Tuesday, 19 May 2015


7th April
Pauline and Mike came back from their trip to the Serra de Estrelas with trees for us (almonds and cherries) and then treated us to dinner at O Quartel which was lovely (especially as we had an upsetting day with Looby running off).

8th April
Pauline & Mike left this morning, it was wonderful to see them.
This afternoon it rained so we lit the stove and relaxed AND ..... ordered a twin tub washing machine from Amazon (Spain) the delivery was only 7 euros. No more hand washing!!!!!!
The goats weren’t happy as we put them in the shed at lunchtime but the rain was rather heavy.

9th April
The weather was still inclement so the poor old goats had to stay in their shed again; we picked them lots of herbage (olive, grape vine, cabbage etc) to keep them occupied and Brett made a half gate for the shed so they have fresh air and light.
This evening we took the dogs to the vet in Penamacor (he doesn’t open until 8.30 p.m. ish) for their yearly vaccinations. The dogs are not used to the car (because every time either one goes in it they are sick - so we don’t take them in it!) and they both shook all the way there (Lilli with her bum on the seat and her head under my knee). Then they harmonised and ‘sang’ as we sat in the waiting room – it was very embarrassing. Then they got into the surgery and were as good as gold and didn’t appear to notice their two injections apiece or the fingers up her bum (Lilli!!!). Then they shook all the way home – but neither of them was sick. Unfortunately we have a return trip in three weeks for the booster injection.
Tomorrow Brett is working for Annika.

10th April
Heavy rain = goats had to stay in/me getting wet picking herbage/no solar.
Brett only worked the morning at Annika’s.

11th April
Yay, sunshine; in fact bloody hot (I was working in the polytunnel). We still haven’t got our rotorvator back and everything needs to go out, I managed to put out some stuff (after clearing the weeds by hand) and pot other plants on.
Brett started to make a field shelter for the sheep and goats.

12th April
I carried on working in the garden (by hand!).

13th April
WE’VE GOT THE ROTORVATOR BACK!!!!!!! The guy in the shop had lost our telephone number so hadn’t been able to call us.
We decided that we would check oil levels before we started using the machine; so we got out the instruction manual, which has been translated from Chinese into Portuguese. Everything was fine until we came to checking the gearbox oil level; it said check the dipstick – there is no dipstick!!!! And nowhere does it say how much oil should be in there, it just says make sure it’s level is between the limits on dipstick but THERE IS NO DIPSTICK (and nowhere where a dipstick could go). We ‘googled’ it, emailed/texted people who might know, went to visit P&M to look at their rotorvator – it HAS a dipstick! All to no avail – we both got totally frustrated and bad tempered.

14th April
We asked Mark to come round to advise us on our oil level; he and Brett went over the whole machine with a ‘fine tooth comb’ – there is no dipstick! Mark was as puzzled as us.
We went to visit Claire and Phil, we thought they had a rotorvator like ours – they don’t, theirs has a dipstick!
We texted Mark (and Glenn), he’s mechanically savvy so he should know – he said “have you got a manual – will give required oil grade and capacity” ... yes we have and it doesn’t!!!!
Finally we drained the oil from the gear box – 2½L (1L was the one we put in yesterday) so now we’re assuming/hoping that the machine was serviced and has the correct volume of oil (1.5L).

15th April
Brett rotorvated a huge area of garden, for me to fill over the next couple of days, while he’s working at Annika’s. I weeded the polytunnel.
Claire and Phil came to visit for a few hours this afternoon.

16th April
Brett’s working for Annika for the next couple of days.
I worked in the garden – planting out potatoes, tomatoes, squash etc. I’m still trying to construct a squash tunnel structure – today’s effort was very frustrating and unsuccessful!!!!

17th April
Same as yesterday.

18th April
Our washing machine was supposed to have arrived by today – it hasn’t!
I went around to Andrew’s quinta and admired his garden, it’s looking fantastic. And he gave me a bag of his broad beans (mine are not very bountiful yet).
Chris & Di invited us for dinner, but, as it was chilly and showery, they brought it all to us – which was lovely we had the pleasure of being cooked for (Di even did the washing up!) but we didn’t have to go out.

19th April
Marc & Mieke came for Sunday lunch, which we ate outside on the decking.

20th April
Brett’s working for the next three days.
I constructed a wigwam, for the cucumbers, which I embellished with ‘dream catchers’ – it took me nearly three hours, but it does look rather splendid.
Still no sign of our washing machine L.

21st April
Our goose eggs were supposed to hatch yesterday – no sign so far; we’ll have to candle the eggs, if we can get her off the nest.
WHERE’S OUR WASHING MACHINE??????? I’m starting to get worried, especially as we have paid for two (Alex & Karina wanted one too).
Billy (goat) is ill; we think he’s eaten too much lush grass so I kept the goats in today – they were not happy!

22nd April
Hoorah Brett wasn’t needed at work today J.
Billy still wasn’t right, so the goats had another day in the shed.

23rd April
We bought the tiles for our kitchen floor today; of course they didn’t have the ones we went in for, but these ones are nice and very, very cheap; the whole 30m2 floor (including grout, adhesive etc) came to 240€ (that’s £173) .. it’s going to look so good!

24th April
We spent the day taking everything (except the dresser, glazed cupboard and larder cupboard) out of the kitchen; the room looks very big (it’s 20’ x 16’). Brett buzzed off all the high points of the floor with his angle grinder – creating a dust storm, in the middle of which we had visitors, Ollie & Anna another English couple that have moved to the village; we counted up and there are at least twenty expats in the village that we know of.

25th April
Tiling the kitchen floor DAY 1 A.M.: Brett measured, re measured, so that the first tiles laid were in exactly the right place but by the time he had laid fifteen tiles they had floated on the adhesive and were over ½” off course (and would no longer overlap the door step enough), so they all had to come up! P.M.: He screwed a straight edge to the floor, and started again, by the end of the day twenty tiles were in place (and looking good).
We went to P&M’s for dinner and a movie; which was lovely at the end of a stressful, busy day.

26th April
Tiling DAY 2: And Brett had a really good day and laid forty eight tiles. Then he found a high spot, which he worked at with the angle grinder, and made a dust storm!

27th April
Another 26 tiles laid today and that’s as many full tiles as can be laid, until the large furniture is moved. We cut all the tiles that needed cutting (corners, around pillars etc) and my glass cutting skills came into their own when we had to cut tiles that weren’t symmetrical. These tiles are so strong that to break them I had to stand on one side while Brett stood on the other and then practically jump up and down.
Tomorrow we will grout what’s been done so far and the next day move the furniture into the middle of the room and tile around the edges (we have nearly a1/3 of the tiles left, so quite a bit of tiling still to do).

28th April
Wow the grout makes the floor look so good; it makes it more solid somehow.
Our washing machine hasn’t been delivered yet; I’ve emailed the company that’s selling it and they’re all apologies, but it’s nearly two weeks late – I had to wash by hand today, and there was masses as I’d been saving it up!

29th April
Yay, the washing machine couriers have been in touch – apparently they came to deliver it, couldn’t find us, nobody (not even the Police) knew where we lived, so they went away again!!! But they now have our phone number and will ring once they are close.
Even though the floor isn’t finished we’ve put all the furniture back in place and it looks great. Brett needs a stint of walking on two legs and we have visitors; tomorrow (Jo) and the next day (Max). We gave the place a good cleaning too and both of us keep sweeping and mopping the floor (we just can’t help ourselves).

30th April
So the washing machine is coming on Monday!!!
Jo came to lunch, then we followed her back to her quinta – it’s lovely, quite remote, lots of work (but then they all are), lots of potential.
We took the dogs back to the vet’s for their follow up injections; we checked it was open as we passed and continued up the road to the bank to get some money, drove back and it was shut!!!!!! It’s a funny system he opens up after his day’s work anytime between 8.- 9 p.m. and presumably as soon as he has no customers he shuts up shop. We arrived dead on 9.00 as the animals don’t go away now until after 8.30. So we’ll have to come back tomorrow.

1st May
And today is a Public Holiday in Portugal; so of course today we had to go into CB (to pick Max up from the train station) and we couldn’t go to the vet, fortunately most of the shops we needed to go to were open.

2nd May
We moved all the heavy furniture out of the kitchen, ready for tile laying tomorrow, it took all morning – first we had to unload, then move, then reload ... thank goodness for Max!
We took Max to the Monsanto Festa. As there is no parking in Monsanto the festa visitors had to park in the village at the bottom of the hill and catch a bus up to Monsanto (Max wanted to walk, but I refused! – it’s a bloody steep climb, and I’m lazy).
We waited in a queue for the bus; a bus came down the hill past us, to turn round, then came back and picked up most of the people in front of us. The next bus came down the hill, past us, to turn around) came back and it was full of people from further down the hill!!!! After 40 minutes of queuing we finally caught a bus! The festa was lively and fun, we would have stayed on into the evening but we had to get back to the animals.

3rd May
Rain, rain and more rain.
Brett tiled while I cut tiles to size and by the evening the tiling was complete!
Our dinner tonight was all from the quinta.

4th May
It continued to rain.
Our washing machine arrived!!!! And I christened it –it’s fabulous and the spinner practically dries the clothes for you (which was good as I couldn’t hang them on the line).

Brett grouted the tiles ..... and the floor is done; tomorrow we can bring back the furniture and ‘dress’ the space.
So tonight we took the dogs back to the vet; we made sure we were there before he shut, so we arrived about 8.45. While we waited he saw to three ‘patients’ (two of which he operated on) and we got in to see him at about 10.45 – by then we had lost the will to live, we were sooooo bored! Then when Looby had her ‘worm’ injection she cried like a baby for nearly two minutes – the vet said that it was usual with that injection and that Lili would cry too ... she didn’t, she’s very stoic!
We had our dinner at 11.45 p.m.!!!!!

5th May
We love our twin tub!
We started putting back the furniture, then Lola and Vince came to visit us; they wanted to see our decking (Lola hadn’t been to our quinta before).
It took most of the day to organise the kitchen; it looks bloody brilliant.

6th May
With Max’s help we ‘processed’ four frangos (meat chickens) they are quite a size now – we have one that weighed in at nearly 10lbs.
When Alex & Karina came to pick up their washing machine they begged us to come and fetch our third goat (they have her mother and she wasn’t old enough to wean); apparently she’s been getting into their orchard and eating all their trees. So today we went and got her; we thought rather than put her straight into the field (where we probably wouldn’t be able to get her out to put her to bed) we’d take her to the shed and bring the other goats in early .... Hazel (tiny little female goat) spent the afternoon head butting the newby and Billy just tries to mount her! We left them to it, hoping that they would sort themselves out ..... around 7.00 we heard a goat bleating, and it sounded quite close – she had escaped from the shed!
We had pizza tonight; it was our best attempt yet, the pizzas were cooked perfectly.

7th May
The Guinea fowl are bullies; now there are no cockerels they are ‘top dogs’ and they chase, and terrorise, the hens.
We put the goats out with the sheep; the new goat seemed quite content; however when we put them in the shed tonight she escaped again! Max has named her, Georgia – I think it’s after a girl he has the ‘hots’ for!
Today we brought in our brown cupboard and glazed brown cupboard; they have never been together, but we’re having the glazed cupboard over the brown cupboard – I think it works nicely.

8th May
We went into CB and bought (paid for) a freezer, it's got to be delivered now; I think this was instigated by the Guinea fowl! We also spent a lot of time looking at tractors
Max cooked dinner, chicken curry; which, as well as being delicious, gave me a night off.
Alex told Brett of a place near to his quinta to go boar spotting; he said he guaranteed that we would see one, and we did!!! Just the one, but it was very exciting as it’s the first wild boar we have ever seen (in the wild).

9th May
I had a shattering day, unpacking, washing and finding a home for seven of our boxes of possessions – they all went on the dresser and in the glazed cupboards (so all kitchen stuff, glass and ceramics); it was exciting find bits that I had forgotten about and there’s loads more to come.
Then I had to cook food for our day out tomorrow, our language class trip; we’re having a boat ride, going to an olive oil museum and seeing some ancient rock carvings (I’m really looking forward to the rock carvings).

10th May
Today was our language class trip; we were going to do a river cruise, visit an olive press museum and see some ancient rock carving – I was mostly excited about the rock carvings. As there were so many of us we were divided into two groups – we did the river trip in the morning and the other group did the museum but for some reason not the rock carvings. We saw Egyptian Griffon Vultures and terrapins on the boat trip.
Then our group had a picnic for FIVE hours (the other group had the picnic and went on the boat trip)!!!! Our bus had a flat tyre (so we missed out on the olive museum) and nobody bothered to fix it until it was time to go home, then, on the way home, the DRIVER stopped at a village bar for beer – he had five bottled before he was forced to drive us home – I wasn’t happy!

11th May (37 degrees)
We had a trip to Fundao market and bought black pol hens.
We emptied pool and cleaned the pool, ready for filling tomorrow as it’s getting hot this week.
I did a batch of washing; we’re completely up to date – we love the twin tub!
Swept and washed the floor several times! And spent the rest of the day unpacking boxes of kitchen stuff from the farm.
This evening we went boar watching again, this time with Alex – we didn’t see anything. On our way home a branch had fallen off a cork oak tree, blocking the track – Brett, Max and Alex leapt out of the car to move it, I said ‘you won’t move that’, they ignored me .... they couldn’t move it! So we had to back up (a very narrow track in the pitch black) and drive miles out of our way to get back to drop Alex off, and all the time Brett was worried because he’d put beers in the freezer!

12th May N/I
The internet has been a bit slow this month and today it stopped altogether.
I swept & washed the floor ... several times (we’re addicted, even Max!), it does look good when it’s just been done (for about five minutes). The dogs make it very dusty (dust drops off their coats from outside) and hairy (Looby is the culprit, she has a thick undercoat).
Hoorah, Chris & Di returned bringing with them my new mixer; it was lovely to have them back too. I have to say the colour, of the mixer, is not what I expected, it’s a much brighter green than I had visualised (in fact had I known the colour I would have gone for cream) but it works like a dream; it made a perfect six egg (yolk) mayonnaise in a couple of minutes, so I am very pleased with it.

13th May
More unpacking of boxes
Brett & Max finished the sheep shed and corral.

14th May
Cleaning floor, dressing kitchen in preparation for P&M coming to Pizza night tonight! I made the pizza mix in my new mixer – it worked a treat!
The pizzas were cooked to perfection (best yet!).

15th May
We dosed and trimmed feet of sheep and goats in their new enclosure.
There's some lovely moths hanging around the lights at night.
Tiger moth.

16th May
I painted a set of shelves (actually I think it’s a tray, but I’ll use it as shelves) with a folk art design.

17th May
We went out to lunch at Wendy and Kevin’s with P&M and Martin & Anne.
One of our rams had a weeping eye which he couldn’t open; it turned out to be a big grass seed! The seeds here are horrible, they burrow through clothing into skin!

18th May
Still waiting for call to say freezer is ready to be collected!

Brett & Max made a ramp down to the lower pasture, so that we can take our new tractor (which we haven’t bought yet!) down there in order to cut grass and rotorvate the land.

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