Casa Māe: Rosy future for old manor house >> Continued from page 5
Martin Blanchard, Christian Kraus and Veronique Polaert
We have to climb over cables and wires but manage to access the upstairs with its superb views. “We have kept as much of the original wood as possible,” Veronique says, pointing to the panelled ceiling in the main suite. “It has been a struggle because I want to maintain original features, not replace them.” She admits she had to accept defeat as far as air conditioning goes and reluctantly agreed to its installation. The main building accommodates five bedrooms upstairs, while the downstairs houses a lounge, library and two rooms to host fine dining ‘Casa Mãe by Pedro Limão’ with an outside terrace overlooking the city walls. A wine shop run by Lagos Sommelier, Miguel Martins, will offer a special selection of wines. I also note the finishing touches being made to the outside swimming pool. Nearby, three traditional ‘cabana’ style cottages are being constructed while a large building with an additional 22 rooms, dominates the lower part of the site. How
is it possible to reconcile such a modern edifice with the traditional style that is being maintained elsewhere? Yes, Veronique tells me, it’s a concrete structure but externally will be clad in white ‘reixas’, traditional Algarvian wooden shutters; each room has a balcony with latticed windows facing the garden while the entire floor area will be covered in rustic terracotta tiles, especially made for ‘Casa Māe’. She explains that the collaboration with artists and crafts people is an essential part of the project. “Portugal is fortunate in having such a wealth of traditional arts and crafts. We wanted to tap into this and use the expertise in our venture.” Hence, numerous design items, including textiles made in the Alentejo and pottery and olive oil pressed in the north of the country will find pride of place at ‘Casa Māe’. The building also houses the second restaurant ‘Orta’, serving healthy, locally sourced meals prepared by renowned Chef, Pedro Limāo, who has relocated from Porto and promises to serve delicious food with a personal touch. I am pleased to discover that the ancient well and irrigation system are being restored. There is a 20-metre, half secret tunnel leading down to the source of the water, appropriately named ‘The Inferno’ which unfortunately is blocked off because of repairs. The property is still self-sufficient as far as water is concerned and will be able to irrigate the extensive gardens. Continued agricultural activities maintain a direct link with the past. Later on this year the following will also open: a bakery, grocery shop, local farmers’ market, a large concept store showcasing work of local and international artists, outdoor cinema, residence for artisans /artists, yoga workshops … I am amazed at the scope of
Dialect corner that you were a bit of a shady character.
Jane Pye’s favourite word recalled from her time in Scotland was ‘swithering’ - which meant you were deciding, or choosing between alternatives (‘dithering’, perhaps?)
A packed lunch for workers in North Derbyshire was ‘snap’.
Vi Gillman recalls that ‘clag’ means to stick, as in “Clag the stamp on the envelope”. ‘Bool’ means to roll, or push, as in: “Bool that bairn ower here, pet.”.
Undertaking this work can’t have been all plain sailing? “Oh, it’s been extremely stressful, especially battling against tight deadlines and bureaucracy. They all know me at the Câmara as I spend so much time there sorting out certificates and missing paperwork,” Veronique laughs. I take my yellow hard hat off to what Veronique and her team have managed to achieve. Two years from conception to the opening of the hotel complex is nothing short of a miracle…or perhaps it’s down to meticulous planning, sheer determination and hard work? And what will it do for Lagos? The hotel and facilities will be open all year round. Veronique hopes it will be a hub for locals as well as visitors, promoting the best the region has to offer. It will also be a welcome boost to the local economy creating up to 80 new jobs. Frederico Paula agrees: “It’s an excellent project that reconciles the recuperation of a historic building with other functions. It utilises local products and promotes culture and heritage. Opening up this key area of the city for the public is important. There can only be benefits for Lagos.” www.casa-mae.com
Don’t swither, just clag it on!
Mick Furlong recalls that, in Barnsley if someone played truant or ‘skived-off’ work they were described as ‘laking’. In Sheffield, to be ‘wide’ didn’t indicate a large girth but
the venture. Securing finance is of course, Veronique’s forte. Of the total cost of nearly 6 million euros, 3 million was secured as a loan from ‘Turismo de Portugal’ through ‘Jessica’, a European Support Fund. “I was very lucky as the very last part of the fund was earmarked for the Algarve and our project fitted all the criteria,” she says.
Not strictly dialect but interesting because of the connection with Portugal - Chris Freer, local yachtsman and designer, notes that, in the British Royal Navy, navigation officers are invariably addressed as ‘Vasco’ (after the hero from the Portuguese Discoveries, Vasco da Gama). As in: “Any idea where we are, Vasco?” Know an interesting dialect word or phrase? Please send to email@example.com
Do you have a problem with alcohol? If so, a new open Lagos AA English speaking meeting will take place at Conexao on Sundays between 7.30pm and 8.30pm. Conexao Café is in Rua Dr Joaquim Tello in Lagos (next to Peugeot and Centro da Linguas.) There will also be meetings on Wednesdays between 7.30pm and 9.00pm at Freguesia of Lagos. The 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous have been helping people for decades. Open meetings are for anyone cross addicted and meetings all over the Algarve are listed on AA websites worldwide.
Published on Jul 25, 2016