… and we shall have snow!

Certainly not shorts and t-shirt weather today – even for a couple of hardy English Northerners.  The wind was rattling around the plot blowing around everything that wasn’t fastened down and we received a message from the Hipwell’s letting us know that they had snow in Lourical.   Definitely not what we were expecting, but we were assured that this is not un-heard of in this area.  Our morning walk was a chilly one feeling the icy north eastern blast from the Gardunha’s especially at the barn side of the longhouse.  Down on the bottom plot we recovered a garden waste bag that had been blown down the terraces.

As we walked, we chatted about how the day would pan out, grateful that although we were working outside, we would be lighting bonfires which should keep us nice and warm.

Wanting to make sure nothing unexpected happened, we were careful to do everything as safely as possible, we made sure that we had a hosepipe set up in case any sparks blew across the plot and ignited any of the dry grass.  The fire was piled up in an orderly fashion and we used a little bit of paraffin to set it alight.  It struggled to do anything worthy of being called a bonfire, so we tried a little more of the paraffin.  Over an hour later Mark was starting to feel very chilly as the bonfire still wasn’t catching hold.  He went back up to the compound to collect some of the old wood to try and encourage a flame.  Thankfully, this seemed to do the trick and there was soon a roaring fire.  It was quite windy so we had to be mindful of sparks blowing onto the dry grass and stamp them out before they caught fire.

In all,  there were 4 fires on three different terraces and it took most of the day to get everything burned. 

I decided to go back to the annexe and work outside there.  It is much more sheltered there and the wind didn’t venture that far so I set about cutting back some of the lower branches of the olive trees and the suckers so that we would be able to get the tractor through to the annexe much easier.  It also meant that today’s cuttings could be put on the bonfires instead of creating a pile of waste.  Getting stuck in with the loppers, I was amazed when I looked round to see just how many branches were laying on the ground.  I couldn’t reach the top most branches so left these for Mark to do another day.

I’d only managed to get one of the olives trees weeded and tided up last weekend, so the remaining one was next on my to do list.  As well as weeds, I found buried in the rubbish an old thermometer, a trowel and a ceramic plate.  


Mid-morning, and it was our turn to get more than the few flakes of snow that we had seen so far.  Mark was now well away with his bonfire and warm and toasty (although smelly) so I headed indoors to keep dry and got on with prepping for dinner, cleaning our little room and changing the bedding. 

Aware that it starts to get dark around 4pm and by 5.30 it is pitch black, we were keen to make sure we were done before then.  Wanting to get rid of a lot of rubbish from the courtyard, and also the furniture left in the longhouse that we don’t want, we carried it all outside to wait its turn for the fire.  

Last job of the day, was our customary walk around the plot with Wanda.  Although there were some red embers in the fires, happy there was no danger of re-igniting, we made out way back to the annexe looking forward to the lovely bubble bath that we had promised ourselves.  

I chose some dove bubble bath and a lovely soap rose that I had received as a gift and switched on the hot tap.  Disaster, it wouldn’t heat up and all I could get out was freezing cold water.  We do find that this boiler can be a bit temperamental, but try as we might we couldn’t coax it to perform as it should.  Stinking of bonfires and desperately wanting our bath there was nothing to it but to boil the kettle, heat up pans of water on the cooker and carry it through to the bathroom.  Eventually we had enough water in the tub.  The saying “if it’s worth having, its worth waiting for” came to mind as we enjoyed our soak and cleaned ourselves up ready for dinner. 



Hoping that a new day would give our tired old boiler a new lease of life, we turned in.

Published by vinhadasalmas

a couple of fifty somethings who want to start a new life in rural Portugal

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