We stepped out into the street today wondering if this would be the last Monday that we can walk around freely with open cafes and shops. On Thursday there will be a change in the lockdown rules, nobody knows what those changes will be but if it’s anything like the rest of Europe it’s going to be severe, as severe as the cause itself and I just heard that the Portuguese president Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has tested positive. So we walked down into town on a warm day (for me) and into the temporary fruit and vegetable market to buy fresh vegetables from a stall where the last time we visited, an old man serving there on discovering we weren’t from Portugal told us that “We are all brothers and sisters”. He wasn’t there today, just his wife who was desperately trying to explain how to make Caldo Verde (kale soup) to Olivia in Portuguese. This famous Bolhão market with its history and its characters has been moved to these temporary surroundings from its location in Rua Formosa 322 where there’s a renovation, hopefully, it will return to its original location soon. These market stallholders have probably been selling fruit and vegetables at this market their whole lives and they are the kindest most welcoming people you could ever hope to meet. The bad people make me laugh at their absurdity, the good people make me cry at their magnanimity – should it be the other way around?
We went to get a coffee and a cake, they are friendly there too, they know what we like, so despite being slightly awkward we don’t have to keep on explaining the same quirky order. We sat by the window and observed two girls at the table outside, both on their phones only communicating when one had something on her phone to show the other. In truth, they did actually start talking to each other whilst one smoked a tasty cigarette. We weren’t sitting on judgement, it’s just a common sight, people at a table sometimes four or five people all on their phones. It’s not a criticism either, it’s just a different era and one wonders what on earth people did in cafes before the eighties and nineties. Still, next to us two younger girls talked and talked, not a phone in sight, how encouraging. You see so many people on their phones, so many on their computers and so many people talking but not so many sitting reading a book.
Olivia had to be back for her Portuguese lesson with her Barcelona based opera singer at 5 PM, so we headed up to the flat, nice to live close to the city. We arrived back with two minutes to spare, she dropped her jacket, the shopping, the monolith, the bust of Einstein, the carnival suit, the parrot, and the varnished elephant on the floor and got to her lesson. I had a sesh myself at 6.30 PM with Craig in Atlanta. We have been collaborating on a track that Dare has been mixing, more about that in the coming days.
Fireworks outside tonight, not sure what for and how as fireworks are not available to the public in Portugal, but someone was having some fun. I started the first day of French for this week. Olivia and I have a Duolingo theory that if you start the lesson late on a Monday you are not competing with the mega polyglots that have completed thirty lessons by mid-afternoon, meaning by the end of the week you could be booted out of the league by coming last despite having done a lot of work. Some people are just mega-achievers. Anyway, I’m 221 days in, I must have learnt something but it’s French, I really need Portuguese and Spanish.
Music today has been a Spotify playlist, one of those Made For You lists. I liked it, it was 21st century King Crimson, seventies Rory Gallagher, seventies ELP, sixties Kinks, sixties Bee Gees, sixties Pink Floyd and more.
What usually happens when I listen to compilations is that something comes up that I want to hear more than everything else but not today, I was happy just to let it roll. So with that in mind today I’m going to forward the list that my mate Boydy sent me the other day of 43 albums that are 50 years old. So it’s a compilation of albums all from 1971. As I went down the list I realised that I have every album. Boydy’s comment was, has there ever been a better year for music but I suppose there are 43 amazing albums every year, it’s just how old you are that gauges how much you love them. Having said that, I love this list.