Monday, 1 July 2013

FREE INTERNET GONE ...............

25th June
We had to sort out the car; so first thing we drove into Castelo Branco. The guy told us it was the emissions sensor, because we only did slow, short journeys; so if we drove fast (110 - 120 kilometres per hour) for 10 kilometres it would clear it - we did, and it didn't!!! And we got toll charges (from driving on the motorway) which we now have to work out how to pay!

We took the car back to the garage at 2.00 and left at 5.30 (we were so bored) - they reset the computer! They didn't physically do anything to the car at all, it was all done by a computer; but the light is off and it's driving fine.

Today was Pam's birthday so we (us, P&M and Nick) went out for a meal, at the restaurant on the way to Penamacor; we had meat on a skewer (Nick had omelette, as he's a veggie) with chips, rice and salad. Mark had made a cake, which we ate as we sang "Happy Birthday" to her in the Restaurant (even the owner joined in); it was a lovely relaxed evening.

We need to buy a torch; when Bret was cleaning his teeth (we do this outside) he heard a 'snuffling' in the undergrowth, he said whatever it was sounded quite large and it wasn't afraid of him (so it wasn't the gennet); I said it could have been a wolf! He's hoping it was a boar - whatever it was he came inside pretty quickly and shut the door!!

Unfortunately we still have no internet; Pam is going to bring her Mifi device over so we can test signal strength on our quinta.

26th June
Mmmm, warm milk on cornflakes ........ not the best start to the day!!! We miss our fridge; well we still have the fridge, but it's now warm and rather smelly and we can't find the source of the smell. I didn't have any bicarbonate of soda so I washed it out with baking powder - it's got bicarb. in it!

The last tiles (largest 1/4 of whole roof, yes I know that's not technically correct) were stripped off by 10.30 a.m. We did have one scary moment when Brett exposed a wasp's nest and about a dozen angry wasps came out - but we both survived without a sting. Our bed is now open to the elements, we'll be able to star gaze if we can't sleep.

Mmmm, warm font water ................ very thirst quenching (not!). But with temperature well into the 30s we have to keep drinking.

So the internet not working wasn't number two - that was the car and number three is .......... my brand new (well six weeks old) prescription sunglasses, I sat on them!!! I'm a bit hopeless when I take them off (to read, or use the computer etc) I just put them down where ever I am, and today I must have put them on the sofa because that's where I found them with one arm twisted at an awkward angle - I'll take them to an optician and see if I can get them fixed (bugger, bugger, bugger!).

We've seen masses of butterflies today, they're actually flying through the open roof into the house; Brett saw one about 4" across (and he doesn't exaggerate!), I didn't see it L.

Brett worked until 6.00 levelling and laying planks; he worked jolly hard today and was really tired when he finally got off the roof. As we had nothing cold to drink we went to the club for a well earned beer. P&M invited us back to theirs for dinner which was brilliant as all we had planned was courgette fritters and spicy tomato sauce, we took that with us. AND then, our fabulous friends, lent us their travel fridge - the one they used when they were travelling around Europe in their Landrover, which will work with the borrowed inverter.


Wow, the stars were beautiful; there's no light pollution out here and it was a wonderful clear night. If we actually knew anything about stars I'm sure we would have been able to identify lots of constellations; as it was we just enjoyed the view.

27th June
MMMMMMmmmmm cold milk on cornflakes ........... a much better start to the morning. Having a fridge means that we can buy food (and drink) again and store it, not that we've noticeably gone without! The main thing we missed was cold drinks.

The last six roofing sheets went on today; already we can feel a difference in the temperature inside the building (and we're contemplating putting extra insulation between the roofing sheets and ceiling which should keep it cooler too). All the roof needs now are the ridging sheets, weather board and guttering; then Brett can render, at his leisure, and we can paint the outside - green is our colour of choice at the moment.

Inside the house is an absolute tip, dust and broken bits of concrete over every surface; but we're happy we have cold beer!!! Tomorrow we will have a HUGE clear up and while we're at it PVA the floor, which should decrease the dust and prepare for when we tile. It's all staring to come together now, I'm really looking forward to putting up the plaster board, then it will start to look like a house.

Oh yes, the other thing we have to do tomorrow is pay our toll charge (90 cents); you have to pay within five days, but it doesn't get onto the system for two or three days - so a very small window, I think that's to encourage people to have a box fitted which pays it automatically from your bank.

Pooh, still no internet and no parcel D.

Tonight we went for a walk around the quinta, locking the gates on the way; as we continued back home we saw Louis and his wife collecting hay bales (thank goodness we didn't walk back the way we'd come or we really would have locked them in!), so we walked back and unlocked the gates! We went and said "boa tarde" (good evening), she was right on the top of the cart, on top of the bales (stacked about six or so high) - and she wasn't a young lady either!

28th June
Well we had quite a good start to the day; we went into Penamacor and managed to pay the motorway toll (for some reason it had gone up to 1.32€), at the post office (still no parcel though, it's probably on its way back to the UK by now, so disappointed!) and then get my glasses fixed at the opticians (yay, I can see again) - and none of them spoke English so all communication was in Portuguese.

We went into Minipre├žo and bought eight sardines for dinner (three for me, five for Brett); the guy weighed them out, printed off the price ticket, then added an extra sardine saying (in Portuguese) that it was for Brett (they're so friendly here and they really seem to appreciate us having a go at the language).

We went to Aguas to get water from the fonte (we have to do this two or three times a week, it's an enjoyable task); we met Nick at the water hole - he lives in Aguas.

Everyone uses the fonte

We still have no free village internet, but then we remembered our Kindles ......... so we're back to accessing our emails very, very slowly and facebook even slower - but it was worth the wait - there was a message from Debbie and David saying they've booked their flights to visit us!!!!! Our first visitors, so exciting , I can't wait; but I'm going to have to as they're not coming until October ......... I am so looking forward to it I'm smiling as I type my blog!

Brett strimmered this morning, while I tidied and cleaned up all the rubble and dust in the house (i.e. our side of the building); then after lunch we PVA'd 3/4 of the floor (the rest had furniture piled up on it), and it really seems to have worked well, no clouds of dust when you sweep the floor (there goes another excuse!).

We finished emptying, and cleaned, the pool this afternoon; now we have to let it dry thoroughly, next it gets painted with the special pool paint (two coats), and then filled with clean, cool, well water.

Louis and his wife came back, to collect more hay, while we were emptying the pool; he said we have "muito bom" (very good) water in our wells, it's fed from the same source as the public fonte which was built by the clerics - hence the name of our quinta 'Fonte dos Clerigos'.

Tonight I watched 'Black Swan' on my computer; it was a bit dark, brooding and sexy (the worst bit was when she peeled the skin off her hang nail - it's still making me wince!) but it held my attention to the end and now I want to be a ballerina!

29th June
We finished PVAing the house, our surroundings are far more salubrious now! Then we went and wire brushed the pool, to get off all the algae and rubbish - and now we have to wait before we can paint it - it appears to be bone dry to me!!! We read the paint tin again, just to check we had to wait 48 hours, yes it says a minimum of 48 hours ......... but then we read "once painted leave for eight days before filling with water"!!!!! Do they really believe anyone can wait eight days with a pool enticing them to fill it and jump in - especially with temperatures in the high 30s? It also said don't apply in temperatures above 30 and not to apply in full sunlight - so we're going to ignore both of those too!

Brett was back to strimmering and I was clearing rubble and dust (the other side of the building) this afternoon.

Pam and Mark invited us round for drinks and, of course, we stayed for dinner - but best of all I got to go in their pool (fully clothed, as I hadn't taken swimwear)!!!! It was fabulous, it cools you down really well, and clothing dries quite rapidly - I can't wait until our one is operational.

When we arrived home there was a big bag of alface (lettuce) outside the door - we're presuming from Louis as he had obviously been collecting bales while we were out; so we'll be having lettuce soup again!

30th June
Today we got rid of our little red Fiesta, we sold it to Josh & Jamie; it's been a very reliable vehicle for the nine years we've owned it, passing every single MOT without fail - I was sad to see it go (but we don't need two vehicles here).

We continued clearing dust and rubble from the second side of the building and PVA'd half the floor.

We left it until nearly 6.00 before we started painting our pool; it was a horrible job! We had two rollers which were both crap in different ways; the first one wouldn't stay on it's spindle (the clip wasn't tight enough) so we got our hands covered in paint every time it had to be put back on and the second roller was too big for the paint tray. Ants and grapes were constantly falling into the pool, and had to be removed; one coat took us an hour and a half to complete. And I managed to ruin one of my new tops, it's now covered in bright blue drops of paint (so I'm not happy). Tomorrow we will apply the second coat, we just hope it goes more smoothly than today.

And to make matters worse we've completely run out of cold drinks and are reduced to drinking warm fonte water!  And then when we took our evening walk there were swarms of flying ants, they were so bad I had to pull the back of my dress over my head - not a good look Brett informed me!

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