The Portuguese Archipelago minds me of a gay canter across a dance floor. The fat sea walls are fashioned from volcanic bricks of liquorice and piped with dapper white icing. Glistening slick in their damp skirts, acned by salt air about the battlements. Like we used to laugh about Little Montenegro over there in the Adriatic, Ponte Delgada had scant to recommend it and we would wonder why we weren't in Funchal. It was always just a half-day bunker before cutting a dash for the Windies. Wind-cheaters would lean into the howl along the jetty clamping hoods over ruddy lashed faces. I liked it. There was beer for breakfast and pastries. Stoicism in the drab battered pier and patterned plazas. Beasts with tyres taller than a man prowled the quayside moving things from here to there. Threatening to squash us or drop a container on our heads as we rushed ashore to the last shop in Europe. The bureaucrats got of hold of it in the end and halted the perilous promenade. Squeezing us into mournful damp queues for shuttle buses. No. no Bicycles, the eurocats shook their heads. We dreamed of Barbados and stayed in bed.