It’s been another month passed since my last blog. Oh well. Doesn’t matter. But a lot has happened in that time.
Firstly, my eldest daughter and her partner visited for a few days. We had a great time and it was a delight to give her an insight into my life in Portugal. She is already considering her next visit, but I’m not sure that she has quite the appetite to move her full-time.
This is the first time they have been to Portugal and it was as much a break for them as it was a “visit Dad” trip. After picking them up from Lisbon airport (I’m still of the opinion that Porto airport is so much better) we headed to the hills.
As the roads got narrower and gradually became a dirt track, I am sure they wondered where we were heading. After driving through what, even for Portugal’s uniqueness, felt like someone’s personal land, we arrived at the top.
The Baloiço Forte da Carvalho is one of more than 100 baloiços across Portugal. They are often located at the top of mountains across Portugal and give visitors superb views while having a swing. And believe me, swings are not just for children!
This was the first baloiço I have visited, although I plan to visit many more. There is a comprehensive list at Baloiço de Portugal. And if you’ve not yet seen a baloiço, I strongly recommend finding your local one.
After several days relaxing, a little sightseeing and swimming in one of the local praia fluvial [river beach], sadly we headed back to Lisbon. We took the opportunity to visit the Oceanário de Lisboa.
We had a wonderful time and I look forward to her returning soon. My youngest daughter is due to visit later this year in between her driving test and college commitments.
The car is officially Portuguese
It’s official. Finally. The matriculation of the car has been completed.
It has been a headache. The most challenging process of my whole relocation to Portugal. And time was running out as my UK MOT expired on 5 July, making it illegal to use my car until it either had a new UK MOT (returning to the UK) or had been matriculated.
I opted to use a Portuguese company to matriculate my car as it all coincided with the purchase of my house and farm. While I had all the paperwork ready, including the customs certificate from the Portuguese Consulate of London, the process still takes planning to ensure everything is sent.
In hindsight, I wish I had done it myself.
While it has now been completed, it has taken seven months including chasing the company weekly and, ultimately, an incredibly direct conversation. It transpires that, despite all the blame being laid on the Portuguese Alfândegas [Portuguese Customs] and the bureaucratic process, that was clearly not the case.
While I know some processes in Portugal do take time, I have learnt that far too many people blame the system and use it as an excuse. Often to cover up their incompetencies.
It’s all come good in the end. Just in time.
Rali de Castelo Branco
Sticking with the car theme, I watched three stages of the Rali de Castelo Branco. These stages were held within 10km of where I live and included a mixture of tarmac and dirt track stages.
The Rali de Castelo Branco is part of a series of rallies across Portugal and the cars used also participate in the World Rally Championship 2 (WRC2). While many of the drivers and navigators are Portuguese (and there is a large local following for these drivers) the winner of the rally was Chris Meeke from Ireland. Also participating was Max Macrae, son of Alistair Macrae, and nephew of the late Colin Macrae.
It was a super couple of days and, as always, experience the Portuguese passion for rallying. Oh my, is there anything the Portuguese aren’t passionate about?
Kneeding some support
Over the last month, I’ve been struggling with a swollen knee. Old Maid’s Knee, knee effusion, knee gout, twisted knee, historical knee injury or just old age. Who knows, but it was painful.
However, I had two video consultations with a doctor from my health insurers and should it reoccur (which they anticipate it will) I’ll be straight in for a scan. No complaints, apart from it being painful for a few days.
With my knee strapped up and a week of (almost) no work on the farm has quickly got it back to normal.
But that hasn’t prevented my continuing to harvest courgettes, potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers and onions. Yum.
Quinta-Essencial is quintessential
Over the last few months, I’ve been following the progress of Jason and Auriol at Quinta-Essencial.
Quinta-Essencial is a new loja [shop] they have opened on their land in Vila Facaia, near Pedrógão Grande and Figueiró Dos Vinhos. What many people from the UK would know as a “farm shop” and the Americans, as a “farm stand”, Quinta-Essencial sells vegetables, salads and fruit produced on their quinta.
In addition, they produce many other products and delicacies including jams, chutneys, vinegars and wine. And have a range of other organic produce from local suppliers.
Do pay them a visit if you’re in the local area, you won’t be disappointed in their great quality produce.
Congratulations and good luck to Jason and Auriol on the opening and their new venture.
Summer has definitely arrived, and the temperatures have steadily risen. This comes with the opening of the many river beaches in the local area and I endeavour to have a daily swim in my local praia fluvial which is a mere 2km away.
On the quinta, it has also made me further consider the improvements I need to make over the autumn and winter. Top of the list is improving the soil through a mixture of adding more manure, mulch and nutrients as well as producing more compost.
Also, at the top of the list is installing an irrigation system through the area I use for the vegetables and improving and automating the current irrigation on the land.
The final item at the top of the list is adjusting the layout of the vegetable patches now I have a better understanding of the layout of the land, the shaded areas and how best to get accessibility.
Ummm. Three projects are at the top of the list. It’s going to be busy preparing for next year, and we’re only halfway through this year!
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.