Vacation reading: “Portugal and the Algarve: Now and Then”, by Jenny Grainer
A recent article by the Portuguese newspaper Diário de Notícias recalled a book published originally in 2010 and recently republished: “Portugal and the Algarve: Now and Then”, by Jenny Grainer. The former singer and actress, who once sang with Cliff Richard and the Shadows in Blackpool and later married Ron Grainer, the famous composer of Doctor Who theme, is now 73 years old and lives in Algarve since 1968. Her book is an excellent report, story and tale about what living in the Algarve truly means.
Jenny was a part of a small community of expat celebrities who enjoyed the Algarve for the combination of a warm climate and the possibility of living a simple and joyful life without being recognised. Names like Olivia Newton-John, Muriel Young and Eric Morecambe could live there anonymously.
She recalls that Albufeira changed so much that today she can’t quite remember where was her first home, but never forgets the friendship and simplicity of people, ever without being subservient. Small details make for a rich story, like the locals making fun of foreign using knife and fork to eat sardines. She also recalls the negative aspects, mainly the widespread poverty and some personal examples of social misery she met on her way.
Jenny and Ron left Portugal after the Carnation Revolution, but two years later they divorced; he wanted to remain in London, but she was eager to return. She congratulates for the massive economic development that occurred in the Algarve and throughout Portugal after the seventies and eighties. Today Algarve is much more populated, but people (both locals and expats) take advantage of higher living standards; the climate and the cultural traits of the Portuguese people remain the same.
Jenny Grainer lives currently in Lagoa, one of the municipalities of Algarve which is not on the shore, although it has beautiful beaches like Carvoeiro and Benagil. Few foreigners live there – she still likes to be surrounded by Portuguese.