Radio silence. For all of last week, and some of the week before, I realise. I have been poor. Or rather, brain-stuffed and bad at prioritising.
The story of this blog the last five years, basically, yes, I know.
Apart from that, however, I have been in Portugal, having abandoned My Beloved and My Cats for DAYS ON END and run away with a friend in order to find a greater likelihood of sunshine and greater incidence of sleep.
As a country, as a place to go to, I recommend Portugal. Portugal is good.
For those who have not been, I highly recommend it. I particularly recommend Lisbon, and the areas immediately around it to the north, west and south, especially as these happen to be:
a) The Most Beautiful Areas I Have EVER SEEN In ALL OF PORTUGAL and
b) The only bits of Portugal I have ever been to.
Im sure the rest of it is lovely as well. I have just not been to those bits so I dont feel as comfortable giving them my wholehearted endorsement.
The things I like particularly about Portugal include:
1) The Pasteis de Nata, which are the very greatest kind of custard pie that ever there were. I have long wanted to know how to make them. And one day I will learn, but only when I am able to stop myself from eating them ALL.
2) The old ladies, dressed in black: I always imagine they are talking about very sage and serious things. They are probably talking about Portugals Got Talent, or something, but, in their hushed murmurs and impenetrable whispers, I prefer to think they are talking about the very mysteries of womanhood.
3) The amazing, unfathomably complex Portuguese language. Which I love to listen to, managed to work my way around by reading very in the most basic fashion… but speaking it? No. No no no no no. Never. Mainly because the words on the page seem to bear almost no resemblance whatsoever to the noises coming out of anyones mouth. I mean, I know they MUST, in theory, but in practice? Not so much.
It appears – and Im aware Im probably wrong here – that the remarkable thing about Portuguese is that words seem to contain lots of silent letters, that you MUSTNT pronounce when speaking them out loud, and lots of invisible letters that you MUST pronounce when speaking the words out loud. The best thing about invisible letters, of course, being that you have no idea which letters those are. It is VERY clever.
4) The Fish: The dead ones. The dead ones that I can eat. I like them a lot.
5) Basically All of the rest of it. I commend it. Well done, Portugal.