For economic reasons, I decided I was not going to ship my once state of the art gaming computer to Portugal when I moved.  “The Beast,” as she was known, would have almost doubled my shipping costs by the time all the relevant insurances had been applied.  It was simply not worth it.

She was sold to friend with whom I hear she is very happy.

This meant that when I got here I shared a computer with Mr P.  As anyone knows, sharing a computer is a delicate affair at the best of times and although we did not come to blows or even utter a cross word it soon became apparent that we needed another computer.

Getting a laptop was the short term solution as I had plans to buy an iMac when my “proceeds of sale” arrived.

As with all things, I followed my father’s advice and bought the best I could afford at the time — say hello to my Toshiba Satellite L750 — complete with cat for added effectiveness!

This is where the fun began.

The laptop was bought in Portugal — it   has a Portuguese keyboard:

So — switch it on — “What language do you wish to use” — English of course — CLICK.

We now have a Portuguese laptop with an English keyboard superimposed on the top of it.

The Portuguese language is difficult to learn — it has lots of accents.

There are 23 letters in the Portuguese alphabet (not including diacritics).  The other three letters of the English alphabet — K, W, Y — are viewed as “foreign” in Portuguese.

Now we have a keyboard with some foreign letters and, horror of horrors, none of the punctuation marks or symbols are where they should be except for the full stop/period, the comma, and inverted commas.  The rest is a totally mystery as is why the “C” key does not work.

I have to copy and paste all the “C”s into my posts along with any special punctuation required.

That is mildly irritating, but “liveable with.” Writing posts in Microsoft Word makes things a little easier with the spell checker and punctuation hints.

Yes, we have done all the checks as to why the “C” key does not work and cleaned the keyboard — all to no avail.

We have still not found the “at” symbol — thank goodness for the reply button in Gmail.

The real fun comes when Mr P uses the laptop — which travels with us when we are away — and it will not write in “proper” Portuguese, either!

The good news is that while I was writing this post, I found the semi colon!  One down; 20 or so to go!

So, spare a thought for David — who has to treble check all of my work before posting!


  1. Great work, Nicola! I love this look into your work process. I admit it was odd to receive one of your first, more recent, articles with many of the “C”s missing — I thought, perhaps, this was a new Portugese style of writing or something! SMILE!

    1. I try to be logial – but this defies logic ! I wonder if I should offer a reward for its return?

      I shall try and adopt Gordons system and see if it makes life easier for us. It will not happen so much when I am using the iMac as that is a UK machine and has UK keyboard.

      1. It must be pretty awful to type with a keyboard that doesn’t register your intention. I think I would last about 10 seconds before drop-kicking it out the window. For that reason, I have many keyboards here in case any of them decide to come down with the “Missing C” virus!

        1. At first I found it incredibly frustrating – but part of my new life includes not allowing things to frustrate me and not to let things stress me/us out – so we laugh at it, make jokes about it and get on with having joy in our lives. I have to say this took some working at to start with but I think I am most of the way there now.

          Loving the “Missing C” virus!

  2. I have what may be an easy solution.

    Firstly, write the draft in a program such as Notepad or Notepad++ if you like a better version of Notepad.

    Find a character that you never use in your writing — such as a tilda ~

    Use the tilda wherever use the letter c.

    Then you need two steps:

    1.Replace all instances of ” ~” with ” C”. This insures that sentences that start with a word that has a C at the start will be capitalized — after all, you only see double spaces after the end of a sentence.

    2.Replace ~ with c. This will take care of the rest!

  3. Hi, it is possible to change the keyboard layout to the input language you want to use. You may have selected “English” for the language displayed on the system (menus, dialog boxes, etc.) but this did not change the layout of the keyboard.

    See here for how to make this change:

    No need to “tilde” your “Cs”! 🙂

    1. Thanks you for your input – the keyboard layout is is set to English am going to work through everything again to double check – most of the issues occur with the shift keys for the symbols and the rest of the punctuation.

  4. I do find this to be quite interesting, because I had something similar happen to me. Every once in a while, one of the keys on my laptop would come off and sometimes I would push it so hard that the letter wouldn’t come up so I had to copy and paste my letters in too. It was quite the hassle but once I got used to it, it wasn’t so bad. I will admit that the issue with my laptop keyboard was so much easier to deal with than getting used to the autocorrect on my iPad when I first got it.

    1. I have the same problem with autocorrect on the iPad – Mrs Ps surname is Rabiet – it always wants to change it to Rabies !!!!

      1. I know that pain too. When I first got my iPad it tried to autocorrect Brielle to Braille. Now that it has gotten used to me spelling my name so much, it doesn’t consider it a misspelled name anymore. Yay!

  5. This is so funny. But sorry for your frustrations, All part of the adventure I guess. I guess I shouldn’t complain that my computer is still on Singapore time, so all my emails and such always show that they are a day ahead – not such a big deal, but sometimes a little irksome. 🙂

    1. Yes it is part of the adventure – I am glad other people computers have their own little quirks – maybe we ought to have a cranky computers collection !

  6. This made me laugh. I love how we generally consider ourselves pretty tech-savvy, and then the oddest little problems stump us! My laptop refuses to respond to the “alt” key (both of them) despite my best efforts, and by now I’ve just accepted my shame.

  7. You have nailed it – I am fine with computers until they go wrong – then I have to plead ignorance – in fact I am the same with my cooker, my camera and most other appliances. The one possible exception is my car – my father was very good at teaching me the basics of car mechanics and gifted me with his “ear” – ie that sounds like ……. x y z – or that sounds like we need to get to the garage NOW !

    1. At least you have that to fall back on! Car trouble is definitely worse than a bunch of typos (unless typos just happen to be your Achilles heel)!

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