by Judith Frances Hubbard
A sequel fifty three years later to
by Frances Ann Roper (née Hubbard)
I had thought to make a similar hard bound book – a combination of diary and scrapbook as Aunt Frances had in 1954. Then as I looked at the huge quantity of photos and items I had, I realised the project would be unwieldy. Not only that, but technology has moved on. Nowadays people (apart from technophobes) put travelogues on line, which can be published in hard copy later on if wanted.
These notes are added to my pictures on Picasa rather than the pictures to a print out.
This written version can tag onto that of Aunt Frances’ write up but for my photographic version go to
TUESDAY, 3 JULY 2007
Ballineen, Co Cork Ireland
- mowing lawns between showers, running a parish, sorting out
someone’s wedding service, ringing up a deaf mother in respite care,
thinking through things re: a flooded home in Herefordshire (I live
in Ireland) and doing Sunday sheets for the next two weeks (why can't someone
else do that?) Must tell Post office to keep mail and check
that cats are OK food wise for the cat
sitter to give them
Somewhere along the line I do the occasional bit of packing!
Memo - Allow three days kept clear before going away ever again.
Why am I going to Madeira?
Well, a great grandfather, John Waddington Hubbard,1823 -1871, had TB and went there to get better, staying with his Phelps cousins but died and was buried in the Funchal cemetery for 'Protestants.'
My Aunt Frances went there in 1953 and wrote up all about it
My cousins John and Nancy went there a few years ago as well. John carries the full name of Waddington and Hubbard.
My brother Nick Hubbard should be coming on this trip as well but things being as they are with Mother - perhaps one of us should be around? On the other hand she is receiving good care and Nick should be allowed to get away. We'll see what transpires. Nick flies direct from Heathrow - me from Cork, via Amsterdam and Lisbon.
Here's the Itinerary =
Arrival: 4th July 2007 Departure: 11th July 2007
Judith’s Flights (All Over The Place Route)
Wed 4th July dept. Cork 06.20 KL3170
arr. Schiphol 9.00
dept. “ 9.45 KL1695
arr. Lisbon 11.40
dept. “ 14.00 TP755
arr. Funchal 15.40
Nick’s Flights (Nice Easy Route)
Wed 4th July dept. Gatwick 14.55 BA6872 arr. Funchal 18.40
7 nights accommodation in Madeira at the Estalagem Quintinha São João
Get the hotel to pick us up from airport in their minibus at our various times.
Thank you for your email.
We are happy to book the Transfer for you.
The Strawberry World Coordinator will await you at the quoted time at the Arrival hall.
You will get further Information when you will receive the final Confirmation.
Sales & Reservation Department
Hotel Quintinha Sao Joao
Two Single Rooms/Garden View 7 days B&B Inclusive
Estalagem Quintinha São João
Rua da Levada de São João, 4
9000-191 Funchal, Madeira, Portugal
Tel: (+351) 291 775936 or 764940
Fax: (+351) 291 762 171
Email: [email protected]
Blurb on hotel = Quintinha de São João is a family run ‘home away from home', beautifully decorated with antiques and traditional furnishings; guest service is paramount. Guests can relax at this property by laying by the pool, taking a walk in the sub-tropical gardens, sitting in the bar listening to the piano or by enjoying a meal at the A Morgadinha restaurant which offers Goan cuisine.
We will see if it lives up to its reputation.
Reasons for going to Madeira in no particular order =
· Holiday on a lovely island
· See where Great Grandfather John Waddington Hubbard is buried. (Others have done similar with their relatives - see Madeira, Craggy and Lush)
· Retrace some of the trip made by Aunt Frances in 1954 and compare differences.
Things to do
· See the modern day MIRAMAR HOTEL where AF stayed . Looks as though it has changed a lot – lost its distinguished character. (10minsmight do!)
· Walk around the old town of Funchal and find Largo do Phelps. AF writes = “found Largo do Phelps, a square named after Aunt Janey’s eldest sister, my great aunt Elizabeth, who founded the embroidery industry here in 1858. At the corner of the square is the Carmo Church, and just beyond is the great old house. The glory is now sadly departed, as it is all made over into offices etc. and an open-air cinema is being built in the patio. “ See also Victorian Hangover Sit over a coffee and watch life go by.
· Monte (unless feeling fit, take the cable car!) Tropical Garden and a tobogganing ride (AF’s account.)
· Day trip into Central Madeira (Curral das Freiras) and its mountains (AF’s account.)
· Levada walking
· Visit a winery – Madeira Wine (AF visited Cossart, Gordon & Co.,) see Cossart Gordon
There will be many other things to do – as well as resting up
· Cabo Girao would make a good trip going west
· Canical and the history of whaling etc.
· Trip to Porto Santo
Wed. 11th July dept. Funchal 07.50 TP1604
dept. “ 12.40 KL1696
Arr. Schipol 16.40
Dept. “ 20.40 KL3173
Arr. Cork 21.15
Wed 11th June dept. Funchal 19.40 BA6873
Arr. Gatwick 23.10
MADEIRA DAY ONE
Up at 3.30am.
In a state of automatic pilot I get ready and David B picks me up in his red van. At Cork airport there is a little flurry of alertness by the Gardaí - keep the suspect van away from the airport (response to the UK bomb threats and Glasgow etc.) I joke but there was certainly a heavy police presence.
Non eventful flight to Amsterdam… all cloud over the UK and Amsterdam. See interesting full dykes and canals as we come into land.
Busy airport and superb signage but my departure gate was miles away and I was doubling back on myself on two levels but got there just as the gates had closed. I wasn’t the only one late and lost. We were then kept waiting for passengers who never turned up. I think it was because Aer Lingus hadn`t told anyone about the hour change difference.
Eventually we set off.
I had my best airline snack ever - always said KLM was good – healthy yoghurt and cereal bars a fruit compote and Gouda cheese washed down with Dutch style coffee. (I don´t drink coffee much.)
We fly over France and the clouds disappear over Nantes (another family tree place - of Brissac connections) and over the Bay of Biscay - very clear and beautiful.
I begin to reflect, deeply, on the totally different culture and way of travel I am doing 53 years on from when Aunt Frances went to Madeira.
Over and along the coast of Portugal – there is no cloud cover at all – and so to Lisbon.
Lisbon airport is very laid back and slightly third worldish with an ancient departure times board even though all the latest shops and Harrods are here.
Another delayed departure due
to a necessary repair! Hope we don´t nosedive into the Atlantic.
As we travel across the ocean
clouds build up - I get a glance of the Ilhas Desertas before
touching down in Funchal. This is a small airport built up along the
coast, reclaimed from the sea. Tiny runway so we come to a screeching halt -
applause to the pilot from us all and I felt like crying - I´ve arrived!!
I wait for my case on the
luggage carousal - it never appears! I go with about ten other people to the
lost luggage office and put in my claim and details. Strangely I am
not at all bothered! I am cheerfully told it will turn up.
The minibus driver from Strawberry World waits for me. Eventually I get on the minibus to takes me to Funchal which is 15 km away. Coming out of the airport we are hit with very hot humid wind rain and sun all at once - I love it!
We travel along a new speed dual carriage way and newly built tunnels to Funchal.
Arrive at Sao Joao. Slight confusion as Nick had rung up to cancel so they thought I wasn´t coming either! But we soon got sorted. Lovely room – no. 004 overlooking the subtropical garden which was full of flowers including those we have as house plants back home. Sad Nick’s not coming here but he has been put in an awkward position.
I have no case – so nothing to unpack!
I go to reception and ask for maps and where things are. Phelps’s Square is located as is the British Cemetery - I am only a 15 min walk away.
I have an invite to the General Manager´s Cocktail Party (happy hour) at 6pm - nothing to change into but still go along. The other residents are mostly British. I sit with a young couple from Cardiff who seem OK and glad of someone else to speak to.
COUPLEDOM = hotels and restaurants should provide seating and tables for those who wish to chat with others. So many couples although they have each other, also need to chat to others, then people like me aren´t left as mere observers. But having said that - it is very good for me to nurture my Enneagram number 5 personality-type and enjoy this opportunity to reflect. I need it and need to ´chill out.´
The happy hour left me feeling a bit boozy after two banana liqueurs!
I then went to the Hotel restaurant known for its Goan cuisine - not very authentic! Goa was a Portuguese colony hence the Goan menu - but no sign of any Indian Chef. Great mistake!
Still no sign of my luggage!!
I then went for my first walk carefully following a city map; the road signs and map hardly corresponding with each other. However I found my way to the British Cemetery (Locked at this time of night but had a helpful notice saying it would be open at 10am in the morning.) Looking in through the gates I could see how lovely it was. It is kept beautifully and not at all as AF had seen it in 1953. I also found the English church not so far away. As there was a musical recital in the Hall/library I was able to walk around the grounds of the church and listen to the strains of not very well played music. (Don´t ask me what it was!)
Back to hotel and as I was just preparing to go to bed without cleaning my teeth - my case arrives!! Good-o!
All is well!
THURSDAY 5 JULY 2007
I retrace my steps to the British Cemetery. Easy entrance - I just rang the doorbell and the janitor lets me in, no questions asked. No one around in this lovely spot except the gardener - feels a bit Easter-ish! Hundreds of tiny lizards scuttle everywhere but they are quite harmless of course. Great excitement as I find the Hubbard/Evans memorials on the wall in the corner as Aunt Frances had described. No rummaging behind shrubs and bushes nowadays, as all is in order. I also find the original gravestones nearby which AF never found..
No sign of any Phelps burials.
There are very many other nationalities buried here - notably Germans all from pre World War One. I have a very pleasant hour or so poking around in this lovely garden and the attendant chapel. There are recent graves as well. Many English it seems, live here these days. I can understand why. (Wouldn't mind doing so myself!)
I then walked to the English Church, took photos and found the named Phelps (see photos for details) as AF had done on the name of incumbents on a notice in the portico - probably the same board! He would have lived in the nearby Parsonage.
Wandered the streets of Funchal just taking in the ambiance and enjoying the fact I was doing so much good walking in a lovely warm temperature. The slight breeze helped. This is where Aunt Frances and I are quite different. She was collapsing all over the place in the heat but maybe she was here a hotter time.
I went down to the water front. I had a lunch of scabbard fish and banana.
I then found a Tour-bus and had an interesting hour and a half of exploring more of Funchal travelling on the open air top. (I caught the sun nicely on my arms!)
I then walked to the Madeira Story Museum and was so pleased to see that Elizabeth Phelps was mentioned as the instigator of the Madeiran Embroidery. I also bought a book about the Women of Madeira and the Phelps family is well documented
Walked to Largo do Phelps - I instantly recognised it from the old photo Aunt Frances had taken - although it is more bustling and busy now than then. I spent a while here reflection on the passing of time and chance. Then went to the not very nice but large Carmelite Church which dominates the square. Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament was taking place and lots of people - mostly old and female were doing their devotions. Our Lady over the altar dressed as a Carmelite!
I continue to walk around - now no longer with my map tightly clutched as I now have my bearings. I end up by the Marina at the Beer house where they brew their very own delicious and rather strong beer. I enjoyed a delightful supper of Calamari and prawns. There were groups and others like me - not like that awful silent ‘Coupledom’ at the hotel.
Flowers for me in my room by way of an apology for delayed luggage – from the travel company, Strawberry World. (Not KLM!)
I had a lovely day today!!!
FRIDAY, 6 JULY 2007
Enjoyed a wonderful breakfast of really fresh tropical fruit and Madeira cake. The evening meals here at this hotel may be nothing much but the breakfasts deserve top marks!
My legs were feeling a bit stiff after yesterday's walkabout so I set off to find (what seemed) a promising cybercafé near the town hall only to find it closed until midday. The very helpful cleaner there gave me directions to another situated in a shopping mall. It's OK even if the computers are a little elderly. I write up yesterday's Blog.
Then I walk back to the hotel and buy a small bottle of water on the way. It costs only 35c whereas at cafes one is charged €1.75. Rip off - so will keep bottle and fill from tap. All water in Madeira is fresh rain water which falls constantly in the mountains and is channelled via the levadas. It is certainly very soft and pleasant. Here they have water wardens keeping water flowing and fresh.
12noon - I am picked up from the hotel by a Strawberry World minibus - all other passengers are English and are friendly. I have the front seat near the driver. We take the ‘Trip to Nun's Valley’ or Curral das Freiras (literally Friar-esses.) Stupendous views as we travel up and up.
What a wonderful place. Hairpin bends etc.... I now know why Aunt Frances was so poorly and hated this trip, you have to have a head for heights! I am lucky – good head for heights; travelling in a new Mercedes Benz minibus, front seat and on newer smoother roads!
After viewing the village from above we travel downwards and to the actual village through a brand new tunnel bored through the mountainside only 4 -5 years ago.
This demi paradise is now open to the world. We are shown the ancient pathways etched into the mountainsides but only tourists walk them now. Traditionally people lived here would easily reach the age of 100 + years living a tranquil lifestyle with wonderful air and their own vegetables etc.
I have lunch with two women who live in Stroud, Gloucestershire and meet up with another lone female traveller. We have a good laugh and exchange stories (we are the same sort of age and all divorced.) We comment about the obviously bored looking married couples in the hotels who (sadly) seem to have nothing to say to each other at meal times – or to anyone else. Not a good advert for marriage, poor loves. If the likes of us dare to speak to them they look frightened out of their wits – are we REALLY too threatening? No doubt they love each other so much there is no need to speak to each other or anyone else.
We seem to be enjoying ourselves – so that’s OK. We have local specialities for lunch – chestnut cake, walnut cake, I have Madeira wine and they have local beer and some local liquor by way of a tasting. I buy a tee shirt and a bit of crochet work sold by the pleasant young girl selling it.
A most enjoyable trip and more wonderful views on the way back.
Back at the hotel for a rest – it is very hot today. In the garden the gardener is sweeping leaves. Everything is swept here; leaves don’t rot like they do back home.
Walk into town and type this up.
I then find a side street eating house and have wonderful Guava juice freshly made, then a fresh grill – my first meat for ages and I find I just can’t enjoy it thinking of suffering animals – but the meal otherwise was lovely with green pepper sauce..
Weather very humid and the sky is grey for the first time.
I keep seeing poor thin little cats on the way from the hotel to the city centre.- especially a mother and tiny kittens. I was going to buy them some nutritious cat food but then saw someone else had put out cat biscuits and fresh water on a step near a derelict house – so someone cares.
My suntan is working up to a good colour – it really is worth having a few sessions on a sunbed before coming away to avoid awful burning.
I get back to the hotel for a shower, before going to bed.
There is a Jazz festival opening in the Sao Catherina Park – loads of fireworks of the firecracker sort. Maybe I should go there!
SATURDAY 7 JULY 2007
Day trip east of Madeira with Strawberry World again!
Although Madeira is only some 50-60 km from East to West and about 20 km North to South it takes for ever travelling along the older switchback roads with their hairpin bends. That is unless you travel along the modern highways which have more tunnel per km that anywhere else I have ever been to.
Same driver – Eduardo and same Mercedes Benz mini bus. I have the same front seat.
Today included a wickerwork outlet for the wickerwork which is still a cottage industry here. Very lovely stuff but I wasn’t inclined to buy anything. It looked much the same as wickerwork anywhere else and would also look ‘touristy’ back home.
We went through such lovely countryside = intensive multi planting (lots of crops altogether) on minuscule terraces. There is no sign of machinery as everything is done by hand. Bananas, pineapples, fruits of all kinds both tropical and European are grown. We saw a type of grape vine that is allowed to cling to the mountainside without stakes, which was interesting to see.
Cows – are kept in little huts – one or two only per small holding, spending most of their life there as there is no grazing. They keep a few families in milk and cheese etc. and help fertilize the ground. Who are the slaves – the poor cows or the humans, who have to fetch and carry for the cows’ wellbeing?
We travel most of the East of Madeira – Santana, S Rogue do Faial. Portode Cruz, Sao Lourenço, Cançal Machico.
We travel up through cloud into brilliant sunshine. We enjoy looking over the clouds just as though we were in an aircraft from the third highest point on the island whose name escapes me!
Back down again and it is a bit like Ireland on a normal day – rain and gloom! We stop for lunch in pouring rain at a very doubtful looking dive of a place. Looks like a Pizza Palace gone wrong.
A rather exaggerated posh English male voice from the backseat of the minibus objects strongly and quite angrily when Eduardo suggests an hour and a half stop here at what he (the voice) considers a ‘dive.’ Immediately a very interesting reaction from me! = I sort of swing into action (is it because I’m in the front seat?) In my best boss style, I start a negotiation to include every body’s view including the driver – who looks a little startled! I have taken charge of the group, but wanted to avoid a clash with the angry voice and our gentle tour guides! We all agree on a 55min stop – all that is except a married couple of obscure origin (Moldovan?) who are absolutely boggled eyed with fright and say nothing! An English Take Over – oh dear – how frightening!! An American couple (both gorgeous,) she – a good thirty years older than him (son or toy boy – probably the latter) didn’t really care either way so long as they could be together. Anyway we all go into the ‘dive’ which actually turned out to be a rather good village restaurant. Of course it took 45 minutes to get served and before anything was on the table in front of us. However some of us Brits make the point and we are back at the bus in 50 minutes – on the dot of. Kebabs of squid and prawns were good even though eaten rather quickly. The others follow in a dazed state of incomprehension. Eduardo laughs – he has now seen it all! Of course Eduardo was right all along, being an experienced tourist guide, but what an interesting reaction from me! For the rest of the trip I remain very meek and passive!
On our return, we drive under the airport runway seeing how it is built on pillars over the sea and shore line. If the weather is too hazardous to land, planes go to Santo Porto (the next island which is flat and has a regular landing strip.)
Back at hotel 5pm and I go for a swim at the hotel swimming pool. I am the only one using it as the weather is still overcast - most people only swim when there is a chance of a suntan. I think one can still get a sun tan here even when it is cloudy.
I decide to brave 'Coupledom' again tonight and see if the chef has improved. But first I have a very blue cocktail and wander the gardens of the old Quinta - I discover the old manor house beautifully painted in darkest red - like the walls of my small (I have two) sitting room at the Rectory. See a pigeon with a broken wing who seemed to be living happily enough off the scraps dropped by some caged canaries.
Soup = on the menu it said Sweet Potato, but really could have been anything.
Instead of a main course I ordered a salad with grilled prawns. Salad OK but then most people can wash lettuce leaves; but the poor prawns - so badly microwaved they were hard and shrivelled to little knots of toughness and not worth the fortune they cost in reaching my plate.
Dessert - Mango Crumble - again the microwave was very evident and a tiny amount not worth the price.
Obviously the hotel has a problem here, and I notice it was only people just arrived who seemed to be eating in.
Pavement cafes from now on!!
There was a huge Italian Cruise ship in the harbour today. I am told that the harbour is to be enlarged so it can contain very many more ships.
SUNDAY 8 JULY 2007
Day trip west of Madeira
Trip with Strawberry World on a larger bus today - they didn't dare put me on the same minibus! Travel to Sao Sebastian, then to the highest cliffs in Europe at Cabo Girao (is this really Europe geographically?) I remember Aunt Frances's description when she went here. I think she was more acclimatised by then.
We had brilliant scenery all the way today. I am so charmed by Madeira. I'd love to come back on a levadas walking trip. As yesterday, we go up through cloud to sunshine above.
Lunch at a fishing village Porto Moniz = grilled pilchards and a sort of crème bruleé.....(echoes of another wonderful Sunday lunch in Portugal I once had.) Glass of local wine which goes immediately to the head!!
Porto Moniz is famous for its lava pools on the beach which form convenient swimming pools full of seawater.
I buy a mini drinks-tray with embroidery in it - a small memento. Just as I buy it, I realise I could have bought a piece of embroidery and glassed it over as a tray when I got back - such is hindsight! Lovely as it is, the Madeiran embroidery isn't really 'my sort of thing' in spite of the family connections. They need to create a more updated style. I also bought some lovely handmade linen napkins with a simple leaf motif = perhaps worked by a child? I also bought 'waiter's suits for wine bottles as gifts.
We climb again to a high mountain which is the hub of the hydroelectricity (forty per cent of electricity for the island) and water collection for many of the levadas. We are lucky today to find this upland plateau free of cloud. Usually it is just fog. There are also wind turbines which account for 10per cent of Madeira's electricity. Fossil fuel does the rest - solar heating is still a new idea which I find odd.
On the way up, but not by the water collection area, we see lots of free range cattle which is good. Are they descendants of the poor oxen who pulled the carts of 100 years ago? We also passed through the unique Lauralsilva forests.
I think I must have passed through more places in one time on Madeira, using modern transport and good roads, than every any of the forebears, their relations or indeed Aunt Frances in 1953. Many of the villages we saw today where until recent times quite remote, originally only accessible by foot.
Return back to the hotel for a rest. I continue to read the excellent book on Women and Madeira and learn that 'Rua Joao Tavira' has a house which was once owned by the Phelps family. They must have had several as they grew up and prospered. I set off and find this delightful street still with a few old houses, so I take some pictures no knowing which it might be. Apparently the museum of embroidery doesn't even mention Elizabeth Phelps.......a serious omission!
I then make a quick visit to the 16th Cent Cathedral (da Se) just as evening Mass (7pm by now) was ended. Crowds were pouring out – but no one looking particularly edified! I make a quick skirt around but soon there was a verger rattling his keys in a meaningful way and switching lights off, making it obvious that it was closing time.
No doubt the Phelps family showed visitors this old cathedral but the English of that time, unless RC, would have kept their own society very much and would never darken those doors in the normal course of events. Neither do I think the Phelps were particularly religious in the church sense - they were people of their time, in the wine business and church going (to the English Church) was part of the normal social round. They were however great philanthropists - following Frances de Brissac's example and their introducing embroidery at a time when it was difficult to make ends meet by farming alone.
Dinner = at a pleasant enough pavement cafe, nicely grilled squid and vegetables followed by very fresh pineapple with Madeira wine poured all over it.
Madeira wine = definitely an aperitif or pudding wine - don't let anyone else convince you otherwise.
Another walkabout and back to the hotel.
Very humid again tonight; today I have experienced all kinds of weather.
I find that by shutting the shutters and French doors in my room and putting on the air conditioning - that I sleep very well.
MONDAY 9 JULY 2007
Breakfast at leisure and wander down town.
Walk to the Cable Car station and buy a return ticket to Monte. I had heard that the toboggan rides now only go down half way and the rest of the way is by foot down a torturous incline. I share a cable car with a lovely Dutch family - parents and daughter. We take picture for each other as we sit in mid-air.
Monte is lush and I enjoy my walk around the Tropical Gardens. I didn't take many photos as I thought a DVD would be better. I am not an authority on tropical flowers but it was funny to see what I know as houseplants growing like weeds here - e.g. 'Busy Lizzie' (Impatiens) springing up on the pathways as a weed. Many plants of course I had seen in Australia. Hydrangeas also behave like wild things everywhere. I now know why many plants don't like bright sun as they thrive under the canopy of tropical forest trees.
I have a snack and a 'wine taste' at the cafe in the gardens. There are also two long term exhibitions - one of precious stones (need a bit of freshening up) and one of African Art.
It was the Japanese area I found the most fascinating. It has ceramic murals depicting the history of the Portuguese in Japan. The Portuguese were very much like the British in their quest for colonisation and make other people like themselves. The Japanese stood firm enough though.
Back down again on the Telfericos de Madeira! Those without a head for heights = you are excused this trip!! The first launch into the air is quite scary!! However it is all so fascinating to look down onto Funchal. Sounds drift up - like dogs barking, birds twittering and someone strimming in a garden. The trip is a good 15 minutes long. I read somewhere that the local residents were put out when the cable car operation was put up as they lost all their privacy. One can certainly have a bird's eye view of gardens and swimming pools!!
Back on Terra Firma I felt peckish so sat down at yet another street side café. I ordered their prawns and got a good bowlful simply swimming in molten garlic butter. It was delicious but had to leave the liquid butter or I'd put on yet another kilo! After watching the world go by (I have been so active but now I am calming down) I wander to the Old Blandy Wine Lodge. This is the only one of its kind left. All the Madeira Wine firms are now under the one label including the firm of Cossart - the one that AF knew about and met the old manager of. As with the embroidery the name of Phelps has long since disappeared as firms have been merging ever since the 1880's. I have a pleasant enough stroll around the Wine Lodge - I already have a ticket (bought as a saver with my museum ticket the other day) but no one bothers me as I typically 'poke around.' I missed the last tour. I buy a few small samples to pack in my suitcase (it had better not go missing) and will buy a big bottle at the airport through customs.
I tried a sample of the Atlantis Rosé which is a new Madeiran table wine. The Malmsey (fortified) is supposed to be the most 'original' of the Madeiran wines.
I looked along the rows of reserved wines but couldn't find a 1953 (when Aunt Frances was here) or a 1949 (my birth year) If I had found these dates, I would have snapped one of them up. Plenty of other dates going back 150 years.
Walk down to the sea front and along the marina.
I take dinner at the Trigal roadside restaurant. The whole meal and wine and bottled water came to the same as a starter at the hotel.
I bought the Daily Telegraph earlier so catch up with the news (all bad) and do the Sudokos. At last I am feeling leisurely and in a holiday mood.
Back at hotel about 9pm.
TUESDAY, 10 JULY 2007
My last full day here!
I have a good lie in - I really am on holiday - it always did take a week or so to relax and unwind!
Vivid dream:- I go back down to the British Cemetery and I ask to borrow the Registers which contain the lists of those buried there. I was given a venerable and vulnerable leather bound book with pages made of parchment; it was so very precious. The cemetery and chapel were both undergoing extensive renovations, with dust and dirt, workmen and cement and tools everywhere. It was a general builders' site. I am holding this wonderful treasure of an old book which seems alive with its hidden knowledge waiting to be explored. I wander around the rubble, rebuilding and muddle with the book in my hands. I am looking for a safe place to open it. I awake = end of dream.
I go back down to the British Cemetery, 235, Rua da Carreira, ring the bell at the door and I am let in. I ask to see the Registers. The Janitor takes me to the little room (and opens what looks like a very C of E church safe) where the registers are kept - or rather the copies. Someone has typed up the entries and everything is in a new folio. We easily find the entries for George Evans, a great, great uncle and John Waddington Hubbard.
I then ask to see if we can find anyone with the name of Phelps and an interesting entry springs up....
‘James Phelps, a Black, for upwards of 60 years a household servant in the family of Joseph Phelps, Merchant of this place, said to be aged 74 years, died in this Island of Madeira on the 19th and was interred in the Old British Burial Ground on the 20th day of March 1838....’ I am quite shocked in an odd sort of way. Of course I know all about slavery from a general knowledge point of view but it came home in a new way, thinking how that cousins of the Hubbard’s had a servant who was probably originally a slave. How many others in different generations? The British Parliament passed the Slavery Abolition Act in 1833 and this was for the whole of the British Empire. James would have started work with the family at the age of 14, in 1764, probably never had a personal life of his own and had lost his own African names. By the time the abolition of Slavery Act was in place, people like James had become so part of the family they worked for, that going elsewhere was unthinkable. I hope he was always treated well and respected.
What was ordinary to that culture and time; was
ordinary! If those older generations saw us now, what a shock they would get at
our culture and technology.
We also looked for other Phelps but time was running out.
I told the janitor how Aunt Frances had come here in 1953 and how she described the awful state of the cemetery. He said he was born here in 1953 and that his father was janitor and would have been the one who met Aunt Frances. Yes, it was a mess until about ten years ago. Now there is funding to keep the place beautiful. I showed him the Evans and Hubbard memorials and tombs. He said this was unusual - - one or the other but not both. Obviously no expense spared. Because of where the tomb stones are, they are still in their original position. He explained how the new road had changed things a lot, when Funchal’s road system was changed from being medieval paths and alley ways to how it is now.
I wondered who paid for the memorials – Did Emma Evans, losing a son and a brother? The grave stones are very basic; it looked like some-one later on put up the memorials.
The janitor also showed me an old picture of the cemetery and chapel; showing how the chapel was once central to the cemetery.
In the afternoon I went to Vicentes the photographic museum. It was interesting and gave me a good insight to see very old pictures of Madeira, including things like ‘the first car!’
Similarly, the museum of Frederico de Freitas House at 7, Santa Clara Causeway. Although Portugese, there is a lot of English style furniture from the 1800’s. This museum also houses an exhibition of Dutch tiles imported all down the years.
Dinner at Jardin da Carreira – prawns in curry sauce and rice; dessert of ice cream, fruit and a sort of crème caramel. I sat in a little garden with four yellow parakeets screeching loudly. Took a last walk up the hill past the cemetery.
WEDNESDAY, 11 JULY 2007
MADEIRA DAY EIGHT
Up, washed and dressed before the hotel wake up call. Just as well, as they were late. Coffee and rolls in room; taxi waiting and glorious dawn awaking to the call of cockerels across Funchal. What a lovely place.
At the airport I buy my Madeira Malmley wine and a Madeira cake for the cat carer.
7.50 flight to Lisbon. Superb take off. Aircraft wings overhanging the sea, then turning around nearly touching the mountain on the other side and a rapid lift off.
Stupidly my camera was in the luggage rack or I’d have taken spectacular pictures as we left.
Well….must come again!!
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