It is necessary to believe that most experiences happen for a reason. Of course this is not always the case. A veil must be drawn over the recent experience mentioned above. But one thing is sure, I returned thinking how marvellous my life was warts and all. I also learned that the Portuguese are the most delightful nation and are an example of racial harmony all peoples should emulate. This is because they have such an incredible history. Of course we all know they were the cruellest of colonisers, but this is not evident in their modern history. The naval museum in Lisbon is the finest in the world and illustrates perfectly the seafaring skills that gave these great navigators and sailors a window on the world, which left them a rich and varied tapestry of history and a legacy of fine living and culture which is a joy to see. I saw many bad examples of the British at their most ugly when in holiday mode. I was not surprised when the educated and delightful driver I had, told me how much Portuguese men were in “herloffe” with their wives. The strange pronunciation is intentional. This gentleman took me to see the most western point in Europe and I thought a lot about these great galleons returning around this point loaded with gold and luxurious spices and a fair sprinkling of the DNA which makes this race so remarkable. He showed me pictures of his beautiful family and spoke caringly of his sense of responsibility to his mother and mother in law. I liked this. All this gave me a great deal of valuable material for the book I am writing, which is predominantly a drama set among the families of the Georgian navy.
The week before I left Paddy the Painter, who is an artist, finished the stair well in our house. I talk to him a lot, because he has a kind of elementary wisdom about life with all its slings and arrows. He confided in me that all he ever dreams of is owning a house with a front door a staircase and a garden. He was raised in a children’s home. When he left he confided that he lived on Saint Margaret’s Station for quite a while. “ Not many people know that “ he added. All these things are humbling actually, and what is five days out of a life, if it makes you value even more what you have actually been given?