A Diary of my Adventure in the Algarve. Pt. 2: Gemma Atkinson
Mondays (segunda-feira), were my day off (folga), so on a Sunday night I generally had a few cervejas 🍻 e bebidas 🥤 knowing that my hangover the following day would be remedied by laying on a beach 🏖 in a 30 degree heat sweating the alcohol from my system. This one Monday, as we always did, me and a couple of Portuguese friends called at Figo’s bar on the Marina in Vilamoura. It was about 8.30/9 am, so with the majority of holiday parties being golfers, they are off playing golf at that time. There was a table across from us though of about 10 people who were English. One of the the workers at Figo’s beckoned me to come inside to talk (in Portuguese), she said people were stopping by the table and asking for autographs and pictures and was intrigued who the people were. She said that it was the blonde lady and the ‘o negro musculoso’, which translates to the muscular black man. I just want to point out that in the context of Portuguese language, the term is not derogatory or offensive in any way. I know it’s a racist slur in English and it is rude, but in Portugal it’s not. So, I looked across to the table and I didn’t recognise anyone. A couple of minutes past and I heard a voice of a girl with an accent that was very familiar to me. It was unmistakably either Bury, Rochdale or Oldham and as I looked round, Gemma Atkinson was returning back to the table from the bathroom. It then clicked that the muscular guy was Marcus Bent the footballer who had his back to me. Honestly though, he was massive, much bigger than you’d expect from seeing him on TV. Ripped to death with muscle on muscle.
I told the staff that Gemma was in a Soap Opera (novela) called Hollyoaks and he was a footballer (jogador de football). On the walls of Figo’s bar are pictures of footballers and sports stars, movie legends and other famous people either with Figo himself or in the bar with the staff. The staff and my Portuguese friends dared me to go to the table and ask them if they were here to get their picture taken to put up on the wall. 🤦🏻♂️
After a few seconds of debate I walked over to them and in my best English accent, pretending to be Portuguese speaking English, I did it.
“Hello, I am hoping you are ok and enjoy Figo bar. The staff is asking me to help them as I only one person who speak a little English. Do you want to do a picture of the time you have here for the wall inside? As you are football player and you are in television, sorry I don’t have words for novela.”
They had their pictures with the staff for the bar and as they were leaving, I asked for a picture too. As Marcus Bent went to get in on it too, I said “no no, just me and the senhora”
As I would never date a girl from Bury as I am from Rochdale and I’d get lynched, Gemma was holding out for a change of heart I guess. I posted the above picture on Instagram a couple of years ago and tagged Gemma into it. Just so she knows that even though she has fame and fortune, that morning in Figo’s bar was the highlight of her life. I recently closed my Instagram account but she never removed the tag and that picture was on her official page for nearly 3 years 😍
Boa noite todos. Uma grande abraços e beijinhos. Boa sorte e saúde 🥂