Yesterday began with mild farce: there I was, outside the apartment complex that had been home for just over a fortnight, and at the appointed hour (a ridiculously early 0645 hours), when, well, nothing happened. At least, not for a few minutes, until a car bearing the discreetly applied logo of the transfer company pulled up. The driver asked my name. I gave it. It was not the name on his list. I was to be collected by another driver. What to do?
The driver went to talk to the night reception man. He returned with the news that someone else had already collected the person, or persons, with the correct name. The driver, now slightly exasperated, decided to collect me instead, whatever the list told him. We then proceeded via the A22 to Faro Airport, and it dawned on me that this was the “taxi equivalent” service (as opposed to the minibus of two weekends before), and was normally charged at a substantial premium – or, in my case, not.
That was the relatively pleasant part. There then followed the wait for check in to open, followed by the routinely humiliating “security” process, the wait for the gate to be announced, and the wait to board the aircraft. The flight came with half an hour of moderately unpleasant turbulence, and then as we descended towards Liverpool, the realisation that the rain was falling in non-trivial amounts. Welcome home.
But the question can now be answered very simply: folks choose to live in places like the Algarve – and southern Spain – because they no longer have to put up with unpredictable weather (today was not going to be wet, but then it was) or the cold of English winters. Neither is the shortening of the days during that season as extreme further south – today, sunset was at just after 1600 hours in Crewe, but is an hour and a quarter later in Faro. Sunrise is half an hour later here in the North West.
And the clincher is, of course, that people own property in these more southern locations because, as EU citizens, they can. Around 38,000 British expats live in Portugal, with a whopping 760,000 in neighbouring Spain – including Kilroy. Can anyone smell hypocrisy?