Portelas – the joys of country life

The kids managed to move all their goods and chattel to our new residence in Portelas on Friday, 31 Mar 2017, aided by 3 helpers. There was the usual fun and games. When they tried using the taps down stairs, water leaked out of pipes in the garage, where most of their stuff is stored. Luckily, with builders working on-site the leak was quickly stopped.

The house has been sitting empty for a long time, and apart from a total clean inside, there was a major issue with the patio outside the downstairs kitchen. The overhanging roof was a perfect place for birds to nest, which meant the patio itself was covered in guano. Our daughter spent a couple of hours making sure all of this was cleaned up, as she has two young children and that patio is, for the moment, their safe outdoor play area.

Then on Saturday our son-in-law´s mother flew from the UK to the Algarve, bringing a friend. The mother visits several times a year, and rents a well-appointed flat in Estrela da Luz. It’s very handy because it is close to all of the amenities in Luz.

The weather in this end of the Algarve has now turned very pleasant indeed, so a barbecue was scheduled for Sunday 2 Apr 07. What we think of ‘our’ ‘small’ cleaned-up patio was to be the location. A total of 9 adults (family plus helpers in the move), 2 young children, the dog and the barbecue.

I got an invitation to the barbecue but I declined. I was still feeling rough with a cold, and I was coughing and sneezing, so It was better not to spread the infection about.

Apart from transporting 4 adults to attend this do, we sent over some old unwanted CDS, some string, and scissors. Two of the ladies put the men to shame by clambering up step-ladders to hang 8 or 9 CDs from the beams above the roof. Birds don’t like the movement or the reflection, so it keeps them off. I am told that after dark, the kitchen lights were reflecting off the twirling CDs, so we should have little further problem with bird guano on this patio.

The day went well. The company was good. The weather was delightful. The littlies enjoyed racing toy cars on the patio. And then the tales emerged.

It seems that our neighbours on our east side did a bit of pig-butchering that Sunday morning. The squeals were reported as lasting for 8 or 9 minutes. This episode caused our grand-daughter to declare that if this happened once a week, she was becoming a vegetarian. A friend pointed out that a pig being butchered does not last 8 or 9 minutes, and the norm here is to slaughter 4 or 5 at one session, share them around the family, and stuff the ‘spare’ carcasses in a freezer.

Then came the second bit of the tale. It turns out the person who runs our local hostelry considers his first profession to be not hosting a café/bar, but being a butcher. Yikes, we know the local butcher!

We have gone from the artificial ex-pat bubble that is Luz to a fairly wealthy part of Portelas, but one which appears to be typically Portuguese. We are going to have to get used to bird guano and local slaughtering of pigs. These are the joys of country life!

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