Cast off in Portugal

Whilst Mrs. Ha and I explored the environs at dawn most of the cast was asleep.

The odd couple were also early risers. She intrigued me first. Her hair was roughly short-cropped. I noted it as copper-dyed. Her frame was thin and her dresses erring on the Bohemian. Her age was given away by the hands.


He was a large, well built man, who seemed not to notice the chill that preceded sunrise. They sat, just under cover on the sun deck, coffee and ciggies to hand, and felt content in their own company. I called them the odd couple because of the extreme contrast in her apparent frailty and his powerful physique. We conversed little but they seemed pleasant enough.

The man with the rug was doubtless still asleep, dreaming of the days he still had the genuine article. I have no vanity and would never contemplate a comb-over let alone a rug. He also wore a permanent warm smile and I certainly don’t begrudge him his freedom of choice. It was just, well, so obvious. A veritable summer meadow of golden locks, thick and luxuriant, only slightly betrayed by the thin fringe of fading silver peeking out from beneath. He could never be the murderer. Far too jolly.

I’m not so sure about Roger Jennings though. I have no idea what his name is to be honest but he reminded me strongly of my old friend and colleague so I passed on his name. ‘My’ RJ had already discovered that he shared his name with an alleged British spy so I doubt that he would shy away from sharing it with a putative murderer. RJ flew to Iran for us once. He was scheduled to see the governor of the central bank in the days when such things were allowed. He went to pick up his visa on arrival and was immediately roughly ushered away into a ‘holding area’. For 8 hours. The worst of it was that he was denied beer and ciggies. Then he was bundled onto a plane to Dubai and never got to see the guv’nor. It turned out that many years earlier Iran had jailed a chap called Roger Jennings for alleged espionage. He was eventually released but Tehran thought my man had turned up to give it another whirl. In the fullness of time he received a letter of apology and an offer to return at the Iranian bank’s expense but he did not take them up on it. My biggest success on the trip was not asking the new RJ about the woman in his life. I could not decide whether they were son and mother or husband and wife. (It turned out to be the latter). I am useless at guessing someone’s age. Ladies, never, ever ask me to guess. My father’s pearl of wisdom as I left home was to tell me to subtract mentally at least 5 years from my actual guess before having a stab. I think I would still have been out by a country mile.

So where does that leave us in the photographic stakes? Well after so much colour it is time for a little monochrome. So here we go:

Bud light

Porto - Dawn

Double Gazing

Tower detail

Pigeon at rest

Shadow walkway

And there I must pause again. I am still reviewing images, picking and deleting my way through the candy jar of 1200+ photos. Some are like sherbet and give you a real fizz. Others are the black Liquorice Allsorts that sadly nobody seems to like but Bertie Bassett thrusts upon us anyway. I shall try to find some more sherbet fountains for tomorrow.


21 thoughts on “Cast off in Portugal

  1. Ooooh ! First comment and I claim my five pounds !

    The reason to comment was to ask if you are using any exotic filters for the B&W stuff or is it all in the digital processing ?

  2. Great post Andrew ! We play the same game of calling people by the name of people they remind us of in our youth. No spies, to our knowledge though. Loved that story.

  3. Amusing account of the folks that you and Ms. Ha encountered. I had a good laugh about age guessing. Once humans get to a certain age it is often difficult to assess that person’s age.

    I like the photo of the little girl and the boats lined up in the river. The monochromes are lovely.

  4. Wow that exotic architecture.

    Is it hot where you are? I am going to Barcelona for my summer holiday next month and getting quite worried about coping with the heat.

    • Denise, one day it was 37C but it varied a lot. Barcelona in July. Except thousands of tourists, high temperatures and LOTS of pickpockets. Be very careful.

      • Thanks for the advice. Sadly we are stuck with holidays in July due to me working in a school and my children attending school still, but we will be careful and hopefully prewarned means a holiday to enjoy and no disasters.

      • I understand. One of our group had cash and ID card stolen but luckily not credit card nor indeed passport. A real pain nonetheless.

  5. There was a chap in our town when I was a boy. He was a well respected fellow who ran the scout troop and whose son was captain of the school football team. A pity that his discreet choice of hairpiece led to him being universally remembered, even today, as “Wiggy Wedgewood”. Sherbert fountains all round please!

  6. Lots of interesting features on your walkabout. Are those water taxis lined up? A receding architectural shot always works well. Waiting for diners or students? I thought you didn’t get to photograph any exotic birds while there? 🙂

  7. We’ve got to love a toupée – if only because of the entertainment value. And I know it’s cruel but, there is something hysterically funny about them. And what is life if there is no raucous laughter? Long live Toupée’s and all who wear them! Goodness, Andrew you showed such restraint not enquiring about the odd-couples relationship. I too would have been itching to find out. Pete says that there is a fine line between people-watching and being outrageously nosey – apparently, I fall in to the last category. Beautiful photographs, the interior of the cathedral is my favourite today 😀

  8. We once had a traditional half-board holiday in a grand decaying hotel in Viareggio… we are still talking about the other residents and even the waiters twenty years later! I don’t quite understand how black and white can still trump colour and I love colour.

    • I have already been looking at Tripadvisor for hotels in Salamanca. I do so want to go back. B&W has its own appeal but sometimes colour just wins on sheer impact.

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