La Pergola


In the autumn of 1971 the Swedish girls came into my life. They had walked in to Maximus. I knew very little about Sweden. Absolutely nothing about the town they came from or the island they said they lived in.

What I knew was that it was a Scandinavian country and the women had the reputation of being blond, blue eyed and liberal. Meeting Mona and Åsa was the next step and follow up from a few pen friends I had been in contact with through the IYS “International Youth Service” of Turku in Finland.

They shared a basement room and worked in a hotel. At this time Mona was mourning the death of her grandmother mormor Helga. This was in October 1971. I recall the two friends went back to Sweden to celebrate Christmas but came back in January.

They moved into Nevern Square. Mané had returned to Portugal and Gilberto’s Swiss girlfriend was in with him.

In the course of a few weeks we started to fall in love. Glances were exchanged and in those glances a passion was growing. No one can really explain why people fall in love… It happens and I felt it was reciprocal but still a bit unsure. I invited Mona to eat out at a restaurant called La Pergola in Cromwell Rd. It was a Monday evening more precisely the 24th of January 1972. At the back of the card I wrote I love you and signed my name…nor James Bond, but João Pinheiro…from then on we were a couple!