8 months in…

The picture above was taken last October on route down to Spain. I think we were in Narbonne and it was early in the morning before we set of for another day of driving.

I was tired and stressed from the previous two months but also exited to be on the adventure that we had talked about for so long.

Eight months is a long time to be away from family and tomorrow I am heading back to the UK for 10 days to visit mine.

I think it is safe to say that I am returning home a different person. Gone it the stress and tiredness not to mention a stone in weight (thanks to a raw food diet). I am happier than I have ever been, living in my little caravan with my man and my fur babies. I love that my life is so simple now and I get to appreciate how great it can be when you let go of things that you don’t really need.

Of course that doesn’t mean my family and friends who I miss and can’t wait to see but it does mean all the things that I used to fill my time with that I thought were sooo important.

I’ve learned that I don’t need a big house filled with fancy stuff. I don’t need a wardrobe full of clothes and racks of shoes and boots. I don’t need my endless supply of fashion and gossip magazines to keep me updated with ‘celeb world’ – who cares what they are doing when there is so much to explore here. In fact I’ve learned that I don’t need very much at all. That everything I need is exactly what I have right here and right now.

So, yes I can’t wait to get to Stansted tomorrow and see my big brother and my little sis (who hopefully will be there to meet me!!) but I am also looking forward to coming back to my little oasis that goes wherever we take it as well.

 

Another day, another castle….

Everywhere you turn in Portugal there seems to be a castle sat perched on top of a hill. We went for a walk around Evoramonte at the weekend where there has been a castle since 1160.

Although it has been a national monument site since the early 1900s there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of upkeep. This appears to be typical in Portugal and it is such a shame and also it has to be said a real waste of an opportunity to bring some much needed money in through tourism. The National Trust would have an absolute field day here!!

There wasn’t much information about the castle at the actual site and even less on the internet so all I can tell you is the castle was severely damaged in an earthquake in 1531 (but they must have rebuilt it as it looks intake). Oh, and they are in dire need of a tea shop and gift room……

The entrance

The view

The castle

All a bit tatty and unkept – you can imagine the scene would be completely different if the National Trust owned it. There would be a nice little tea room, a gift shop, a children’s playground, nice manicured gardens……oh and a £20 entrance fee!!

Unfortunately this picture does no justice whatsoever to this Eagle. We see so many of them around here but they never fail to amaze me. They just glide around, hoovering and then swooping down for the kill. You never see them flapping their wings and they are soooo big. Truly breathtaking.

And lastly, little ole me!!


 

 

Whoops……forgot to post!!

Just realised I haven’t posted anything for over a week. In my defence (!!) I have less internet time now as hubby and me share the Wifi and I am on a business course at the moment as well which is absorbing what time I do have.

But enough about that, what have we been up to???

Well, last week was fairly busy for us. On Thursday we celebrated being together for 21 years (altogether now aaaahhhhhh…..). It actually felt a bit surreal if I’m honest as I just don’t feel old enough to have been with someone for 21 years. Ok, when I look in the mirror I look old enough but still it’s a long time for sure. Luckily we still seem to like being with each other even after all this time so I think we are good for a few more years yet.

It was an overcast day which meant we had more time out of the caravan than we thought (cats get too hot if we leave them too long) and so we went off in search of a nearby lake that we had been told you can windsurf on. It was only a 20 minute drive and seems ideal so on the next windy day we will be heading back there so hubby can have a play on the water. We took a packed lunch and had a walk around and it was lovely (piccies below). There were hundreds of dragonflies and as I stood watching one skimming across the water a fish literally leapt out of the water to catch it. I was dumbstruck and spent the next twenty minutes at the water’s edge oohing and aaahing as more and more fish took the the skies. Hubby wasn’t quite as quick to catch them as I was but did manage to see one!!

On the way home we had the opportunity to be good samaritans. I spotted a rabbit sat in the middle of the road. It didn’t look as though it had been squished and so after a few minutes discussion we turned the car around and came back to instigate a rescue. I managed to park the car in a nearby lay-by and then armed with some kitchen roll (me – in case I had to pick it up) and a big stick (hubby – not sure what he was going to do with that) we walked towards it. It stayed deathly still until we got level with it and then suddenly sprang into life and leapt across the road and down the grass verge. Had obviously caught sight of the large stick and decided it better move pronto! Oh well at least the thought was there so that has to count for something.

The following evening we had been invited up for diner with Siebo and Catarina. So off we toddled armed with two bottles of wine and had a very enjoyable evening chatting in mix of French, Portuguese and English. Catarina had cooked an amazing meal bearing in mind the limitations we put on ingredients!! (whoops). We met their cats (3) and dogs (2) and had a tour of their house that they had built themselves 7 years ago. They are a lovely family and really have gone out of their way to make us feel welcome here. It will be hard to leave in November.

The next morning saw us up early for the weekly shop. Getting ready to go out means rounding up the cats and making sure they are safely stored away in the caravan!! We have a little stream about 10 feet from the awning and caravan and Molly was over the other side ignoring all attempts to coerce her into coming in. After 5 minutes of futile calling I jumped across the stream to retrieve her. Hubby sensibly as it would turn out stayed on the other side. I started towards her walking through the reasonably long grass and then thankfully had the presence of mind to look down; just in time to stop myself treading on a SNAKE. Snakes are just my worst nightmare and add to that the fact I only had flip flops on and you can just imagine the scene. Much wailing, nashing of teeth and general panic ensued as I threw myself back across the stream toward hubby. He was then dispatched to collect a rather worried looking Molly whilst I had a complete panic attack. I was finally calmed down and hubby went to see if he could find the snake who of course was long gone. I tried to identify it on the internet but couldn’t so I have come to an uneasy truce and as long as it stays its side of the stream then we should be ok.

So, as you can see an eventful week that ended with a nice spot of sunbathing and a dip in the pool yesterday. Bliss……

Lake Divora – actually its a resevoir complete with dam.

Reminded me a bit of a Constable painting

Dragonfly

Me perched on the dam wall trying to look all ‘moody and atmospheric’ :)

And sorry, no pictures of the snake. Am going to have to get a heck of a lot braver before I can do that.

Pool opening party….

The pool has finally been finished and not before time as with temperature’s up in the 90’sF most day’s (give or take the odd thunderstorm) somewhere to cool off is becoming essential.

We had been requested to convene by the pool yesterday at 4pm sharp to witness the official opening. We were joined by the one other couple on site; a dutch couple who arrived yesterday just in time to join the celebrations.

Sebio (owner) made a speech, Pedro (s0n) cut the ribbon and pulled aside a tea towel covering a plaque, Nicole (daughter) videoed the proceedings and Catarina (wife) cut a homemade carrot cake and poured us all a celebratory glass of bubbly with which to toast the campsites new facility.

The proceeds were hurried along somewhat by the alarming black clouds that were collecting in the distance but Pedro and Nicole still dived in to try their father’s hard work out. Sebio and Catarina had done all the work themselves starting in December of last year. The pool was looking a little dark in colour which we were told was the chlorine settling, apparently it is crystal clear this morning but due to the weather being overcast today I don’t think I’ll be trying it out just yet.

Pedro

Pedro and Nicole

Sebio (in white)

Catarina

The plaque – ‘This swimming pool was inaugurated on the 5th June 2011 by the Foreman family’

Oscar on our return – the boy had obviously had a tiring day….

 

Catching up…

I have let my blog posting duties slide somewhat over the last week or so, but truth be told we haven’t really done anything worthy of writing a post about.

The weather has been crummy for about a week with massive thunderstorms and torrential rain. Once again we have been forced to dig a moat around the awning to stop it being flooded and we now have a very attractive plank of wood across it to act as a bridge (cats are pleased as Molly was getting fed up of having to jump across). The moat seems to have become a highway for ants with loads of them scurrying up and down. I am so impressed with ants, they seem super intelligent and work so hard. If you look closely you will see they are operating under a two lane system with all the ants going one way back to the nest carrying something (seeds, grass, dead insects) and all those going in the other direction away from the nest being empty handed – told you we haven’t been up to much!!

The weather seems to be better now so hopefully we can get back out and about again.

We did manage a bike ride on Sunday on the ‘Ecopista’ in Evora. It is a disused railway line that they have turned into a cycle track/walkway that runs for about 25km to Arraiolos. We didn’t do the whole lot but had a leisurely cycle for a few hours until it started to threaten rain and then we came home. The funny thing about cycling here is that it is a very male dominated sport. In fact I have yet to see a female cyclist and I do get some strange looks; I am obviously encroaching on a male only pastime. Our picnic stop also got some strange looks and it would seem that it is also not the done thing when cycling to stop for a munch!! Don’t think hubby would last too long if out with these guys if he wasn’t allowed to stop and eat!!

Our other big occasion this week was that Oscar turned 18 on Saturday. The old boy enjoyed a leisurely day of sleeping, sleeping and more sleeping before partaking of a rather tasty salmon steak in the evening and retiring to the bed for some more zzzz’s. Can’t believe we have had him in our lives since he was a rather fluffy and cute 6 month old kitten. He’s still as cute and here’s wishing him a few more years of salmon steaks yet.

That’s pretty much it for this week. Sebio at the campsite has now finished the swimming pool and is letting it dry ahead of the grand opening on Sunday or Monday!!! (can’t wait). Below are a few piccies of the bike ride and the birthday boy.

Cycling on the Ecopista

Scenic picnic spot

Me!!

Birthday boy

A very young birthday boy – 6 months young!