Portelas – the hay wain

If things seem a little quiet at the moment, that is because I am moving into Portelas. By that, I mean the dozens upon dozens of boxes are all here, and what I am doing is unpacking them and stacking the goods away. My bedroom is sorted. The rest of the house looks like a disaster zone.

My beloved is under the weather in England after a gallstone operation. This may be a blessing in disguise as it has saved us from arguing like cats and dogs over what goes where, and what gets chucked away. I simply decide, and that is the end of it.

Life here in the village is at the opposite extreme to life in Luz. Luz is 99% English. Portelas is 99% Portuguese.

I have met and spoken to one of my many new neighbours. On the plot next to ours they have built 4 separate houses for 4 separate generations, so just that lot will take quite a lot of getting used to.

The gentleman I talked to speaks little English, so my Portuguese is going to get a good work-out. This neighbour keeps a very small herd of goats. This seems to be mainly for goat’s cheese. But we discussed whether we might get a piece of goat around Christmas time. I am not a fan of roast chicken and Brussels sprouts, so I’m thinking of more like a Jamaican goat curry. Something quite different from the leftovers.

As well as the neighbours, the landscape is also totally different to Luz. I might as well be on a different planet. The view we have from the ‘front’ of our house is away from the main entrance. The kids upstairs face west, onto the ‘main’ road. We face east, onto sunrise and sunset.

Between us and the low hills in the distance, there are no streets, so there are no street lights. What this means is we get a stunning sunrise, particularly before dawn, when the sun backlights the hills to the east in fiery morning red. While in the evening the sun sets, and the sky goes through every shade of blue and purple that you can imagine.

I would love to take some photos just to show you a little bit of local life, because it is completely different to anything I have experienced in my life so far. Here’s where we hit a snag. I know that my pocket camera went into the packing. But I haven’t got a clue where it is now. I am sure it is here in our apartment, but I just don’t know whereabouts.

This post is titled Portelas – the Hay Wain. Wain simply means a waggon or cart. Today, the people who recently mowed our ‘meadow’ and baled the hay, turned up to collect the bales. This being Portugal, there was no phone call or appointment. The guys just drove onto our land with a truck, via a neighbour’s property. What they did was they scooped up all the bales of hay. Those bales came from our property, our neighbour to the right, who did not ask them to mow his meadow but was happy that they did, and our neighbour to the left. I don’t have his views so I can’t comment.

Our hay wain lorry was stacked to the sky with bales of hay. Have a look at the painting. Constable’s hay wain has no hay whatsoever. And the wain is in the middle of the river, going nowhere.

Now if you thought this was a gentle tale without a Madeleine McCann twist, you would be wrong. The man who mowed our meadow, baled the hay, and took it away looks after horses for a living. There is no real surprise here – horses plus horse food. But part of his livelihood is transporting GNR horses around the Algarve. So some of our hay will be fed to some of the GNR horses this winter.

We are doing our bit to support the Algarve GNR.


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