Boas Festas…. .

A week of rain.  A week.  Still, Portugal needs it after a very dry summer so we mustn’t grumble.  It was just a week.  Not too long.  Just a week.  Seven days.  Actually I lie.  It was really six days as there was one good day in amongst the seven wet ones.  So, six days then.  Not a week at all.

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Grey skies.
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The town car park was closed later in the day as the river kept rising.

 

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Flooded fields.

As we weren’t cooped up in the van it didn’t bother us.  The donkeys were miserable though.  They really don’t like the rain.  They are desert animals after all so who can blame them. They don’t have a double layer waterproof suit so they are susceptible to skin problems if they stay wet for long periods. Normally the older ones go to various different grazing spots during the day (I call it donkey day care) but when it’s wet they’re confined to barracks as that’s the only place where there is any shelter from the rain.  And they get bored.  Sooo bored.  It’s also tricky trying to feed twenty donkeys inside when it’s wet as there isn’t much room and hooves start flying as they jostle for the best positions. 

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Off to donkey day care before the period of rainy weather.
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Happy donkeys.

The donkeys weren’t the only ones who were bored.  When we took the dogs out on Friday they were all absolutely manic.  Not so many volunteers turned up so we went out with our usual three for an hour and then came back to get three more. 

img_20191220_103901172_hdrTrying to get three hyper dogs all booted and spurred ready to go out was no mean feat.  Tim just leaves me to it and waits for me to hand him a lead or two when they are ready.  No chance of him getting muddy. 

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Trying to get these three ready to go out was a trial.

But the monsoon season appears to be over now as we have had wall to wall sunshine for the last couple of days. 

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The first dry morning for several days.
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The warm weather brought visitors.

Meanwhile back at the band Tim has been busy with various rehearsals, functions and festivities.  Food seems to always feature at the various different functions he has played at. 

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Cake!
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Prawns.

A week or so ago they did a tour of four villages doing a short concert at each of them and food was provided at all but one of them.  I received several text messages throughout the day just keeping me abreast of what was going on:  1st concert and meal finished.  2nd finished, no food! 3rd one, on a roll, port and cake! They stopped after that but later he smugly told me that a three course dinner was laid on after the last concert. 

The final concert before the New Year was on Saturday where the band played at a Christmas meal for one of the local banks who had donated some money to buy some new instruments.  A new bass clarinet, timpani, euphonium and glockenspiel have now been added to the bands stable of instruments.

Marvellous. 

So with that I’ll wish all of you ‘Boas Festas’ whatever you are doing and thank you all for reading the blog this year.

Até a próxima!           

Life in the slow lane…. .

The eve of the local Christmas Market here in Aljezur has given me the nudge to remind me that it was about time I updated the blog.  It’s hard to believe we’ve been here for six weeks already.  It’s also quite hard to believe we are nearing the Festive Season as it’s much more low key here.  There are some lights up here and there around the town but if you’re like me and don’t go out much after dark then Christmas could pass you by which is exactly how I like it.  My former work colleagues would attest to the ‘bah-humbug’ I used to be (and still am) at this time of year.  Secret Santa?  No thanks.  Work Christmas do? Not for me.  But here I do like to go to a few of the local events so we’ll be heading on over to the Christmas Market later on today.

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The old town.

Aside from that we have established our routines here with our various interests.  The Banda Dos Bombeiros Volunários de Aljezur has welcomed Tim with open arms.  A seat was rustled up, music was printed off, a uniform sourced from the depths of the store cupboard, and voila, you’d never know he wasn’t Portuguese.  Principally the band is made up of young people between the ages of twelve and twenty six but they didn’t seem to mind or notice the age gap.  The band is bank rolled by the fundraising efforts of the Bombeiros (fire brigade) and seems to be very active within the local community.

img_20191116_152809951_hdrThey were joined by two other bands a couple of weeks ago for a Festival of bands where the three bands marched through different parts of the town followed by a concert.

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img_20191116_192603665December 8th was a procession in Monchique, twenty miles away, for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception with a coach laid on to get the musicians to and from the town.

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The Procession through Monchique.
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The price of living with less stuff………tatty walking boots instead of polished black shoes!

fb_img_1575883140800The film ‘Brassed Off’ came into my mind.  If you haven’t seen the film then I’d recommend it.

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After the concert waiting for the bus.

Then tonight there will be a concert at the church in Aljezur.  Starting at 9.30pm.  9.30pm?  Everything seems to start late here. Me, I’m normally getting ready for bed at that time but I’ll make an exception tonight and support it.

As for me the donkeys continue to keep me busy three mornings a week.

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A rainy day at Donkey HQ.
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They really don’t like the rain.

We had two new arrivals a couple of weeks ago.  Pasquale, an elderly donkey, was in need of a home and a chance at a comfortable retirement.  He worked in agriculture in his previous life so he can now enjoy a bit of down time in his later years.

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Pasquale looking forward to a retirement now.

Isabella came with him but she is much younger so will hopefully make a good trekking donkey with a bit of time and training.  She’s a big girl of some sort of Spanish origin and she’s bigger than nearly all the males.

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Isabella takes a roll AFTER I’ve just brushed her and made her look pretty!

They were both pretty nervous to start with but after a few days began to trust their new humans and I think they now enjoy the attention.

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Pasquale, Isabella, Romano, Margarida and Mocco off to the neighbours for a days grazing in one of their fields.

img_20191116_103903148As for the dogs? Well, there are about forty or so of them and they are reliant on the volunteers if they want to get out for a walk three days a week.

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Brody……..a big softie.
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Shanna.

Generally there are enough people but some days have been a bit thin on the ground so we’ll take two or three for an hour or so and then go back for two or three more.

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Lisa and Jackson.

As I knew would happen, one of them is going to break my heart.  I knew it as soon as I clapped eyes on him.  He’s a scruffy young Pedengo (Mediterranean hunting dog) and he has stolen my heart already.

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Vicki, Ghee and Barley.  Barley is the heart breaker!

He’s not ready for rehoming yet as he is still really nervous of people but we can see a change in him with us since we’ve been taking him out as he seems much more relaxed and content with us now.

img_20191115_112500482Tim keeps reminding me that three is a crowd.

I can safely say that I won’t be getting a scruffy Pedengo for Christmas then!

Até a próxima.