I know that so many people think that I’m constantly on holiday globetrotting but I can tell you that it may sound glamorous but losing suitcases, always dining with strangers and working away from home is everything but a holiday. So last Friday Myfi and I hit the road to Portugal for a proper holiday in the sun.

We were to join my wee brother and his delightful family in a beautiful villa 30 mins from Faro.  From the moment we arrived it was just perfect. Wynne and I insisted that no conversation work related would be allowed to pass our lips at any time. Phones and computers were uncharged and left indoors while we enjoyed relaxing as the sun kissed our our pasty bodies. With beautiful food and wine at our disposal and no telly made it almost impossible not to relax.

Portuguese wine still seems fantastically priced and so Wynne went on a quest to find the cheapest drinkable wines. Our least expensive bottle was just over one euro and it really wasn’t too bad. I think that (with difficulty) we found a bottle for 20 euro in a restaurant on our last night. It was a bottle of pink bubbles called “SEXY”. Sorry darlings it just had to be done and it was camp and tasty indeed!

Myfi made me laugh one night when she and I nipped off for a Father & Daughter supper in Alvor. We had chosen a simple but perfect restaurant on the beach where I devoured some of the famous sardines of Portugal, so yummy!! Anyway between courses I had stepped a few feet closer to the sea to watch a local called Jon gathering a net bursting with mussels, which he then proceeded to clean on the sand. I had never seen this before – he rolled the mussels under his feet to clean the outer shells of any unsightly barnacles. So simple but genius to a mere townie like myself.

Whilst I was watching the mussel ceremony Myfi ran over asking me to return quickly to our table. As soon as I arrived, I asked my partner in crime what she wanted.

“SHHH Daddy!“

“What’s up?”

“The family on the next table are speaking Welsh but we are in Portugal”

She was just so surprised and excited to hear her mother tongue spoken over 2,000 miles away from home. Before leaving restaurante Navegador (and with a little coaxing) Myfi was in full flight in conversation with a family from Cardiff, in Welsh, on the Algarve.  How cool is that?

My other delight was having the chance to read a book. A dear friend Georgina Lester had bought me Ruby Wax’s book “Taming the Mind”. Ruby’s truthfulness and honesty is just wonderful and sad. As I read about the roller coaster of a life she has and still lives, it made me think ….. a lot. This is a book that I shall always cherish and buy for my friends to read.

This article was originally published in the Carmarthen Journal in Mark’s weekly column for the paper.


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