Our run-up to Christmas this year was the usual bag of excuses for not doing work (from which particular aspect I should immediately excuse Geraldine, who has a gloriously endearing tendency to apologise for what, in truth, is her own exemplary work ethic AND DELIVERY by implying that she has to clean up etc, or whatever, anyway; after eating, after the rain, after the dogs (+ if truth be told, after ME).
Anyway, the most momentous development during that pre-holiday period was that, having originally indicated our desire to participate as long ago as August, we were finally invited to join a new `Portuguese for Estrangerios` language class at a college about half an hour’s drive away, starting in October.
Fast forward, and we’re now about ¼ way through the approved 150 hours of lessons (two fairly exhausting three hour sessions a week –certainly so when you add in the drive AND the
`turns out we’re comfortably on the right side of the class in terms of current ability (about 24, largely Brits and Dutch but including one Moldovan family group) when it comes to vocabulary and comprehension, but this is a real opportunity, if not to get to KNOW, at least to begin trying to understand Portuguese grammar – the substantial difficulties with which process are becoming clearer ……
Christmas itself -very much a family orientated occasion here- passed for us very smoothly and pleasantly. The fiercest or the cold had begun to ease, if replaced by the alternative, anticipated start of the rainy spell. Such rains would normally be over by now, and the cold really just starting, but we too appear to be experiencing "unusual weather patterns". Either way, normality should have largely returned by April.
New Year, on the other hand, is when locals more traditionally mingle and mongle, and, as always,a this season lived up to expectations. We returned -as has become our custom- to Casais San Jorge, and enjoyed an excellent night of fun and entertainment.
We are all, of course, getting older (and it was sad to observe the decline in a couple of our best friends from our previous village), but the general mood was spectacularly upbeat. Not only did we have `returning` as well as `new` young-blood participants, but overall numbers (at 70-odd for the sit-down meal, with more dropping-in later on) were substantially up on last year – reversing a sadly establishing trend. Great fun, chitting and chatting, was had by all; clearly our mutual affection and fond remembrances continue, and the whole evening (culminating in the usual v.loud fireworks display at midnight) was superb. Really brought a warm glow to the very fibres of our beings.
Since when, back to earth; including reminders of the unusually cold Portuguese weather and ever-increasing list of outstanding chores.
Water-logging has re-emerged (is that a contradiction?) on what has been designated as our future lawn – to which we need to apply a foot or more of top-soil, and which in any event will NOT be under water for the summer season. Delighted to have been advised of our first visitors (for Easter week), and -who knows- we may just be able to consider some further landscaping/building work. The weeping Willow planted last year by the pool is thriving, if un-leaved at present, and now TWO dogs accompany our two cats.
Life’s a peach!