The Algarve – The Land of the Greens and the Greys

"algarve all you can eat"I find the whole predominance of elderly expats and golf courses in the Algarve a bit of a chicken and egg question.  I mean does anyone actually know what came first; the grey haired ladies and gents of a certain age or the golf courses many use as a form of “exercise”?

Either way, it is a known fact that the Algarve is where many British expats come to retire and play golf  – again I am not sure which of these life events comes first, the retirement or the need to be out on the greens six days of the week?

There is a reason that they came to shoot an episode of “one Foot In The Grave” in the Algarve and did not think that it was a suitable location for an episode of a genital warts and all expose of undercover night life in an Ibiza or Magaluf sort of way.

I have no problem living in a place where the average expat age is hovering around the 67 mark, it actually suits me in a lot of ways.  For example, I am the fittest person in my exercise class, well perhaps not the fittest (some of those 80 year olds can bend their legs in the weirdest directions) but at least the youngest.  I also find that while there is a constant queue to buy blood pressure pills there is always a vast supply of contraception on hand and although there is a premium to pay for your Elnett hairspray the Chinese shop always has a lot of sparkly nail polish on offer.

There are however times when it is not all that great to be surrounded by OAP’s and one of these times has to be when eating at an all you can eat buffet restaurant.

I always thought that when you got older you needed to eat less and I have this very fond image in my head of little old ladies and men offering you a Werthers Original and not literally fighting you to the fresh plate of clams.

If you hang about outside an all you can eat Chinese restaurant at about 6.30 in the evening you will witness a scene worthy from Lord of the Flies as jostling elderly people use their elbows to ensure they are the first as the doors open.

I myself tried to eat at said restaurant once but left feeling hungry and bruised while my children spent most of the evening crying because the old lady on the next door table had taken all the prawns again and someone had bashed the other one with a walking stick.

But it is not just at the Chinese restaurant that you will find this scene, I have seen similar – and worse – at anywhere there is no limit on the amount of food you can pile onto your plate.  It doesn’t matter if it is a charity do raising money for the firemen to buy equipment, it doesn’t matter if it is a Church fundraiser for orphans in Africa and it doesn’t even matter if you push the host out of the way in their own home to load up on another couple of slices of Pavlova.

My mother taught all of us how to successfully work a buffet but our skills are nothing in comparison to this hungry pack and it appears that the need to devour all food before 7.30pm is a trait of the elderly from across the world as there isn’t a single nationality I have seen who doesn’t save up their meds to be able to make the final dash to the pudding cart.

I can’t wait until I am in my 70s – because when I am I intend to be tanned like an old leather bag, act like I am living in the times of the Raj and eat more than my own body weight in buffet food at every possible opportunity.

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