Apologies for my recent absence but in N Ireland the summer break begins earlier than in the rest of the UK and some naughty parents (I wonder who..) even take their childen off on holiday before term ends.  A saving of £1000 in air fares was too much of a temptation!  Yes, I know I used to be a teacher so I should be setting a better example but if tour operators made school holiday periods more affordable there wouldn’t be such a temptation plus my children learned a lot more in 4 days in Portugal than they did in the last 4 days of term, watching dvds, eating sweets, sitting outside.

So, we spent 10 days in Montes d’Alvor, a quiet wee village just outside Alvor on the Algarve in Portugal.  It’s our third year holidaying there as my sister has an appartment in a very peaceful 20 unit residence complete with two pools virtually on our doorstep.  The village itself is like a throwback to Ireland in the 60s.  You frequently encounter elderly folk sitting at the bus stop with the men in particular not taking any risks of catching a chill in the 30 degree celsius heat!  They usually wear a vest, shirt and a jumper on top just in case!

It’s always a very restful holiday for us although we hire a car and I am usually charged with finding interesting places to visit – a difficult enough challenge when temperatures soar.  We have been up to picturesque Monchique in the mountains where you can find a Welshman selling traditional sweets, including Chewits!  This year we went to Cape Saint Vincent , the most westerly point of mainland Europe with a rugged coastline and the usual array of stunning beaches especially for surfers…I just jump the waves!

If you look carefully, you can spot the man fishing…made me dizzy looking at him

Nossa Senhora de Guadalupe/Our Lady of Guadeloupe
13th Century, where Henry the Navigator worshipped

On the Boardwalk at Alvor


Astoundingly, the weather was great when we returned to Northern Ireland.  Hot sunshine in Summer, who would have thought it possible!!  Making good use of our National Trust Membership we had a daytrip on the Antrim Coast, a couple of hours from Belfast, arriving back home around 11pm…we like to make the most of these unexpectedly warm days!  We picnicked at Glenarm, crossed the famous Carrickarede Rope Bridge, scuttled over the rocks at the Giants Causeway..but not too close that the scary man had to blow his whistle!  Feeling brave/foolhardy Eva and I went for a dip in the Atlantic at Portstewart Strand.  Unfortunately the water hadn’t warmed up much in a couple of sunny days but it was refreshing to say the least.

The Green, Green Grass of Home

Follow My Leader over Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge…don’t look down!

Oops, almost forgot we visited the Titanic Expo and actually went inside this time!

Giants Causeway keeping well away from the whistle-blower!


Looking slightly windswept and hidden from the whistle-blower!


We also went up to Donegal over the Twelfth to stay with friends in Carrigart near Downings.  The water was now quite warm so we spent more time swimming but things have changed since my youth now that you have to dodge the jet skis…


We have 9 weeks of school holidays in total so we hope to get down to Kildare to visit family next week and then comes the back to school routine of new shoes being purchased, bags, lunch bags, stationery, haircuts and if I’m feeling particularly organised a bit of Maths revision…or maybe not.

I’ve read quite a few books but have little time to sit down and review them.  I loved Life After Life by Kate Atkinson but can see how it might be a Marmite book  especially  if you think too hard about the Groundhog aspect of the plot…that way madness lies!  Other goodies have been Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld for its examination of sibling relationships, Wool by Hugh Howey for its ‘unputdownability’ and Paris by Edward Rutherfurd for sweeping me to Paris and time travelling a la Doctor Who and all without queuing to check-in.

Hoping everyone is having a lovely  Summer and enjoying the sunshine.

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  1. Booketta says:

    I’ve never been to Portugal. It looks and sounds wonderful from all I have read and heard. Wasn’t it great to have that wee heatwave and like you returning home at its best, my son returned from Antigua. He did say it was still cooler here! We have NT membership too and like to make the most of it. Already this year we have had our money back as it were. We joined CADW the Welsh EH which gives us half price during the 1st year to EH sites but we struck very lucky gaining free entry to 5 out of 6 sites :)
    Enjoy the rest of your summer! 9 weeks is a long haul, ours get 6 weeks..

  2. Ooooh, you’re one of those parents, tut tut! :P
    I love all the photos, looks like you all had a wonderful and relaxing time. Enjoy the rest of your summer break :)

  3. Teresa says:

    Jane, we are lucky in that 2 of the bigger NT estates are only half an hour from us and Rowallane Gardens is even closer so we frequently go for walks there. I love the fact that members are very friendly, courteous and generally keep their dogs on leads! You must come over here some time and get even more use out of your membership. :-)

  4. Teresa says:

    Sam…I hang my head in shame. ;-). I do always mention that we’re going or be away at a family event, sometimes adding the fact that his even is taking place abroad! 9 weeks is a long stretch re entertainment etc. my daughter has a two week half day summer scheme beginning tomorrow so that gives me some breathing space to entertain her older brother who is beyond playgrounds now. Oh it’s a hard life… ;-)

  5. I was missing you Treez! Nice to have you back and to hear what a good time you’ve had, lovely photos, thanks for sharing them with us, and glad you enjoyed your reading too!

  6. admin says:

    Glad to hear someone noticed my absence, Lins! ;-)

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