We have M&M and A&K coming for dinner tomorrow (typically we were also invited to go out, with P&M, to a Fado evening, why did it have to be the only day we have booked this week?); I spent the day preparing food - we're going to have an evening of tapas.
My first job took most of the morning and was excessively messy - juicing two buckets of black grapes, but it does taste good.
Brett has spent the last few days preparing for winter - chainsawing logs (the olive wood he pruned in the winter), he has a nice full woodshed now.
There was an impressive electrical storm tonight, unfortunately impossible to photograph.
Brett spent the whole day saying "this is the last time we do tapas"! - it was an awful lot of work for one meal.
But it was also a great success. We started the evening telling everyone to pace themselves as we had prepared nine courses and Mieke had brought another. The idea was to eat a course, then have a 15 - 30 min rest/drink/chat between dishes - by 9.30 we'd only had four courses! We had olives to start (orange infused, quite interesting), followed by the tapas dishes:
1. Black pudding on toast with mango couli - only one per person so it all got eaten.
2. Devilled eggs - I made 24, they all went.
3. Pork, beans, chorizo and black pudding stew - Brett made a lot saying he would freeze the left overs ... there wasn't enough to freeze! And by now I was beginning to feel full!!!
4. Fishcakes with mago chutney - I made 24, they all went.
5. Tomato tarts - people were starting to slowdown now, most only had 2 or 3 each.
6. Pickled octopus - very popular, it nearly all went.
7. Tortilla (Spanish omlette) - appetites definitely declining now.
8. Tapenade on toast - I didn't even bother to serve this as everyone was groaning and we still had pudding to come!
9. Grape sorbet - this was quite popular as it was light.
10. Mieke's chocolate gateaux ....... (phew).
My goodness our bellies were very full!!!
I went to bed feeling quite uncomfortable.
It was really cool today (hooray), we didn't even have free hot water for the washing up (from last evening).
I made Sangria last evening, so I didn't have a hangover; but we were tired after yesterday so had a lazy Sunday.
Yippee Henry says he's coming to visit next month, well in about two weeks; I'm so happy! And Will and family are coming October halfterm ...... happy, happy, happy ......
Brett continued chainsawing and chopping wood.
I sorted out more stuff for the next carboot sale; I'm being really good, I'm putting in pictures, mirrors, curtains - all kinds of things that I really like but don't have room for. And while I was sorting through boxes I found a pair of Sketcher shoes I had forgotten about - thay are very pretty, sparkly and comfortable 😀.
OK I'm not happy - it looks like Will & Gill won't be coming in October 😢😭😪😥 I'm really not happy, in fact I'm very sad!
Poor old Lili had to go to the vet in CB; her bladder infection, or whatever it is, is back. She is petrified of the car and will do anything to avoid getting in it. Unfortunately she has to go back next week, for blood tests (he couldn't do it today as the blood is collected and taken to Porto and next collection is next Monday). He's given us a tablet to calm her down next time she goes in the car ☺. He's also told us to bring a urine sample (her's obviously) with us - collecting that's going to be interesting!
The figs are ripe (maincrop); we have masses of them and need ideas for using them - there's no point in drying them as we still have two very large jars from last year. I've made more sweet fig vinegar (which is delicious) from, my new favourite cookery writer, Diana Henry's book, Salt Sugar Smoke (thanks for the loan Nicky). And I've stuffed them with cream cheese/blue cheese/ham etc, and eaten them for breakfast with yoghurt and honey - but what else? We have lots of fig trees!
Haha, the kittens can get in and out of the dog shed (even when the door is shut). So now when we go out and leave the dogs in the shed (their safe place, they love going in there) we come back to two dogs and two kittens in there - they get on really well.
We're starting to reap the harvest from our Portuguese gardening experiment (planting in channels) which we started two months ago; today I harvested the first french and metre long beans,
Brett went on another bike ride with Matt; 40 miles this time including both ways, up and down a horrendous hill (I'd have got off and pushed my bike!).
I stayed home and did the washing - still loving the twin tub.
First dressmade from sheeting and dyed.
Second dress (my favourite) crinkle look linen!
I found the fabric I bought last year, another linen this time a kind of mushroom colour (ok beige!); I made another dress, this one is longer than the others and I've put elasticated details on the hem and pockets - Brett wants me to make them more fitted!The Hub was having an Irish themed evening tonight, but we didn't go as we had been invited to dinner at C&D's. It was a lovely evening; they are so easy to converse with, we got home about 12.30.
It's hot again; 40 in the shade.
Usually 20€ top up, on the Portuguese phone, lasts for about 4 months, it's hardly used as most communication is done via Facebook (free!). But somehow we used 20€ in less than a month - we discovered it's all the apps running in the background (which I thought I had switched off) of the new phone - Brett spent the morning individually 'disabling background' on all the apps (which we NEVER use but can't delete) bloody smart phones!!!
Oh dear the kittens have discovered our house! They don't understand that they live over the other side by the vegetable garden.
I added some lace detail to the hem and pockets of yesterday's dress. China shops sell really nice cotten lace and it's very cheap; I think there was about 10 metres on this reel, it cost a mere 3,75€ - that's less than £3!!!
An English family, who are holidaying on a quinta in our village, turned up with towels, shampoo etc. Lola had invited them round for showers as the well on their quinta has dried up and they have no water at all - so can't wash, wash up, wash clothes etc and they're here for three weeks. Of course they can collect water from the village fontes (like we do for our drinking water) but they are very slow now. One of Lola's neighbours said it was the worst drought he'd ever known and he's been here for 47 years (his well is dry for the first time). Vince said the barragems (resevoirs) that supply the mains water to the villages are way down now.
Brett scarified the vegetable garden and bottom field ready for the rain and winter planting (all our Portuguese neighbours are planting cabbage plugs atm).
It rained in the night; not for long but heavy enough to wake me up - everyone is hoping for rain.
Our vegetable garden is taking off (autumn is like spring in the garden here, funnily even without rain, maybe is something to do with shorter daylight hours?); today I picked five different types of beans (metre long, borlotti, purple, yellow and a kind of flat runner that's popular here), not masses yet but enough for a meal, plus courgettes, and we have lots starting - peppers, aubergines, cucumbers .... and we still have tomatoes.
Look what Brett made (from a sardine tin and a bamboo stick);
It's for collecting Lili's pee (we've washed the tin well and sterilised it in boiling water).
Oh dear C&D invited us to the bar for drinks; I said ok as long as were home by 6.30-7.00 - we got home at 8.15!!!
The 'pee collector' worked! In fact it was easy; the hardest bit was walking back from the field trying not to spill it - I forgot to take the sample pot with me!
Wow we had a proper thunder storm today with real rain! Which means we didn't have to water this evening, always a bonus.
At 12.30 we gave Lili the pill the vet gave us last week, to calm her down when travelling in the car, (he said give it to her about an hour before the journey). It didn't seem to make much difference; although we tried to convince ourselves she didn't appear as stressed as usual! We saw a different vet, who tested her pee, said she had a slight infection and that her urine was less acid than it should be, but her kidneys and liver seem ok. We came home with a load of pills (antibiotics x 2 and anti-inflamatories) and 45€ poorer. He didn't want to take blood this time; he said to see how the medicines went this week, but suggested she might have kidney/bladder stones (because of the alkaline urine) and said to give her vitamin C (which I haven't found yet except the effervescent type or really expensive pills, 14€).
At 5.15 her legs start going all wobbly, she couldn't stand - if she was human you'd have thought she was drunk! I phoned the vet, in a panic, asking if it could be the pill we gave her - yes, it has an 8-10 hour working period! She spent the next couple of hours just lying limply on her bed; but she still demanded her dinner (I had decided she shouldn't be eating as she was sedated, but she was probably on 'happy pills' and had the 'munchies') by 7.30 she was telling us it was time to feed the sheep and goats (for some reason the morning and evening goat/sheep feeding is her favourite part of the day). When we came in at 8.00 she ate a second meal (definitely the 'munchies'!) and after that was back to normal; we won't be giving her those pills again though.
We were rudely awoken at 2.00 a.m. by growling dogs; they were being so aggressive we had to separate them, we brought Looby in with us. For the next hour we were serenaded by a, very unhappy, whining Lili; until she cried herself to sleep! She was back to her usual happy self by this morning.
Lili had to take 5 pills this morning! We put them all into one piece of goat cheese, rolled it into a ball, and she swallowed them in one gulp - exceedingly easy, let's hope they make her well.
Brett's next job is roofing a ruin in the pig run before the rains set in; the pigs are way too big for their original shelter, only one can fit in at a time!
I am trying to print on fabric, transferring images off paper that have been printed from my laser printer, using nail polish remover. I've spent a frustrating afternoon trying to work out how to get a mirror image of a text box - I can mirror pictures and wordart but not text, I'm convinced there should be an option on my printer but I can't find it!
Well I found quite convoluted method to do it (mirror text); I created my document in word, cut and pasted it into paint, flipped it in paint, saved it as jpeg, then inserted back into word to print (phew!).
I'm so worried about 'my' kittens; they were last in our garden Monday morning. This morning we could hear a cat meowing from the quinta next door. Brett went over; it's the girl kitten and she's locked in the shed, locked metal doors, no way to break her out and no sign of the boy. Brett says they could have been locked in on purpose (to catch mice), I'm worried it was an accident and she has no water (she sounds perfectly well, but desperate to get out). Problem is they're not really mine, I'm just stealing them (as the female next door has them all the time and they just disappear) - if she's not out by tomorrow morning we're going to the village to search for the quinta owner, Pimenta.
I've sewn labels on the backs of my new dresses;
The kitten was still calling when we went up to do the sheep and goats - it's heart breaking.
First thing this morning we went to the shop where Pimenta's brother works; Pimenta was there! We told him about the kitten and he promised to release her. Meantime I didn't want to go over the other side of the quinta in case she was still lock in.
Brett carried on with the pig shed and I 'spring cleaned' the kitchen.
Hip, hip, hoorah the kitten was there when we went to do the sheep and goats (still no sign of the male kitten though 😢).
Happy BIrthday Sarah. XXX
The female kitten is still around 😀 but no sign of the male and, I know I shouldn't say it but, he was my favourite - he was soooo pretty, where could he have got to?
Portuguese lessons restart tomorrow; I'm not looking forward to that, I had meant to do the Michel Thomas course over the summer - of course I did nothing!
Language class wasn't too bad, but I don't think Brett will keep coming - I'll have to force myself to keep attending. Pedro has organised another class trip ... to Lisbon!!! Very exciting, as long as we can find someone to put our animals away for us (it's in October so they'll be going away quite early).
Pam, Lou and I are going to Valverde on Thursday to buy material.
Still no sign of male kitten, this is day six so I'm afraid that he might have gone for good - one of Richie's cats disappeared two weeks ago, it's horrible not knowing.
Today I have prepared a whole load of peaches for drying (they're not ripening on the tree and they're beginning to drop).
5.00 found a group (C&D, Andrew, Richie, Baptiste and us) of us at Bar do Clube 'watching' the football (Wayne Rooney equalling Bobby Charlton's number of goals for England - as if I care!); of course we didn't get back until dark (poor animals).
I invited Di to the 'girlie' trip on Thursday.
The kitten wasn't around this morning but I didn't worry as there were children at Pimenta's quinta.
I can stop moaning about my beans; at last I am picking daily.
The last dress I made was way too big (I cut it out exactly like the other two but manage to add several inches to the width); I spent the morning altering it - fiddly work but it looks much better now.