The 50th anniversary of the death and memorable funeral of the legendary two-time prime minister this week reminded me of his association with the island. According to most historians, Churchill contacted Bryce Nairn, the British Consul in Madeira, in 1950 to enquire about the possibility of of a low-profile visit, specifically enquiring if there was a suitable hotel and scenery suitable for painting. There were rumours of ill health at the time, and apparently Churchill wanted to recuperate prior to contesting his last general election in 1951. The rest is “all history” as they say, with the statesman becoming synonymous with Reid’s Palace Hotel, and his paintings of the island scenery, most famously Câmara do Lobos. Churchill arrived in Funchal aboard the liner, the Durban Castle ,on the 2nd of January 1950, returning earlier than planned on the 12th of January.
All of the media is currently speculating about the repercussions of a likely victory for the Syriza party in the Greek elections today (Sunday). This left wing party is advocating negotiating a huge debt write-off with the EU/IMF/Troika, and that the current austerity measures be revoked. The possibility of a Greek exit from the Euro is being mooted again as a result, together with the possibility of a “domino effect” in ClubMed countries including Portugal. Interesting Bloomberg video here
Ronaldo to be sued over underwear
I have been sent an interesting story from canada.com late last year. Apparently a Rhode Island man is trying to sue Cristiano Ronaldo in a dispute over an underwear line, but he can’t find him. Christopher Renzi sued the Real Madrid forward and a Danish underwear maker in July after being told of their plan to use the phrase "CR7" to sell underwear in the United States. Renzi, however, owns the “CR7” trademark in the United States. Renzi had until the end of November to notify Ronaldo of the lawsuit, but his lawyer said this week they haven’t been able to track down one of the world’s most famous athletes.
In the meantime, lawyer Michael Feldhuhn said he’s keeping an eye out for CR7 underwear being sold in the U.S. Feldhuhn said a Spanish justice official went to the headquarters of Real Madrid in Spain and tried to deliver the legal papers there, but the official said in a filing that a receptionist refused to accept them because the lawsuit doesn’t involve the team. Feldhuhn said they are now trying to serve the papers at an address where they believe Ronaldo lives. The judge overseeing the case has given Renzi until March 26 to find Ronaldo and serve him with the papers.
Ronaldo, meanwhile was sent off yesterday for some rather petulant behaviour, kicking out at an opponent and slapping him in the face. He apologised later.
A detailed strategy plan for tourism on the island over the next five years has been unveiled by ACIF (the Madeiran Chamber of Commerce) in conjunction with the accountancy firm KPMG. The preferred focus for marketing is to be "Nature complemented by the Culture and Gastronomy". The full document can be downloaded from the (very slow) ACIF website Targets include increasing the number of overnight stays to 8.4 million (currently 6.2 million) and upping the the average expenditure per tourist from the current 113 euros to 142 euros (this seems a low figure but I guess it includes cruise ship passengers only staying for a short time).