Lack of respect for authority

manguito

The stamp clearly indicates that at Port Bou near Perpignan the passport control was made before entering Spain. Someone was telling us that it no longer was España we were entering but rather Espain due to the fact that there were so many tourists there. The date was 6 of august 1972. We were well conscious that we were entering a country ruled by the ageing dictator Franco. It was with some mixed feelings that we headed to our destination- Barcelona!

When travelling by train it is easy to meet new people and establish relationships. It happened on our way to the Catalan capital. We shared compatment with a couple where he was from Spain.That meant that once there, we were guided by our Spanish new friend who knew where the best paella could be eaten. Our stay in Barcelona was not long as our goal was to hit the frontier regions of southwestern Spain where my parents could turn up to meet us.

Meeting the Spanish railway system and operating company RENFE took us back a few decades in relation to our transport experience so far.

Getting to Valencia from Barcelona was a slow and hot experience that took 14 hours. People could get edgy and the conditions concerning toilets were a big problem. People carried wine on skin bottles and passed around.

We were rather amused and impressed by a young German co passenger that tried to dodge the ticket inspector on a cat and mouse game. Apparently he had no ticket or just like us was expected to pay extra for the ride. We were often told that he Interrail did not fully apply and that an extra fee was necessary. The mustached controller was getting livid but committed to getting hold of the missing passenger. When he finally got him he was told what he could do with his fee. When asked to hand in the passport he refused. When threatened with the police he made what in Portugal is known as “manguito”. I was impressed and surprised that anybody could show so little reverence to authority in a dictatorship country!

We finally got to Valencia and looked for a hotel!

barcelona

 

Intermezzo in Hamburg

Hamburg

The summer of 1972 had but one purpose! Meet the families and spend time together. Mona had heard me enough times talking about Portugal and the speculations about when getting back could become a reality. Her own curiosity was also there…If we bought an Interrail ticket in Finland we could use it from Sundsvall to very close to the Portuguese frontier. This would be an opportunity to meet my grandmother Bua, my parents, brother Pedro and sister Joana!

It was settled. The Inter rail ticket meant that we could travel throughout Europe without extra cost if travelling in second class and on ordinary trains. We left Scandinavia via Rödby in Denmark on the ferry to Germany on the 3rd august. Our first stop in Germany was in Hamburg. We did not stay in hotels if we could avoid them. But we had to eat.

Areas around central stations are unpleasant and sometimes dangerous. We looked for a place to eat not far from the station. This was before the times of fast food chains as we know them today. As we were eating and from nowhere a gang of thugs (young men, acting aggressively) approached our table and started to provoke me by taking chips off Mona’s plate and putting them near her mouth. I honestly did not know what to do, but felt I could not resolve the situation by any other means than getting beaten up. I chose not to and it bothered me for some time to think what a coward I was. Mona never mentioned and did not seem to think I should have acted in any other way! My first German experience was not very positive.

That night the trip continued towards Switzerland and the impecable city of Geneve. Even there my new leather jacket came to good use!

Terá sido o peru?

campolide

Dois acontecimentos involvendo derrame de sangue e drama  afectaram os meus primeiros anos! O primeiro acontecimento foi na casa da Rua de Campolide.   Aconteciam coisas de interesse na cozinha… Já não me recordo o que teria sido nesse dia mas não excluo que tenha sido matança de peru natalicio, que por mais estranho que pareça se fazia ainda nesses finns da década de cinquenta, principios da década de sessenta na própria casa. Penso que se dava um gole de aguardente à ave para ir desta para uma melhor de espirito mais leve!

Não era só “Quem quer figos quem quer almoçar?”, era tambem quem quer peru tem que o matar! A verdade é que me fecharam da cozinha e eu queria entrar. Bati fortemente e em fúria conta a porta envidraçada causando um dos vidros a partir-se e abrir uma profunda ferida no meu braço esquerdo. A cicatriz está lá como uma recordação para a vida!

Fui conduzido a um posto médico de urgencia ali atràs da Av. da Liberdade, a Cruz Verde! Puseram-me uns agravos para juntar a pele e fiquei recomposto!

A outra já aqui a contei. Foi quando me racharam a cabeça quando brincava na Rua A às Amoreiras. Dessa vez tive que ir para o Hospital de S. José onde a memória mais vincada acaba por ser a dos doentes que estariam nas urgencias e que me impressionaram bastante. Quanto ao tratamento dos pontos na cabeça não tenho memória alguma!

É esta básicamente a minha história relativamente aos acidentes violentos que me afectaram quando menino. Felizmente nunca parti nenhum osso!

O Pico

Pico

Viviamos na Beira Alta em 1954 mais concretamante na Urgeiriça, quando me apareceu o Pico. Um irmão mais novo que aparece quando ainda se é bébé costuma ser complicado. É um sujeito mais pequenino, geralmente mais mimado, em que se concentram todas ou quase todas as atenções. Assim deve ter sido quando a familia foi aumentada com o Pedro. Muito cedo ficou alcunhado de Pico mas por quem e porquê não saberia mesmo dizer. Eu já era o Titi pela informação obtida na parte de trás de umas fotos que teriam sido enviadas para casa dos meus avós maternos em Inglaterra.

Mas voltando ao assunto deste texto que é o meu irmão Pedro… O miúdo era calado já em pequenino e não se adiantou muito a falar cedo. Tambem no andar penso que não houve grandes pressas pois tudo tinha e teve o seu tempo. Gostava de dormir com um cobertor por cima. Não me recordo de ter muitos ciúmes ou inveja dele mas provávelmente não escapei a ser como outros irmãos mais velhos o são em relação aos mais novos. Ciumento e invejoso!

Como a diferença de idades entre nós era de apenas 2 anos fomos quase sempre companhia até à adolescencia! Como irmão mais velho rápidamente tomei o papel de mentor e protector. São coisas que não se decidem, simplesmente aparecem com naturalidade!

Com um coração enorme penso que nunca teve inimigos em pequeno. Não fazia ondas e quando podia mostrava a sua generosidade o que quase sempre acontecia num dos seus lugares preferidos: a feira popular. Quando aí íamos sempre tinha uns tostões dos pequenos empreendimentos que conduzia na Praceta de Carcavelos. Estou-me a lembrar do negócio das venda de folhas de amoreira para os bichos da seda. Se alguma coisa caracteriza o Pico é ter ideias firmes ou como alguns diriam, ser teimoso. Como irmão mais velho compete-me ajudá-lo nas grandes decisões mas infelizmente nesse aspecto a minha presença foi demasiado escassa para ter algum impacto! Viva o Pico, meu irmão!

The powerful religion

alnon

Those few weeks in July 1972 on the island of Alnö passed very fast. The house situated as it were on the southern part of the island was extremely quiet. A quietness only interrupted by the singing of birds and the passing of cars or mopeds on the road below.

We went on boat trips with captain and shipbuilder Olle Hillman, at the wheel. The small motor boat was called Mona. The excursions took us to several of the smaller islands that surrounded the larger volcanic but very flat island. This island lay practically in front of the city of Sundsvall. There were industries all around and crossing the bridge from Alnö you’d bump against a large sawmill with large amounts of wooden trunks waiting on their different stages to be cut and made into planks only to be shipped abroad from the nearby port.

When not cycling round the island on a tandem, we could visit what was the pride and joy of the commercial town. IKEA! This was my first ever visit to what has become a worldwide furniture and decoration giant. We obviously did the night scene and finally got a glimpse of the much proclaimed Marina disco. My memory from it was an encounter! Spanish waiter Ricardo de la Rosa, an artist married to a Swedish girl. He invited me when the sun was up to meet him at a place he was decorating. As it turned out Sundsvall’s first Pizza restaurant- “The Triestina” later renamed“The Vagabondo”.

One weekend I was driven to a cottage out in the mountains. The trip took some three hours and the cottage was built by Olle. The name of the place is Vemdalskalet and the mountain chain runs west almost separating Sweden from Norway. We saw the views, went for walks and Aime made waffles!

I soon discovered that the Hillmans were working people with their own religion. They did not drink alcohol but rather drank milk even with their meals; they cut their cheese with a special designed knife that I was expected to be able to operate. They ate their cooked potatoes with the peels on; hard pieces of bread accompanied the food. They did not smoke!

But they were loyal to the workers and cooperative movement!  In front of the house there was a small shop selling food, the Konsum where Olle did volunteer work, Olle would not fill petrol anywhere else but at the cooperative OK. We shopped for everything at the large consumer owned OBS! Everything was insured at Folksam and if Aime wanted to learn English she would go to the ABF organization for her study circles. The party they voted for was the Swedish Social Democratic Party, and everyone was a member of the trade union. This was not theory; it was practice every day of the month, every month of the year. It was a powerful religion!

båten

London-Alnö

CrossingLanding in Gothenburg meant stepping into a new country! Sweden! Regardless to say but worth repeating it was the follow up and direct consequence of blind and true love. It just wouldn’t hold, to be apart any longer.

After travelling on the train between the two most important cities of the country I can but recall how I just could not understand and take in that the heat I found there was so intense that transpiration was taking the best of me and that this feeling g was shared by my fellow travellers despite open windows in all compartments!

Mona was there at the Central Station eagerly waiting for our reunion! The painful wait was over and we could look forward to a few weeks sharing each other’s company! We took ourselves to the next means of transport- a VW light blue 1300 commonly known as” beetle”! Mona sat at the driver’s seat and even if I would have wanted to help drive, I couldn’t, as I did not know how!

Our long north bound journey started, taking us out of Stockholm and passing through a number of towns on the way! There were many miles in front of us and I learnt they were about 40 Swedish ones! A Swedish mile, Mona explained was quite simply 10 kms. It did not matter, we were together and the towns of Uppsala, Gävle, Söderhamn and Hudiksvall had to be driven through before arrival at the destiny of our trip- Mona’s Sundsvall and her home on the island of Alnö!

My eyes tried to take in as much as possible especially when it wasn’t endless forests that met them. The road signs showing danger of wild elks crossing the road was if anything exotic. So was also the fact that night never dawned properly on us…

We crossed the much awaited bridge taking us to Alnö. This one I had seen on postcards and looked familiar. When we arrived on the island it was late. We had to keep quiet as I was shown my quarters in the basement where I shared my sleeping hours with a bath tub and a boiler!

Next day we would meet the parent’s. First mother Aime and about half an hour past 4 o’clock the father that made his way upstairs to the kitchen where dinner awaited and firmly shook my hand with the words- OLLE!

Caprichos da moda

PORFIR~2

Quem tivesse, como eu, crescido na década de sessenta em Portugal, teria que fazer um grande esforço para acompanhar a revolução da moda desses anos. É que com os Beatles houve grandes convulsões que tinham como objectivo mostrar a irreverencia de quem era jovem. Esta revolta juvenil, viria a culminar nos acontecimentos de Paris em maio de 1968.

Eu, por exemplo, passava horas a tentar seguir o que faziam os meus ídolos, de Liverpool. Não sei até que ponto é que os quatro guedelhudos eram vistos com bons olhos pela ”situação”. De qualquer forma muitos rapazes passaram por maus bocados por deixarem crescer o cabelo. Quem quisesse seguir a moda teria que depender de contrabando ou da única boutique em existência em Lisboa “ Os Por-fi-ri-os”.

Quando fui a Londres consegui o meu designio de adquirir os tais sapatos bicudos com elástico lateral. Muitos amigos de Carcavelos falavam dum sitio (Quinta dos Lombos?) onde se podiam adquirir jeans da marca Levi’s mas eu nunca lá cheguei a ir pois não teria dinheiro que chegasse para tais compras.

Uma imagem bastante marcante na Praceta foi o aparecimento casual de uns alemães com calças boca de sino. Aquilo sim, era elegancia! Até parecia que os rapazes vinham doutro planeta. E tinham perna comprida! Eu pelo menos andava desejoso de poder imitá-los!

Mas a minha grande vitória, recuando um pouco no tempo,  foi quando depois de meses de persuação consegui que a minha mãe cedesse a deixar-me andar de calças compridas em vez dos calções curtos! O resultado foi uma lágrimazinha de tristeza no olho da minha mãe e uma de alegria no meu!

 

Abençoadas drageias

drageias

Tive a sorte de ter nascido depois das grandes guerras e por conseguinte usufruído do periodo de paz pós guerra dos anos 50 e 60. Havia uma preocupacão especialmente por parte da  minha mãe que teria a sua proveniencia, na sua própria adolescencia londrina no periodo da guerra. Era necessário evitar as doenças e para isso era imprescindivel uma alimentação especifica com alguns fortificantes.

Ao pequeno almoço sempre os flocos de aveia cozidos e acompanhados de  leite. Os fortificantes britânicos eram o Bovril mas principalmente o óleo de figado de bacalhau que passava duma garrafa para uma colher e depois ingerido pelas guelas abaixo. Abençoado o dia em que se inventaram as drageias que substituiram as colheradas! Em caso de adoecer era um cházinho e uma aspirina! Outro dos remédios que se usavam para combater narizes entupidos ou resfriados era o Vic Vapour Rub que se esfregava no peito e que mais tarde e após observar a minha avó Bua até se punha nas narinas! Quando era muito pequeno recordo-me de me terem posto uma massa quente no peito para curar qualquer coisa. Terei sonhado isto?

O mal de ordem fisica  que mais me apoquentou nos primeiros anos foi a urticária. Cheguei a ter que ir de consulta ao Dr. Rosa Paixão que com aquele nome só podia ser muito boa pessoa! A urticária lá passou um belo dia e nunca mais me afectou. Tambem tive verrugas nos dedos que foram tratadas numa farmácia na rua de Campolide. Fui lá umas vezes, punham-se umas gotas e aquilo acabou por desaparecer!

O meu mal mais dramáico teriam sido as queimaduras que apanhei na praia de Carcavelos quando decidi ficar tão bronzeado como os restantes amigos da mesma idade! Apanhei um verdadeiro escaldão e apanhei febres altas tendo que se chamar um médico para a casa da Praceta.  Naquela época havia o Caladryl, um liquido cor de rosa que aliviava as queimaduras. Nunca mais me preocupei com os bronzeamentos…sou branquinho e não há nada a fazer!

Shorts down on Baden-Powell scout show

Hastings17Joseph Ineichen (1899 -1977) was my grandfather! The London born Joe left a considerable number of articles at the house journal of his long-life place of work, Lloyd’s of London.

In 1970 he recalled how his life developed from age 10 and to adult life. He joined Lloyd’s at age 14. One can but imagine the feeling of the time, a period that lead to the First World War and then saw the horrors of this butchering conflict that did all but dignify the human race!

As a boy of ten my grandfather recalled how he entered the newly founded Scout movement. For my grandfather the nearest troop was the 8th Westminsters. But he and some friends preferred to start a rival group to the Baden-Powell organization and formed the General Buller Scouts! This was the consequence of events during the Boer War that these boys had taken notice of and stand for.

After a number of activities by this group, a call was made at Joe’s home from the scoutmaster of the 8th. The rebel, Buller half dozen boys, accepted to try the Baden-Powell organization.

Later on they were given carbines without bullets or bayonets- But still! A full and complete show was given before General Baden-Powell himself at Caxton Hall in Victoria Street. At this event my grandfather was told by B-P that he did not approve of boys carrying firearms. His greatest misfortune during that event happened however when the boys did a show of bridge building. “Carrying a baulk of timber, the top button flew off my shorts and down they came to rest about my ankles”.

The following year Joe was promoted to playing the drum and this musical talent in the family is not shared by anyone else as far as I know. We also learn from Joe’s article, on the Lloyd’s log, that many of the scouts were approaching military age and with “old patriotic spirit found their way to the recruiting centres, some never to return. My elder brother… (William Hatchard) was in the 2nd London Fusiliers, went in August 1914. It was on the Somme in June 1916 that a German trench mortar cut short his life at the early age of 21”.

Even Joe would later be called for army duty but that story will be told another time. There was still time and opportunity for some fun as the published picture shows on an outing to Hastings in 1917 with Grandfather Joe standing on the right!

The brown velvet jacket

Saga     Vistos

I can only tell you that leaving Nevern Square was not easy. There were bills to pay, no right to the deposit and no new tenants to take over. Pepe was meant to look for new digs, even temporarily, but did not succeed. I finished up in Neil’s apartment near Earl’s Court’s Olympia in a sleeping bag on the floor! Neil was a working colleague from Tramp’s!

This was my situation as I awaited embarkation on Wednesday the July the 5th 1972 on MS Saga with arrival two days later in Gothenburg, Sweden! One of my most valuable possessions was a brown velvet jacket that I had bought from António, a Portuguese from the Porto area! This smart jacket would do fine for my trip and meeting Mona!

Finally the day came. I went on board and we sailed off to the new country. I was impressed to hear the Swedish language being trumpeted off the loud speakers. They were sounds, I already liked, having heard Swedish spoken innumerable times first by Åsa and Mona and later by Jannike and Ulla!

I was also impressed by the blonde kids on board that threw themselves on the pool without any measure of uncertainty! What confidence and well-being did they not express?

After arrival at about 6.30 on the 7th I had to get to the train station! The connection was done by a bus leaving the Skandia harbour at 6.50 and 7.45 to Central Railway station. The fare was 4 Swedish Crowns.

I got on the train and started my trip to Stockholm. The heat was unbearable and I could not for my life get it into my head that Sweden could be warmer than Britain. So I kept my jacket on!