It is amazing how fast time goes and how busy I can be when I don’t have too much structure to my days. This last week though has given me some fixed appointments and the chance to roll my sleeves up and help with the colheitha.
Uvas, mais uvas e ainda mais uvas [grapes, more grapes and even more grapes].
Colheita da vindima
As an introvert living in a country where I don’t know their customs, language or just basic daily life, I need to put myself out of my comfort zone regularly.
This week, I feel I can firmly pat myself on the back as I helped a Portuguese vigneron with his colheita da vindima [vintage harvest]. As this was in the deepest interior of Portugal, I knew communication wasn’t going to be in English.
I arrived early as old habits are difficult to change. So, I sat in some shade awaiting Antonio’s arrival. And I waited. I was just getting to the point of thinking I got the wrong day when a car turned up. Followed by another, and another.
My comprehension of the work involved appeared to be wildly off the mark given the five people who arrived. But still no Antonio.
After a “bom dia” and some very basic Portuguese, we head up to the vineyard. Shortly after, Antonio arrives in his pickup and almost immediately, the team are at work. Clearly, this “vintage” team are experts, regularly work together, and everyone had a job.
Already I felt like a spare part, but sleeves rolled up, I just got stuck in. I watched and followed. Got ticked off a couple of times. But by the end of the day, I realised how much effort goes into making wine.
I am reliably informed that this year’s vintage should be a good one. While there were fewer grapes due to the extreme heat and lack of rainfall, the grapes were of higher quality and still produced more than 500 litres. I hope at some point, I will get a taste test.
It was a great insight into how the Portuguese have been making wine for hundreds of years and I am really pleased I joined the crew.
The last week has definitely been the colheita da vindima in the local area. Everywhere people are out picking grapes, the pickups are loaded with dornas and blue barrels and there is just a hive of activity around gardens and vineyards.
There was another harvest where I am sure an extra pair of hands would’ve been welcomed although this coincided with helping Antonio (sorry Jaz). And my neighbour’s plans changed for his harvest which meant I couldn’t help him either.
Matriculation of the car
Progress has been made in matriculating my car. I have all the paperwork for the car, including the stamped certificate from the Portuguese Consulate in London and I thought, I had everything required for it.
However, it transpires I must provide all the paperwork I provided in London again here in Portugal. Not a problem, although after eight weeks in Portugal, the Portuguese bureaucracy has finally caught up with me.
The car was given an initial check and the only thing that needs to be done is my fog and reverse lights need to be swapped sides. I’m advised it’s a ten-minute job. But the administration will be much longer!
This week has also taken me to the big city of Castelo Branco. Ok, not that big, but it’s the district’s capital.
There were a couple of items I needed to buy that I haven’t managed to locate locally so off to the “smoke” I ventured.
In addition to buying both the items I wanted, I took the time to visit the various builders’ merchants, agriculture, garden and home shops to help familiarise myself and begin to think slightly longer-term than amanhã.
As I’m writing, I am sure people must think I lead such a boring life and how going to a large town is so exciting. For reassurance, it’s not that boring!
Despite being quite busy with “different” things, I have still managed to get my walking boots on once. With cooler weather and a pleasant breeze even in the midday sun, it is good walking weather.
The mountains aren’t getting any easier though, but I have noticed my pace has increased over the last few weeks which I am sure is a good thing.
And I’ve started running again. Albeit slowly and flat runs!
Muito obrigado – Thank you
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Muito obrigado. Thank you.