Viva Portugal


I’ve long been a fan of Eurovision, but daughters one and two have taken that enthusiasm to a new level, mainly since Loic Nottet in 2015. We’re gonna rap-pap-pap. They have played the song several times over in the lead-up to this year’s contest, together with last year’s Polish entry, What colour is your life? – the top pick of 2016.

So the fact that daughter two is in Madrid on an exchange and we were all in Liverpool at the weekend to celebrate daughter three’s birthday was not going to put them off. Daughter three had already genned up by watching the semis. Daughter one refused to on the basis it would spoil the final. I told her I thought she might like the Portuguese entry, having heard that he had come off all social media and had studied psychology. He sounded like the kind of person daughter one would relate to – she came off Facebook about three years ago on the basis that “it’s all just people pretending to be happy”.

We missed the first half of Eurovision due to walking around Liverpool so when we got back to the Travelodge where we were staying daughters one and three, who were sharing a room, disappeared quickly. I got a whatsapp on the family chat from daughter two in Madrid five minutes later. “I am so upset we are not watching Eurovision.” Daughter one replied: “Romania is currently combining yodelling and rap,” followed by a recording with daughter three giggling in the background. “Yessssss Romania,” said daughter two. “They’re ghastly”. My partner was whatsapping from the toilet. “Belgium was sweet. She looked so scared,” said daughter one. “But she’s no Loic Nottet.” It’s hard to beat the gold standard.

“I like France,” she added. She is feeling slightly pro-France after the defeat of Le Pen. “Mostly in French too.” “Sweden?” said I. “He looks a bit odd,” said daughter one. “Why are you commentating?” asked daughter two from Madrid. “We missed Portugal, mum,” said daughter one. “Moldova,” said someone randomly. “I fancy Portugal,” said daughter one, having seen about five seconds of Portugal on the run down, “but Romania is really pushing boundaries”, followed by “Ukraine providing something…alternative”. “I like Belgium,” said daughter three. “I think I was reading Horrid Henry when Belgium was on,” said I. My partner started quoting Depeche Mode lyrics for some odd reason. Daughters one and three arrived in our hotel room, punching the air every time Portugal got a vote.

My partner feel asleep before Spain even had the chance to vote. Only son conked out soon after and then fell out of bed in the middle of the night. Daughters one and three left in celebratory mood when the contest was over. “I am going to do some research on Salvador with the 30 minutes free wifi,” said daughter one.  I think Loic Nottet may have been supplanted.

I texted daughter two that Portugal had won. The next morning I woke up to my partner reading the Spanish press reports of their singer hitting some bum notes. “I can’t believe you told me who won,” whatsapped daughter two. I apologised, but said I thought she would have found out at some stage before Thursday when she is due back. “Mum don’t deny that you have been very peak,” said daughter one from her room. “Is that a good thing?” asked her dad.

*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of

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