The 13th June is the Feast of St Anthony in Lisbon - a public holiday like St Patrick’s day in Ireland. But it was the previous evening which was the real time of celebration - the Eve of St Anthony and the sardine festival. Everyone was out on the streets from 7 pm until very late. Although there were celebrations across the city, the main activity was at the Alfama district. Thousands were out walking around, singing, dancing, dressed up with sardine hats and on every place possible there were stands where the charcoal burners were running and rows of sardines were being cooked and eaten in huge quantities along with soft bread buns, and spicy sausage - and beer or sangria - it was a major cook-out on the streets.
I was there from about 7:30 until 10:30pm but the parties kept going until much later because when I got back to my apartment which is on the edge of Bairro Alto there was a party going full swing until well after 2 am. and the music was pounding out throughout the neighbourhood - I walked down to the end of the street and there was at least three different parties in full swing. The three hours earlier had been enough for me so I went back to the apartment and watched the last 3 episodes of House of Cards on Netflix. When that was over I put my earplugs in and went to bed - it was 2:30am and they were still going strong in the party zone.
Today I was up early and everyone was sleeping in, recovering after last night. I’ve had a good idea for a novella, about 70 pages, which deals with the earlier life of some of the characters in the novel. I’ve planned it out this morning and I’m starting to write it in parallel with the new novel.