Mavis's Shoe

Author of two novels and a creative memoir.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Adventures in Portuguese

This is a picture of me NOT at a family wedding but I’m in a hat chosen by my adult daughter to wear at her friend’s forthcoming nuptials along with a 60’s psychedelic mini-dress. I wish I’d had a go with it first when I attended a family wedding in northern Portugal last weekend.

The groom was British and the bride Spanish. Coming from a family of artists in one medium or another, wedding traditions are somewhat fluid with our lot, whereas the Spanish crowd seemed to know exactly what was going on at all times. And that’s before we get started on the chaos of so many languages. In addition to the Spanish bridal party and British groom party there were the French and Swiss German contingents and a variety of British local dialects. The staff were, of course, Portuguese and one of the many lovely things about northern Portugal is the lack of English spoken by everyone here. There are no other Brits and no Americans. Everyone in Portugal seems to be almost uniformly kind, helpful and gentle, and conspicuous gentleness is a wonderful thing. Trying to understand each other has so far been fun on every occasion.
There was also a spectacular view down the Rio Minho, a large unchlorinated pool and lots to drink, all of which eased the wedding and the couple of days around it.

On top of that, post-wedding, a drive into the mountains revealed masses of purple heather Scotland would be proud of and lots of yellow broom and, not so like Scotland the two were mingled in a delicious pastiche across the hillsides.

Back at the coast, posh hotels and sensible apartment blocks mingle with private homes and gardens full of vines and large exuberant vegetables. There seems to be a great and popular habit of sitting in the shade watching the world go by. Sad to say all this outdoor malarkey has led to an invasion of ants in the laptop which crawled out at me from beneath the keys like some little horror movie when I lifted the lid. I fear I murder with every tap.

Please note, dear reader, that this wedding was arranged long before Bertrand Brasil bought the Brasilian Portuguese rights for Mavis’s Shoe (see last post). I don’t really believe in synchronicity but do feel a slight shiver up my spine and quite at home in northern Portugal.

Finally, I would like to share a Facebook post by a reader because it made my heart stop:

'I am so grateful for the writing talent, of author Sue Reid Sexton for her amazing historical fiction - Mavis's Shoe - It helped me to live a part of my mum's Margaret Donald 's history. I'm very grateful. Thank you. What a read!’ - Lesley J Vander Welle