Thursday, October 23, 2008

sometimes it can be scary.....

Due to overindulging of late, in everything party-related, I decided at the end of last week to abstain for a while, and withdraw from public life here in Santa Maria for a while.... not just because I had to be reminded that I was on my head in the sand at Grijinha Bar at 4am doing a headstand (I thought I was breakdancing actually.....)

Last night was Wednesday, so far so good.... 4th night in a row! watched a cheesey movie, happily, with just half a glass of 'tinto', then a fkn gigantic thing flew in the window and around the house...

I screamed like a maniac, thought it was a bat!

Turned out to the biggest cockroach in the history of mankind (honestly, no exaggeration)

So once it had landed and crawled under the sofa, I sprayed it with deadly noxious creature killer from the Chinese store, and then hid in the bedroom for one hour so as not to poison myself....

When I came out of my boudoir, it it was wiggling on it's back, nowhere near the sofa

so I said 'sorry' about 100 times and then clubbed it to death with my shoe...

and went to bed

See how exciting life is when you stay in.....

By the way, the picture is a typical Sunday lunchtime on the beach. Notice the cheeky little monkey in the background...

Friday, June 06, 2008

Sao Vicente – my favourite island!

Sal is wonderful, but sometimes you just have to leave it, just for a weekend…..
The lure of Sao Vicente beckoned, I have been there 4 or 5 times already; for carnival, for New Year; and had the sudden and overwhelming desire to be there last weekend…

Awoke deliriously excited on Friday morning, not having had much sleep, and not having booked a flight…..

I was not going to take no for an answer, so packed my bag, collected crazy Ana, my Portuguese chum, and hailed a cab for the airport…. And what a cab. Bob Marley blaring out of the windows, he drove at about 70mph paying no attention to roundabouts, dogs, children or carts…. And of course we all got swept up in the excitement and sung ‘I don’t want to wait in vain’ and ‘Three Little Birds’ at the tops of our voices until we arrived at the airport.

Flights secured, chips downed, money withdrawn, off we went…

After a brief flight and very smooth landing, met up with another Portuguese friend, Joao, in the town square, he knew we were coming and had secured us a lovely little apartment just out of town, where we settled down for a small snooze before the evening’s entertainment..

Out to Casa Café Mindelo to meet up with Joao, and some Senegalese musicians we had met the previous week in Santa Maria, all out to dine in Clube Nautico, a fabulous sea front bar with concrete floor, open ceiling to the stars, a rickety old stage and a wonderful selection of food and drink. And of course, live music, in the traditional style.

Well fed up, went in search of my favourite small bar, Jazzy Bird, just off the Praca Nova, black and white décor, fab jazz music being played, unheard of in Santa Maria…..

Many photographs taken of all of us, posing in ‘sad face’, ‘murderous face’, etc etc….

Time to move on, so we went to a very traditional Cape Verdian bar opposite the beach, slightly out of town. It was full, there was some kind of birthday celebration, so most people were completely inebriated…. Another traditional band playing, a man fast asleep on a chair, and a truly fabulous woman dancing; young, Cape Verdian, proudly sporting a full black downy moustache! Her very own. One of the Senegalese chaps was completely amazed and transfixed….
‘that woman, she is not beautiful, but she is fantastic!’ he whispered to me.

Next stop, a club, where a private party was taking place… We were permitted to enter, but only if the boys removed their hats, and we thought if they did the place would be filled with dreadlocks, so we abstained, the boys going home, and Ana and myself in search of just one more beverage….

Saturday morning came… we had a date with a notorious Cape Verdian composer, who had invited us all around to his house to hang out and make music.

Quick stop in town to buy fresh fish, vegetables and wine, then a coffee stop which resulted in fish bleeding all over the café floor…. That’s no problem here, in fact it’s normal – ‘no stress’

We all were transported in the back of an old pick-up, a bumpy old drive, with the kora, the sax, the guitar, all jumping about in the back of the truck. Safely delivered to our destination, a beautiful old converted farmhouse in a ribeira on the way to Calhau beach.

On arrival, Joao immediately started to concoct an absolute feast of suchi, whilst I laid in the hammock awhile, and then started to play music in the afternoon sun with the guitarist and kora player. Marvellous…

After consuming the feast, and some fine Portuguese wine, we then all retired to the lounge, where Vasco Martins started to create music, with the help of us all.

We sat on the floor, with our instruments and voices, while he drew energy and inspiration from the surroundings, and then started to create….. avant-garde experimental music I would call it, with him suddenly pointing as the person whom he wished to make a noise…. What a wonderful way to spend the afternoon.

At 9pm we all left, back to our apartment for another snooze before the evening’s events.

Again, all meeting in the Casa Café Mindelo before going on to the square to take a turn around and just enjoy the ambience of it all. Once more to Jazzy Bird, where we danced this time, and then on to the Mindel Hotel where we had the pleasure of experiencing one of Cape Verde’s foremost bands, Ferro Gaita, in full swing. Dancing ensued, then just one more turn around the square before returning home for the night…

Sunday morning, our last day….
Lunch at the beach café (only slightly marred by the arrival of the British Navy, so rather more white people than usual on the beach, tattooed and drinking beers…..)
After this we were taken into town to meet Alex Da Silva, a Cape Verdian artist who has been living in Holland, who is opening a very stylish gallery in Mindelo, to feature art, music, café and shop. Truly inspiring.

Back down to the square for one last turn, it was Sunday afternoon, traditional children’s time, so the square was full of happy kids running and playing and eating ice-creams!

And so, back to Sal, energized, refreshed, and ready for Monday morning…

Tuesday, May 20, 2008



Election time in Cape Verde – and how very interesting!

Sunday was voting day, the final day after all the excitement of the last few weeks, with the voting all day and the announcement at 9pm...

The weeks leading up to it had been noisy to say the least, as the main method of getting your ‘party policitical broadcast’ to the people here is via very large and very loud speakers being driven around the town constantly on the back of a pick-up truck.

The criteria for gaining votes seems to be who has the loudest speakers, and who has the most annoying tune….

There were only two candidates; Scapa, of the PAICV party, and Figueiredo, whose party is GIMS. I won’t go into details, wouldn’t like to get it wrong and be sued… however PAICV were the original party when Cape Verde gained independence in 1975, and GIMS are the party currently in power on this island.

Scapa's tune was a song about him sung by schoolchildren and then remixed in the reggae styli (to appeal to everyone of course); Figueiredo's was a kind of Vangelis type number, just slightly conjuring up the image of black and white pictures of Russian soldiers marching through grey streets.....

In terms of annoyance levels, Scapa's pick-up driver lives next door to me, so would park his pick-up truck for the lunch break and leave the sound system on for one hour, whilst Figueiredo's headquarter are opposite our office, so they would park and the leave sound system on outside the office all day....

Then there were ever increasing levels of parties being thrown to woo the voters, starting with street parties with live bands (Dub Squad for Scapa, more traditional music for Figueiredo), bands of marching drummers, balloons for the kids, T-shirts for all, free grogue, finally culminating in one of the candidates bringing over the Benfica football team at the weekend from Portugal to play the local team in Espargos.... an utter coup! (and no, I didn't spend Saturday night trawling the bars to try and find them... or did I?)

So, at 9pm last night, as I was in blissful oblivion at a beach BBQ watching the fire and the stars, the cars starting hooting, cheers went up all over town, the sign that it was all over….

I called a friend and local businesswoman, Milu, who tearfully told me that George Figueiredo, GIMS, the existing mayor, has remained in power and we are all now safe for the future..... we like George, he wears white and has good parties….

Friday, April 11, 2008

just 2 more pics!

BBQ - Sunday 6th April - in pictures only

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Friday night, Saturday night, Sunday morning

The weekend arrived. One and a half days off, almost. Clients to see on Saturday afternoon, which is unusual, so decided to stay in on Friday night, a most rare occurrence. After an extreme pilates session, a handsome meal of sausages and mash, and a wonderful first viewing of ‘Brief Encounter’, I had an early night.

Saturday morning, an even rarer occurrence, I didn’t have a headache having abstained from the normal Friday night’s carousing…. Saw the clients on Saturday afternoon, did the soundcheck for Saturday night’s gig, and then went out to dine. Due to impending gig, just ordered an ‘exotic salad’, not wanting to play on a belly full. The salad took about 45 minutes to arrive, and when it did, it was lettuce and tomato, grated carrot, grated cheese and some large onion rings. I wasn’t sure which part of it was exotic, but my Creole is not sufficient to be able to ask without getting into all sorts of trouble …

Salad consumed, frocked up and ready for the gig… a jazz trio in a lovely rooftop bar, mainly frequented by Italians. It was a lovely evening, having imbibed a queasy mix of ‘spritz’ (white wine and campari), pernod and tequila I was now in the mood for a proper Saturday night.

Off we all went, to Calema, the liveliest bar in town, with live music, tonight a reggae band in which Ricardo, our lovely Mexican bass player, was playing with for the first time, on guitar. The place was heaving, full of local Cape Verdians, expats of all nationalities, and tourists. The set was 2 and a half hours long, everyone was dancing and falling over, marvellous fun had by all, ending with a lock-in consisting of Cape Verdians, English, Italians, Portuguese and a couple of girls from Denmark. It was marvellous fun and very interesting. To bed by 4.30am …

Sunday morning, awoke about midday, leapt out of bed and to the stereo, where Motown hits only encouraged dancing to shake off any potential hangover. This brought on a great hunger, so we called Ricardo the Mexican, and all set off to the Ponta Preta restaurant on the famous and fabulous surf beach. The weather was perfect for surfing and kite-surfing, so we were entertained whilst waiting for the food. Oh, the food… 3 portions of cracas (rock mussels) followed by 3 portions of percebes (goose tentacles). The waitress was stunned into silence by this order. All washed down with cold beer…

Our hunger sated, a walk up to the dunes was called for. We struggled up the gentle slopes to the top, where we all lay down, to watch the sunset. Ricardo entertained us with Mexican folk songs on his acoustic guitar, the sun went down and we walked back only to bump into 3 Czech friends who were playing Czech Gyspy music on the car stereo parked looking out to sea. As the sun finally went down the music came to an end, perfect timing. Another wonderful day in Cape Verde.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

3 new episodes.....

The ongoing saga of the container….
15 October 2007

One is at the end of one’s tether….
WARNING: This is only a temporary lapse in my total adoration of these islands and this country, however I am most annoyed and the only thing that will possibly placate me will be a pedicure (€8 for an hour’s worth of toenail beauty that lasts 6 weeks) and a head bleaching (3 weeks overdue, as, yes, the bleach is in the container)

It seemed like a good idea at the time; that is, back in July, in the UK, emptying the entire contents of my home into a container, which would set sail for Cape Verde, and I would be reunited with my clothes, my music, my jewellery; in fact, my life. Didn’t seem worth buying a load of new furniture here when I had plenty at home, which would only be put into storage and loneliness for years to come.

So, Muchi, Dad, Stuart and Terence all gathered on 12 July, carefully wrapped everything in approximately 100 metres of bubble wrap and cardboard and brown paper, sealed the doors, and off she went on the back of a large lorry, a resplendent orange container, not to be opened until reunited with me in Cape Verde, some 3000 miles yonder. Maybe we should have paid heed when the lorry driver muttered to Muchi ‘ might be 6 weeks, might be 6 years….’

I had confidence, I put it out of my mind, I had faith and decided not to even think about it for 6 weeks, and if it came during the suggested time, then I would be pleasantly surprised. So, I didn’t start to think about it until 8 weeks after it had left the UK. At this point I thought I would get in touch with the carrier, Fred Olsen, and so I emailed them eagerly, about 5 times, and received no replies whatsoever. Funny, before I paid them the fee of £2200 they responded very quickly to every phone call or email, but after I paid the money I never heard from them again…

So, I tried the shipping agent in Las Palmas, which was supposed to be the first port of call, however it had already been via Hamburg (lucky little holiday for my possessions!) After having a shrieking fax siren wailing in my ear on the first few efforts, I finally got through to a lovely chap who sounded just like Manuel from Faulty Towers, who advised me that the ship with the container had arrived in Las Palmas, but that there were ‘hydraulic problems’ and that the container would have to wait there one week, but would be shipped in 7 days. I called on the 8th day… unfortunately all the containers had managed to get on to the Cape Verde ship… apart from 4, of course, mine was among these 4… they could not give me an alternative date, they didn’t know when the next ship would sail to the Cape Verdes. Nothing more could be done, except wait…..

About 10 days later I tried again, and YES… it had left Las Palmas for Sao Vicente and should be there within 2 days….

I called the port in Palmeira 4 days later, and YES (again) it had arrived in Palmeira, merely a 20 minute drive from my apartment, excitement began to mount, my roots were now half an inch long and I couldn’t wait to get to the bleach. . but alas, no it was not to be. ‘The crane is bro-ked’ I was told, and the container had been sent back to Sao Vicente.

I tried to keep calm, breathe in, breathe out, nothing could be done, live with the power of now, accept…

One week later, I tried again… my container was here. It was a Friday. So, no, I could not collect it until Monday. (Friday, Sexta-Feira, no unloading, PUB of course!)

So, on Monday at 8am I arrived at the office of the Despachante, smiling, being polite, keeping calm.

We drove to the port, and waited for an hour while they checked my paperwork.
This, of course, after 3 and half months, was not in order. I had everything I needed, a complete listing of every item in the 138 boxes, in English and in Portuguese, the bill of lading, a letter from the council in the UK confirming that everything in the container was second-hand goods from my house. The most important thing was missing, a STAMP on the letter from the council…
I begged and pleaded and said I would get the letter stamped and forwarded, just let me have the container. I demanded to see the Head of Port who said he could help with the storage costs but not with the customs officials. Then, a momentary breakthrough. If I got the letter from the council translated into Portuguese, they would re-consider.

So, back to the office of the Despachante, where he duly transcribed the letter for me, with the aid of a dictionary, word by word. This took another hour. Then the port was closed for lunch. A coffee and a menthol cigarette and two hours later, back to the port. The Despachante took the letter. I sat outside the customs office, smiling like a demented woman at everyone who passed, in case it helped. It didn’t. The Despachante came back shaking his head and sighing. It was not to be. No stamp, no container. On the way back to the Despachante’s office I decided to turn up the King Curtis CD to full volume, to cheer myself up and not weep. The Despachante asked, ‘this is English music, yes?’, no, I replied, American music from 50 years ago. ‘ah, classical music’ he replied. Bless his heart.

And what is the final outcome of this story?
10 days letter, I returned with the duly stamped letter. I couldn’t go in, I waited outside customs like an expectant father.. he came out nodding, smiling, with the paperwork to release my possessions. He then left me.

I spent 25 minutes waiting by the container in 28 degrees, not knowing what I was waiting for, but not daring to speak… finally a man came and broke the seal with a huge cutting device. I looked in, I got in, I sat amongst my Buffalo Boots, my CDs, my futon and chairs… It only took another 3 hours, 2 official stamps, €350, a marvellous large operation involving a giant fork lift and a lorry, a 20 minute slow drive and then a 2 hour unloading session aided by 2 helpful and cheerful Cape Verdians. The apartment was full of 138 boxes, now to unpack!

The last words of the Despachante to me were, ‘next time it will be easier’. The last words from me to the Despachante were, ‘there will never be a next time…’


Well .. the week of the first Cape Verde Development International Jazz Festival arrived. Free jazz. Squeaky bonk I mean. Considering there is no jazz at all here, and no one has heard even mainstream jazz, I thought perhaps free improvised jazz might be a bit of a shock to the natives, and did wonder if it was a good idea. I mean it’s a shock to the natives in East London innit? However, considering I had been booked and was amongst the musicians of international repute, and was going to get 5 free drinks and some chips, I was not going to complain.

It was all the idea of Miguel Martins, the Portuguese manager of the Irish Bar, and a jazz critic and journalist back in his home town of Lisbon. Just one problem, he was taken ill a couple of weeks ago and flown back to Lisbon, leaving no-one to take care of the festival, except for Marcos Fernandez, the resident Spanish gypsy jazz guitarist. He’s temperamental. He doesn’t like free jazz. He’s been walking Spanish down the hall all week, and shouting into his mobile phone a lot. He finally announced on Wednesday afternoon that the festival was ‘finished’, with a kind of razor gesture to the throat. He had been arguing with the authorities about details, and was no longer going to be involved.

So, on Friday, the first day of the festival, the musicians duly arrived from New York, Greece, Portugal and the UK (well I was already here actually…) The venue had to be changed from the Centro Cultural de Santa Maria, to the Irish Bar. Not so prestigious, but familiar. I arrived for the ‘sound check’. No amps, no proper PA, no engineer. A power cut. The musicians were lovely, friendly, intense, but seemed a little fraught at the ways of Cape Verde… the usual Friday evening English expats were in one corner of the bar with their vodka tonics, and looked utterly horrified when the first squeaks were emitted from the bass clarinet, when the bass player brought out his home made timber bass, and when the laptop man threw some loud bonks into the mix. Marcos was fiddling with his desk and thinking it was feedback, not realising it was part of the sound…. The soundcheck only lasted about 5 minutes as the audience were shocked into stunned silence and then started complaining about the noise…..

The lack of advertising, and the clash of parties (an English developer (50) and a Cape Verdian girls (20) engagement party in another bar) didn’t fill us with hope for a busy night, however upon arriving back at the gig at 10.30pm I was most pleasantly surprised to see that the place was heaving..

The show began.. double bass and bass clarinet first set… clucking, scraping, plucking…. The bar fell into stunned silence… it was heroic and fabulous. The night continued with short sets of duos and trios, and culminated in a jam session with drums, double bass, laptop, bass clarinet, 2 saxes and… Marcos ‘I don’t like free jazz I don’t play free jazz’ Fernandez on guitar! He loved it, so did the audience. It was like a freeze frame from a movie, waitresses frozen with cloth half wiping the table, Cape Verdian youth frozen with lighter halfway to cigarette, pale English tourists frozen in mid cackle… Truly splendid, free jazz brought to a whole new audience who responded unanimously joyfully…. Perhaps Miguel Martins knew after all……

The concert was dedicated to Miguel Martins in his sickbed, and to Ze the infamous and fabulous hairdresser from Santa Maria who sadly passed away the night before.

Monday 16th April 2007

What a strange and wonderful world I am now inhabiting, a million miles (at least) from my former life in Surrey, and London, and the UK.

Awoken this morning at around 6am by the sound of the cockerel crowing, followed shortly, at 6.20am, by the arrival of the builders who are constructing a new apartment block directly behind my block. They start the day with a cheerful argument, followed by what sounds like of tons of ballast being poured into a metal well. They like to start early, and once they have woken all the residents, they stop for their breakfast, all lined up in a neat row, quietly consuming from various old pots and tins.

I leave the apartment at about 8am, hoping to get an early start in the internet and phone shop, I have some urgent business to sort in the UK, and it has so far taken almost two weeks to try and get my bank to transfer some money to a money broker.

I leave my nice, blue, finished apartment, walk off the high pavement, and across the desert wasteland/building site that surrounds us. There are some plots of land already being built on, others awaiting development, there is a concrete football pitch, and various piles of building materials. As I step off the pavement, a gust of wind blows my skirt up and over my head, but hey, that is going to happen a lot today, so I am prepared in some sturdy pants. Cabs, pick up trucks and huge lorries roar past, dogs lie where they wish, not moving for the trucks, it is vehicles that divert past animals and children here. Children are playing, shoeless in the sand and building materials. I see two girls gleefully holding hands, jumping off a wall into a pile of sand, screaming with joy each time they land. I see a boy of about 4, barefoot, proudly playing with his new toy, a blue plastic carrier bag which he fills with wind a runs along with. I see a couple of children who have found a tiny bit of tinsel, about 5 inches long, which they are using to decorate parts of their body and giggle.

On the way to my office, a local man calls out ‘hey posh lady, I like your style’.. to which I cannot think of a suitable response, so I carry on, just smiling at him. I get to my office, on the beach, with a palm tree in front of it, about 50 yards away on the exercise poles on the beach, a young boy is suspended by his arms, doing his morning exercises. Several men are washing in the sea, with shower gel foaming up over them.

Next I try the internet shop, as I need to make my important call to the UK. I am told that there is no internet or phone line today, and there may not be for 10 days. Someone has cut through the fibre optic cable, but no one is quite sure where.

Next, the supermarket, where I hope to find something for this evening’s meal. I rummage in the freezer and pull out about 6 chicken legs, all stuck together, the lady in the shop comes over, smashes them all against the side of the freezer, until one or two come apart, so I put them into a plastic bag and get them weighed. They have fresh pears today, so I greedily grab 3, together with some batteries, some warm yoghurts and a few other provisions. The man on the till tells me the name of each thing in Portuguese, while I try to work out a way to remember the names.

Back across the wasteland to my casa, drop off the provisions, and then make my way to my first appointment, at 9.30am in a beach front apartment block. It’s not a bad life you know…


Off to Casa Ze, a hairdressers in one of the two main streets, the windows are decorated with tubs of beads (for hair braiding) and some strange photographs of Ze cutting a middle aged, white man’s hair. The shop is run by Ze, a beautiful Cape Verdian man, dark skinned and with features similar to a native American. He is deaf, and so is his sister, who sits in the corner of the salon with a sewing machine, mending people’s clothes, and making up garments of her own design, from large African type printed materials. Two young Cape Verdian girls also work there, both very lively and friendly. I bring my own bleach, as it’s hard to get here, and after a cut by Ze, the girls apply the bleach. They are very good, and once it is on, they use the tiny bit left in the pot to wrap up some of their own hair in foil, and attempt blonde highlights. Whilst waiting for the bleach to take (approximately 1 hour), the sister tries wrapping several garments around me, notably a lovely pair of tie trousers, which are too short for me; the material is a recurring picture of Bob Marley smoking a large joint. I like the trousers, but try to explain that the fabric isn’t really me, that it, not suitable for a 46 year old property sales agent….

When the girls find out that I am 46 years old, there is much oohing and aahing, then they come up and touch my bottom, sign languaging with hands and gestures that I have a nice botton for an old girl, and maybe it should be a bit lower down by now! Then they all start comparing bottoms in the mirror, much hysteria, other people now coming in from the street to join in the fun, much laughter and trying to communicate in a mixture of Portuguese, Creole and sign language…

Eventually, it’s time for the bleach to come off, and I realise that there is no running water in the salon. This is no problem at all, there is a large bucket near the sink, and a jug is used to pour the cool water over my head until the bleach is removed. The girls are pleased with their new highlights, and I am very pleased with the job they have done on my head. Then, before I know what is happening, 2 sets of hands are busily working on my head, and then I suddenly have a very neat blonde plait on my head. All part of the service! I leave the salon 15 euros lighter, and looking forward to my next visit.

Wednesday 18th April 2007

On my way home, about 6pm, across the wasteland to my apartment, I bump into Frank. Frank is Nigerian, I met him after only a few days here in Cape Verde. He is friendly, but sometimes a bit annoyingly insistent. Today he rushes up, and instead of his usual greeting, ‘hello, are you coming to my house today’, he has a new approach. ‘Hello, are you taking me to your house today?’ No, I say. You can be quite direct with Frank, in fact it is the only way. ‘OK’, he says, ‘I see that it is not possible that I can have you, so please can you give me one of your friends.’ Oh.. ‘Ok, I will ask them all’ I reply, but this is the wrong answer. ‘I am not asking you to ask them all, I only want one of your friends, and this is the very least you can do for me if you are my friend’. Oh lordy…..

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

too many bra incidents...

It’s July 10th and summer has kicked in….
Yesterday, it rained, very gently for about 3 minutes…
Today, it’s about 26 degrees, the breeze has dropped, it’s calm and still and there is not a cloud in the sky.

Started the day by dropping my laundry at the lavandaria, which is actually just an African lady with a twin tub and 2 young daughters who do all the ironing on a tiny little ironing board. I knocked, and she opened the door, but today she was wearing a red sarong tied around her immense belly (she is about 8 months pregnant), with an incredibly glamorous red silk and black lace bra which looked like it had come straight from Agent Provocateur. She didn’t seem to think there was anything unusual about this costume, or indeed answering the door to a stranger in her splendid bra.

To the office for a few hours, after about an hour a very beautiful boy of about 9 came and just stood in the doorway. He looked at me, and at the walls and pictures. We had a chat in Creole about the weather, the sea, the school holidays. I wasn’t sure what he wanted, but after about 5 minutes of just staring calmly, he asked for some money for some bread. I don’t usually agree to this, but it was hot, he was polite, so I gave him enough escudos for something good from the bakery.

I was then summoned back to my rented apartment, where the landlord has decided to install ‘burglar bars’ over all the windows. I am not very keen on them, but if he thinks they are necessary then so be it. I had to go home to let the workmen in. As I approached I noticed that the huge wrought iron monstrosities were already on my first floor balcony. It is beyond my comprehension how they managed to do this, with no ladder, but obviously if they can do it, then maybe I do need the bars. There was no sign of any workman, so I took the opportunity to have a bit of a blow on the saxophone, whilst all the neighbours were out at work. As it was so hot, I removed my Tshirt, and was blowing away in closed eye delirium when I felt a shadow across the room. The workman had returned, climbed up onto the balcony and looked terrified at the sight of me. 2 bra incidents in one day. I put my Tshirt back on and watched in awe as he drilled holes in the masonry, straddled across 2 balconies with no scaffolding or ladders, flip-flopped feet just gripping a tiny shelf….