nights so far!! I’ve been the bingo caller, yes I bet you’ll all have a chuckle at that one!! I googled all the spiel and made a few cheeky ones up of my own! Met some super friendly locals who got us all extremely drunk on shots and fed us tapas! We don’t take much leading astray to be fair. Also met a couple of new friends, Christine and Keith who had just bought a place in Silves. We’re all going out for a curry tonight. Mr. Singhs up the road. Should be fun.
The pool on site here is heated but still too cool for me! Marion braved it though, she’s well hardcore!!
We had a surprise visit from Geoff and Chris who we met a few times in Portugal and Spain last year. They very kindly nipped over from Falesia to see how we were getting on with the battery saga. They are a good lot these Motorhomers. Salt of the earth folk.
Had some top barbecues whilst we’ve been here. There’s never any shortage of good food around these parts. Made my legendary kebabs just for Mr Hennessy!
So, today we have electricity!! Hurrah! Moved to our new pitch closely followed by Tony and Marion. I can now have a shower and hair wash! Still no sign of our batteries. No great hardship as we’re not in a rush to move just yet, especially now we have hook up. We do have a few people to catch up with though and some new places to see. Hope our delivery doesn’t take too long.
The curry night at Mr. Singhs was a great success. I can definitely recommend it, the food was delicious. Cliff Richard frequents this place allegedly, he lives up the road. He can have my autograph if I see him.
Managed to trip the sodding electricity when we got back to the van. Must have overloaded it when I switched my electric blanket on. Oops. Definitely bed time then. Mark was outside buggering about in the dark in just his pants trying to reset the box. I’ll just snuggle up in my nice warm bed!!
Thursday morning and the new batteries arrive. Excellent service Tayna Batteries! Ordered Monday afternoon. Just hope they’re the right ones. Himself is going to try and fit them 😬😬😬. I have every faith (EEEEK!!!).
Nipped off for a lovely beach walk with Dylan. Bless him, he’s really been in the wars. He was attacked at Tomato Beach by a huge hairy mutt running loose. It was wearing a muzzle thank God but it pinned him down and battered him. Very scary. Then he picked up a tummy bug when we got to Gale. After 48 hours starvation (which he was not impressed with) he seems fully recovered although still very barky and nervous around other dogs. Poor lad. I haven’t told him yet he’s getting clipped and bathed later!
Called in at Appolonia (worlds poshest Supermarket) for a nice joint of pork. We’re entertaining Team Hennessy tomorrow night so I’m making a pulled pork chilli. Let’s get this half a pig in the slow cooker!
Mark is still chuffing around with the batteries when I get back. He’s refusing to let it get the better of him. I want to phone Nigel from Algarve Motorhome Repairs but he’s having none of it. Ho hum, I’m keeping out of the way!! There’s a lot of swearing going on. Hope our French neighbours don’t understand English too well. Ooh la la! The air is blue!
Two hours later and we are up and running. Thanks to Tony, Julian and Lee at Timberland, Geoff Allen and everyone on the various Motorhome Facebook Groups for your input and assistance. I’m quite impressed by my husbands new found skills (and very relieved!!). Hopefully that’s the end of this saga!
I need a(nother) large gin.
Ok, we’re all back in one piece and ready to rock and roll again. Can’t really be bothered to move on from Gale with the weekend approaching but at least we have the power to do so as and when. I shall sign off for now folks. Need to go and lavish some praise on my husband!! For those of you hard at work, it’s nearly Friday and then you can give yourselves two days off. Wrap up warm my dear Derbyshire friends and be careful on those roads. Looks like snow a plenty is forecast for you guys.
TTFN and thanks for reading. Love to all and a special hug for Karen and my Sister Paula who are both going through some pretty horrid medical treatments right now. Keep up the fight ladies, you can do this 💕. Check in with us next episode xxx