Could it get any better? Gin & tonic with lots of ice, blazing sunshine with a breeze, and ferociously competitive Rummikub games [I am the one, the only, the Master of Tiles]. I don't mean to rub it in your faces, but my trip to Portugal was amazing.
It was our first full-family getaway in over half a decade, and I think that the fact we could all legally drink [even my 16 year old brother - except after he realised he wasn't pulling off 18 the thrill wore off and he stuck to chocolate milk. No, really.] helped the family dynamic. No arguments, no tears, just lots of wine and gin and port, as my mother tried to convince everyone Yahtzee was a really good game [not buying it], and my dad whipped out his rusty Portuguese to navigate us around the Algarve.
We hired a car for the trip, and despite the fact I failed one of my driving tests by driving on the wrong side of the road, have managed to get in a car accident whilst stationary, and only recently found out that the squeaking noise my car was making was in fact very dangerous, my parents convinced me that learning to drive on the wrong side of the road in a foreign country would be 'really fun!'.
After successfully getting out of it for the first couple of days by conveniently being over the limit at all hours of the day [thank you holiday-acceptable day drinking], I was persuaded to take a trip to the beach. Perhaps sensibly, my sister's boyfriend volunteered to take the front seat, where he helpfully grabbed the steering wheel to move me away from the kerb that I seemed to veer towards constantly. Driving on the right is WEIRD you guys. I don't recommend it. Oddly enough, no-one asked me to drive again...
The days seemed both endless and far too short, and we whiled away the time reading, pretending to be water babies, having Taylor-Swift-dance-parties, and making extravagant plans for the future. We even stumbled across an al-fresco yoga class which started off pretty normal, and then spiralled into weirdness as the yogi chimed tiny cymbals by our heads and tapped us on the forehead. After falling over one too many times during Tree Pose [I am INCREDIBLy bad at balancing. Don't think I couldn't see you sniggering at me, guys] I made a dignified exit - "I know yoga. I've done yoga. That's just some woo-woo stuff". YOU try balancing on one leg on uneven grass, with your bikini wedging itself rather uncomfortably. Miranda Kerr I ain't.
And then I remember the little van in the town square that made caramel and white chocolate stuffed churros and I want to go back even more. Stuffed churros! Food holds the key to my heart. Luckily for me [and anyone who fancies some nice recipes], we're heading into the season of pies, crumbles, soups and stews, and I've already gone a bit mad and made my own butter and goats cheese. Neither of which, it has been pointed out to me, any normal person would be bothered to make.
In other news, here are some upbeat songs - just to tide you through what is normally a pretty chilled out acoustic season. Changing leaves = folksy guitars. And I'm plodding on through updating my back catalogue with working links, but still waiting for the good folks at Sky to hook me up with internet.
Mighty Oaks - Brother
Alvvays - Adult Diversion
Sleeper Agent - Waves
Thumpers - Together
Dan Croll - Home