We came back out to Portugal on Tuesday, waking at a bleak 4.30 am to travel to Leeds Bradford for a breakfast flight. It was coId, damp and very dark. I had started with a cold, which John was just recovering from and this seemed a trip we could both have done without. We anticipated arriving back to a dusty boat full of stale air and an aura of neglect. By lunchtime we had arrived in Lagos and trudged with our bags along the walkways of the marina with dawning familiarity. Lyra looked beautiful. We climbed on board and unzipped the cockpit cover, when, granted, a blast of warm air came out exuding a boat show scent, but as soon as we went below the air was cool and Lyra was immaculate. Suddenly we were through the looking glass, out the back of the wardrobe into another world, but in our case one of endless summer, but one of a gentler warmth than the fierce heat of August. We abandoned our bags and headed off for lunch in the marina bar. The atmosphere around the marina was also much more relaxed than when we had last been here. The constant swash of crowds across the front was reduced to a few promenaders. My head was still fuzzy with cold, but we both felt very happy and wished we had planned to stay for longer.
Next day we walked over to the chandlers and there was good news about our poorly generator. We walked on beyond the boat yard to explore the long beach for the first time. It had looked so packed with people that we had not been tempted to venture so far on our last stay. Now a strip of golden sand swept around the bay into the distance, with a few sunbathers scattered along a ridge above the water line. I felt a bit wobbly, so we sat on the sand in line with them and watched as pairs and small groups paddled along the waters edge. After a while we joined them, promenading there and back again, splashed as the occasional bigger wave swept to shore. We then headed off to the beach bar for another lunch out, dusting the sand from our feet at the entrance.