Tuesday, 9 February 2010

It's a bit rich, but I sure ain't

As I write I'm taking a little bit of time out in Portugal. For a short time today the weather was actually quite fiercely warm, then the sun disappeared behind a series of clouds and suddenly it was February again, albeit a Portuguese February.

I've received a few negative comments about the fact that I spend a week here most years during the low season, even one or two from people I like to consider friends. I think I've remarked before that others seem to be able to tour the world month in and month out and yet when I board my humble easyJet A319 all of a sudden I am Roman Abramovich. If only they knew!

In actual fact this year has been particularly spartan. Thus far, since Saturday, I've ventured from the complex twice. Once to the supermercado to spend €20 on my provisions for the week (trust me, it's not easy being a skint vegetarian in this part of the world) and on the second occasion to purchase some credit for my local broadband connection. Other than that it's been just work, work, work - no restaurants, no souvenirs, no excursions, no beer.

Okay, skip that last one. When one spends all day punching a keyboard trying to catch up with casework, organising election stuff and attempting to eke out a living there is no way I'm not going to enjoy a caneca or two at the end of the evening. It's when I do most of my thinking. The difficult part, of course, is remembering the next day precisely what it was that I had thought.

For some peculiar reason I like the familiarity of seeing some of the same people year upon year. There are a couple of guys here who like to get up onto the stage and sing. I've barely said half a dozen words to either of them in the four years that I've been coming here and yet I feel reassured by the fact that they keep coming back. It can't be my imagination, this must be a nice place.

Last night I found myself reflecting upon what kind of courage it requires to do a thing like these fellows do. I have spoken at meetings with two or three thousand people present and I've not been in the slightest fazed. I mean not nervous at all, it's as perfunctory as cleaning one's teeth or taking a bath. I knock on the doors of complete strangers and talk to them about things they often don't want to talk about, until the "Go away I'm watching telly" vibe overwhelms. And yet could I climb onto the stage in Amanda's Bar at the Clube Praia da Oura and sing a song in front of fifty people? Not a chance mate.

Tonight is Happy Hour but if anything I'm feeling slightly morose. I've had half my time here and yet 95% of the work I'd intended to do still seems to lie ahead of me. I guess it's time for me to do some thinking.

10 comments:

Scrubbers Inc. said...

Don't hurry back, stay as long as you like - everyone's having a whale of a time without you.
In your absence, we've been completely dominating the local internet forums - scoring masses of brownie points, winning hearts and minds and generally stealing all your thunder with our unique brand of politics.
Accordingly, we trust the electorate of Syon and Isleworth won't get it wrong again this time.

Anonymous said...

Interesting how nobody condemns Phil Andrews for holidaying in Portugal at the taxpayer's expense but when Ann Keen claims her entitlement everybody sticks the boot in.

Night Owl said...

Robin I presume?

Southall Thunderbolt said...

It could be Suzy Sampson of course or Gloria Shortt?

Anonymous said...

Don't take the pi**, Suzy has an IQ of 165. Innit.

Whatever happened to Paul Babb ? said...

The temptation to leap to your defence was overwhelming, but I'm afraid my spirit was weak and I thought better of it.
What if someone who never visits this site thinks it's attacking him and that you wrote it yourself ?
After all, an online medical expert who never visits this site has recently highlighted all your various health problems and his latest research supports his theory that submitting bogus comments to your own blog can cure the maladies with which are so unfortunatly afflicted.
Can't you just feel your blood pressure dropping as you read these, your own, words ?

Now say ten 'Gloria Shortt's' then rub yourself down with a copy of the West London Rose ("Labour expected to win 39% of the vote in Isleworth even before any of the candidates have been named" edition) and your therapy will be complete.

Gloria Ann Sampson-Bagg said...

Looks like the gang have been making friends and influencing people at the Vote UK Discussion Forum:

http://www.vote-2007.co.uk/index.php?topic=3291.0

Councillor Phil Andrews said...

He would appear to have had his account suspended now.

What a plonker!

Anonymous said...

A truly sickening blow - the ICG trailing badly in 4th place with just 11% of the vote according to the latest Sampson/Mugabe exit poll.
Mind you, they did only poll Labour supporters !

Hats Off To Marcia said...

Just had a quick look at that "Vote UK" forum.
Some of those comments had 'Southall Scrubber' written all over them !