When we were thinking of going back to Europe over the winter almost everyone we spoke to told us we should go for longer. Because there is really nothing to recommend São Paulo in the winter. At least in Europe the cold, miserable bit has Christmas to keep you busy and give the holiday some sense of purpose. Here there's nothing. And worse, it's nothing in a cold city, in a cold concrete house designed to keep you cold whenever possible. Louvered windows that are fixed open and no central heating may seem like brilliant ideas when it's 35 degrees, but not when it's down to single figures. Honestly, when I was thinking about living in Brazil I never thought my most treasured possession was going to be a hot-water bottle.
As it was, we didn't spend that much time here after all and we've just arrived back from three weeks 'up north', divided pretty much evenly between England and Ireland so that both sets of grandparents could be given their dose of rarely-seen grandchildren. For now I'll just stick to Ireland and the England bit can wait till next week.
Home in Ireland is a lovely little seaside town called Bray, about ten miles down the coast from Dublin. To compare it to Rio de Janeiro is perhaps stretching things slightly, but it does possess a nice long beach and is surrounded by mountains. And it even has its own version of Corcovado.
|Corcovado! - if you look really carefully.|
The other thing we always have to do whenever we're in Bray over the summer is visit the funfair that sets up along the seafront. And when I say visit, what I actually mean is visit every day, sometimes twice, and stay for as long as it takes for two budding adrenalin junkies to work their way through all the money I have in both pockets. Still, I was happy enough to pay the money just so long as I didn't have to share the rides.
But mostly what Bray is about is family time. James and David now have nine cousins - all on Helen's side - and they got to spend time with eight of them during this trip. The ninth, little Georgiou, only arrived midway through the week and will have to wait until next year before he's subjected to the doting attentions of the boys from Brazil.
Sadly, ten days didn't seem like nearly enough time for all the stuff we wanted to do and all the people we wanted to see, but we did at least manage to convince some of the adventurous aunties and uncles to come and pay us a visit over here - although for some reason they all said they'd prefer to meet us in Rio rather than come over to São Paulo. I wonder why?