We’ve had all manner of exciting things happen recently – here is a round up.
The old car is beyond economic repair – turns out the timing belt went, which damaged some valves blah, blah, blah. About €1200 to repair, plus the minimum of €3000 to make the GB registered car legal in Portugal. We hadn’t really planned to legalise it – not that we were going to drive around in an illegal car, just that we were going to replace it with a Portuguese registered car. We had just hoped that we had a few more months to think about it. It wasn’t to be however, so we found a suitable car locally and bought it a couple of weeks ago;
And three days later, someone pulled out of a side road in front of us and ripped a hole in the front panel. Yippee. We are currently ‘in conversation’ with our insurance company about who was at fault – there are some junctions here where you have to give way to the traffic joining from the right, but we had assumed that if we are on a main road with 80kmh speed limit, a car joining from a small village access road at 50kmh wouldn’t have priority. We’ll see. The car is still driveable and no-one was hurt so it could have been worse. So we told ourselves over a couple of glasses of wine later that evening. Wine makes everything better.
Classic car rally!
Our tiny village was host to part of the Rally Serra Lousa recently. There was a handful of spectators (us and the neighbours) and a marshall to wave at the drivers. I think some of the drivers got a bit of a shock – our Rua Principal is very narrow, very steep and has a rather uneven surface. Several of the lowered cars were scraping along the ground and one of the co-drivers got out to reduce the weight in the car, although I’m not sure it helped much.
We’ve had our first forest fire nearby. We drove past the spot that burned a couple of days later and it was really a pretty small area, but at night it looked big enough and close enough that we packed the car with essentials in case we had to leave. David had gone outside to let the dog out before going to bed and called me to look at the lights – we get some amazing light effects from the wind turbine lights reflecting off low cloud sometimes and he thought it was that. It was only as I got to the door that we realised it was fire – seeing the flames helped!
The two little lights to the right are from our landlord’s village – they are the only inhabitants! We knew there were two valleys and a ridge between us and it and there was virtually no wind (unusual for here!) so we were comfortable that we didn’t need to panic. The neighbours dashed off in their car to check it out – they have goats, sheep, ducks, rabbits, chickens, crops etc and a lot to lose. They came back and told us it was OK to stay – by this time, we could see the lights of several fire engines swarming over the ridge to attack from all sides. The bombeiros here have some really kickass 4WD vehicles and you realise why they need them when you see their lights going up a track that looks almost vertical. David went to bed after a while – we decided it would be a good idea for him to be rested, as the only driver, in case we did need to leave later – and I stayed up, but it was all over pretty quickly and, after an hour of no more fire glow, I went to bed.
We knew this was a fire risk area, but it is interesting that in 8 years of living in South Australia, I didn’t see a nearby fire or a live snake – in 4 months living in Portugal, I’ve seen both!
Not much progress on the house!
Still not much progress on the house front – the agent and solicitor are trying to sort out the paperwork as it looks like we are actually buying three different articles/titles – one for the house, one for the garden and one for the block of land across the lane. We think the house and garden are close to being sorted, but I’m not sure whether anyone knows what the article number is for the other block – I presume it is a matter of trying to find out from the council. We are meeting the agent at the property later today so should find out more. Hopefully it will be sorted soon – we are getting really itchy feet and badly want to be in our own place with a garden and our own stuff again. Not to mention the list of friends & relatives who want to come and visit – I think we’ll be pretty busy!
It cooled down! And now is warming up again!
We had our coolest day for more than a month at the weekend – a nippy 24°. Fortunately it has warmed up again now. Ridiculous overnight temperatures though – we still have duvet & blanket on the bed! And virtually no rain – we had 1.5mm overnight at the weekend, our first in 40 days. David does check the rain gauge for me some mornings and reports on the contents – ‘two petals and a feather’, ‘four grass seeds’. Sorting out rainwater tanks for the new garden will be a priority I think!
So there you go – life in the fast lane!