As we disembarked in Porto in the rain on Monday, I heard a young lady ahead of me on the steps of the plane complain, "We must have gone back to Liverpool. This cannot be Portugal!" And indeed, the weather seemed to be exactly the same as what we had left behind in the North West of England. Yesterday and today, on the other hand, we have woken to sunshine. My brother-in-law sent me a message from the Isle of Man wishing us better weather than he was experiencing. It was so bad there yesterday apparently that they cancelled the day's motorcycle race.
It's just as well the sun shone for us yesterday as we had to make an unscheduled trip to Pontevedra because I had inexplicably managed to drop the keys to my suitcase in a friend's car. I am afraid I got rather grumpy on Monday night at the prospect of everything in my suitcase having another day of being crumpled but at least we did not have to try to break into the case, something which at one point appeared likely.
Serendipitously we found a very good menu del día for €12 in Pontevedra, so the trip was not at all unpleasant. As we sat in the Plaza de Verduras we watched a chap at another table trying to coax pigeons to perch on his hand while he fed them crumbs. Truly, some people have very little sense. By contrast we spent our time batting at the pests with rolled up magazines. There are far too many of these annoying creatures around and those who persist in feeding them just encourage them to land on cafe and restaurant tables and make a nuisance of themselves.
They are not even as appealing as grey squirrels and some people set about hunting them down. Here is a link to an article about grey squirrel hunters on the UK. Of course I am aware that they are not native to the British Isles and that carry a kind of squirrel disease to which they are immune but which has decimated the native squirrels. But it's not their fault. Nobody asked them if they wanted to move to the UK.
They may not be quite as cute and pretty as the red squirrels but the one that comes and sits on our kitchen window ledge is rather appealing. So are his antics stealing nuts from a neighbour's bird feeder and burying them all over the garden. I remain convinced that it was a squirrel that planted the bluebells in our garden. It certainly had nothing to do with me.
While we are on the subject of birds and animals being pests, here is a link to some pictures of grey herons which have become urban birds in Amsterdam, rather as seagulls have become urban birds in many cities around the world.
And here is a link to something about a man with a healthy disregard for bad weather, manfully mowing his lawn with a tornado behind him. Canadians are obviously the best kind of North Americans.
I am trying to think and say as little as possible about another North American whose advisers are said to be seriously rethinking his visit to the UK in the light of the London terrorist attack.