The dig

The dig

We are greeted, on our morning dog walk down to the river, with quite a cacophony of sounds. Leading the charge are the thrushes. There are a number perched high on top of the chestnuts, easily spotted on the leafless branches, calling out a series of repetitive screeches and squawks. It’s not at all musical, I’m not sure why they are called song thrushes. They are joined by the more pleasant warbles of the robins and wrens, the flute-like song of the black caps, the descending rattle of the chaffinches and the soft coo of the collared doves. The great tits are squeaking, the green wood peckers laughing and the jays give off a harsh rasping sound when alarmed. Spring is in the air!

Many of the trees are beginning to turn a soft green or brown as new leaf buds emerge, and there’s plenty of blossom on the cherry and almond trees. We miss the orchids but have been pleasantly surprised to find some new woodland flowers. On the left we think is anemone nemorosa, the wood anemone, but this seems to be very rare in Portugal. And on the right we found these beautiful white daffodils, narcissus triandrus, which are commonly called angels’ tears. We had never seen them before and they really are delightful.

Talking of trees, we have been planting some saplings in the little field below the house. With all our concentration focused on the house itself we’ve found it difficult to decide what to do with it. We know we’d like a pond again, and some raised beds for vegetables, but apart from that we don’t know. That hasn’t stopped us from buying trees though and planting them somewhat haphazardly. We have bought a holly, greengage, yellow plum, tilia (linden), red acer, lemon and a number of firs. More recently we added a mulberry, peach, quince and hazelnut. The fruit trees are in the area we are grandly calling The Orchard… Not forgetting the many plants we have put in that were taken as cuttings from Casa Azul which include different coloured flowering buddleias, prickly pears, a gooseberry bush and a couple of elders plus others I can’t remember. I think we have put in almost 50 plants.

There’s a whole area in the front of the house where we have avoided planting anything, the machines coming in and out make that impossible. However, even a few plants below the olive trees at the back of the house were not safe. We arrived on site to discover a mammoth hole in the ground for the septic tank and some casualties as the digger charged around. Luckily the existing tangerine trees have escaped so far.

There are two parts to the system. The first is the tank which separates the waste into scum, which rises to the top, sludge, which sits on the bottom, and wastewater. The wastewater then travels down a pipe to the soak-away. It looked a real mess for a few days but most of it has been covered up now. With the field in mind we do now slightly regret not having a separate pipe for the grey water but again, with so many things to consider, it slipped our minds.

Meanwhile the main work in the house has been the tiling. All of the granite slabs around the house, on the two external stairways and under the balcony have now been laid.

Unfortunately, there has been a slight set back with the internal floor tiles. No fewer than 10 boxes arrived broken which meant there were not enough tiles to finish the work in one go. The replacements came a week later than expected and as no one can walk on the floor until they’re finished it’s meant downing tools. That’s been a bit disappointing. We weren’t too sure, seeing the huge floor tiles for the first time, whether we had made the right choice with them but now they are all down we think they look nice and go well with the granite walls.

The bathroom tiles have been done too. The kitchen ones will be done after it’s been fitted out. The builder bloke says the windows will be in come the beginning of March, that will make a huge difference. The carpenter has all the information about doors and cabinets and stair treads, and the railing man has been round to take measurements. There’s the first coat of painting to come which will be followed by the plumbers and electricians returning to install their bits and bobs.

So we’re still hoping to move in sometime in April. Fingers still crossed.

One thought on “The dig

  1. WOW! Looking good. Are you really going to move in n April? That would be great. Ill keep my fingers crossed that the windows and services all get done in time. Love the daffodils… x

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