6th January 2014
BRIIIIDGEEEEEET! Happy New Year… or rather, Feliz Ano Novo, I think.
I haven’t been able to write for a couple of weeks. First, I was never left alone for a minute, things to do, friends and relatives to meet, children to entertain, and then over the last few days, there was a big storm, and the electrics were blown out. Finally this morning, Little Sis has allowed me to plug my computer back in.
Christmas was odd. First, it’s not remotely cold enough to be Christmassy. It’s not barbecue on the beach, Australian style, or anything, but it’s not properly freezing, and this Christmas it just rained a lot. I know I complain an awful lot about Christmas every year, but there is so much lacking in a Portuguese Christmas. No carols, no bells, no potential for snow (here in the south, at least. I did see snow on the telly somewhere in the mountains. That’s a bit odd, too. I had no idea it snowed in Portugal), and crucially, no mince pies.
Instead of mince pies there’s an awful lot of fried egginess… sonhos which are sugary pumpkin fritters and rabanadas which are pieces of eggy bread, but they’re dipped in sugar and cinnamon. I prefer mine dipped in brown sauce, thank you very much.
Christmas is pretty much held on Christmas eve, which I was hopelessly confused about. Everyone goes to work that day, or does their last minute shopping, just like us, but then Christmas dinner is held that night. Everyone is exhausted already. Dinner is, can you imagine… boiled salt cod! Most of the people round the table (at Moth-in-law’s house, OF COURSE) were slathering over the idea of it, but there were, I was interested to note, a couple of dissenters, who find salt cod revolting AND they are Portuguese. Moth made them some other slop or other. I ate the boiled cod, with its boiled potatoes, boiled cabbage and boiled chickpeas (in some ways, the equivalent to the sprout, in its popularity and in its wind-inducing properties), all doused in copious quantities of olive oil. It’s growing on me.
I was bored out of my mind for most of it, but it was a tiny consolation to observe all the people round the table. The in-laws, brother-in-law’s girlf and her aged parents, who knew not how to smile, not once, all night with the mother staring at me the whole time, as if I were green in colour. I grinned wildly at her a couple of times. She didn’t know where to look. Hilarious.
At midnight, presents were opened, which were apparently delivered by both the Ikkle Baby Jesus AND Father Christmas, and all in the plain light of day. No chimneys were bothered in the process… and then Christmas day was rather nothingy and no presents to open. Some different faces at the lunch table, some joviality, but some more people with no sense of humour. God, I need to get out more. Well, actually, I did get out a bit last week… and New Year is a blur… as I was taken care of by Little Sister’s Bestie, who is rather becoming MY bestie… something that is oddly pleasing to Little Sis. I thought she’d be pissed off, but seems, instead, to be relieved. We went to the house of a friend of hers and she knows a whole bunch of people who are a lot more fun than Drippy Teacher and Little Sister’s lot. At least, they drink and shriek with laughter more. I like them.
Yesterday, a old footballer died, and the country has gone into three days of national mourning! All day yesterday and all day today, on the telly, on all of the channels, they’re were showing thousands of people milling past his open coffin which is lying in state at Benfica, and now the stadium is filled with people as they walk the coffin around the grass. As ever, I am mystified. I got a VERY cold stare from Father-in-law when I sniggered at a reporter asking an old lady how she felt about it.
love from Zhennifed!
p.s. William III’s lawyers and I have come to an agreement, and they’re going to send me my cheques here in Portugal. I may even open a bank account here. I imagine your passport arrived safely as you haven’t said anything since before Christmas.
p.p.s. You haven’t said anything since before CHRISTMAS!
p.p.p.s. What on earth are you up to?