The Armação de Pêra Honeymoon

It all started off with an innocent conversation with a fellow author, Simon Michael Prior. Simon is from the UK but emigrated to live in Australia with his family many years ago. His book, The Coconut Wireless is definitely worth a read! (It’s available from Amazon at

He mentioned that his adoptive parents had honeymooned in the Algarve in the mid 1960s, staying at ‘one of the first hotels in the region’. I immediately said to him, “That must have been The Garbe, which is now the Holiday Inn.”

He said that he didn’t know where they had stayed, but that he had some photos he would send to me. Perhaps with my detective skills I could work out where it was for him?

I was intrigued and couldn’t wait to see the photos. Mom was apparently a keen photographer, even back then, and I was amazed when the photos arrived as they were in excellent shape – and they were fascinating!

The Holiday Inn – the Hotel Garbe

I spotted straight away that the hotel in the background was indeed the old Hotel Garbe – and knew that our friend Vicki Good would love to see the photos. She is the Holiday Director at what is now the Holiday Inn Algarve, previously known as the Garbe, and she is a wonderful lady.

Not only was she thrilled to see the photos, she showed them to her husband who said that he could actually name some of the people in the photos! She then went one better for me and spent the weekend travelling around Armação de Pêra, photographing the same locations as the photos portrayed – giving us a fantastic ‘Then – and – Now’ record of the area.

So here they are – the then and now of Armação de Pêra – with titles where we can name areas and buildings of interest for you. But first, a little more about the wonderful couple that gave us the original images…

John Miskin Prior and Phyllis Josephine Glasscock were married on 5th December 1966, in Croydon Parish Church.

Their story is a romantic one. They met at church youth club as teenagers, and were ‘an item’ until their early twenties.  Half of the letters that Simon Michael Prior’s book An Englishman in New York contains were exchanged between them during this period. Then John became a parish priest in the rural West Country, and lost contact with Phyllis.

In 1966, aged 40, they bumped into each other at a bus stop in Oxford, a city neither of them lived or worked in; they were both there for one-off engagements. They rekindled the relationship as they were both single, and married later that year.

Their honeymoon in the Algarve would have directly followed the wedding, as was the custom then, in fact the slides Phyllis took are dated 1966, so we can definitively date them to the period between 5th December and Christmas 1966.

Simon’s mother was an enthusiastic slide camerawoman. She always had a camera round her neck, with a matching light meter in its own leather case. She would have taken all the photos herself. In 1985, they returned (with Simon) to the Algarve for the first time to visit his Uncle who had retired to an orange farm near Faro.

Armação de Pêra – Then and Now

The Parish Church – Nossa Senhora dos Navegantes
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Live Book Launch Mon 3rd May

It’s tonight! Join me live online at 9pm GMT as we launch my new book: A New Life in the Algarve, Portugal.

Here’s the important link:

“What makes a person decide to move abroad to start a new life? And why do so many people choose the Algarve in Portugal as their dream destination?”

In this compilation of life stories, you can read about a whole range of different people that have made the Algarve their home. Funny moments, heartfelt journeys, and real-life modern adventures are all covered in this new and fascinating anthology.

“Read their stories and be inspired”

You can meet some of the contributors as I celebrate the launch of the book on this special show. I will be joined by Jessica Dunn Clive Jewell Debby Burton and Evanne from the Relish Portugal magazine. My huge thanks must also go to Carl Munson and The Good Morning Portugal Show for hosting this for us.

Come along and help me celebrate – your questions and comments will be most welcome!

The book includes a foreword by the British Ambassador to Portugal, a former guest on the Good Morning Portugal! show.

Find out more about the book here:

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A New Life in the Algarve, Portugal

A New Life in the Algarve Portugal

An anthology of life stories

Available Now!

What makes a person decide to move abroad to start a new life?

And why do so many people choose the Algarve in Portugal as their dream destination?

In this compilation of life stories, you can read about a whole range of different people who have made the Algarve their home. Read about the families that moved to live in the Algarve in the early 1970s, before tourism was even an idea.

Find out more about the people who packed up everything they owned to follow their dreams of a new life in the sun.

Funny moments, heartfelt journeys, and real-life modern adventures are all covered in this new and fascinating anthology.

Read their stories – and be inspired.

Includes a foreword written by the British Ambassador to Portugal.
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My Top 5 Algarve

My Top 5 Algarve

The best of the Algarve in one handy guide.

Discover the best beaches, restaurants, days out, places of interest, places to stay, events and much more inside these pages.

Whether you are on holiday here, travelling, settling down or a long-time resident, I think you will find this guide useful. Enjoy all that the Algarve has to offer, including some hidden gems, with this free guide.

Ideal for sending to clients, leaving a copy in your rental property for guests, or simply for discovering some new and exciting places in the Algarve to enjoy.

Available exclusively to subscribers of our free monthly newsletter.

Subscribe now – just click the link here:

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A Covid-safe Carnaval

Usually today we would be heading for Loulé to enjoy the fabulous sights and sounds of Carnaval. Sadly this year, thanks to Covid-19, that will not be possible, so we thought we would put together a Virtual Carnaval for you. We have collated some of our favourite Carnaval shots from previous years for you to enjoy.

You’ll have to play some samba music in the background as you scroll down to the images, and imagine yourself stood on the pavement watching all the floats go by.

Traditionally, you should also enjoy a bit of a feast today, the last time to eat well before the start of 40 days of Lent. Legend says that the word ‘Carnaval’ comes from the Latin, carnem levare, which means ‘to take away (or remove) meat’. If you are in the UK, do have a plate of pancakes with sugar and lemon on for us!

“Of all the holidays celebrated across the modern world, Carnival might be the most boisterous, and possibly the most fun.”

Daniel Shafto   

All Images © Dave Sheldrake Photography

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Top 20 Blogs Award

Algarve Blog has won another award!

We were delighted to open our emails today and discover that we had won an award.

We are featured in the ‘Top 20 Blogs from UK Expats’ on the website.

You can click the link here or the image below to visit their website and find out more about the chosen blogs:

We’ve added a snazzy Award Badge to the sidebar of our blog, and we are in good company too, as our friend Julie Dawn Fox also won the award for Portugal.

That’s a pretty nice start to the weekend for us!
Thank you to for the award.

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Our February Newsletter

It is also a real thrill for me to press the little button that sends our monthly newsletter out into the world!

This month’s edition is our biggest yet with 22 pages packed full of art, photography, books and news for our subscribers to enjoy.

Read it now:

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What Brexit Means For Us

Alyson was interviewed by the BBC about her views on Brexit, on the historic day when the UK ended its transition period and entered the new post-Brexit era. Obviously only a small section of Alyson’s answers made it into the final piece – you can read the published article via the link here to the BBC website:

BBC Article Brexit; ‘We welcomed the trade deal like a Christmas present’

We thought you might like to read Alyson’s full interview, so we have included it here for you:

Alyson Sheldrake is 52 and a former Director of Education for the Church of England. Her husband, Dave, aged 64, is a retired police officer. They purchased a house in the Algarve, Portugal, in 2006, whilst still living and working in the UK. Once Dave retired in 2011, they moved out to live there permanently. They set up their own businesses, Alyson working as a professional artist, and Dave as a photographer. In 2020, Alyson wrote two books about their life abroad. They have worked hard to integrate with the local community and have been impressed with how friendly and welcoming the Portuguese have been to them. They now live a less stressful, relaxed, and quieter way of life, and have never regretted their move to live abroad.

What were your main concerns following the Brexit vote in 2016?

I think initially we were just stunned that the vote had actually gone against us. We are proudly European and love the fact that we didn’t even have to think about whether it was possible for us to move here to the Algarve to live. It was a simple process involving a few forms at the local town hall, and then we were registered and settled. No-one seemed to know what the implications of the Brexit vote would be, or what the benefits might be in the future.

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The Living Statues – Christmas 2020

The Estátuas Vivas no Natal – the Living Statues – came to the streets of Lagoa again this year, much to our delight, and Dave was there to capture them with his camera for you.

Our favourites this year were John Lennon and the Minotauro

Covid meant that the statues were set apart slightly from the crowds, which resulted in the event feeling a little less intimate that usual, but the costumes and poses were as wonderful as ever.

We hope you enjoy the tour:

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A Covid Christmas in the Algarve

Well, it has certainly been a strange year, and I am sure for many people, they will be glad when 2020 is over. I have been at best bemused, and at worst, completely confused by all the different Covid measures that have been put in place – especially for the Christmas and New Year Period. My best advice is to check out the Safer Communities Potugal website and Facebook Page as they always give out reliable and sensible information.

Luckily not everything has been cancelled and we can still enjoy some Christmas events safely.

The Living Statues in Lagoa

One of our favourite events of the year is still going ahead and we are delighted. The Estátuas Vivas no Natal – the Living Statues – will be in Lagoa on Friday 18th December from 1430 – 1730 hrs and again on Saturday 19th December from 0900 – 1200 hrs.

They will be laid out differently this year respecting all safety standards and health requirements in relation to COVID-19.

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