Storming ahead

Storming ahead

A stormy start to November, with Ciarán doing its best to leave a mark. Not as destructive as the tornado that hit Jersey but certainly enough to whip up the waves to destroy the boardwalk and paths down to the beach. Betty didn’t care, she was delighted to be running along the sand once again, it’s been a number of years since we have taken her to the seaside.

No shells for us to collect but lots of lovely colourful pebbles, and we were delighted to find some mermaids’ purses amongst the seaweed. The ones we found are the eggcases of spotted rays.

This was during one of our Friday walks which we are trying to keep to as our daily dog walks have been curtailed by Betty’s reluctance to walk along the local river, even when the ecovia is not flooded. She has been freaked out by the fireworks the villages use to celebrate their saints’ festive days. Another week we returned for a stroll along the Minho, this time passing fields and fields of kiwi plantations. And yes, our coat pockets were a little fuller once we got back to the car. They are delicious. Come lunchtime Betty is usually exhausted which enables us to have a leisurely lunch while she snoozes in the back of the car.

November is the best month for dealing with the trees. Aware we have a number of overgrown ones on our land, which we have no idea how to deal with, we decided to ask at a local garden centre for some help. And help we got. In next to no time Miguel was climbing over the branches of the fig tree throwing his chainsaw left and right and reducing the tangled mess to a sparse skeleton. It seemed to happen so quickly, we stood there and went Oh! All I can say is that I do hope the books are right and fig trees recover from a severe pruning as well as olive trees…

He also pruned an apple and a pear tree (not quite so drastically), and reduced the chestnut that was threatening to fall into the road below. We have planted a Christmas tree and a small holly bush.

Meanwhile the plumber and electricians working inside the house have come and gone leaving a complicated mass of tubing everywhere which the workers have already covered with cement.

We have gone from this (discussing the kitchen layout)…

…to this in a month. Seeing the plans taking on a three dimensional form has been both exciting and a tad worrying. The workers have only once before used bricks for the cabinets and partitions (they are doing the same for the wardrobes downstairs), and are as intrigued as us as to how it will all look in the end. We have bought a fridge, ovens, induction stove top thingy, a dishwasher and washing machine. We brought up the small freezer from Casa Azul which will live in the pantry (just don’t mention the Ikea sink we want which is no longer available in Portugal or Spain at the moment…). We’re hoping the flooring is ready now for the final layer before the tiling.

Despite the rain, much of the external granite around the outside of the house, and on the steps, has been laid. The window people in October said they should be ready by the end of December, so once they’re in, probably January, that will make a huge difference.

So not exactly the drier November we had been hoping for but we are pleased that progress on the house continues, and of course the countryside looks lovely and green. Mild temperatures mean it still feels very autumnal, it’s forecast 18 degrees next week! Snow, however, is not unusual on the mountaintops of the Peneda-Gerês National Park which rise to over 1500m. We can always go there if we want to wrap up and enjoy a walk in a more wintry landscape instead.

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