We’ve been here in our new home almost 6 weeks now. Still occasionally having to pinch ourselves that this is actually happening.
There’s not a great deal of news but regular updates were promised so here goes. I thought a good way to start may be to run through a typical day, not that any two are identical of course but we have established a sort of regularish routine. So here it is.
Our bedroom faces due east so we are woken up each morning by the sunrise. This is getting later now into October, it’s coming up to 8am before we see the sunshine but soon the clocks will change so unless we pull the bedroom blind down completely we are going to be waking up with the sun an hour earlier. Occasionally we still get a whippet wake up call but usually we beat them to it. After a leisurely cup of tea in bed, one of us walks the dogs for about half an hour while the other showers and prepares breakfast and coffee. We are taking it in turns, all very civilised so far!! It’s still warm enough for breakfast outside, heavenly.
Then we usually do some jobs in the garden, the priority at the moment is fig picking! Our trees are abundant with fruit but much of it is too high for us to reach and the birds beat us to it. Then the partially eaten figs fall on the gravel and need picking up or they get walked on and make a very sticky mess. We potter in the garden most of the morning and then have a bite to eat late morning, early afternoon, usually again outside in the sunshine.
During all of September on days we were at home all day (most of them) we would have a dip in the pool late afternoon. The sun is still hot but the air temperature is lower now, the pool looks inviting but I have to admit we are not now using it every day. When we do it has to be earlier as it is now mostly in the shade by about 3pm. After swim “nibbles and aperitifs” follow as we are trying to adapt to the Spanish way of life by eating our main meal much later in the evening, normally 8ish (which is still early for Spaniards!!) Having lived through some pretty hot days in September we can fully understand this as well as the need for a siesta which I haven’t mentioned particularly as part of our daily routine, suffice to say we sometimes find we have fallen asleep during the afternoon whilst allegedly reading our kindles.
Some days we have shopping to do, we try and be very organised with lists and schedules so that we can get all we need in one trip. This usually involves taking the dogs with us and giving them a run somewhere different. I think a nice soft grassy field would be good for them just now as our garden is all gravel and the tracks around stony and hard on their feet but they are getting used to it. Nigel takes them for a short perambulation across the fields at the back of our property just before dusk while I prepare the meal. It’s almost dark at 8pm now.
Filling in breaks in garden activity during the day, we relax and catch our breath by checking our computers and for me, trying to self discipline and learn some Spanish using an online course. It’s very hard but I am trying and can sometimes pick out words and phrases on the radio and when people are speaking around me that I recognise. I know just a very few basics so far and really hope to be able to “get by” in time.
The evenings are half gone by the time we eat our main meal, we watch some pre recorded drama or comedy then fall into bed around 10pm. I have to admit I miss my dishwasher!!!
One of the highlights of the last few weeks was the arrival of our long awaited gas barbeque. SInce adopting our travelling lifestyle we have always preferred the instantaneous nature of the gas BBQ to the charcoal variety. OK, purists will say the flavour is not the same but we have always been happy to maybe forego a little taste for the convenience. So we advertised the existing charcoal BBQ on a local facebook group and it was snapped up the same day. We ended up not accepting any cash for it as the base broke in two as it was removed and it had a huge crack down the back that we didn’t know about. The recipients, two local Spanish lads, were quite happy and it saved us having to load and unload it in the car. Getting the new gas one here was nowhere near as straightforward. We kept getting notifications that it was on the way, then it wasn’t, then it would be tomorrow, then next week!!! Eventually Nigel got in touch with the delivery firm who obviously couldn’t find us and arranged to meet the driver at a local petrol station and escort them here.
Nigel has been working hard in the garden, pruning and removing dead palm and yukka leaves. These are extremely dry and were collected up at the side of the fire pit until it was legal to light bonfires again. We were fortunate to have a very calm evening recently (the wind often picks up in the afternoons) so he was able to burn a lot of what he had removed. Also he has severely curtailed some kind of vine which was growing at the front of the house. It looked lovely but was beginning to lift the roof tiles so he decided he would cut it back and then retrain some long tendrils keeping it clear of the roof. It looks bare but much lighter and will probably grow back in record time.
A few days ago the tall stepladders were out and Nigel valliently climbed up and picked many ripe figs to beat the birds to them. When I weighed them we had just over 2 and a half kilos! So fig jam, chutney and a fig and walnut cake have been made.
Whilst hanging out some washing the other day, my Spanish neighbour called across and told me our olives are ready to pick. They had been picking theirs a week or so ago but she told me ours were not ready yet. With the aid of google translate we managed to ascertain that when she saw they were ready, she would shout, “Margaret, pull!” So Margaret will now have to pull! Learning a new skill at almost 70!! I told Pili (our neighbour) that I was busy making jam today so the olives would have to wait till tomorrow. No phone in my pocket to translate, she didn’t understand, so I went in and brought her a handful of ripe figs. Ahhh, the penny dropped. I got on with pegging out the washing and heard her calling me again, next she was handing me half a dozen fresh eggs from her hens, we didn’t even know she kept them! I’ve more jam to make in between picking olives so will give her a jar when the next lot is ready.
We also have English neighbours the other side who have kindly offered help with anything we struggle with and the loan of tools and equipment should the need arise.
Wednesday was a busy one, not only with figs but also with the dogs as we took them to register with a new Spanish vet and to have the innoculations they need in this part of the world to protect them. Their chips and new address are now registered in Spain. We had been a little concerned about Ditto as he pants a lot and having been told in the UK that he has a heart murmur we thought this may be serious. But the Spanish vet says it is very minor and no treatment needed, seems he too is just a bit overwhelmed by the heat. Incidentally he still prefers to drink from the pool and he too has a liking for figs which he seems to think are his personal treats.
Nigel has been out and about exploring the local area on his bike but we are keeping a low profile really because of Covid and only going out for essential shopping as I said earlier. We are lucky to be here, the local scenery will still be here when this pandemic eases so we will be patient and careful.
Our bee eaters have moved on to warmer climes now but we do have many hoopoes in the area and an Iberian shrike that we see most mornings on our dog walks. There is a colony of quaker parakeets living locally, we see and hear them often and we have heard but not seen owls. Yesterday I could hear a couple of little owls calling to each other but couldn’t see them. We do want to get away in the camper to see some of the autumn migration but we still have a long ‘to do’ list so not sure this will actually happen this autumn. Meanwhile we keep up with our friends’ Algarve birding blog, we met Nigel and Angela and their dog Ellie in Portugal several years ago and keep in touch electronically. Here is a link to Nigel’s blog.
He takes some stunning photos and is very knowledgeable. Normally he and Angela fly home from Faro for Christmas to see their families, leaving Ellie in kennels but this year may well be very different for them. It’s unlikely that we will see them this winter either but never say never. We wish he was here to tell us what we are seeing and hearing and can’t identify!
We are fascinated by the many and varied critters we see on a regular basis, Tiny geckos live in the house and can often be seen scampering about, larger geckos live outside, along with cicadas as big as cigars, different kinds of beetles and preying mantises. I personally am not too keen on critters but as long as they stay outside I’ll honour their right to be here and marvel at their intricate moving parts! I don’t mind the tiny geckos but they do make me jump. Oh, I promised some internal photos when we got tidy, we’re almost there, maybe next time I’ll do an estate agent style walk round video!
More news on the olive harvest next time, bye for now, Hasta Luego xxx