Portelas – The Theatre Of Dreams

The Theatre of Dreams is a nickname for the football ground of Manchester United. It has a capacity of 75,600 and it looks like this.


I am not a Manchester United fan, but I have stolen the nickname, for the moment, for the place are moving to in Portelas. The house has been valued and that part is OK. We know the local council have re-inspected the property. On a first inspection they came up with a list of work to be carried out by the bank. That has all been done and we are simply waiting for them to issue a habitation licence for the under-build, which is the part we oldies will occupy, whilst the next two generations will live in the two levels above us.

I intend having a lot of social functions indoors, very much part of my Theatre of Dreams. I hope to travel in time and space, and I fully expect there to be one murder per year. What would you anticipate in the Theatre of Dreams?

But there are a couple of events I would like to run outdoors. Our garden is very odd. It is classed as agricultural, which limits severely what we can do with it. There is an underground village water spring on it, so the land is classed as ecological. Basically, this means we can do next to nothing on it. We are not permitted to build any structure on it, and that means we are not allowed to have a swimming pool, even one sitting above ground.

I am not even sure that we would be permitted to use it for agricultural purposes, but as I am not a gardener, I see that as no great loss. As far as I can tell, we have a giant garden that has to remain as a garden, and indeed could well be a bit of a burden.

However, I am not short of resourcefulness, so the issue is how can we turn this facility into part of our Theatre of Dreams.

Here is the first photo of the garden area. The rather grotty area on the right is actually a car parking/turning area at the bottom of our drive. It will need to be cleaned up and perhaps we will tile it give us an even larger patio.


The ‘lawn’ behind is clearly rough grass at the moment. One option to keep it in trim is to get the locals to bring sheep onto our land every so often and let them graze the grass. I don’t know whether that would go down well with the neighbours and we have a Staffordshire terrier that probably would not go down well with shepherd, so we may have to invest in a ride-on lawn mower.

The fenced off area beyond that is rather odd, because it is not part of our property. Someone uses that for agricultural purposes, so I will need to check if there are any goodies on there for culinary purposes.

The patio on the left is actually the roof of an outbuilding, so we have a fairly large storage area, though I dare say it will soon get filled with detritus.

This is a photo of the main part of the garden. Beyond the agricultural land, our garden becomes full width, and the bottom of the garden is that little line of trees and bushes running across the photo.


We therefore have room for 5 a-side or even 7 a-side football pitch, just part of our own Theatre of Dreams. Our ‘crowd’ capacity is probably well in excess of 100, and the limiting factor is again loos, though I think I have solved that.

I envisage an annual game in Spring or Summer. It will be Portugal v England, limited to those who are still attending primary school. I hope our Portuguese neighbours will rustle up an entire batch of junior Cristiano Ronaldo’s, and I’m pretty confident of being able to round up enough budding Harry Kane’s to do the trick for England. The ‘seniors’, aged 6-11, would play the ‘competitive’ game on a ‘proper’ pitch, while the very young would get that grassy area near the patio for a friendly kick-about.

The other idea I hope to run sometime each December is ‘A Dickens of a Christmas’. This is also an idea poached from elsewhere. Each year in England we both enjoyed going to a local village where they had set aside various halls and public areas and stuffed them with craft stalls, fun fairs for children and adults alike, and places where you could sit, get a rest, have cup of tea and a snack or a light bite. Then the grandchildren came along and things changed a bit, because they had quite different interests to us. One thing that amused all four of us was that you had to park outside the village, then a London double-decker bus would take us in, then out again.

We have enough room in the garden to set up many a stall. Again, the limiting factor is loos, but as I said, a solution has been developed. Oddly enough, I may be able to lay my hands on some quaint antique transport, though I don’t think I can source a double-decker. I’m not sure this is an issue because the roads around our house are not wide enough for one of those.

There are two ways of looking at our rear garden. One is as a near useless, labour intensive, dingy, waste of time and space. What I see is our Theatre Of Dreams. Welcome to Portelas!


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