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Olá Portugal

If we are lucky in our lives, we get unexpected windows of opportunity, a chance to do something totally different, to change tack or to travel a different path. Two years ago this month, I was offered an impromptu visit to Portugal – it was to change my life for ever. I knew if I missed this opportunity I would regret it for life. Six weeks later, I relocated here.

I moved from South West England to South West Portugal. As one of my best friends rather quaintly put it, “I moved from the ass end of nowhere to the ass end of the ass end of nowhere.”

From Here to there:

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The European Rules of Social Kissing

Two years ago, I moved to Portugal. I moved from a culture where kissing and hugging as a greeting was reserved for family and close friends to one where kissing and hugging are a far more widespread form of greeting. This is further complicated by the fact that my partner is French and that our social circle includes family – English, Portuguese and French, friends – English, Portuguese, French, Danish, German and Dutch and business colleagues and acquaintances which include all of the above plus Spanish and Italians as well. They all have different rules for social greetings!

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When Police Officers Give Up on Cases

A crime is committed. The police are called in on it or discover it in some other way. They are going to pursue it until they discover the person or people behind the crime — or so would have been my understanding of how the police works. I knew that the police abandoned certain cases that were just impossible to solve for whatever reason — perhaps the criminal involved covered their traces too well. What I was not aware of was exactly the extent to which the police simply give up on cases. In the UK that number is shockingly high — and even higher in London — as many as half of the cases, according to an article in the Daily Mail:

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The Dramatic Effect of English Pub Signs

It was something disturbing I noticed as a teenager — seeing the small stores I loved going to as a kid shutting down and being replaced by cookie cutter stores owned by a dozen companies that were all uniform in appearance and in product. You could be on the inside of one restaurant and think that you were in a completely different state — there was no unique quality to the establishments and no feel of what some might call a company’s soul.

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The Adele 21 Review

I am completely and totally in love with Adele — in the most honorable and humanistic way — and it is my delight to review her latest 21 album.  Yes, Adele is a SuperGenius SuperStar from the UK and, yes, she is only 22 years old.  Her voice is a throaty, smoky, raspy mix of the Bluesy heartache made famous by Fiona Apple, Rihanna and Janis Joplin.

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Should Parenting Require Licensing?

There is no screening process involved in becoming a parent — all it takes is two people, not even necessarily in a relationship, and a sexual act that can take as little as a couple of minutes. From the act, nine or so months pass and a baby is born — and then you can get champion mothers like the one I recently observed on the train, yelling at her child while at the same time mostly ignoring her and listening to music on headphones and looking anywhere but the direction of her child.

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Covering the Austrian Panopticonic Eye

In London, two Austrians were detained because they were taking digital images of buses.  The police invoked “fighting terrorism” as the reason they required the deletion of the images from the tourists’ camera.

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