Monday, January 26, 2009

Guest Blogger: Dave's Mum. As we come to the end of our stay in Brazil we have stored up in our minds some wonderful memories of special occasions with Rachel’s generous and friendly family – annual family reunions with lots of cousins, aunts and uncles which we’ve still not quite sorted out! And of course the many happy hours of just being with David and Rachel, Nelson and Gloria. Being able to see changes in both children just during the time we have been together has been such a special treat. We’ve been privileged to see more of the spectacular scenery of the northeast coast of Brazil and enjoyed many different beaches. Sadly, just as we were coming to the end of our visit, little Gloria fell ill and had to be admitted to hospital. I stayed with Rachel and Gloria in the hospital so was able to see first hand the workings of a Brazilian hospital and was impressed with the care and expertise of the nurses and doctors. How grateful we were that she received such good treatment and is home again. It was sad to say good-bye, but we will look forward with great anticipation to their arrival in Britain in August.

Monday, January 19, 2009


(Due to not having internet at home at the moment my blogging plans have been temporarily scrambled. Letters C,D and E are to appear in the next post. Mum and Dad left this morning at 4am for their 24 series of flights to take them back to the States. One more post from Mum is due so watch this space).

F is for food. Lots of. And very delicious. The highlight for me was a fabulous meal in a restaurant based in a renovated old British train station just outside Natal.

G is for Gloria. In the month that Mum and Dad have been with us, Gloria has changed considerably. She had just mastered clapping her hands and now, by mid-January, we think she has her first word (a mumble that sounds like "Mum") and she can walk along the side of a sofa and she has hair which could be brushed. Progress indeed. Its been great for Mum and Dad to have time with her.

H is for hotels and hospitals - where we spent large chunks of our time. We spent 4 days over Christmas in Cabo EcoResort lodge down in Porto de Galinhas (as described by Mum in an earlier post) and we managed one night away in Pipa, the coastal town close to Natal. We picked out a hotel in development (there was no breakfast included) with a HUGE pool. Nobody else was there - the views, the sunset, the company were excellent.

Unfortunately, after our trip to Pipa Gloria contracted a nasty infection resulting in frequent fevers. After several days and not much improvement, she began to vomit too. Rachel and Gloria installed themselves in a hospital which is where they stayed for the best part of 4 days. Gloria has my inherited blood problem and so a blood transfusion was felt to be necessary. All went well, and she is her usual pink, beaming self again - she was so grateful to be home, I was surprised her first words weren't "For goodness sakes, don't ever take me out of here again! Where's my cot?".

Thanks to many of you who prayed and to an awesome God who heals.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


A is for Amusing uses of English.
I think I understand what the above helpful messages are saying, or do I... Also, is there anything wrong with this option on a menu: "A chest of backwoods chicken"? My Mum ordered it. We think it means, "A breast of country chicken".

B is for Beautiful. The most uttered adjective when viewing sunsets, sunrises, spectacular views, New Years fireworks, food, wildlife, birds, the swimming pool, the moon and so on... Some pictures of the above are now revolving in the slideshow to the right.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Guest blogger: Nelson with "Nelson's column" - a review of the last year.

Hello everyone,

Dad asked me to write the Christmas letter for us Maclures but, as you can see it’s late. This is primarily because I am not even 3 and don’t have a fully developed concept of time. Anyway, what I can recall I will write here.

2008 in review

2008 was quite a year for me. Accounting for nearly double the amount of life I had before I can honestly say that, relatively, I have accomplished a great deal within the last year.

Just like my Mum, I love talking away – I speak Portuguese but sometimes mix it up with the language my Dad speaks. Its all very confusing. Right now, Granny Sally and Grandpa “Click your fingers” are here from somewhere far away (they came on an airplane “bem loooonge”) and they only speak to me in this other funny language. I get some of what they’re saying but when I speak back to them, they don’t understand… how strange. I love them very much though. Granny Sally makes great cookies shaped like cars and Grandpa fixes my toy cars.

As I have said many times before, cars are my favourite things. I recently discovered Herbie and think these films are really ace. I also like swimming. Mum and Dad say I am a very good swimmer because I don’t use arm-bands and I am somewhat fearless in water. Other children who are bigger than me ask me how I can swim so much. I don’t know the answer. I just practice a lot because there is a swimming pool in the same building as my apartment. I can jump in by myself and swim half the length of the pool. I am yet to master breathing underwater. When I do, I may just choose to live in the swimming pool.
I have many friends at my nursery school. My best friend is Rafa. He is one of the only boys who also has fair hair like me. My teacher is Tia Mona Lisa and she is really nice. Often, Mum or Dad walk me to school and I chat to the various pets we see on the way and point out how many red cars I can see.

I have met many excellent people this year. Gracie came to visit me (with her parents Danny and Caz) last January when we lived in our old big house. Now we live in our new apartment and here we welcomed in July a big family with tons of people (with Hugh “amigao” and Timmy “amiginho”) and also Tia Hooty and several other people including, as I already said, Granny Sally and Fingers. Some other Barlows, some from Manchester, some from Switzerland, have also been to visit.

I love going on trips in cars (but especially airplanes) to visit my cousins Johnny “bem pequinino” and Melissa and also to see Gaga and Gugu (my Grandparents) in Recife who I adore, and Tita the dog who I also adore. My Uncle “Doidao” (Nelson) and Tia Mamyha (Amy) live somewhere far away (you have to get an airplane there) and I miss them very much.

Gloria Gloria Hallelujah.

Sometime ago (Mum says “only 8 months ago” but it feels a whole lot longer than that) I went to visit Mum in hospital and found that she no longer had a big tummy – and instead there was a small baby nearby. After some days this baby did not go away. I later made the startling realization that this was my sister Gloria Safi Barlow Maclure and that I was to be her big brother. Gloria is good fun – I knew this as she gave me a present of a car when I met her for the first time.

Although Gloria is a very smiley child, I am the only one in the family who knows how to make her really guffaw with laughter. I do this mainly by pulling faces at her, squeezing her, kissing her, shouting at her, poking her, prodding her, pinching her, hitting her, tweaking her, tipping her over, rugby-tackling her, talking to her, whispering to her, headbutting her, pushing her around on her little chair and so on. Sometimes these things make her cry too but she seems to like it a lot of the time. Mum and Dad tell me off about all this occasionally and I have to sit in the naughty corner which I DO NOT LIKE. Dad once said he doesn’t know how I could have learned such a repertoire of pokes and pinches. I don’t know the answer to this – I think it comes naturally to big brothers.

Gloria is quite different from me. She doesn’t seem to be interested in cars (a shame) but she seems to like clapping and dancing to music (a good thing). She also appears to have a very different philosophy of sleeping. Whereas, obviously, sleep is something we need to get through as quickly as possible to be able to have energy for the next exciting thing coming along, Gloria sees all this differently. As far as I am concerned sleep is an annoyance that needs to be fought. Amazingly, Gloria seems to tolerate sleep to the point where I think she actually enjoys it. She patiently plays for half an hour at a time waiting for the next nap to come along. When Mum and Dad put her down and give her little blanket she sticks her thumb in her mouth and positively beams back at us all (in gratitude at leaving her alone for a while?) and nods off for a few hours. Why does she do this when she could be playing with me? How utterly boring! No matter how much sleep I’ve had during the night I will always insist on waking up at the crack of dawn, shouting out for Dad to play with me. Gloria stays in bed for a few more hours with Mum. I don’t always understand girls.

Mum and Dad

Mum and Dad are OK I think. They work hard at the Cultura Inglesa English language school. I’m always asking Dad if he has to work because if he does it means I have to spend the afternoon with Gloria and Mum and sometimes it´s difficult to share Mum with Gloria as well if nobody is around. I am fascinated by shoes and clothes (especially football shirts with numbers and badges) and am well aware when Mum and Dad are in their work clothes and shows I am in my school clothes and shoes then we probably aren’t going to be seeing as much of each other as we would if it were a weekend.

Speaking of weekends, something we do every Sunday is go to church. Dad asked me recently why we went to church and I said “to run a lot”. Which is true. I do run a lot at church. I love it there because my good friends Johnny and Kaka and Tia Veronica play games with me and let me run. It´s true we also learn about “Papai do ceu” (Heavenly Father) and his son Jesus and I think these stories are strange but interesting. Sometimes I get confused though. Like for example, what’s the difference between “Noé” (Noah) and “Papa Noél” (Santa Claus). Dad showed me a picture of an old man with a white beard on a boat full of animals and I’m sure it was Papa Noel. I mean, they both have big beards. They both hang out with certain types of animals.

Sometimes Dad speaks at the church service although he says he finds it difficult in Portuguese. Mum also meets with other people and talks with them about God and prays with them.

Also on weekends we go to the beach, or to the shopping centre, or to the park, or to some attraction to see animals, or tractors, or big cars or fast cars. Sooner or later we always end up at Habib’s – a fast food restaurant which has a play area for me. I can now climb up the slide, an achievement for a not-yet-3 year old, I think you’ll agree. Habib’s is not the best place, though. They don’t really serve my favourite food or drink: beans and rice washed down with a glass of cool coconut water. Also, I fell out of an open window at Habib’s (I thought it was closed – this is the problem with clear glass: you can’t see it) and landed, splat, in a bush. My new year’s resolution is to not let that happen again these next twelve months.

Well, that’s long enough, I guess. Hope Dad’s happy enough with this, the task master.

Happy New Year

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year! Where were you for New Years eve? I was in the same place I've been for the last two years - in Recife, once again on the roof of a skyscraper overlooking the city, seeing the fireworks lighting up the beaches.

I just wanted to write a brief note here to say thanks for reading my blog in 2008 and I hope you keep reading until July 2009 which is when we'll stop (as we'll be leaving Brazil, actually).

Just a few end of year stats, miscellany and thanks. The blog has steadily averaged 200 views per month, with a peak last year in May (coinciding with Gloria's birth and the 10 extra posts I did about that). You readers have been treated to more posts this year - 124 as opposed to 107 in 2007. That's well over my two posts a week policy.

Sitemeter informs me I have readers in Norway (I'm guessing ex-International Students), the States (you know who you are in Utah and Seattle!) and throughout the UK as well as occasional readers from other continents. I know who you regulars are and I'm grateful for your interest! However, some mysteries still present themselves - who is reading the website regularly from Portugal? And there are others within Brazil reading as well, it seems. Whoever you are, thanks!

I have a lot of plans for the final 6 months as there's still so much to write about, especially if I want to complete my 100 lists of things I miss and things I love! Also, in true web 2.0 spirit, if you have any ideas, suggestions, questions, corrections, etc. concerning content please let me know.

Once again, feliz ano novo!

Funny video. Q: What happens when you work a 7-month-old baby hard in the swimming pool then leave her to eat her lunch? A: A small child asleep on a plate of soup. See here: