PC 294 First week of School Holidays

In 2019 I managed to get my daughter and family to come out to Estoril for a week, staying in a small AirBnB within walking distance of where we were staying. You may recall from PC 158 that one of the issues with three small boys is the endless changes of clothing required – and the AirBnB had no washing machine. 

Theo and me 2019
Theo and me 2022

This year she managed to secure a little apartment with a washing machine, in the centre of Cascais, for herself and her boys, Jasper (10), Reuben (9) and Theo (5). Celina and I had gone ahead and passed through London Gatwick without any problems although simple observations included watching people drinking vodka at 0900 as if this was necessary to initiate the holiday mood, overdosing on breakfast and wandering through the Duty Free wondering whether it was indeed as it said on the tin! We have all got used to the security rigmarole involved in travelling these days, although we no longer have to remove our shoes, distanced in time from 2001 when Richard Reid attempted to detonate a bomb in his trainer on a transatlantic flight. So why are some people surprised by what they have to do? A little like watching people at a supermarket checkout and when the cashier says: “That’ll be £43” seem surprised that they have to pay and start searching for their credit card, cash or smart phone.

Some swimming pool accessories far outweigh their cost by their popularity and the endless fun they offer. Three blow-up plastic rings are a real hit: getting them inflated is hard work without a little pump and actually deflating them requires a similar effort, keeping that little valve open to let air out whilst sitting on the ring. Standing in the pool, holding the inflated ring aloft allowed a steady stream of children, around and around, diving through it like performing Dolphins!

Mummy! He said ….”

After supper in the AirBnB one evening, out came a pack of cards. I am not sure what the name of the game was, but it was fun, sitting on a little balcony with the sun setting over the rooftops.

One day we hired a boat to get out onto the sea. Being a sailor I’m always envious of those who have a yacht abroad; just climb aboard, set some sails, let go the mooring and …… bliss; Oh! That it would be that easy! Diniz’s boat was a little like a twin-hulled barge with a superstructure and a moveable table on the open deck. I wasn’t sure why this couldn’t have been clamped into place when at sea, as invariably those on board push against it when a wave stretches their ability to stay upright …. and the table moves! Instinctively I wanted to coil the warps left in a mess at the stern! Old, particularly good habits never leave one.

Motored out of the Cascais marina …..

…… past the largest yachts you see anywhere (no jealousy here!). The skipper Diniz is a Dragon sailor …..

……. and tells me he has ten stored in one of his warehouses. He’s 50, on his second marriage with a four year old daughter; out comes the iPhone – in the old days it would have been a crumpled photo stuck next to the money in his leather wallet – and he proudly shows his gorgeous daughter. Half an hour later we’re anchored in a little cove and paddle boards and one inflated plastic ring ensured a couple of hours of endless fun ….. in the cold but clear blue water.

It’s always important to get decent protection from a Summer’s sun, particularly at sea as there is added reflection from its surface. Reuben has my skin, ‘English Pale’, and turns to pink and a slightly darker shade over weeks, whereas Jasper and Theo inherited their maternal grandmother’s olive skin and just go brown …….. and then browner.

“Mummy! He said ….”

Theo has a nickname – Kitkat! Apparently one choice for his first name was Kit, but then Theo won. I had imagined the nickname had come about from the advertisement- you might say to your child who was being particularly obnoxious: “Oh! Give me a break?” And for me the immediate response would be: “Have a Kitkat!” so powerful are these adverting slogans. So Theo has become Kitkat! Our parents choose our ‘first’ name and sometimes it’s not popular for its recipient. Whether Theo stays KitKat will depend on lots of variables; my daughter changed her ‘given’ name many years ago.  

There’s a sea water pool in Estoril and, as the incoming tide gradually increased its depth last Wednesday, the boys played in the cold water. An empty Pringle’s tube was endlessly used, unsuccessfully, to catch little fish  ……

……. and the sea wall provided a perfect launching pad for jumping in.

Jasper leaping in

On their last evening we went to Capricciosa Cascais, a beach-side pizzeria in the centre of town. It was not a good experience! We stood around for five minutes waiting for someone to show us to our table and, despite offering Sangria on the menu, couldn’t do a glass of Prosecco. But the main issue was cold pizzas! The base was delightfully thin but this needed to go on a warm plate as it lost its heat quickly! This and a lack of generosity with the cheese and tomato sauce suggested over-the-top portion control! But we all enjoyed some good puds!

And then the week’s over and they are hugging us and saying ‘Best Holiday Ever!’ and all that sort of thing and then into Mario’s taxi for the 45 minute drive to Humberto Delgado Airport in Lisbon. One suitcase didn’t make it but, with over six flights between Lisbon and London Heathrow each day, it was promised in a couple of days. At the time of writing it was still adrift – somewhere!

Back in the UK, time for them to take a breath before heading off to France and a few more: “Mummy! He said ….”

Richard 5th August 2022


One thought on “PC 294 First week of School Holidays

  1. Lovely photographs which clearly show fun was had by all!
    Celina looking good on the paddle board!!


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