We’ve had progress on many fronts since we last spoke, the most exciting of which is, of course, the house – more to come on that in a minute. But first, the news…
It took over a month, but the insurance company finally decided that they weren’t going to pay for the repairs to our car after the accident, because we should have given way to the guy pulling out of the side road on our right. Not great news as the quote for the repairs was over €750 and we have far more exciting things to spend that sort of money on. However, after explaining to the garage that we would be paying for the repair ourselves, the quote has been revised to €150! We had to take the car for its annual inspection last week which it failed (as expected) because of the broken headlight lens and rip-a-pedestrian’s-leg-to-shreds detailing, but once the repair is done next week we can get it passed and that is one less thing we have to think about.
Our Portuguese is coming along nicely. Most of the time. We got chatting to a young guy at our local market who spoke perfect English – he was impressed by our linguistic skills given we had only been in the country for 5 months. He reminded me of the Portuguese for avocado (abacate if you’re interested) and then told me that what I was pointing to was actually a mango. In my defence, they were in a box on a high shelf and looked like the big, smooth-skinned avocados you get, but he must have thought I was a right numpty. It’s the grammar that is the tricky bit – just when we think we’ve got the hang of one bit, something else comes along, like the 8 different ways of saying ‘your’, depending on how well you know the person you are speaking to and what it is that belongs to them – masculine, feminine, singular, plural. So it feels like two steps forward, one step back a lot of the time – but at least we are moving forward gradually.
The house! All very exciting and quite a different house-buying process from what we are used to. Because the house hadn’t changed hands since being built the paperwork was a bit out of date and took a while to sort out. By sort out, I mean our solicitor tells the council what is there now – area of buildings, land etc – and the council say ‘OK’ and update the deeds, records etc. They also gave us a certificate to say that, although the building should have been registered with them in 1950-something, it wasn’t, but that’s OK because it is being registered now.
Once the paperwork was sorted, we had to go to the notary’s office, along with the owners, to sign the documents. So there were 8 owners, the agent, our solicitor, the notary and us, all sitting around a conference table. The contract was read out – about 80% of it was identifying all the owners and their spouses with name, address, social security number and fiscal number. Then we had to be identified, a list of the receipt numbers for the property taxes we had paid the day before and a paragraph included to say that, because we don’t speak Portuguese, our solicitor was translating for us. Finally, there was a little paragraph saying that all these people agree to sell this property to these other people. Everyone signed and we handed over the cheque. The keys were still with our neighbour (a cousin of the owners) and they wanted to go to the house with us to hand the keys over, so off we went to be shown which of the 20-odd keys fits which of the 9 doors.
As David mentioned previously, there had already been progress made as the owners had cleared out all the stuff that was there when we first saw the house – for the first time, we saw empty rooms. Although there were some old things that we thought might have been nice to keep, it was quite a relief not to have to do all the clearing ourselves. We went back a couple of days later to have our first meal in our new home (picnic sitting on the living room floor) and took some photos – being the organised sort of a person that I am, I also colour-coded the keys to the locks so we didn’t have to spend half an hour trying to get in each time we visit.
So here we are – the first progress shots, from full of junk to nice empty rooms. You need some imagination to see the end result, which apparently some of friends and family don’t have – responses to photos we’ve emailed range from ‘Oh’ to ‘Nice if you don’t have to live there’! Fortunately we do have imagination and you’ll just have to believe us when we say……
The kitchen (you can tell it is the kitchen because it had a couple of old cookers in it)
The living room
…and with dog guarding our picnic
This will be our bedroom
And this will the bathroom and hall
We went to a local DIY place today and chose various fittings and, most importantly, the flooring. The builder starts tomorrow, so I’m going to sign off now – we have to decide where we want power points and lighting – what a fun way to spend an evening!