Nipping at your nose…

melting frost 1

…things are getting a tad chilly over here. Some mornings all you can hear is a couple of thuds from the brass monkey cage.

One great thing about living here is when it’s really cold you know it’s going to be sunny – I took this photo just as the frost was melting in the garden. The frost pulls together into amazing spheres then very quickly evaporates into wisps of mist in the sunshine. Nature – it’s bleedin’ marvellous ain’t it?

We saw an Egyptian mongoose outside the back door yesterday. Too shy for a camera call unfortunately…

I didn’t surf today. I was too busy being in balance with the Universe…

Strictly by candle light…

A million years ago when I had hair and Ronald Reagan was having a career change we used to sit around an open fire, playing instruments, singing songs. We drank, we smoked, we fell over in the mud. Portugal was a natural place to be – we had no mains electricity or water. No mobile phones, laptops or televisions.

And we didn’t miss any of it.

Yesterday the power went out during a storm, stayed out all day and well into the night. It stayed out long enough to warrant forraging for candles and long enough to miss my fave TV shows. I stomped around for a bit, attempted to mend a generator in the dark (managing to cut my finger and get petrol in the cut) and finally slumped into a candlelit sofa with a guitar.

I had a nice evening. It reminded me of days gone by and gave me a chance to reflect on the things we take for granted.

When the power came on at around ten I slipped into bed having filled my mind with pure and natural thoughts about the way the world was, the way it should be and the way it could be again. I did quickly check my emails and watched the X Factor final first….

I didn’t surf today. One day I will….

A glimpse of the real Portugal…

stone village above Lousã

…is still visible if you know where to look for it.

Progress has been marching through western Iberia like a premenstrual Croatian federation wrestler on her way through the chocolate aisle at Asda (Sidcup branch). Tarmac and concrete seem to be enveloping the countryside – new roads bringing prefabricated apartment blocks, supermarkets and petrol stations that spring up like Ikea wardrobes out of a box.

Of course some things seem welcome – who doesn’t want Häagen Daz close enough to home that it won’t melt on the journey back? Or roads that no longer pummel your suspension and tyres into the scrapyard on a jaunt to the Post Office? I love Heinz baked beans, mobile phone technology and electricity is quite good too…

…but the Portugal that I saw when I first came here, the Portugal that was taken to church behind a donkey or bartered for at the market for a bag of carrots and a chicken seems to have evaporated and been replaced with shiny new Seat Puntos and 50″ plasma TVs. I love the old Portugal and it is still out there – you just have to drive a little further into the hills.

I saw an interview on TV today asking an old man in a mountain village if they wanted a cashpoint machine in their village (ATM) and he replied – “we don’t use money – why would we want a bank…?”

I didn’t surf today.

Chicken Licken…

yellow tomatoes

…clucked and flapped around the farmyard protesting the inevitable plummet of Heaven toward Earth. Not even this sage like poultry could have predicted the instantaneous appearance of an enormous French hypermarket within the county limits of my local town.

Seemingly overnight this behemoth of consumer heaven has landed its air-conditioned aisles in our midst, thrusting shiny vegetables and freeze-dried goodness into our previously dull and meaningless lives. The 21st century has arrived in the concelho de Lousã…

Maybe Chicken Licken should have been paying more attention – I fear I saw him vac-packed and frozen on aisle 6 next to the pork medallions…

I didn’t surf today.

Good kharma…

…I received another chain email today professing great kharmic reward for the simple action of forwarding it’s life lessons to others. Maybe the author of this message could explain to me (as I sat amidst the dust and rubble of my new ‘house’ in tears this morning) why my door had been kicked down and all my tools had been stolen? Why some mindless arse had decided that I deserved to have my means of working and earning a living removed from my life and replaced with feelings of despair, distrust and disillusionment…. ?

Still – the GNR (rozzas to any UK readers and cops to anyone Stateside) were exceedingly pleasant as they filled out forms and projected a complete lack of catching anybody. As for my insurance company – surely it must hurt to smile that much whilst telling somebody that the likelihood of a claim is virtually nil due to technical/clerical/incompetency issues. Have a nice day to you too.

As for my kharma. I have swatted a large amount of flies this year. That’ll learn me…

I didn’t surf today.

On the lighter, brighter side – Tango arrives in 13 days. Ohboyohboyohboy…..

Portuguese highway code – lesson 1

trafficator.jpg

Lesson 1 – Indicators

These should generally be used with hesitancy and caution usually to display a recent action (ie to be used just after making a turn or overtaking another vehicle).

They can also be used to indicate a state of impatience and frustration on motorways – normally associated with large imported German cars driven by men of a diminuitive nature (physical stature and genital dimensions).

Finally the ‘Red Herring’ – a basic decoy manouevre. Simply indicate in one direction (ie right) and then turn in exactly the opposite direction (ie left) preferably cutting up cars coming in both directions causing increased heart rates and stress related symptoms for all drivers involved thereby making the roads just a little bit more exciting for all concerned.

Thank you – you’ve all been loverly students – now go and play nicely with the traffic…

I didn’t surf today.

It’s either really close…

windmills...

…or really really big.

For those of you who frequent my flickr pages you’ll probably know that I have a fascination with wind turbines. The windmills on the ridge of hills above my house are a recent addition to the landscape and as far as I am concerned are extremely welcome…

These however are the most mahoosive ones that I have ever seen. Too gargantuan to capture properly in a photograph but this one gives a fair impression. I can thoroughly recommend standing beneath one of these electromagnetic behemoths – a thrilling and awe inspiring experience – the fearsome roar as the blades slice through the ice cold air (they are standing at nearly 3000ft above sea level) and the vertigo inducing height as they tower over you…

Quite frankly they are more daunting than seeing Daddy P in his undercrackers on a Sunday morning…

I didn’t surf today.

Whoever said…

misty morning 2

….it doesn’t rain in Portugal has obviously never been there.

Or they have a huge propensity for the utterance of untruths.

Or they have a mutation of that syndrome that turns wives into hats but for them it turns a larraping load of vertically descending precipitation into blistering sunshine and an abundance of dryness.

Or they’re mad.

Or all of the above.

I didn’t surf today but it did stop raining long enough to be foggy for a bit.