Through the wall

My neighbours shout at the television when they’re watching sports.

We have lived in this house for 23 years, and I just realised this now that I’ve been forced out of my study to the “fridge at the bottom of the stairs”, which shares a wall with our downstairs neighbours’ living room. I can’t hear their TV and I can’t really make out what they’re shouting, but I can hear them shout. I think they might be watching darts… I don’t know… but whatever it is, they have taken a side and are cheering their favourite on. Loudly. They are retired, and they watch a lot of television, and now I have to try to get on with my work. My problem is that I am far too easily distracted.

As we approach the end of the year in which Linda agreed to marry me after 25 years together, I have been looking back at some of the photos I took, and especially of our times at the flat in São Martinho do Porto. We both really liked the flat and didn’t want to give it up, but the landlady wanted to sell it and we didn’t want to buy it – even although she offered it to us at a knock-down price. So we gave it up and decided we would use the money we were saving on Portuguese rent and utilities towards renovating our house here in Scotland (and definitely not on new cars).

We both miss SMP. It was our bolthole. A place that was ours that we could go to whenever we wanted. We enjoyed the routine of it. Getting up in the morning and having breakfast on the balcony, going to the market, walking up to the lighthouse, walking along the beach to Salir, hot chocolate in Café Boémia, vinho verde at Tropicana, saying hello to Lola, strolling through Óbidos, swimming at Baleal, eating fish in Peniche, minipratos at Esplanada Artur in Alcobaça, shopping in Caldas da Rainha, the beach at Foz and day trips to Fátima, where we witnessed this scene on a scorching hot afternoon last June.

We don’t know when we will be back. Hopefully not too long. Maybe we’ll see if we can rent another flat. That’s a conversation for another day