· Our phone number remains as before, we still own Casais S. Jorge (or rather, it has not yet been sold!), and email addresses also remain unaltered, though we still don’t have broadband, so I mostly use somewhat infrequent trips to the local library to log on
· Notwithstanding the fact that, as we understand like everywhere else, the weather this year has been totally non-forecastable, we do know the one thing about here is that work such as household and garden chores –with which we are inundated, see above- simply has to be done when conditions allow
· and that, plus a further full complement of visitors spread over this past summer, left little `free` time, as a result of which we have been relatively undercover
Notwithstanding, I think we are now as well on top as time, conditions and the rapidly-evaporating exchange rate will allow.
As a result largely of lower than anticipated living costs here, we had been able to use cash intended for motor-upgrade to buy a little `hideaway` cottage in the Spring of 2005 We’ve been working on it ever since. We went there –normal refurbishment routine, early 2007- to the cottage to continue tidying-up etc., and found -completely out of the blue- that the newest, the only unoccupied out of four dwellings on our forest cul-de-sac road, was for sale. So, we
· Asked ourselves would we really like said bungalow
· Decided YES (lots of plus points, even with CSJ the dish it is)
· Considered where we could get some money (you know, cash, savings, loans, robbery etc., etc)
· Decided to split options by bidding basically as much as we could scrape together without -immediately- going under, on the basis that if successful, `t`would be a justifiably and totally unrepeatable bargain
· Asked ourselves if the sun had been especially hot
· Found the money (as I keep telling Geraldine, don’t even ask!)
· Bought it
Beyond that, we do maintain a certain contact with the outside world via increasingly rare visits to the net. Since we still haven’t signed up for Broadband -too costly on our usage- this tends to be a quick shuftie in the `incoming mail` box, cut & paste anything appropriate, back out and log off.
Anyway, with a combined income –over the first almost five years - of ZERO (seriously, to work a Eurovision Song Contesty-type line, `nil cents`), and depending solely on the, as it turned out, surprisingly adequate prior financial planning to provide sufficient means for survival -the sole original intention- we’ve somehow managed to amass also a field, a cottage and a bungalow. We’ve also (re-) learned the meaning of thrift - `though there’s going to be one helluva lock-gate busting party when we sell Casais!
Only a few weeks ago it really would have been too early, but now all of a sudden we’re ready to move house. We knew Casais wouldn’t be a quick sale given the ever-worsening UK situation, but we now need to consider moving and leaving CSJ as the gooseberry. The only remaining problem would then be the money bit (hey, we didn’t plan the Field, let alone further accommodation!) but I have a cunning plan. I don’t think security is very good in the Banks here anyway, so cash-procurement might not be as difficult as on first thoughts. Trouble is, a Nor`n Irn accent doesn’t have the same cachet effect in Portugal ……
(November 2007) Geraldine has just returned from Newcastle with the Gran`chilter (a flying visit in more ways than one), and she even managed a quick Hello to Jason & Jane*** en route so that should break the weather pattern of more-recently settled sunshine. It was very close this past week, with thunderstorms all around, but not actually IN, CSJ on three of the past four afternoons; sufficient to moisten the ground but not begin to register in my water butts.
We’ve just booked a 5-night break in a Hotel (the Atlantico Golfe, don`t you know, in Peniche – down the coast, between us and Lisbon) starting next Sunday (30th) so that will be a break. They DO have (as, well, we think, as a 9-hole course plus putting practice areas) pools, a Gym, Sauna etc., AND KENNELS, so Sophie can come with us. In any event the cats didn’t complain when we pointed out suspension of their “drop-in” facility, and the parrot will be left with plenty of food and water, so we’re looking forward to the supposed rest.
Otherwise. obviously helped by the wet summer, fruit trees in`t meadow have all established; with even our one and two year old we`ans producing, between them, peaches (many), apricots (few), one –delicious!- nectarine and a fig. The glof course (that`s NOT a miss-spell, but the proof of the pudding awaits; we envisage holding on to the now-developed Field) has grown to fourteen crazy/pitch & splutt holes, and although pressures of time have prevented regular greens treatment, G said she managed to beat said J&J in the Ballyrobert crazy
Maurice & Geraldine
*** Subsequently married –Barcelona!- in January.