Summer gnashes its teeth

For the last couple of days summer has gnashed its teeth in Scotland, girning and moaning in windy torrents and lashings of rain. The atmosphere has been decidedly frosty too with a cold wind making low temperatures feel even lower.

Somehow this summer weather spat is in tune with much of the political mood in a country which, on top of a referendum on leaving the European Union…

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Primed and programmed

This has been a very strange general election, coming as it does just five weeks after our local council elections. A snap election called by our Prime Minister who managed to overturn the 2011 Fixed-term Parliament Act to call it. The provisions of the Act determined that, instead of Prime Ministers calling elections at times best suited to…

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Madeira Wine – Rooted in history

One of the many advantages on an apartment in the centre of Funchal are the number of places that can be visited without walking far. The old part of Funchal with its narrow streets and houses with wrought iron balconies sits alongside grand old properties given new leases of life beside wide boulevards and streets.

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Carnival in Madeira

For a week before the parade there had been smaller local events with street entertainment in the centre of Funchal and people wandering around in costumes of various kinds, as well as community events. The sound and beat of the samba was everywhere, either live from groups of musicians, or recorded and played through speakers lodged in trees.

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European dreams

I should have been born in a warmer climate, but then I wouldn’t have been Scottish, and I rather like being Scottish – especially at present when politics here are amazingly interesting., though often also frustrating.

What I want are warmer winters, but, despite the effects of global warming, not much chance of that, so I have to content myself with forays to places where winter is akin to our summer.

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Walking where lava flowed

São Vicente is a village on the north coast of Madeira, at the end of the valley that was the birthplace of the island. We were keen to take our grandchildren to walk where lava once flowed, so organized Ricardo and his taxi to take us across the island from Funchal to São Vicente, on a road where the latter part was prone to landslips and where there had been bad flooding a few years ago.

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