The house has now passed the restore-and-bash phase and has entered the restore-the-restored-bits and smooth-over-the-other-bits phase. The rooms are looking pleasingly like rooms rather than garages and barns that smell of goat. With all this smoothing over and filling-in, arachnid friendly hidey-holes are rapidly disappearing. Love the natural world but there’s a place for it and that place is outside. Outside is where wildlife of the Iberian Peninsular will be allowed to flourish in our chemical-free jardim and horta (ornamental garden and practical food garden). Our opinions may differ from proper farmers in the village though. Especially after seeing a neighbour’s reaction of grabbing a broom and wielding it like a Samurai sword at the sight of a beautiful Moorish gekko in our garage. We had to insist and act with serious Kofi Annan-like diplomacy to allow the gekko to live. In this case, perhaps Tarentola mauritanica’s common name is the problem. Post 1249 Portuguese reconquest and the later fall of Granada in 1492, perhaps the gekko should have been renamed the “Virgin Mary Gekko”. It might stand a better chance!
Where possible we’ve had stone walls repaired and left exposed, but of course when many are such a mess with bodge-job repairs consisting of random bricks and concrete over the years, it’s cheaper to render over them. Despite originally being built in the early 1950’s, the walls are not that different from medieval castle construction. Robust enough to take a hits from cannon balls and battering rams, the walls rely on depth and the bulk of large stones for strength. In-between, the “mortar” is nothing more than mud and small rocks shoved into the available gaps. Although the outer layer of mud and gravel isn’t essential for structural stability, it would be slightly annoying to live with especially if a chunk of mud happened to fall into your soup pot or cup of delicate Darjeeling tea. Inevitably the house will have less character than the original building, but any smooth rendered bits should emphasise the rustic bits we’ve left. A good compromise between money available and practicality.
No rain getting past that window sill! Perhaps we’ll forget the window idea.
And here is our contemporary, industrial water garden. Remember my lady commenting how nice it was to see the rain. Portugal is never half-hearted about the way it does weather. It’s still raining. I’ll leave weather geek sitting over there to give you all the stats in another blog.
In the next couple of days there will be tiles! Yes, a floor! Every visit to the house shows great progress. Stay tuned for the next instalment when there will be a photo of a tile! Bet you can’t wait.