Tuesday, 8 October 2013


1st October
Tuesdays are shopping and language class day. We picked up Pam and spent several hours trawling the shops looking for something to use in the bathroom as a temporary shower (utilising the solar shower, which we can fill with warm water) ....... we can't expect visitors to shower outside or 'strip wash' in the kitchen! We bought a 130L grape drum (to stand in and catch the water), two shower curtains (self explanatory) and a hula-hoop (to hang the shower curtain from)!
Language class was a challenge, Pastor Allen conducted most of it in Portuguese; I thought I was the only one who was struggling but talking to Pam and Brett on the way home I wasn't as bad as I thought, I'll give it a couple of weeks before I admit defeat and go back to the beginner's class!.

2nd October
Nick came round, he said the reason one of the repaired inverters blew up was because they (the Chinese engineers) had neglected to reattach the fan - so it couldn't cool down; Nick was very cross, understandably. He has taken the second repaired inverter to look at (hopefully we turned it off before too much damage was done). He says the inverter from the second batch we ordered is working fine at his place (I think that was the one that we turned off when the charge controller was peaking - I've lost count!).
Nick says we can reattach our battery bank - hoorah.
We constructed our shower - as Brett says it's rather 'Heath-Robinson' but it should do the job until we install running water.
The shower works brilliantly; it twists around constantly, as it's hanging from a piece of cord, so you have to follow the nozzle!!! But apart from that it works; we boil up water on the hob and then mix to the right temperature in a watering can which we use to fill the shower bag, then Brett (it's very heavy 20L of water = 44lbs) hoists it up to the right height.

3rd October
Brett finished the last two joists for the sleep platform, then wired in the circuit breaker and attached our electricity supply to a 2 amp fuse so that we can check all our appliances (nothing has blown so far - we haven't tried the new fridge).
The rain finally gave way to sunshine; we've been turning off the inverter throughout the day so that we can have lights etc in the evening, hopefully we won't need to do that again for a while.
I made chutney with vegetables given to us by P&M (aubergine and peppers) and Chris & Di (tomatoes, given to them by their neighbour), so I felt quite productive.
We (Brett) ordered plasterboard for the bathroom and cupboard bed walls.
We picked a couple of drums of red grapes this evening, to make some red wine; there's masses more but we ran out of drums (they're at P&M's), so I'll pick more tomorrow while Brett carries on with the studwork for the bathroom/cupboard bed.

4th October
Brett didn't need my help today, he was doing carpentry work, so I picked a whole load more red grapes for wine (another three drums); we made the wine this afternoon, about 125L pulp, I'm hoping it will make 60 - 90L of wine.

5th October
The sun was out, the battery bank was full - we had electricity!!!!
Brett was still working on framing for the plasterboard.
I did a HUGE pile of washing by hand - the joys of primitive living!

6th October
Brett still framing, me at a loose end, so I went pea stick hunting - my seedlings are ready to plant out and some of the peas grow up to 6 foot, so need support. I started by cutting off olive suckers, but they were covered in easy to pick olives, so I quickly stopped that practise. I walked around the lower boundary and found Bamboo growing in our ditch!!!!! It's very tall, at least 15 foot and some of it is way over an inch thick - perfect for pea wigwams.

It's been too wet to get a tractor in (and we haven't actually asked Joao if he knows anyone who can do it) so I'm filling up the area that Brett dug over for me to put herbs in - it's going to get quite full (I planted lots of seeds).

7th October
We spent all day waiting for the plasterboard to arrive - it didn't! So Brett laid out the floor for the sleep platform; not an easy job as the planks varied (enormously) in width - we had 2 x 13cms, 1 x 17cms, 1 x 21cms, 5 x 20cms, 7 x 25cmx, 7 x 29cms and it needed 2.5 planks for the whole length of the platform. We spent ages working it out on paper first (and of course the planks varied in thickness, but that goes without saying). But it's all in place (not fixed down yet as they're still slightly damp and he wants to sand them (individually, he'll remove one at a time and take it outside) before they're screwed down) and the platform looks HUGE, it measures 20' (to under the eaves) x 6'.
And I'm taking photo through trap door, there's still 6' behind me!
I continued my preserving and made some delicious (even if I say it myself) Lemon Curd
I have it in Greek yoghurt for breakfast, yummy!

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