Oh my, oh my, oh my. Another two weeks have passed and I’m only just getting around to writing a blog. Whoops. But hey, it’s not a big deal. The new blog is here now.
Previously, and mainly when in employment, I would’ve beaten myself up for missing deadlines and not being 100% professional. I was in a cycle in that I would convince myself that nothing would ever be good enough and that exceeding expectations was non-negotiable. Failure was never an option.
Now, I realise that most of this was self-inflicted. Maybe a good analogy is comparing myself to a washing machine. Stick with me here. And before you question, yes I know what a washing machine is, how to use it and how to strip one down, repair and rebuild it. I sold white goods for long enough.
Comparing life to a washing machine. I’ve lost it…..
So back to my analogy. Previously there was never a “quick wash”. You know, the wash that is supposed to take between 10-15 minutes and the clothes come out as good as a full wash. But we all know that’s not the case and while I’d do a quick wash, often it wasn’t good enough, so I’d end up doing a full wash. Defeating the time-saving option.
On the other hand, the “economy cycle” is typically the longest cycle. I know, it doesn’t make sense. But the economy cycle does save water and energy, but it doesn’t save time. It’s a trade-off between short-term savings on cost, but taking a long time to complete, and in business, time is money (and often the most expensive part).
I would typically aim to do an “economy cycle” on a “quick wash”. And this isn’t necessarily a good match. But I’d have a good go. Mainly by trying to adjust the spin cycle. I reckon I’d typically be working at 1,000 rpm as my base level (too fast for quite a few things, especially wool and natural fibre clothing), but I’d always be aiming to reach 1,200 rpm. When I got there, that wasn’t good enough so let’s go for 1,400 rpm.
Working the washing machine constantly at this higher spin speed wears the motor out much quicker and the clothes don’t come out quite as dry. So, I’d end up increasing the spin rate to get the same result. Not sure that’s the correct approach, but as someone who was only focused on the ultimate result, and wanted it to happen as soon as possible (tomorrow was too late), it needed to be done.
I could go on about using the pre-wash option, the quantity of powder you put in your washing machine, or the damage that liquid capsules do to the environment, but I’ll save you those details.
However, the final thing I’ll leave with you is that once the washing machine cycle has finished, that is when the real work begins of hanging the clothes out to dry before ironing, folding and putting them away. You do need to be a completer/finisher when doing the washing. Oh my, that is so much corporate speak!
Maybe I should also do a quick shout-out to some of the people who I previously worked with as I tended to be the person who got the clothes dirty and put them in the washing machine but rarely did any of the work thereafter. Sorry guys, but thanks for picking the work up thereafter – you know who you are, and far better at doing the detail than I ever was!
So how does this all relate to living in Portugal?
Firstly, the economy cycle is the norm. The focus is on the efficient use of materials and energy, and that time is less relevant. I feel that everyone appreciates time here in Portugal more than I’ve ever personally appreciated it before. Adjusting to the slower pace, and better quality of life hasn’t been particularly easy, but I feel better about it.
I’ve realised it’s OK not to get out of third gear too often. Yes, work needs to be done, and gets done, but without the intensity and pressure of exceeding unrealistic expectations. It doesn’t really matter if there are a few extra weeds or if the floor hasn’t been swept.
Being so wrapped up in employment and allowing it to encompass every component, and often almost all waking hours, of my life was unhealthy. But sometimes you must experience something before you realise the impact of it before forcing the change.
Yes, I have a washing machine, but I’m content with it taking as long as it needs to. I’ve got over the impatience of waiting for the washing machine to finish its cycle because I’ve come to realise it’s the same as waiting for the kettle to boil, they both take forever.
More importantly, this change is making me braver in lowering my barriers, fears and anxieties in reaching out and meeting new people. This fortnight I’ve welcomed several new friends to have a stroll around the quinta and met a few other people for coffee, including going to the Historic Rally in Serta.
Apprehensively I went to a barbecue hosted by a lovely couple I met on the olive pruning course. I did though begin to consider which excuse I could use to avoid going. I considered that I needed to fix the water pump on the well (something I have done this week) or the washing machine cycle hasn’t finished.
But I went, and after the nervous, sick feeling as I arrived, it was fine. I met so many people who live relatively close to me, and who are doing similar things. With a real European mix of German, Dutch, French and Portuguese people, it was great. I am incredibly grateful that every other European country puts so much emphasis on learning foreign languages, and am in awe that they all speak better English than me!
Small steps, but quite big strides for me. As I write, I’m also conscious of time as I am due to pop out for a coffee to meet some other people and later, I’m off out for supper. To everyone who has reached out, or responded to me reaching out, thank you.
I regularly pop in to see another couple for a coffee at least weekly. They have helped me with many local contacts and pieces of advice and guidance and in the last couple I’ve weeks I’ve been able to repay their generosity by clearing some of their lands.
Next week I’m looking forward to visiting other friends to see progress on their land and catch up on their recent adventures. I’ll be in touch so we can arrange a convenient time!
But wait….. What about an update from the quinta?
A quick summary. Olive tree pruning completed. Piles of branches ready to be shredded. Strawberry plants planted (lots of them and kindly gifted to me). Broccoli heads are emerging. Carrots, onions, lettuce, radish and mangetout are growing rapidly.
The grapevines are all coming alive and new leaves are in abundance. Lots of weeding at the base of each vine (thousand plus). Created new, giant compost piles. Some areas in need strimming which will be done over the next week.
As mentioned, the water pump on one of the wells has been repaired (proud achievement). And some general tidying, clearing and maintenance.
Finally, when I moved to Portugal, I purchased a watermelon on 1 August 2022. I kept the seeds and planted them a few weeks ago. I had no idea whether any would grow, but judging by the amount that is successfully showing they are hungry for some sun, I’m going to have a bumper crop.
Overall, I’m really pleased with the progress. There is a lot of work, but I’m on economy cycle. Less energy, and a longer time is acceptable.
I know I say it every time, but hopefully, I’ll get back to a weekly blog next week!
As always, thank you for taking the time to read my blog.
Thank you, your continued support is much appreciated, and I am grateful for your interest in my adventure in Portugal!
Melhores cumprimentos. Até logo.