Sarilhos sim senhores…



Cá estamos nós na Côte d’Azur.Passamos uma vida porreira.Fartamo-nos de roubar coisas. Espero que este postal não te cause sarilhos, bem é que foi tambem fanado, especialmente para ti. Nós devemos chegar aí dia 17 ou mais tardar dia 18.

Beijinhos Carlos, Nelson e Zé

Foi este o texto que apareceu na casa em Barnes, Londres, onde alugava um quarto à senhora Meltzer mais ou menos no dia 15 de agosto de 1969. A Sra. Meltzer, viúva de uns 65 anos, alugava quartos e tambem estava incluído na renda de 6 Libras e 6 shillings o pequeno almoço à inglesa. O que terá a Sra . pensado do postal que lhe entrou pela caixa do correio mostrando uma francesa nudista da ilha do Levant- nunca cheguei a saber.  Mas que este trio causava sarilhos, causava.

The National Team (2)


I decided that I would go to some of the matches in the 2004 European Championship. I bought 3 tickets in advance but did not know which matches I would see. One was for the quarter finals and it would be in Lisbon’s Estádio da Luz. It turned out to be the jewel in the crown for the matches I saw live with the Portuguese selecção. The date was the 24th June 2004 and the opponent was England.

England scored first a in the 3rd minute by Owen. Portugal worked hard for an equalizer that finally came by Postiga in the 83rd minute. The match had to go to extra time. A hard shot by Rui Costa in the 110th minute put Portugal ahead for the first time. It would not last though, as five minutes later and five from finish saw an equalizer by Lampard. After extra time the quarterfinal had to be decided from the penalty spot. My brother Pedro smoked non stop throughout the whole match. Ricardo the goal keeper became the hero for that eventful match. First he saved a penalty and then scored the winner. A night I will never forget!

My latest match with the National Team was in Coimbra on the 15th November 2006. For some reason that I have now forgotten I was in Portugal at this time. I asked my father to get us tickets for the match that was part of the qualification for the 2008 European Championships. The opponents were Kazakhstan and as the match was in Coimbra I had booked a hotel room. My father had not bought the tickets but was confident that there would be plenty – After all who wants to see Borat’s country in a football match? When we arrived in Coimbra it was pouring with rain. Frustration grew as we could not find the hotel. Eventually we got there and I went off to the stadium with the purpose of getting tickets. I was informed at the ticket office that it was sold out. Someone said I could go and speak to some students standing nearby. They asked me if I needed tickets which of course I did. They said that they didn’t sell tickets but if I bought some Portugal scarves they would give away the tickets. Said and done.   What was the alternative? The tickets were good and it allowed us to see Portugal win by 3-0 with goals scored by Simão (2) and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Going to matches with the Portuguese National Team have been events well worth remembering.


The National Team (1)


Sweden and Portugal are set to play a decisive play-off to participate in next year’s World Cup in Brazil. Whilst trying to decide whether or not I should go to the match in Stockholm on the 19th November, I am recalling the matches I have seen live, with Portugal’s national team. My team!

First match I saw was a friendly as part of the preparation for the England World Cup of 1966. Portugal played Uruguay at the national stadium on the 26th June. José Torres scored all the three goals and my grandmother who had never seen a football match but was very keen on Eusébio felt very sorry for the Uruguayans and said that they should be allowed to score a goal.

I had moved to London in 1968 and one year later Portugal played a friendly on the 10th December 1969. England won by 1-0 after a goal by Jackie Charlton, so Portugal did not at this time revenge being knocked out of the England World Cup three years earlier.

In 1984 Portugal were in the same qualifying group as Sweden for the World Championship of 1986 in Mexico. Thanks to a late goal by Fernando Gomes Portugal could come home with a precious 1-0 victory. That match was seen surrounded by Swedes that had little or no understanding when João Oliveira and I jumped up to celebrate the goal. Much could be said of this Stockholm encounter but it is a story that will have to stand on its own.

Fate had it that Portugal and Sweden would once again play each other, this time for the European Championships. My fourth match was also in Råsunda, Stockholm, and was played on the 23rd September 1987. Even in this match Portugal came out as a winner. An early goal by defender João Pinto ( his only one, in 70 caps) was enough but neither of the two countries would reach the final phase in Germany 1988.

Before the 2004 European Championship that was organized in Portugal the National Team only played friendlies. It was on the 10th September 2003 that I saw Portugal defeat Norway by 1-0. The goal scored by Pedro Pauleta at the Oslo Ullevaal arena. Through our mobile we heard that Swedish foreign minister Anna Lindh had been knifed in Stockholm some hours earlier. Unfortunately she would no longer be with us the next day.


Socialist Sundsvall encounters


My first encounter with the Swedish Social-democratic party was in November 1974. A few months had passed since the military action that put an end to the dictatorship in Portugal. The political parties needed to build up their organizations and the Swedish party prompted itself to help the very young Socialist party of Portugal. Somehow it was known that there was someone in Sundsvall that spoke Portuguese. That someone was me. I had then been in Sweden for roughly one year.

I accepted to help out, on what turned out to be, cooperation between the Setubal District and our own of Medelpad. Sent on this first mission from the Setubal side was Mr Antonio Valente. He was an insurance man living in the parish of Corroios, Seixal.

My job was in fact to accompany Mr Valente to different study visits. My most difficult and nervous moment was to address a large number of members on their monthly gathering where the PS member, greeted the Swedish party and thanked for the solidarity shown, at the same time as he briefly explained what was going on at this time in the country.

Chairing the Swedish district was Mr Bo Forslund newly appointed Member of Parliament that can be seen on the picture below.

It was an opportunity for me to learn something of Swedish politics and at the same time grasp some understanding of the importance of the municipalities in Sweden. In a few years’ time I would become a member of the Social Democratic party.



Farewell Dennis

Pollards hill

Most of us learn in time to understand that we all are different. Uncle Dennis and I did not always hit it well, but whether it was for conflicting personalities or the flow of circumstances is not important any longer. I choose today to remember you, Dennis Frith, for the man you were, and my memories attached to you.

My first encounter, that I remember, was visiting the family in the late fifties at your house in Thornton Heath. I remember that from the back window I could see a large cemetery. But most of all you made cakes at home. I believe somehow that you were beginning your successful career in the business of pastry. The smell and looks of sugar icing and whipped cream is something that no child can ignore. You were never one for hanging around chatting as I recall!

I did however get a better picture of you, when I took my big step, of starting a new life in 1968. Then, you and auntie Dot played a main role. By this time you had built up a considerable activity with several shops in the south of London and own production in what was called Frtith’s Patisserie. Your home and kitchens were in Barnes, so that’s where I came. You fixed me up with a room at Mrs Meltzer’s and gave me my first employment working at your office in Richmond. No one would ever ignore how important this was for me to start off my life as an adult.

Your favourite song was, for along time, Cliff Richard’s “Living Doll” and you did never miss an episode of the Forsythe Saga on television.

By this time you played tennis and had a passion for antiques. You were always in the look for a rare old painting and meticulously learned more. Whatever you did had a purpose and was well in line with the self made man you were. Rest in peace and thank you.

Foot note- In this picture from left to right- My grandmother Bua, auntie Dot, uncle Bernard, uncle Dennis, and my grandmother Dorothy Begernie Ineichen. Standing behind- my father João and my grandfather Joseph Ineichen. The picture was probably taken in 1951 in connection with my parents marriage on the 14 July.



Welcomed home


After a long wait of nearly six years, conditions had been  created for a return to Portugal without risking being accused of escaping the army. In that summer of 1974 it was decided we would take the trip and fly to Lisbon. With us the new baby that we would introduce to great grandparents, Joseph and Pat in London and Bua in Lisbon. Great-grandfather quickly gave the baby a nick name. He became “Barbershop” as he sang himself to sleep.

It would also be the opportunity for grandparents João and Pamela in Lisbon to meet their first grandchild John.

Besides all this, a return to a country that was still celebrating and where everything seemed to be possible. The revolution was on its way and nobody would stop it! Mistakes were made and consequences were laid on those who most  probably  were innocent. But the fear of things going back was there, as were the demands for nationalizations of all types of production. Like all other revolutions things tended to go to extremes. Many people that had businesses were seen as supporters of the recent regime. It was obviously not so.

We were met by my father at the airport, who said- This cannot go back!!!!

But before that landing, the pilot gave us the grand view, which is standard when coming from the north and landing from the south. The plane turns over Lisbon and gives the passenger the opportunity to see this beautiful city across the Tejo’s majestic estuary, the long Caparica coastline to the south and then across the whole city for a landing practically spot on it.

For the first time there was no fear from passport agents, instead a smiling welcome. Benvindos! Suddenly a uniform was something positive. Things had indeed changed. The emotion of this return was strong and I am not capable of putting into words the extension of these feelings.


The main event


The main event of 1974 was on the 25th April. After years of resignation something out of the ordinary hit my country of Portugal and  enthusiasm grew on what future would lay ahead. Would the country become a democracy and would we end the war and pull out of the colonies?

Reports came in but they did not tell you much. The armed forces had made a coup and ousted the 48 year-old regime. This was done almost without casualties. There was an enormous expectation. I sensed it from far away and listened as often as I could to the radio, on a short wave wireless that had belonged to my father in law. Newspapers were welcome and delivered by my father. It was strange to see those places in Lisbon full of people expressing their joy while being part of history.

I could see pictures from the Carmo barracks where the prime minister Caetano negotiated his escape to Brazil. This place that I had been to so often as a kid and not far from where I lived. Then there was the gigantic marches of 1st May. Freedom had to be breath in and people were almost suffocating with the new breaths of fresh air.

Carnations were everywhere where simple soldiers became heroes of peace. I learned that a singer and songwriter had given the signal for the beginning of operations .  His name Zeca Afonso and the song Grandola. It was chosen by the military to be played as a signal that things were going well and according to plan. Who were these men in uniform? What was going to happen? Did they have a plan?

A Junta was formed to front the first anxieties and the call for information. A provisional government and President with monocle were appointed. Dates were set for general elections aiming at making a new constitution. Things happened fast and for my liking I would have been there myself to help on whatever was needed. So was not to be, but my return was now a clear possibility even if it would only be for a holiday.


A new profession


My first text for September 2013 will take up some of my experiences as a newly arrived immigrant to the city of Sundsvall in central Sweden. For most people well placed in the north of the northern hemisphere. I am hoping at the same time that this month will see my 10 000 viewing on this blog.

 Arriving in Sundsvall was a chock for me. I settled in a flat that was fixed by Mona and her parents in the area of Skönsberg. Soon after that I became a father. I cut down on smoking as a consequence of the baby and the cold weather. I had no work and even though I was looking I could not really see what I would be doing. I was new page in a new book. Not only for me but apparently for the whole society that I was now trying to be a part of. If the word depression was used then, I believe I had, at least, a spell of itin that year of 1974.

 I did land a few jobs here and there. One of these jobs influenced the rest of my life so I will briefly explain how it happened that I finished up teaching kids in a regular school.

Åsa Ahlberg was Mona’s best childhood friend. They had kept up their friendship into adult age and Åsa was with Mona in London when we first met. Åsa’s father was a school master on the island of Alnö where the girls had grown up.  It was also to this school of Vibacke that they went to up to the age of 16. Ali Ahlberg, was Åsa’s father. He had to find replacement teachers for his two language teachers that had recently, themselves become parents. One was Märta Starringer and the other Bertil Olsson. Both of these teachers taught languages. More specifically they taught English and French. Because I had considerable knowledge of the languages in question though absolutely none of teaching I accepted the challenge. I took on the teenage kids that saw this 22 year old, with hardly any Swedish as an interesting novelty in their school day.

 Even though I had not dealt with teenage kids before I found that I had enough experience in my social luggage to cope with this new situation and did step in for what eventually became my profession.