The Undiscovered Portuguese Chapters

When James first joined our family, and as we grew up, our next door neighbours in our hometown of Hastings became our friends for life. James and Stewart were super close (and I’m referring to more than postcodes) and shared many unprintable – and often controversial – moments.

Stew managed to achieve something which I profoundly regret I didn’t; he visited James in Portugal where he was based for roughly 7 years. My excuse / reasoning is that I haven’t, technically speaking, had a holiday in over seventeen years; and between Brighton and migrating to Egypt there wasn’t much room – or funding – to maneuver.

Alas, during Stewart’s visit – he spent time with Bestie in a small town just outside of the city of Albufeira (in the centre of Algarve; a city whose name originated from the Arabic Al-buhera, which means Castle of the Sea), on the south coast of the country, called Guia. The civil parish was established – apparently – in 1617; however local defenses were set up by John III in the area circa 1548 to protect the locals from invading forces from Africa.

Nevertheless James Best rocked up, oblivious to the area’s history I’m sure, a few hundred years later to make his own history and I have no doubt he made his mark on the region and everyone with whom he met.

Alongside Stewart’s then girlfriend, they toured the town’s hotspots and visited places fairly close to Cliff Richard’s 6.5 million Euro villa and vineyard. The fact the dastardly duo didn’t crash the place and ransack his stash of (mistletoe and) wines still amazes me to this day.

They hit up a fairly large slide sitting on doughnuts with a full attire of crash-helmets and boiler suits – acting like the teenagers they were at heart; there’s a glimpse of the town square where it appears James was perving over a few birds (a talent he was exceptionally good at). And – most impressively – a lovely shot of some iconic rocks out at sea with Jim-Bob pulling some funny faces and acting up for the camera; something that always came naturally to him I think.

I would like to follow in his footsteps one day and make it to the part of Portugal that adopted him for so long. There is always something special about following in the footsteps of those you highly admire; like that time in Hong Kong I visited parts once graced with the presence of Ernest Hemingway, with mother dearest we found a pub in Edinburgh where George Best (no relation) had sunk a few pints, and then drank in pub that Shakespeare downedeth the odd pinteth. Since James’ time they’ve also decriminalized all personal drug use in Portugal, surely adding to the appeal of the place too for those adventurous types.

Anyways – today – if I meet my blog deadline; would have been Bestie Boy’s 45th Birthday so I’ll raise a glass to him for that. Being 45 is highly over-rated so I’ve heard and the best of us die young apparently. Rave In Peace brother; missing you today and always x

For anyone wanting a bit of backgroud info check The UK's Most Prolific Gingerbread Man Thief.


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