Day before last in Lisbon… We played cards the whole day and ordered dinner from a restaurant across the road. This restaurant is owned by a man from Bangladesh.
Helena isn’t feeling so well so she stays in as Uncle Pedro, Grandpa
and Patricia travelled to S. Pedro to meet Great grandma Pamela. In the evening the grownups went to the Fado in Rua da Rosa. Fado, we were told is typical Portuguese singing. It was not of the best quality according to Grandpa but the food was OK at the Forcado restaurant.
After that they still had time to sit in the Chinese Pavilion and recover with a drink. -Cheers, Grandpa!
Last day in Portugal… Andrea arrives in the evening and Grandpa invites everybody back to the nice Nepalese restaurant. Grandpa opens a bank account in a bank in Portugal. We spend most of the day packing and planning on how to get to the airport and if we will get there on time.
Getting to the airport was a piece a cake thanks to Grandpas meticulous planning. We arrived at the airport in good time after catching two separate cabs. After the usual waiting periods we could at last go on board. This plane was called Alexandre O’Neill. When we thought we were about to take off, the plane turned back. The explanation was that the luggage hatch had not been properly closed. O’Neill had decided to pull one on us”-Ó Portugal se fosses só tres silabas, de plástico que era
mais barato”. We left Portugal as always with mixed feelings and already with some melancholy and longing to this country where only the unexpected can be expected. –”Onde só o imprevisto é previsivel e onde um
Portugal desconhecido sempre espera por si”. In Stockholm we were met by floods of rain.
We travelled with Helena to Great grandpa at Guerra Junqueiro avenue -where we all could relieve ourselves. After that Greatgrandpa drove away towards the mountains in Sintra and on our way there we got acquainted with the coast and the impressive Atlantic waves. We all ate at a restaurant.
As this was happening we were curious to know what Grandpa and Patricia were up to in Viseu. They visited a very large mansion that had belonged to Patricia’s family and that had now been rebuilt for rural tourism for foreigners. The house had been bought by a Dutch couple and now it was owned by English people. Patricia got very sentimental as she had such strong memories from this place. In the evening and after long farewells with kisses and hugs Patricia and Grandpa left father-in-law Julio brother-in-law Cristóvão (Quitó) among a number of newly acquired family members!
Sunday! The whole group went to Belém. Grandpa showed the way on the tram from Terreiro do Paço. It was boiling hot and Vótetta had made
sandwiches, for our picnic. Grandpa and Patricia went into the Belém
tower. Nobody else had the strength. D & D were also there and that was fun. Eventually we all went back for a short visit to Jerónimos.
Back in S. Bento, we kids went to the Estrela Park and lived an adventure with some other children. We ate out and Daniel and Jonatan followed with Grandpa for a glimpse of the Pombal statue.
We now lived through the hottest day. Temperatures were up in the 40s. We took a taxi to the Amoreiras where Grandpa opened a bank account. Jonatan and Grandpa had a haircut in Algés.
After that we could only stay indoors and wait for the sun to go down a bit. We visited the Poets Park in Paço d’ Arcos, and Grandpa explained about some of the writers and especially Alexandre O’Neill that Grandpa had lived with as a child. We now know that Grandpa has spoken to two people who are now statues O’Neill and Eusébio. Afterwards we went back on Vótetta’s car and looked for a restaurant where they could hit dead crabs with a hammer. Liv and Helena had gone to the beach and Liv got a rash.
The whole thing seemed almost surreal. Here I was in Stockholm living with Mona. We were engaged since that trip to Spain in the summer. There, I believe in Seville, we had bought our engagement rings. We had talked about getting married, but it was never a big issue.
Life in Stockholm was beginning to function in that autumn of 1972…at least for me. People struck me as unfriendly almost rude but Mona explained, in a matter of fact way, that they were Stockholmers! We had our room near the University; I had my job at the Sheraton. The condition put by the hotel for keeping me on was that my papers were in order! But they weren’t.
We had to get married to get my stamp on the passport. A date was set. The seventeenth of November. We were to go to the Stockholm City Hall- Rådhuset -at a given time, bring our rings and a couple of witnesses and a paper from the UK that showed I was free to marry. A certificate of no impediment!
It was a cold day, like November days in Stockholm are. It darkened early. Not the best month to get married…But we did get married that day, even if the only thing to prove it is this certificate of marriage. There are no photos of the event as witnesses, Åsa Ahlberg and Anders Hult, simply had forgotten the camera!
Well never mind…now to the police station. But that is another story.
There is always an unexpected Portugal waiting for you… Or as Grandpa says the unexpected is to be expected. Today Grandpa finished off some paper work and was on his way to Carcavelos when he got a phone call to turn around and stay in Lisbon. He could, after all, visit the Finanças there and deal with the papers and then go off to Cascais. It was already sometime after 5 o’clock when Grandpa and Patricia could arrive in S. Pedro where we were all waiting, since a few hours before. At last and after two weeks in Portugal, Grandpa finally came down to the beach to feel the sand and the ocean’s cold water!
Grandpa showed us children, something of the coast life and we discovered several sea snails, mussels and other creatures hiding under the rocks. Once back we were presented with a spaghetti dish with tomatoes and coriander after a dreadful trip for Grandpa who was dying to go to the toilet ever since we got on the train in S. Pedro.
Life can be boring without Grandpa nearby! Patricia and grandpa went off early in the morning to catch the train to Viseu. Once there Patricia’s father Julio and his wife Cristina and daughter Joana were waiting at the station. They all took good care of Grandpa who was able to relax. They did not go to bed before 2 in the morning. What we did? Well… We went to the beach ate a Greek salad and on our way back we got lost in Lisbon looking for a restaurant to eat. Guided by Jonatan and Liv we eventually arrived at the place where we had eaten with Grandpa the evening when we had listened to the opera and Jonatan had a stomach ache.
Portugal is a fantastic country where unexpected things happen all the time! One needs to experience it in order to understand. Patricia believes it is all about holding on to high levels of adrenalin and that people get addicted. For Swedes who do not want everything organized and predictable (if there are any?) it might be seen as relaxing. Grandpa can cope, but gets irritated at times, like when they went to buy train tickets to Viseu and there were no people waiting- but the internet suddenly died. It all eventually started to work again but a lot of time was wasted…
Time is something that we cannot administer very well in Portugal because of the high rate of improbabilities. We were invited by Great grandpa to eat at the “El Corte Ingles”. We were there at the agreed time. Even Great grandpa was there on time but was waiting at another place and had forgotten his cell phone. Grandpa solved the whole thing by contacting Uncle Pedro who in turn rang Leonor. In any case, Jonatan and Liv were given each a check for 30€ by Greatgrandpa and his wife Leonor. Jonatan bought a pair of football shoes
and Liv a schoolbag. We travelled as fast as we could to S. Pedro and Great Grandma Pamela. She was irritated about several things, which had to do with her health. Everyone went off to the beach, as Grandpa stayed with Pedro to go through some papers with a Notary. Great grandma gave a flat to Grandpa. Maybe we will be able to stay there when we come to Portugal next time. So, thank you Great Grandma!
Finally the much awaited day at the Lisbon Zoo! As everybody loves animals the family grew thicker by the minute and eventually we were 10 people all running in different directions and curious of different things, thirsty and hungry at different times. Must say that the best moment was when the sea lion got it in his head to kiss Grandpa! This happened at the Delfinarium, where we were offered quite a decent show. Even the other program with the birds flying in the open was good. It was a hot day and the animals were lazy until the late afternoon. That was when the group started to split up. First it was Pedro and ML that disappeared, then David and Vótetta. A few minutes later we discovered they had not progressed further than to a McDonald’s inside the zoo.
We the others, went home and cooked spaghetti that according to Jonatan was the best meal, since arrival. After this Patricia and Helena went to bed so we went with Grandpa to the Estrela Park with a football. We played there for a long and intensive period until Grandpa blew the whistle and we all went home. It was 9 o’ clock.
Esta foto não está relacionada com a carta e foi tirada um ano mais tarde
Caro Amigo Johnny
Recebi a tua carta que me deliciou. Não recebi os cigarros mas não tem importancia, obrigado de qualquer modo. Não tenho escrito a vocês todos, não porque vos tenha esquecido mas por razões óbvias, falta de tempo, etc.
A minha vida agora está completamente mudada, estou a trabalhar numa das maiores corporações do mundo, cheia de snobs ingleses que passam a vida a chamar “sir” uns aos outros. Um dos meus directores só diz disparates como por exemplo- “And what other interests have you got on this fine bâteau, monsieur?- Good man. Good man”!
Os gajos aqui fartam-se de assinar seguros para os barcos portugueses. É vê-los a dizer os nomes todos em português, é de partir o coco. Todas as Marias e Manéis and all the bacaloeiros,etc.
O meu director no 1 deu-me já as datas para escolher para férias do verão que consistem em duas semanas sem contar com sábados nem domingos.
Espero que a malta da praceta que vem a Londres escreva e diga e principalmente o Zé e tu. Este ano não vos posso receber condignamente porque não tenho um andar nem nada mas para o próximo tude se há de arranjar. Se vocês trouxerem a tenda eu talvez possa ir com vocês até ao norte ou qualquer coisa do género.
Espero que o Zé tenha recebido o disco que lhe mandei pelo natal.E manda-me o dia dos anos dele para lhe fazer outra surpresa.
Escrever é uma merda ( bolas até que enfim que me lembrei duma palavra irregular) só queria que os meus pensamentos se propagassem até aí, pois eu penso muito em vocês. Os bifes são todos malucos. Parecem todos criminosos ou bêbados. O tipo com quem eu trabalho é um pachá, só fala do Concorde e do Queen Elizabeth II ( outro Johnny). Quando vocês vierem a Inglaterra vão me encontrar a falar português catedrático, pois estou-me a esquecer de todas as palavras que a malta costuma usar, pá.
Nunca mais joguei à bola e onde me entretenho agora é no rinque de patinagem no gelo que está cheio de miúdas taradinhas sexuais. Vêm contra mim, e começam a perguntar-me o nome, a morada,etc, etc. Desculpa estar –te a escrever tão mal mas estou muito cansado. Já escrevi duas cartas antes desta.
Espero que o Mário continue a ser “o melhor” e que o Lacerda continue com as suas filosofias, retóricas(gagusdasi*Incompreensivel) e excelente brilhantismo em Ciências Naturais e que todos tenham tido notas porreiras vocês e os putos da praceta, isto é todos os outros. O Sporting está uma merda. Escreve depressa e não te esqueças de dizer quando vens, se vens.
We visited the nearby park, Jardim da Estrela. Then we went off again to Vótetta who showed us, (Jonatan and Grandpa), Paço de Arcos city! Jonatan, who by this time still hasn’t learnt Portuguese, wondered what we were searching for. Then off we went! Sporting’s first home match for the season… The opponents were Lyon with Kim Källström.
A nice experience, with a big crowd and where Sporting presented all their players for the fans. Sporting also won the match 2-0. Kim had to be carried out on a stretcher. Grandpa had to change his place, as a nervous old boy, chain smoked next to him. In Portugal people seem to still think that if the match is played outdoors it should be allowed to smoke. Besides, they believe, that they cannot survive a whole match without a smoke. Well, well… We’ll see… we got out of the stadium rather fast and smoothly even though we reckon there were some 35000 people there.
We children were up late, laughing and talking. For Liv it is her last parent free night, because tomorrow mummy Helena arrives.
Have we remembered to mention Patricia’s fantastic breakfasts, with fresh bread, croissants, juice, coffee, etc.? Stadium of Light
We had been to see Sporting and Jonatan’s interest for Portuguese football only grew more and more. We decided to visit rivals Benfica. We went to their stadium and got a nice guided tour. Besides looking at their 100 most important trophies on show, we all also had a glimpse of the president’s seats, the changing rooms. We sat on the substitutes benches and met their eagle Vitória. This eagle flies before every home match. Jonatan was also impressed when he heard that Grandpa had on several occasions talked to the living legend Eusébio. During this time Liv and Patricia did the Colombo shopping center, right next door. We rushed to the airport by taxi and managed to arrive on time to welcome Helena. We ate dinner near Rato and were ready sometime between 11 and 12, Swedish time.
Sometime in October 1972 I entered the Swedish labour market for the first time! I had recently arrived from England to join my fiancée Mona!She had started to study English at the Stockholm University. I lived with her at the student’s room she rented at Amanuensvägen.
The kitchen facilities were shared by other students. It was at this time that I was introduced to certain food that apart from being Swedish suited the purse of poor students. Blood pudding with lingonberry jam, fruit soup and bilberry(blåbär) and even rosebud(nypon) soup were among the novelties. We held a tight food budget, at a culinary price!
Some readers might recall that my father had from Portugal, seen to it, that a letter of recommendation was sent to the director of the Sheraton Hotel in Stockholm. It was with some great expectations that this young man, though not believing he would become a gentleman, something he already considered himself to be, but rather obtain a position where language knowledge could come of use! I will not lie by admitting that I was hoping for some work at reception. Inspired perhaps on Candide’s experiences a hotel job could lead somewhere!
It was with some mixed feelings and disappointment that, on temporary and conditional basis, I was offered a position as a houseman. Provided that I would regulate my situation as far as labour permits were concerned, the job was mine.
What did this houseman work consist of? Very simply taking from the basement and up to the floors, the bed clothing and other stuff that were the very essence of making up the rooms and without which, chamber maids would sit idle! I would soon advance on my short Sheraton career! Most positive in leaving the houseman chores was to skip listening to and seeing ,the unsympathetic and bitchy woman, in charge of these important hotel activities!
The ogre hunt is on, Grandpa, Daniel,David and Patricia
What a lazy day! Grandpa was shut outside, knocked on the doors and windows, but we just slept away. Grandpa and Patricia had gone out to buy another suitcase. They went to the ”Chinese”. There are plenty of these shops in Lisbon. They sell real cheap things and it is Chinese people that own them.
They cannot pronounce R and replace them with L. But everybody knows this.
In the afternoon we went off to Parque das Nações by the underground station Oriente, with the decided purpose to see a film. It became a new experience to all of us as we saw Shrek 4 in 3D. Fantastic experience as Grandpa had to duck several times to avoid being hit by various flying objects that seem to be coming towards us at incredible speed.
Real fun film where Grandpa showed that he hangs on to all sorts of technical development!
After that we went to Baixa-Chiado, another tube station, and looked for the S. Carlos opera house. A concert was taking place outdoors there, with Verdi operas in the program. Grandpa sang all the arias and people looked around from the stage to admire Grandpa. There were so many people there so we could not see much but we heard quite a lot.
Afterwards we sat outside the Brasileira where photos were taken by the Fernando Pessoa statue. We walked home through Bairro Alto where they were thousands of people in hundreds of bars and restaurants. Liv having a bica with Fernando Pessoa