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Suzy and I have moved six times since we became a couple in 2013. Isle of Man to Duras, France - Duras to Valencia, Spain - Valencia to Estivella, Spain - Estivella to Castletown, Isle of Man - Castletown to Thören, Germany and finally to Samora Correia which is close to Lisbon, Portugal.
On the way we have released albums, set up / relocated recording studios and lived a lot, but each move has been bigger and more troublesome.
We have been trying to find ‘home’ - a place where we can be creative in a kind climate, surrounded by wonderful people with world-class wine and food plus easy travel for our gigs. Portugal was really the only choice.
Prior to the move, Suzy had never visited this wonderful country and me over thirty years ago!
This was the hardest move as, due to BREXIT, we had to quickly become residents with all the bureaucracy that goes with it.
Given we are new to the Portuguese language, it has been surprisingly easy and found lots of help and advice in the British Expats in Portugal Facebook group but as experienced ‘movers’ we know you always need a friendly, well-connected local person on the ground so to speak.
We are grateful as we've been lucky in finding great people to help us settle in all of our moves and here again, we have managed to find some really cool new friends.
Our usual modus operandi and part of our social life is to frequent well-placed local bars and restaurants which gives you the real flavour of a place and its people - it's important to be part of the community and there's always something to learn and often someone willing to help when needed.
The first place we visited is the very colourfully named Tretas e Olés (Bullshit and Oles) where we luxuriated in superb food created by the owner accompanied by fabulous local wine.
The second was Bar do Concelho, owned by the most excellent Joe Martini who, besides being as cool as fuck, speaks excellent English. The bar doesn’t serve food, just cocktails and beer but the atmosphere is fantastic and generally very busy. Due to the current COVID regulations, drinks can only be served outside on the terrace but it's a great terrace and heated in the evening!
Joe has been a wealth of local information and is the ultimate ‘fixer’, helping us with everything from where to buy local firewood, to finding the best local medical centre. Brilliant!
So hats off to Sr. Martini, our 'go to' guy and pictured above on my recent birthday with his barman Jonathan (right). And before you comment, they very briefly removed their masks for the shot!