Summers done…..

Summer has finally faded and in its place we have the arrival of wet and windy weather.

For the past two nights I have resorted to ear plugs to drown out the sound of the rain on the roof of the caravan. Unfortunately they don’t drown out the sound of Oscar who has somehow morphed into the devil incarnate as he sits on the table and meows all night; the little git then snuggles down on the bed for some shut eye once we are up!!

It would seem that we are not along in receiving this deluge of rain as much of Europe seems to be in the grip of extreme winds and flooding.

Faro airport in southern Portugal lost part of its roof under the weight of the rain and all the windows blew out in the control tower on Sunday night.

The ‘costas’ in southern Spain are wading through the downpours in their wellies and parts of the UK and Ireland have seen flooding and high winds.

So, that is it or so it would seem. Summer is over and we are being flung head first into winter with no transition whatsoever – well I expect the UK and Ireland would beg to differ but here we have gone from one extreme to the other.

The timing is actually quite apt as I am working on a ‘winter recipe’ cookbook for Barefoot and Raw so am having fun in the kitchen with all sorts of warming spices and foods.

We are just hoping that the weather eases a little next week to enable us to pack Bessie up and head back into Spain. Taking down an awning in the wind and rain is not to be recommended and neither is towing a caravan……fingers crossed we will get a break long enough to allow us to escape…… 🙂

 

 

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After the sun comes the rain…

It had to happen but after over two months of hot sunny weather it was still a shock to be woken by the sound of rain pounding on the roof of the caravan.

I lay in bed this morning warm and cosy listening to the drumming drone of the sudden change in weather glad that we had already moved bags away from the edge of the awning last night.  The clay ground here is like concrete and so it will be a struggle for the water to drain away today but hopefully our ‘moat’ will do its job and keep the worst of the surface water out of the tent.

The ground desperately needs some rain, the meadows that were lush and green when we arrived are parched and stripped bare from the cows grazing over the summer. Sebio has been supplementing them on hay over the last month and has now moved them to the top field again so we have lost our inquisitive neighbours. 😦

Molly is cuddled up on the bed not wanting to venture out in the cooler wet weather and Oscar is curled up on a deckchair in the awning – a half way house as he is not quite ready to be a ‘bed’ cat again yet.

We are in for wet weather for the next two days and then the sun returns for the weekend and next week, but it is a sign that the seasons are shifting and our summer in Portugal is drawing to a close. We have about 8 weeks left here before we head back into Spain and it will be a busy 8 weeks as we have the bulk of our sightseeing and trips out still to come!!

It will be a struggle to drag ourselves away from our little oasis here in Portugal as we have had such a relaxing and laid back summer, but new adventures await and its time to get out and explore a little……… 🙂

 

Life in Bessie – an update

It will be 12 weeks this Friday since we hitched Bessie onto the back of our car and gave up living in a brick-built house in favour of the delights of living in a ‘tin can’, so I thought I’d update you on how things are going.

I am happy to report that life in a caravan seems to be going remarkably well. I keep expecting to wake up and be hit with sudden pangs of regret and nostalgia about living somewhere that involves opening doors to get into separate rooms – but it hasn’t happened (yet!!)

It has certainly taken some getting used to trading in life in a two bed-roomed, two bath-roomed, detached bungalow with heating and insulation and toilets that don’t need emptying every other day (thankfully not my job!!) but I think we are doing ok. Here is a little run down of some of the problems that we have overcome (or are still getting used too!!!)

One of the best things that we have done is to separate our sleeping area off from the cats at night (with curtains) Now the bed is no longer used as a trampoline with the cats bouncing over it at all hours. They are happy in their bed and we get a peaceful night’s sleep in ours.

The weather here is great but the down side for such lovely sunshine in the depths of winter is that when it rains you sure know about it!! No little drizzly showers here, the rain could break open a coconut it is that hard and furious. Trying to sleep in a tin can when it was raining therefore was a definite no-no even with ear plugs until we  found some new super Spanish ones that have obviously been manufactured with the weather in mind! These little beauties really do the job; probably a bit too well actually because world war three could break out in the shower block next to us and we wouldn’t know about it – we’d get a good nights sleep though!!

Ear plugs will also come in useful over the coming months when things begin to get a bit busier. We are lucky at the moment that we have the site pretty much to ourselves but once the holiday season gets in full swing then we are conscious that things will be a little different. I’m all for having a good time but we also have to work still as well so getting a good night’s sleep is kinda vital to our well-being. I think these ear plugs would drown out an AC/DC concert though so we should be ok – wish I’d had them when I went to said AC/DC concert many moons ago – might have enjoyed it more if I had!!!

One of the things I was a little worried about getting used to was using shower blocks all the time. We do have a shower in the caravan but as you can imagine it isn’t exactly very big and for some reason showering in something the size of a broom cupboard isn’t overly appealing – call me strange. So we have to rely on the site facilities for our washing.  Again we are lucky at the moment to have them pretty much to ourselves and for the most part they are good. I’ve definitely seen worse, been in worse and declined to step foot in worse! I have gotten used to trundling out into the early morning for my daily ablusions and since hubby made his patented shower device that means that we now get continuous water it makes for a more pleasant experience. I was in his bad books for a day or two though when I left mine in the shower and it disappeared. So I shared his for a while until I lost that one too and he made me make my own!! which I went and lost again and had to secretly make another!! Whoops…….I know but in my defense I am blonde!!

The other thing we were a little worried about was that it would get cold overnight during the winter months. December and January are typically the worst two months for the weather here and the coldest and we seem to have fared surprisingly well. We haven’t felt cold overnight yet and only need to use the heater first thing but it has only really felt chilly on a few occasions. The caravan is well insulated but I suspect if we were anywhere colder then it would be a different story. There were a few occasions traveling down through Northern France when I felt cold and had to put my woolly hat on overnight – poor hubby, although after 21 years together I suspect he has given up on the idea of me looking glamorous and reclining in bed in a silk negligee – its pj’s and socks for me!!

The kitchen area is the area that has taken the most getting used to and probably where I have lost it the most as it is the size of a postage stamp! With me and hubby eating completely different diets each meal time becomes a finely practiced drill in disaster management.  Anyone who knows me will vouch for how clumsy I can be so juggling pots, pans, ingredients, utensils etc in a very small area can be a tricky business. It’s best to stand clear, give me space and wear the ear plugs!!

Friday night back home was always ‘film’ night for us where we would open a bottle of something nice, stick a film in the DVD player and snuggle down with the cats for a few hours of escapism. We still have our film nights although now our TV is no longer of monster proportions (it’s the laptop) and if it is raining you can’t hear much but it’s a nice end to the week none the less and some habits are hard to break.

So, all in all living in Bessie is proving to be great fun and I am really enjoying it. Granted it wouldn’t suit everyone and I guess it helps that I am ‘low maintenance and enjoy the outdoor life’  (read can’t be arsed with makeup and am happiest in flip-flops!!) but then I guess if I  wasn’t then I wouldn’t be here would I………

Rain, birthdays and anniversary’s

Just to cheer up all you snow bound, chilled to the bone friend’s and family back home, we are having less that favourable weather here as well. Come and spend the winter in the sun they say, ideal temperatures to help you forget the weather back home they tell you. What they fail to mention is that when it rains here it goes on and on and on………. It started at lunchtime on Friday and continued constantly until the early hours of Sunday morning. Luckily for me it stopped for exactly 24 hours and the sun came out to let me enjoy my birthday but then it started again early this morning and it looks set for the next two days.  Granted it’s just rain and not snow but we are on a pitch that isn’t perfectly flat – all the flat pitches are in with the permanent tourers and we decided we didn’t want to be in the middle of the Spaniards when they come to enjoy their weekends. So, our pitch falls away to one end and consequently when it rains constantly for 48 hours things start to get a bit wet.

Hubby was dispatched out into the wet on Saturday afternoon to dig some trenches around the awning to channel the worst of the water away and fingers crossed so far it is working. We didn’t get the chance to re-waterproof the ceiling and walls but we only appear to have a few minor leaks around door areas so hopefully it will hold out.

The road down to the coast is beginning to see the results of all the rain with some little landslides throwing rocks and gravel down from the hills. Apparently last March there was a few days of heavy rain and some houses in the surrounding areas were literally washed away!! yikes…….Mind you, it has to be said that these are houses that are just thrown up and not pinned down with solid foundations in any way.

As I mentioned however, Sunday was a lovely day. Clear blue skies and about 18 degrees so I was lucky. I had already decided that I wanted to spend some time on the beach and so we went down to Torre del Mar and walked along the sand and promenade. It was warmer on the coast than up in the hills and although I had a fleecy on the sun was lovely and warm. We wandered around a little market and then sat and had a beer outside a cafe and indulged in a little ‘people watching’ whilst listening to a town band singing some rather jolly songs. I felt very blessed to be enjoying my birthday sat in the sun and breathing in fresh sea air.

After our beer we ambled back to the car and headed home to cook/uncook a meal. We had been planning to eat out but having managed to get an English-speaking copy of Sex and The City 2 I was keen to watch that instead and so made us a 3 course meal in Bessie, which we washed down with a bottle of cava.

Sunday was also our 13th Wedding Anniversary. Time is a funny thing as it certainly doesn’t feel as though we have been married for that long but then when I think about all the things that we have done since we have been married I wonder where we found the time to do them all!! But 13 years and still going strong so roll on the next 13 – I wonder where we will be by then??……

Yesterday also marked 17 years since our two older cats Oscar and Tinker came to live with us, something Oscar obviously wasn’t to thrilled about!! I guess when he came to join us all those years ago he didn’t bank on being as well-traveled as he has since become!! They say cats don’t like change and ours have certainly had their fair share of that over the years.

 

Thankfully Tinker was slightly more enthusiastic about the whole anniversary deal and happily posed for a little portrait!!

And, so that was our weekend. Lots of rain, lots of celebrating, a little bit of sun and  mercifully no snow!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday – rain and raw food delights

Well into our summer now and its raining cats and dogs this morning!! My furry babies are tucked up on the bed as there is no way they are getting their paws wet and I can’t say as I blame them. Just made plans to have visitors over the bank holiday weekend at the end of the month so can guarantee that it will rain then as well……..hey ho, at least I have been having fun in the kitchen and creating some scrummy raw delights.

Since deciding to start running raw food and yoga retreats – details to come soon on the website, I’ll keep you posted! – I have been in the kitchen a lot honing my raw food skills. I must say that the results so far have been good and my confidence is high that I can pull off the cooking part of the retreat. I have a friend and great yoga teacher facilitating the yoga part for me.

This weekend I made the following dishes…..

Tacos with sunflower seed pate, tomato salsa, pineapple salsa and guacomole

Side view

Coconut and Blueberry pie

Lasagne

All were delicious and very scrummy and will definately be part of the menu for the retreat. Who said raw food was all about the salads………………….happy days even with the rain.