This year’s been a trifle daunting to put it mildly, don’t you think, and I apologise for beating a drum, but I must get something off my chest. I have never written a blog before that was not up-beat, but there has to be a first time for everything. Personally those of us who live and work here at the Quinta and those of us who run “Birding in Portugal” are happy, in good health and thriving, but I have a deep, dark well of anger that I am keeping bottled up inside. This post will alleviate it a trifle.

A pandemic that has swept the globe has been handled with the utmost crassness by several “leaders” of the world’s economic powerhouses.¬†They responded firstly by¬†minimising its threat and followed this up by valuing their economies higher than those members of the population who contributed with their lives’ work towards making those economies successful, all the while sending contradictory and vague messages that reassured no-one and which have materially prolonged the devastation.

When the world needed leaders, those in charge of the wealthiest economies were found wanting and a pandemic that could have been beaten was left to run riot through sluggardly action. 

I feel deep sorrow for the many thousands who have had their lives cut short, and for those other thousands who will face debilitating consequences to their health for the rest of their lives. Add to these the millions who will be affected by the global crash brought on by these leaders’ ineptitude and my anger at the charlatans who are responsible is limitless.

I sympathise with anyone who has not been as lucky as us, those unlucky souls trapped in a flat for months on end, those trying to cope in inhospitable conditions, those with no access to the outside world. They have drawn a very short straw and from everything I have read to date it appears as if this virus attacks the “poor and packed” to a far greater degree than the rich. It makes me feel guilty to admit that we have actually enjoyed the last six months. 

We have not missed the ringing of the telephone, nor the eternal emails. We have missed seeing people of course, but this has been more than offset by the joy of having the Quinta all to ourselves for once. We have had plenty to keep us occupied and plenty of space in which to attack many projects that have been staring us in the face for far too long. The business has suffered hugely but we have continued raising money for conservation, and I am confident that the business to which I have given the majority of my working life will survive. We’ve been through this kind of thing before, we survived then and we can weather this one out too, but I feel very sad for those who will not be as lucky as us, those who took a punt at just the wrong time, those who had a dream and have seen that dream crumble to dust through no fault of their own, their hard work or their commitment.

There have been very few immediate impacts of Covid-19 as far as the Quinta is concerned. Portugal as whole “went hard and went early” and social distancing and the obligatory wearing of masks in all public places was implemented throughout the country in March with general acceptance by the populace.  Why the devil the USA and the UK have not taken this obvious step is beyond me – and everyone else in the world quite frankly. Too little too late and  … oh, I must stop, but it beggars belief. I suppose the biggest difference is that there’s a culture here that is best described as “us, us, us” as opposed to “me, me, me” and this was obvious from the word go.

I’ll just put this one out there though … in the whole of southern Portugal, the Algarve and the Alentejo combined, we’ve had 25 Covid-19 deaths, despite the vast majority of the population registering most decidedly in the “at risk” group, having an average age of 65. Obviously population density has a large hand in this, but that cuts both ways as the local infrastucture is nowehere near as comprehensive or advanced as areas more densely populated.

And that’s enough from me. I believe passionately in positivity and always look for the bright side – and there has been one for us – but I have seldom felt so angry. It’s good to have lanced that particular boil just a little as the various lockdowns come to an end and the Quinta fills up once again with our many guests and friends.