To St Julian's school here in Carcavelos last night, to attend the (belated) Guy Fawkes-cum-Halloween celebrations in the grounds. These centred on the sort of stalls – a tombola, for example – that I hadn't seen for decades. The bonfire and fireworks, though, were rather more familiar, given that we enjoy at least three pyrotechnic displays during Pontevedra's summer.
Then up early today, to attend a memorial service for the fallen at St George's church in Lisbon. Followed by the significantly less solemn cocktail party in the handsome gardens of the British Ambassador. Where I felt conscious of not wearing a splendid uniform. And not being 3-6 inches taller. But at least I managed a tie. The one worn at my last wedding, fourteen years ago.
A few facts I've (re)learned today about Portugal:
- Portuguese is the hardest of the Romance languages to master.
- The Portuguese took tempura to Japan.
- The Japanese Orrigato is a corruption of the Portuguese Obligado, or 'Thank-you'.
- Portuguese were advisers to the rulers of China long before Marco Polo claimed to have arrived there.
- The Portuguese took the chilli plant to India; the rest is culinary history. Or curry-nary history, perhaps.
- Portuguese is the second language of Johannesburg, Newark, New Jersey, Luxembourg and of Caracas.
Finally . . The graveyard in the sylvan grounds of St George's church was the most densely be-tombed I've ever seen. Somewhere among all the gravestones was one dedicated to the author Henry Fielding but I never went in search of it. Instead I contented myself with the legend on one tombstone near the path: He Was Loved. Nothing more, nothing less. Which struck me as odd. As if what was missing was a second line: But Not By Us, His Relatives. But maybe I've completely mis-read it.
Back to Galicia tomorrow. And a jazz concert in La Coruña.
It's all go.