Friday, 26 August 2011

When in existential trouble...BUILD

Yesterday afternoon, after my pub shift would have finished had I been at work, an Argos delivery man carried the box containing my 'desk and chair' up my stairs.

He smelt nice, which was nice.

Some parts of the desk required two people to assemble it but there was no second person I could call, so I did it myself. Took a while. lifted the structure onto the top desk bit back to front so had to lift it out again, but hey! I did it!!

So today. where I've stepped outside and had to step back in again because my chest keeps tightening and I think I'm going to have a panic attack, I have instead marvelled at my two new bits of furniture which given an illusion of ordered space in my living room.

Oh to have bespoke furniture for in truth, were I rich, I would not have a desk like this with a keyboard shelf attached by runners, because I have a laptop. It is kind of bespoke though; I've left my mark on it.. it's not a smooth finish!

So yes, with a door slamming shut on my pub job (she wasn't there both times I went to apologise so I'm guessing...) I'm hoping the renovations to my front room, with its pine storage and a 'beech effect' desk, will precipitate a lovely job, that I can do staring out on to the tops of these trees before me (I do so need the sky to be close)

So yes folks, I'm drowning.. letter from the electric company saying charges are going up by 11% in a few weeks..I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one to feel out of my depth

So, I'm taking some time out. Tidy up, read.. I bought myself Shantaram with some tokens I was given for writing a review piece for someone (£10!) but I may read something more spiritual instead because I hate feeling like this. Thinking you're at the bottom but knowing there is no bottom, you just keep falling.

My country is in existential trouble. It should take a leaf from my blog and BUILD. Build what's affordable. Build affordable homes for people. 80% of £350 a week is not "affordable" just like fix term contracts are not "secure".

I sign out and wish you a very happy Bank Holiday. Hopefully next time I write, my son will be home.

(oh and damn, was going to write about the Lily Shea Trio gig I went to - the guitarist is a friend and Lily's voice is smoky or else smooth like chocolate when sings her jazz and the classical music concert at St Martin's in the Field...I am actually alright, I just need to focus on something other than what I'm trying not to think about and really want to switch off my computer and breathe, and empty my mind of negative things. Thanks Stigs, ending on music!)

Sex and Stravinsky - Review

Sex and Stravinsky by Barbara Trapido (Birthday present from my friend Em!)

Two families - over in England live the supersonic Aussie wonder woman Caroline (except in the eyes of her awful mother), her husband Josh and their daughter Zoe who's really into Ballet but isn't given the chance until she goes on a French exchange.
Over in South Africa there's Hattie, her husband Herman, and their daughter Cat, a daddy's girl who can see no right whatsoever with her mother, who writes ballet books up in a fairytale turret.
Everything is as it seems then nothing is at is seems as Caroline's mother dies and every one's lives converge as a result.

This is a great story, witty and vibrant too. Trapido writes her chapters with the narrative voice of her characters so it's almost like a dance, as you change partners in a waltz. Perceptions changing, stories coming to light like a prism turned, determining fate and fortune within the story's global backdrops.

The music still plays once you finish the book but that's for you to find out why and how.

Thank you Em, I really loved this!

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Rivers of London - a review

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch (Free gift from the author who used to be a neighbour)
Title in America is Midnight Riots

This book starts with a decapitated body and the only witness to the murder is a ghost.
Peter Grant, a Detective Constable with the Metropolitan Police is taken on as an apprentice to a wizard to try to solve the case.

I enjoyed this book, more and more so as I read through it as we meet Mother Thames and Father Thames and vampires and spirits and a very cynical Met Police.

The book ends with a riot. The middle class audience of the Royal Opera take to the streets fighting and starting fires.

It was very funny reading it for at the same time, riots were starting all over London. Were the Tottenham rioters taken over by a revenant spirit? Were all the others country wide?

Joking aside, I left while the rioting was going on. I didn't ever condone it but I do understand it.
I would not be surprised if there's more to come. Well, that's what I told Portuguese people who asked me about it anyway.

I recommend this book; it's not usually my type of thing but it may surprise you like it did me!

Pub job in jeopardy?

Oops. I think I may have been fired.

I texted the landlady this morning to ask if she wanted me in and she said, no, it's ok, but to pop in when I could. I asked when would be a good time but got no answer. So an hour ago I popped in and she wasn't there.

She will be there at 1.30 said the barman, but maybe not for long because she has to go out.

Me, like the dumbwit I am, have to wait for Argos to deliver my desk and chair. Infact, it's me being a dumbwit which alerted me to the fact I may be fired.

After having ordered my Argos goods to be delivered today, Thursday, I realised as a light went on, that I'd be working that day. No matter, hopefully the delivery men will call....

Yesterday, another light went on and sounded an alarm. I was supposed to be in work last Thursday but instead was on a flight home.

When I leave London behind, I truly leave London behind...What I'm saying is that it didn't even cross my mind that I should be at work or I'd've gone round to apologise the following day.

I may quickly cycle over at half one (the rain has stopped, the sun's come out!) and agree it's not working. My son's back next week, last week of the holidays....

(I also have to declare £1 if she increases my hours by 30 minutes as my wages pop over the £20 allowance by that much. "A pound means nothing to me.")

I am hoping by closing this door another shall open, sparkling gold, allowing me to earn a decent salary while allowing me to be there for my child.

If I work out how to do it I'll tell you because thousands of mothers can do it and I want to do the same.

I shall thank the pub landlady for the opportunity. She's a nice woman.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Big Bad Post Holiday Missing Boy Blues....

Monday - SLAM - I wanted to be dead.

What am I doing here?

It's difficult to describe falling into the abyss apart from it's all black so you can't even see what you're thinking.

Trying to locate what tipped me over the edge. I'd had a great time on Friday with a friend, then a gig and bbq on Saturday. A guy I was meant to be meeting on Sunday got in touch at 7pm but I couldn't be arsed by then. I met him Monday lunch time when pins started pricking the back of my eyeballs and I wanted to be at home.

I went, wanting to climb into bed, but my doorbell went and it was my mate Charlie. I wanted to tell him to piss off but I didn't have the energy so I made him a cup of tea and didn't say much. Until I started speaking

A pub landlady I know is first shortlisted to view a flat near my son's school. If that was me I wouldn't have to worry about my son's education ever again. That part of my life would be over, that part of his life would be settled. Then I shut up again, inconsolable.

Oh I'd looked at the bidding of the past few weeks, couldn't see the place she's viewing. She's been on the list 5 years, has way points than me, you can't ask me why..

My mate Charlie invited me to chill around his, just like my friend at lunchtime and I said no.

Went to bed at 11 and slept 12 hours.

Down Down Down...


I went and bought a flat pack 2 x 3 storage cabinet from Argos with tokens that I have. Reduced from £75 to £25. Clear the clutter.
Ended up texting Charlie in an SOS for help. He invited me around again and I said no. I went to see Bridesmaids at the cinema instead and laughed til I cried and then cried for real.

Feeling fragile today, but I don't want to be dead.



My boy will be back before I know it and I have our holiday on camera.

I've a DIY desk and chair being delivered tomorrow courtesy of the remainder of my tokens. Soon I can write looking out of the window.

None of us should want to be dead.

Portuguese nibbles!

My son and I ended up sharing our meals on holiday.

You can ask half portions for kids and pay half but two meals a day started weighing on my purse. A regular portion is HUGE so I told my son to open his mind.

Quickly then
The custard tarts in Belem. Oh yes!! You'll queue outside the patisserie but not for long. Here's something I discovered in Portugal. At patisseries, if you go to sit inside, you DO NOT PAY EXTRA for your pastry! How civilised is that!! So don't queue at Belem, go in and take a seat!!

I can't remember the name of the place in Alfama, Lisbon. But I wanted to go back to the area because some seemed great.

In Nazare Tasquina - a budget place in the lonely planet but was full full to people queuing outside full the night I turned up with my son. We went then to Conchina, in the lonely planet too. Had a kind of boillabaise, fish stew. Really delicious

Coimbra we went to Jardim da Manga (in the lonely planet). Had a bachalau (salted cod). I was given a free brandy and my son a free lollipop when we left!!

Democratica in Coimbra. Oh yes!!! "Your mother is punishing you," said the waiter to my son as he took my order for fried sardines. My son devoured the rice though, loved it.
We went back the next day for our last lunch and had the pork and clams he'd recommended the night before. Wow!!! "What is this sauce?" I said. "Special recipe!" he replied.
Divine puddings both days and washed down with beer and pop (I wanted to get my son on beer because it was cheaper than his cokes and trinas and whatever)
We paid 12 euros for our meal (with coffee! 60p!!!!!!!) the first night and he discounted us lunch the next day and we paid 10. It's off Rua de Sofia, near the Fado place and close to the centre of town.

Right, there is more, like the pastries to try in Sintra - I'd have to find the receipt, I never jotted it down..

but anyway, the food in Portugal won't disappoint...

Feeling hungry now....hmmm... cheese on toast?

Some things we did in Portugal

Right, this is just a list.. I can sense already the temptation to attach stories to everything but that's what books are for, not blogs!!

Anyway, here goes..well, what I remember, I returned the guide books yesterday incurring a £1 fine!

The Castle of St Jorge (Up in Almafa district. You pay, about 5 euros, your kids go free)

Oceanaria - said to be the world's second largest indoor aquarium but according to it isn't. No matter. It's good. My son thought it was brilliant, the first time he's seen a shark. (Don't they have a shark in the London aquarium? He was little when we went and my memory couldn't keep a fish alive)
Can't remember the euro's, sorry...8 for me, 6 for him? Family deals are about 29...

The Tower of Belem - Well the whole Belem district! Amazing. The tower costs 5 for you, free for the kids. I wasn't going to go in having been to the castle, but thought sod it. The queues to go up the staircase one at a time - definitely part of the adventure. My son loved paddling in the ocean surrounding it.

Castelos do Mouros - I regret not paying to go into these ramparts. We climbed up and up and up the mountain and when we got to the top, there was a gate. We could see the turrets, almost touch them. We could also see the ticket booth. 11 euro's for the two of us. Grrr.
Palacio Nacional de Pena - I'd been told you could walk around the Moorish Castle and Palace with not paying but when we got to the Palace, there was no walking in the garden for free. So I paid the 11 euros.

You can get tickets in advance that give you reductions on these thing. I just wasn't sure how many me and my boy would go to.

In the event, the garden is beautiful; ponds and lakes and crucifixes and views of the fairy tale pastel coloured palace. My son ran down a path and went flying. The screams through the woodland, the birds shot from the trees. "Five grazes in one fall!" he'd sing later to the crowded house tune about seasons in a day. One of each knee, a gash in his palm, a graze on his waist and a graze on his shoulder that would not heal and wept under this backpack straps. I told him to show the Mamma in Nazare. He looked a forlorn figure that day, maybe that's why they took us in.

Palacio a Quinta da Regaleira. 6 euros for you, none for the kids (!!!!) This garden's got caves and unfinished wells and all sorts. We spent hours exploring in here. It's what determined our second night in Sintra. I didn't want to leave without taking my son here.

A windsurfing beach. An English guy was travelling through Portugal windsurfing sleeping in his van. He'd booked into the hostel for a decent bed and a shower. I'd invited him a long with us to the Palacio a Quinta and on hearing I was going to take my son to the beach, said we could go along with him. I had a monster hangover from the meal the night before and this seemed easier than taking a bus.
My son was so excited, he donned his trunks, he couldn't wait. It was too windy though, as you might imagine but he found some kids to play football with and I read my book. Perfect! Oh I do like to be beside the seaside!


The beach!!!! Free!! Loud and brash. Modelling competitions and games to win a car. I've never been to Blackpool (yet) but it's how I imagine it.

Sitio - you take a funicular tram up the cliff to this old town. But the whitewashed back streets of Nazare speak of a history from a time gone so really, you'd go to Sitio for two reasons.

Bullfighting. I've never been. I wanted to see what my son thought of it. I'm surprised no-one was killed, apart from the bull, afterwards. The crowd whooped and cheered, my son jumping up and down gleefully beside me before falling asleep around midnight.
The bullfights start at 10.15pm. I paid 15 euros and my son nothing because the ticket seller thought he was under 6. Or rather, told me "6 yes?" er "sim!"

The next morning we were back in Sitio taking in the Sunday service at the Igreja de Nazare (not sure - I'd've plundered more of the religious side of this town with more time and no child with me. They take their religion as seriously as their bullfighting. For all its courseness Nazare felt like the most traditional place we visited) Outside the church there are fisherwomen selling er 'snacks'. I bought these claw things that tasted like squid, maybe, possibly. I couldn't wrench the meat from the claw. My son could, for me to eat - he refused to. Gotta give local things a go, ya know....

OK, three reasons for Sitio. The view! It's extraordinary how this town sits on the cliff edge like that.

The old university town. This is great just to get lost up those skinny streets with plentiful grafitti to entertain the eye. Visit the library when you're there, it's really worth the five euros.

The Roman ruins at Conimbriga. I came here for my son really. It's not a case of once you've seen a roman ruin you've seen them all, but I've been to many and Pompeii tops the bill. Anywhere, worth a trip. Kids free again!! I think....
A bus, a local bus, takes you there either at 9 or 9.30 in the morning. It will come and pick you up at 12.55. If you miss it, you have a 2km hike against a dual carriage way hard shoulder to a town which will will take you back to Coimbra.
We came out of the ruins and there were 2 luxury coaches. How were we supposed to know?????
Luckily we were with three Spanish people from our hostel and so began the walk up the hard shoulder. I would have surely cried had the Spanish people not been there. By this stage my son thinks it's all par for the course and goes along with it all without wingeing. In fact, I had to keep telling him to stop looking at wild flowers on the side of the road and keep up.

The Botanical Gardens. It was cloudy or we'd have gone to the Piscine. There's a new sky garden starting there. All ropes and ladders and adventures up in the trees. It's 12 euros for children over 10. Seven euros for little ones like mine to do the smaller assault course. I was going to spend the money on my child but they said I had to go with him for safety reasons and pay 7 euro's myself for the task.
I'd been chatting to a portuguese worker earlier who's on a really low salary. I shook my head and walked away. Fortunately the boy wasn't too gutted following the morning's adventures.

Fado - Coimbra in the second city for Fado after Lisbon (or is the first and Lisbon came second?!) We went to the Diligencia bar, just of Rua de Sofia opposite where we were staying. The playing, the voices! Before we'd left for our holidays I played my son some on youtube and he'd declared it "rubbish". He really enjoyed it live. Such a buzz and a vibe in the bar. So fortunate you can drag your kids out there and no-one judges you for it!

The Children's Museum. This is a definite if you have young children. Well, any children. All the palaces and castles that you've visited are here, on a tiny scale. Toddlers tower above the gates of a tradional house, older ones bending down to get through the door.
This place was a perfect way to end our holiday. We were both really knackered by this point and the museum had everything we'd missed! It's cheaper than lego land. 9 for me? 6 for my son? Go, if you're in Coimbra, go!! One young 20 something in the hostel said: "I fancy the sound of that!" "Go!" I told her!

Go, I tell you, to Portugal. There is SO much for you and your kids (I haven't mentioned museums because I didn't go to any. I tailored it around my boy pretty much)

I want to go back. Take a coastal route, go to Porto, head to the mountains. It's all a real treat whoever you are and whoever you're with, even if you're on your own like the 19 year old Swiss girl my son and I chatted to on our dorm bunks!

Monday, 22 August 2011

Places we stayed in Portugal

The world has changed since I last went backpacking. Once upon a time you just had to turn up and hope for the best that you'd find cheap accommodation for the night.

Now, with the internet, rock up to a backpackers hostel and you'll be asked if you made a reservation. All hostels have computers and really, well, you have no excuse!!

I didn't reserve anywhere apart from our first night in Lisbon, saying I was only one person and thus shitting it a little as my son and I staggered up the hill, staggered some more, got lost, staggered some more and hoped to God we wouldn't be turned away.

Johnnies Place, 18f Calcada de Graca. In the heart of Alfama, the old part of Lisbon, famed for Fado, Portuguese music.
16 euros, breakfast included. An english girl was there when I arrived and I asked if my son and I could sleep top to toe. If it wasn't possible, that was fine, we'd leave (my son looking shattered after his night's non sleep at heathrow..)
She phoned the owner and it was fine!!!! In a six bed dorm, we had the bottom bunk and I was too knackered to really register the kicks during the night!
This hostel was my son's favourite. It was also the only one to offer me my own bed at no extra cost if the hostel wasn't full the next night, but it was, but it didn't matter.

Sintra: Nice Way Hostel, Rua Sotto Mayor. 20 euros, breakfast included.
We were in a five bed dorm the first night but then I asked if we could stay a second and were fortunate enough to get a bunk in the ten bed dorm. Same price as it was a Friday night when room costs go up a euro!
You could eat an evening meal in this hostel for 8 euros. I asked if I could share a plate with my son because he doesn't eat much (check out the sizes of the half portions for kids, enormous!)
We had soup and a really nice sausage and spinach pie the first night my son didn't like and a kind of seafood paella the second night. Wine was free flowing and I got totally wrecked that first evening with an english guy staying there and some germans from my dorm. Managed to sightsee the next day...

Nazare: A family's home, 30 euros, everything included.
In the guide books it tells you that when you alight your bus in Nazare fisherwomen are there to try sell you a room. I was rather depending on this. It didn't happen.
At the bus station (one of those shed things, can't think what they're called) on the side of the road, my bus driver asked the ticket seller what I should do. The former had some English, the latter didn't. We were directed through a car park.. don't ask me, I didn't understand.

As we alighted the metro in Lisbon a woman had come up to me and my son to show us how to get to the bus station. When I told her we were going to Nazare she looked shocked and asked why? There were better beaches? "The women there, watch out, they will take everything from you. They'll offer you a room and then they'll take take take..."

Nazare is a story all by itself. Walking down the esplanade with my son, seeing these women, who would tout 60 euros a night, 40 euros a night tears pricked behind my eyes. I looked heavenward and implored arch angel Michael to protect us.

An old widow who'd said 40 euros then looked away stood up as I went to walk on and took us to see her friend.

Nazare was my very best and very favourite experience. Perhaps the hardest ones are.

Coimbra; Sofia Chill House hostel. Rua da Sofia 56 1st F. 18 euros with breakfast.
"Does your son want to play on the Wii?" said the woman who had the same name as him as we got there. "No, no don't say that to him," I whispered with a smile. "He won't leave this place to go see anything!"

This was the noisiest hostel, being on a street really close to town and only had one shower and two toilets for 18 guests. But, like all the hostels, the staff were great and fantastic at recommending places to go, places to eat, food or pastries to try, bars where they played Fado music for free...(I took my son, at 10.30 at night, no-one raised an eyebrow. Two other families were there with their kids.) My boy fell asleep so I stayed listening to the music until 1am before taking him home.. Which fortunately was just across the road.
This hostel was also not far from the bus station, where we schleped the next day, Britain bound boo hoo.

So there you have it, the places we stayed, guided by The Lonely Planet and The Rough Guide. Two books I must now dash off and return to the library, four days overdue!!

Don't be afraid to go backpacking in Portugal. It's a blast and the people you meet add the silver linings to your experiences.

I'm not sure how you'd manage the costs if you have more than one child but my guess is, the hostels would let your kids sleep top and tail in one bed. You'd have to look to see if guesthouses were a cheaper option. If I went to Portugal with a boyfriend, guest houses would be (the prices cheaper than a hostel for a private room)

Hostels are always the cheaper option for single people but with the advice you get and the other travellers you meet, many groups of friends were staying at them too.

My son didn't meet any other children in places we stayed. He got on really well though and the staff really enjoyed his presence (oooh!!!)

Portugal in a week

It can't be done! Nope, not at all!! Portugal in a week? You're kidding!!

So, if a week's all you've got, well, you just have to make the most of it, especially if you don't have a car which then limits you to the local bus service.

A week in Lisbon is easily done. What a capital!! You sense how laid back it is as the bus carries you in from the airport (kids pay the same as you, aye, ouch! Portuguese aren't happy because all the transport costs have risen. Still cheaper than ours if you don't factor in the children).

With a week you could explore the city then take a few days out to go to nearby Sintra, a fairy tale town, or one of the beaches. A week in Lisbon is good use of your time.

We didn't do this!!

In short we spent two nights in Lisbon,
two nights in Sintra (castles and palaces, gardens to get lost in!)
two nights in Nazare (Portuguese beach resort!)
and two nights in Coimbra (Portugal's premier university town)
and then it was over with half a night back in Lisbon and a 10 euro cab to the airport at 5am.

(Going out my son and I "slept" at heathrow as our 6.10 flight was too early for public transport. Our city is too big for cabbing it. My son never wants to repeat the experience and nor do I to be honest...)

It wasn't long enough our holiday, of course, but we got a feel for the country. We didn't make it to the caves and the dinosaur footprints but I'll close my eyes and dream upon another visit!
We travelled by train to Sintra then buses all the way (kids pay half fare).

It was all pretty easy and straightforward apart from once when after waiting for our connecting bus to Nazare for over an hour, we queued to get on and the driver said no, only my son could board as only he had a ticket. I'd thought 5 euros was cheap for the two of us, but what do I know in a foreign country?? "I can't let him board on his own" I erm, said, abandoning all sketchy portuguese, both of us weighed down by the packs on our backs. "Why would I do that???"

I ran to the ticket booths clutching my boy's hand, pushing into the front. "Our bus is leaving now!" It was midday and there wasn't another until 5pm. My heart was thumping. The people very kindly allowed me infront of them. I was told I only asked for a child's ticket. "Um adulto, um crianca", don't think so! Anyway, all ended well. Two buses were running and we got on the second. Phew!! I didn't want to get to Nazare at night with nowhere to stay!! Blimey no!!

My only advice when visiting Portugal is don't leave home without a phrasebook! Not everybody can speak english and making an effort with their language goes a long way with how people treat you. We were treated really well which I won't forget in a very long time!

Thank you everyone!

Sunday, 21 August 2011

"I feel safe with you mummy"

I could not, COULD NOT, post what my son said to me the night before we were flying out on our first backpacking adventure.

What if I couldn't keep him safe? What if I lost him? In a crowd? On the beach? Something worse.. Ben Needham, Madeleine McCann, other children gone...Every parents worst nightmare.

My son had said he felt safe with me in relation to a conversation we were having about his dad. He doesn't feel he can be as open with him as he can with me. Oh my baby, yes you can be, I told him. "I feel safe with you mummy."

Well we're back! I'm figuring out how best to post our adventure for you this Sunday afternoon so may leave it until tomorrow!

My son, the lucky boy, has gone on his annual Ireland trip with his dad and I'm missing him (though enjoyed my night out with my friend Kelly yesterday and the bbq at her friend's house!)

What I will say though is that Portugal is a children's playground! It's a fantastic country, the people are brilliant, the food is delicious and I could have just kept on going, kept on moving, kept exploring, kept experiencing the delights of this old country with my beautiful eight year old travelling companion!!

Alas, no time and no cash even if there had been time. Portugal's not as cheap as I thought it might be but then again, it's a very long time since I donned my backpack - but oh how I still love it!! My son said it was "awesome" so maybe I succeeded in passing on the joy of the journey!

I want to take him back!

Soon I hope soon (ey Camelot?!)

Sunday, 7 August 2011

I'm taking my boy backpacking...

I must be out of my mind (because it's the night before....)
Taking my son backpacking for the first time ever.
Oh I just wanted to go...
go go go.....
So smashed the Teramundi pot, took the takings

Tell you what.. you can't get a holiday on it.. I mean a butlins or package to somewhere cheap. I've been horrified looking at the prices
So luckily I like backpacking...

That's not cheap either
Wish I'd planned it.
Planned nought...

The flights, at £179 a seat, have guzzled half the budget.. HALF my budget. To think, you can get there for £75 out of season, or if you book early.. apparently.. I wouldn't know.. not looked at flights for a hol with my boy for erm... erm... eight years. That's right, never.

I wanted us to go for 2 weeks, was beginning to have panic attacks over accommodation cost worries, then the airline couldn't do my dates.

So it's one week. One week....One minute I'm super excited!! Take my boy to Roman ruins, just travel on buses see where we end up. Eat local food.

Earlier I tried calling a budget hotel. I can't speak the language, not a word but got that 'setente' meant 70 for two nights and had to put the phone down.

So I've lied. I know. Already. I've said I'm one person for a hostel bed when we land on Tuesday. That's 16 euros so not cheap my friends. I plan on introducing the kid and asking if we can sleep top and tail for no extra cost. Faz favor. Faz faz faz faz faz favor. I might have been able to get a private room somewhere else for 22. My son wanted this place though. I'll let you know how we get on.

Where are we going?


Never been!

Never been alone, never been with a child.

Never been alone, never been with a child, have never been anywhere during High Season.

We're heading northwards, where ever we can find a cheap bed we can share (fortunately you can do that with an 8 year old though it might be the cut off point...I can't see myself head to toeing it when he's a teen..Hopefully I'll be rich then and we can both have our own bed.)

We're travelling on buses and I've seen already there are places I'd love to take him.. like to see Dinosaur footprints... but with no car we'll have to make choices so it'll probably be a cave instead. I hope it all works out, it could be really awesome if it does. I can't take the risks I've taken in the past though. Not in a country I don't know and haven't heard good things about (Madeleine I'm so sorry you are still not found)

Anyway a long post. The holiday so far has been lovely because the weather has been lovely and my boy has been lovely.
I have a job centre interview tomorrow (where I won't say I'm going backpacking in Portugal nor that it's thanks to four years of collecting £2 coins..)

I worked out I couldn't live in London on it for a fortnight. My rent takes it all. I wouldn't be able to eat out on it. Huge amounts are actually nothing these days are they?

I feel really lucky that I'm taking my son on this journey.

I hope to come back and tell you it went really well so that you may choose to go there too if you want!

Ate logo!
(That's 'see you later' in local lingo!)