Wednesday, 1 November 2017


12th October
As I'm not sleeping well (keeping my ears open for dogs) I tend to get up early - it's still dark at 7.00; this morning I used the time to post my blog.
It's still HOT ....
Today was our fermentation group meeting at Kimberley's; not a big turnout, just six of us - Kimberley (obviously), Nicky (my driver) & me, Emma & Maria (mount of oaks) and Noya (& Emma, her daughter). I just made a small jar of kimchi.

13th October
Today I tried to finish organising the secondhand stuff for the carboot. Tomorrow I will sort out some of my glass which is ready to sell.
I will be returning to the UK for 10 days to a fortnight at the beginning of November - now I have the fun job of looking for flights.

14th October
A bit cooler today (28C) and rather cloudy - we might even get rain next week!
I spent most of the day in the studio sorting out stock for the carboot; I have masses, it will be interesting to see if it sells - I've put ridiculously low prices on everything (priced to sell).
There are new owners at Bar do Clube, these ones do food! So we're going to try it out tonight with Andrew and Lola & Vince.

15th October
We had a brilliant evening and came home very full. They don't really cater for vegetarians but the lady insisted on cooking a tuna omelette for Andrew, whilst the rest of us snacked on ..... presunto , chorizo and cheese, chicken gizzards, pica-pau (pork cooked in beer or woodpecker), black pudding and bread (as I said they don't cater for veggies!).
I've booked my flights to the UK; I leave on the 2nd Nov and return on the 15th.
Between midnight and 19.00 (19 hours) there have been 303 wildfires today, the most in one day for the year. We can see smoke on the horizon and every other post on Facebook is photos of fires, over 5000 firefighters are deployed.
Wow I have a lovely considerate family (especially my niece); Melanie is going to pick me up from the airport and drop me back - so I don't have to worry about traveling in the UK (apparently you can no longer use cash to buy tube or train tickets!).

16th October
Happy 70th Malcolm! Xxx
The fires are bad; 30+ people dead, loads injured and some missing. Hopefully it will rain tonight.
Bloody hell, poor little Bonnie was smelly; she had maggots under her (dog bite) scab - all gone now!
We went into CB to buy plaster and stuff for the bathroom.
The other day Lola commented that you could go into a Farmacia (pharmacy) and buy medicines without a prescription; as I'm on a couple of pills daily (and have to pay to see a doctor to write out a prescription for them) I thought I'd try it out - it's true, I just asked/showed the old container and I could buy however many I wanted!
I'm having to come up with some type of display stand, for my hanging glass pieces, (I was going to use the old, stand alone, clothes airier, but I can't find it); it's not going well - I'm not happy (big sulks).
So we're off to bed with the promise of heavy rain overnight and tomorrow ........

17th October
04.00 RAIN, thunder & lightning (of course now I worried about the goats and sheep being out in it).
The site showed no active fires this morning .......... But this weekend was bad, so many have lost their quintas and possessions (and at least 36 lives .....).
Very dull day = poor solar so we had the generator on - I did a batch of sandblasting.
Sorting though the fridge today, we had to give the pigs a whole load of over ripe cheese (Mozzarella and Feta) - I'm not at all happy about that .....
Nicky, Erd & Taliss are coming to dinner tomorrow, so I made chocolate mousse.

18th October
Paypal have resolved our dispute, re the milking machine, IN OUR FAVOUR!!!!!!! £373.10 will be credited to our account ........ (he'll probably appeal).
Noooooo, our really expensive, 11 month old, generator has broken!!!!! Which means (1) I can't use my kiln atm but, more importantly, (2) we can't run the water pump to fill the animal's water.  It is under warranty; but, until we hear differently, we worry that whatever has happened isn't covered.
We had fun with Nicky, Erd and Taliss. Taliss had Looby on a lead and was walking her around the kitchen table - she such a sweet natured dog.

19th October
So today we had to go into CB to buy a cheap (260€) generator, just so that we could do the animal's water.
I bought a clothes airier to display my hanging glass (panels, bunting, suncatchers) from at the car boot - I will tie it in the back of the truck so it can't fall over.

20th October
Boring day today, finishing off glass panels (soldering on rings etc to hang them from) and packing everything up for the carboot tomorrow.
It's suddenly gone cold - tomorrow we will light the range.

21st October
We were up early (for us), animals fed and milked by 8.45 so that we could get to the carboot as near to 9.00 as possible.
When I mentioned to somebody that there weren't as many buyers as last month she said "that's because they all have stalls this month" and she was right, masses of stalls this month (lots selling food), but not so many customers. We still managed to take over 100€; I sold a glass dish, a string of bunting and some suncatchers (68.50), so not too bad and I might do a couple of days at the Christmas market in Penamacor.

22nd October
WE GOT OUR MONEY BACK (all £373.10) for the milking machine!!! Good old Paypal. Funny thing is we still can't pay using the paypal account as our address is in Portugal so they want us to open a Portuguese Paypal account but we don't have a Portuguese bank - it's all very complicated.

23rd October
The end of the summer was declared today by the dismantling of the pool. The water in it was thick and green!
We are about to have a very social week so I did a proper house clean (a hated task).

24th October
Nicky and Taliss came round for a sewing day. Poor old Nicky she isn't get anywhere fast as I keep unpicking her work! Which is only fair as they, mainly Taliss, completely destroyed my house tidying; it looked like a bomb had dropped when they left and I was shattered, Taliss is very demanding "play with me" is her constant plea (she's a fabulous child).

25th October
Tristan & Natalie came for lunch (chicken and salad wraps, chocolate mousse). They are proper gardeners (they used to grow and sell organic veg, on a large scale, back in the UK), they are also very keen fungi foragers (Tristan even knows Roger Phillips!!!!); we think, between the four of us, we have identified one of the boletus mushrooms that grows on our land (under oak trees) as a Butyriboletus appendiculatus/boletus appendiculatus/butter boletes, if we are correct it IS edible - so we a terribly excited.

26th October
Happy Birthday Lawrence XXX
We met Kevin & Wendy (and Melanie, Kevin's sister) in Castelo Nova for lunch.
It was a very sobering drive from Vale De Prazeres, Alpedrinha, and onto Castelo Nova; we drove through, literally, acres and acres of burnt woodland and mountainside. These villages were surrounded on all sides by fire and in parts the fire was actually amongst the houses, it must have been terrifying.
Castelo Nova is a picturesque village with a castle ruin at the top. Lunch was well cooked, a little expensive (15€ per head), the restaurant was very popular.
Bugger, our generator warranty isn't valid in Portugal, UK only (they didn't tell us that when they shipped it out to us); so we've got to find Hyundai service engineers here (or just pay someone to fix it, which is what will probably happen anyway!).
Tomorrow we have Andrew, Chris & Di coming for dinner (veggie) and I want to make gram flour (from our chickpeas), to make onion bhajis with. I have attempted this with both my big and small food processors/grinders but all I acheived was a very loud noise and slightly bruised chickpeas .......
Tomorrow I will try the liquidiser/blender (our ears couldn't take anymore this evening!).

27th October
The liquidiser/blender worked to an extent - giving a rather coarse flour. Fortunately we had to go into CB this morning (to buy Brett something to wear on his cycle ride), so we bought a coffee grinder hoping it would grind the flour finer.
Grinding chickpeas to make gram flour: stage (1) liquidiser/blender (coarse flour) stage (2) coffee grinder (finer flour).
Cooking vegetarian curries for this evening (green banana and coconut, chickpea and black eyed bean dahl) and making fresh coconut chutney (my favourite).

28th October
I snook off to bed around midnight, I was falling asleep. The bhajis and pickles (fresh coconut, brinjal and fermented lime) were a great success and very filling. I'm not so sure about the banana curry!!! It was a boozy affair and this morning we are both a trifle delicate.
Billy somehow managed to get over the fence and off quinta, he was desperate to get back; Brett had to lead him through Elise's (Gary's) quinta and the eucalyptus wood back onto our quinta (we don't know how he got out).
We walked around all our fields assessing our olives - the trees are dripping with fruit, we will start harvesting on my return.
The government has already extended the fire ban twice (we are not allowed bonfires, barbecues, to use metal bladed strimmers etc) throughout the summer (usually May to the beginning of October), it's now been put back to the 15th November.
This evening Sasha & Chris's family are having a festa/rave type event (with trance music) - not my cup of tea, but we are going!

29th October
Well it was just like any other expat gathering, everyone standing around the bar drinking and talking - they were selling G&Ts for 1€ (guess what I was drinking).
Brett went for a bike ride whilst I made Welsh cakes as Diane & John (Diane & Thomas's neighbours) were coming for afternoon tea.

30th October
Today we gardened. We sowed carrots, parsnips, beetroot, radish, metre long beans, fava beans, weeded and prepared trenches for future sowings.

31st October
I hate days like today - dealing with bureaucracy, (1) in a foreign language and (2) over the phone (fortunately not both at the same time!); firstly the medical centre said I had to register with a doctor, to do this I needed a Social Security number. Our first obstacle was finding the Social Security office (we drove and walked around in circles looking for it), then I was told I couldn't have a number as I don't work, we were informed I needed to get a form from the UK proving that the NHS will pay my medical bills. Found out this is an S1 form.
Next I had to phone the 'fraud squad' at my bank because I wanted to move some of MY MONEY from my account to another account (in my name) - I've done it several times before, this time I got a big red box declining my payment and telling me to phone them. Their security questions were very detailed asking me what type of device I was using to access my account, who provided our internet, my middle names, which branch I opened my account at (I got that wrong!), my address when I opened the account, what age I would be next birthday, maiden name, they went on and on .......
And finally phoning DWP to request the S1 form; again answering loads of questions to verify who I am, re-spelling our Portuguese address and our Welsh email address several times (using alpha, papa, delta, echo etc which I don't know so I'm saying apple, pig, dog, elephant etc) before (I think) she got them down correctly.