I’m writing this from Aveiro, in the west of Portugal. Alan’s come here to examine a PhD viva in Lisbon tomorrow, and as it’s a cheap flight from Liverpool I was able to tag along. We’re staying with Palexa, who is one of Alan’s students, which is lovely, just sharing a little of life here for a short while. Last night there was a get-together in our honour, traditional Portuguese food and good company on a roof top terrace near the beach, with Fado playing in the background, and a full moon. Magical.

When she’s not at the university, Palexa takes her work down to the beach and spends the day there, in a café. Many other people were doing the same – no pressure to drink up your coffee and leave – we were there for 6 hours, working, chatting, eating when hungry, sometimes walking by the sea. It’s the open Atlantic we love, wild, crashing waves, but under a deep blue sky.

My camera is misbehaving, sadly, so there won’t be many photos. I’m drawing and painting but not skilled enough (yet) to really capture what I see. here is one photo I did manage to take – it’s part of a tiled mural – there are lots of them here, these are spectacular and cover the frontage of the old Aveiro station. They show many scenes from Portuguese life in the past. tiles at Aveiro station

in Aveiro