It’s been an indifferent two weeks since my last blog. The blog where I advised I’d be back to writing weekly. Well, I failed at the first hurdle.
However, the main reason for skipping a week was that I returned to the UK to visit my daughters. And they took precedence. While I took my laptop, I only turned it on once to respond to an email that I received. More on that later.
This is the first time I’ve returned to the UK since moving to Portugal in August last year. And it was great to see my filhas [daughters], but it was tough saying goodbye until next time.
Too much water = a flood
I’ve been looking forward to going back since I booked the flight back in November. The last couple of weeks have flown by and I’ve been really excited about going back.
But at the last minute, there was a spanner thrown in for good measure. Literally, a spanner.
During the week before my flight, I continued with jobs on the farm. As always, it’s pouco a pouco, but every small task was making a difference. And I was pleased with the progress I’ve been making.
So, on the morning of my flight, I went about my morning routine and as I got out of the shower, I heard a noise which sounded like gas escaping. But I don’t have any gas upstairs. I was puzzled.
As I stood dripping wet in the bathroom, I opened the vanity cupboard door and I received a second shower. It wasn’t gas, it was a pipe under the hand basin which had split. Indeed, it was the only plumbing fitting in the whole house that I hadn’t changed. That will teach me!
My main water tap is outside the front door and I am pleased that no neighbours saw me wrapped in a towel, in the street, turning off my water. Mind you, I am sure they think the estrangeiro is a little crazy, so they’d probably just think it the norm.
With the water turned off, it was mopping the water up. It’s incredible how much water can escape in a minute or so. Trust me, it’s a lot!
An hour later, I’d replaced the pipes and the tap. In fact, I replaced the tap twice. The first one had a manufacturer’s hairline crack in the casing.
I’m fortunate to have the best builders’ merchant in Central Portugal less than a two-minute walk from my house – Joaquim Farinha & Filhos of Sobreira Formosa. They are the best-stocked builders’ merchant I have ever experienced, are incredibly competitive on price, and give great advice to a non-Portuguese, naïve DIYer and quinta owner.
If you need anything regarding building, DIY, household, gardening, agriculture, and so much more, I’d recommend a visit. You will not be disappointed.
Back to the UK
The rest of my trip to the UK was smooth. And it was fantastic to spend time with my daughters. Bowling, meals, shopping and a (very) cold afternoon watching a few cars racing around (or not) a circuit.
On returning to the UK, everything felt more familiar. I was back in the country I’d lived in for fifty years of my life. Back in Norfolk where I’d lived for sixteen years. Simple things like saying hello, good morning or good afternoon didn’t need thinking about.
This familiarity brings comfort. Having the knowledge and experience of the country, culture and customs I have grown up with have been ingrained in me. I reflected that moving to a country where I have none of this knowledge or experience has really pushed me outside my comfort zone.
While I don’t have this familiarity with Portugal, learning, understanding, and participating in Portuguese life is all part of the amazing adventure.
Back in Porto, I headed to IKEA and a couple of other stores. I’ve learnt very quickly to do multiple jobs on every trip to maximise travel. The next task is to assemble the guest bed. At least putting together flat-pack furniture is reasonably familiar!
The IMT and driving licence….
In my last blog, just go with the flow, I mentioned that I had contacted the IMT (Instituto Da Mobilidade E Transportes) regarding registering my UK driving licence in Portugal. I feel I’ve gone around in circles as they constantly refer to exchanging my licence, not registering as per the new scheme.
I managed to navigate around the automated email system and started emailing a customer service representative about my query. While I was in the UK, they arranged an appointment with the IMT in Castelo Branco. I am hopeful this will enable me to register my driving licence. I’ll update you next week.
I’ve also been to the dentist, scheduled my car with the mechanic and followed up with the Instiduto De Financiamento Da Agricultura E Pescas (IFAP) on my registration as an Estatuto da Familiar (EAF).
Overall, I feel like I’m winning, although sometimes it does feel like two steps forward and one step back at times. I also feel that I’m busier than I’ve ever been. One of the next things on the list is to arrange to meet a lady about a dog. Sounds like the start of a joke.
As always, thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I hope you will continue to join me as I continue my adventure in Portugal. It is certainly going to be a busy, fun, challenging and exciting time.
Thank you, your continued support is much appreciated, and I am grateful for your interest in my adventure!
Melhores cumprimentos. Até logo.