Category Archives: blog

The mother of mosaics

I love a challenge.

It is only a piece of 42 by 95 centimeters, but it feels very decisive for the rest. Where writers sometimes suffer from writer’s block and stare anxiously at the white paper, I now suffer from a mosaicer’s block and stare anxiously at that piece of white wall.
You can only do it once. Then it’s stuck.

But now I’m stuck.

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Interestingly enough, I learn a lot from my mosaic students

Not always of course – they usually learn more from me during the mosaic workshops. That is ultimately the intention. But sometimes people do things that surprise me. I find it surprising that everyone makes something completely different, with exactly the same ingredients. Tiles, glue and a plasterboard.

You don’t need much to make something beautiful.

It started a while ago. The overarching theme is everywhere: fairy tales. Not the usual one Disney has already rui … excuse, used, but unknown. They are well known to me, because I once borrowed this book from my sister and never returned (sorry Til! Now you finally know!). I thought it were such beautiful stories, and it stimulated my imagination.
Can you check, because I have had it since I was six.

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Together with my mosaic buddy Astrid and enthusiastic volunteer Viola we started the frieze above the entrance to the main hall.

You usually do a frieze at the top, but we often do things here in an unusual way, so we should be able to do it at the bottom. If you work with people, it is useful to communicate with pictures. Otherwise it becomes very difficult to explain what kind of images you have in mind.

I often recommend that to mosaic workshoppers

Do you want to make a dolphin? Look for a picture, preferably a drawing, so that you have a hold on the lines. That is ultimately what it is all about. Now the last mosaicists wanted something different: a colorful heart (a familiar shape, especially for young girls), a butterfly (here a drawing comes in handy again), and the portrait of the youngest daughter (on the right in the photo).

You don’t need a drawing, because that image is engraved in your heart, of course. That is, if you are her mother. I thought it was a daring project for a first time mosaic, but as you can see it worked beautifully! The most important thing for me was the choice of background.

I generally do not interfere with anything – that is, I have the material and the knowledge, but I stay outside the design and color choices. That is up to the maker. I always hated it when my boys went to “craft” at school – that usually meant that the teacher had everything ready, and that they had to stick it together a bit and then color it.

All very bland. Also something I learned from!

Mother chose a very busy pointilistic tile as the background. Okay. I didn’t have to bite my tongue, but I had to restrain myself from saying that I wasn’t going to say anything about it. But I didn’t say that! Good of me, isn’t it!
And afterwards I am very happy with that, because it is beautiful.

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And it is inspiring. Learned something again. Only now to overcome that mosaicer’s block, find the right tiles, and then come up with those 42 by 85 centimeters!

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<< previous

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is going to be a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

Last minute holidays – a favourable opportunity

It’s high season, but it’s a bizarre quiet high season. That’s because you lot have a great summer up there in the north. The second time already! It’s not fair! We had the option on great weather. Luckily, we have more to offer then only great weather, and since a short period of time we also have a favourable opportunity in the form of a last-minute.

After yesterday’s hustle & bustle, I have an afternoon to continue the recently started mosaic project today.

After all, we have started another favourable opportunity recently, remember?

Last-minute-holidays-a-favourable-opportunity

I was already craving to go on with it yesterday, but that was impossible.

Sixteen people for “Pizza-da-Mamma Night”, and a French family for the Portuguese stew. That means: starting after lunch with the preparations, otherwise people are still waiting for their pizza at half past eight. And with quite some small children, it’s better to eat around 7.

It went smoothly. We have quit some experience working together in the kitchen, Broes and me

We’re an unbeatable team in the kitchen. No complaining, no messing around. “What needs to be done now?” he asks after cutting the onions, and I say: “Why don’t you actually become a cook?”

“Do you know how much stress that is?” he asks, “I actually understand Gordon Ramsey – with all that shouting and swearing.”

Anyway, everyone was happy yesterday, and I have an easy day today. Time to glue some pieces on the wall!

I’m working close to the entrance of appartment One. Johan comes out (this family’s here for the third time already, so we know eachother a bit better) and says: “It’s going to be so beautiful! The nice thing about it is that you see the changes every year. More mosaic every time.”

I push a white strip to the wall and answer: “Yes, next time that you’re here it’ll be completely finished.” “Wow, the entire building mosaiced in a year? That’s quite a job!”

“Uh … well, depending on how long it takes before you come back …” I joke, “when you come back next year … I’m not sure, but when you would come with Julia and her family, and with Samuel and his family, and you, and you rent 3 houses here to have a nice holiday together with your adult kids and grandchildren, certainly not only this building, but the entire village will have been mosaiced … ”

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The recent cancellation returns in a flash

That wás such a situation. Daughter with family, son with family, and parents – who would spend a joint vacation here.

A great way to team up but have your own privacy as well. It’s perfect for it! They had booked Palmeira, Oliveira and appartment One. Palmeira and Oliveira are two houses next to each other. Appartment One has a garden for the dog, and an extra bedroom if one of the grandchildren wanted to sleep with the grandparents.

It went a little differently. The universe had something else in store for them

One beautiful morning, daughter was notified that she was hired – a new job she applied for right before the holiday. If she could start per immediately, please? Oops! Apparently it was a close-knit family / an impressive new job / until then a less pleasant holiday / a shock for everyone, but they all canceled because they all suddenly returned to Belgium.

When I was glueing I had time to think about that

Good news for the daughter! Congratulations on your new job! I found it impressive that son and parents also canceled for this reason, but you don’t know. Not all families are alike. Maybe they sympathize very much with each other. Maybe they really didn’t feel like having a joint holiday but felt obliged – and everything in between. They did not tell me that.

The main result for us now is that we have 3 empty houses for 3 weeks – meaning a favourable Last-Minute for somebody else!

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<< previous

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is going to be a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

Termas-da-Azenha from a different angle

They can say as much as they want, but I know what I know, and that’s it! I tell you that!

It’s cat. I’m never mistaken about that. Here in Termas-da-Azenha it smells like cat.

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And I’ve already seen that cat. It’s a sneaky thing. Sneaks around everywhere, as if he’s up to something. Eating my food for example. Wouldn’t surprise me!

No idea why they want to stay here again. I recognize it vaguely from last year, it’s the same smell, but a little bit different.

Here in the garden it is nice

Too bad about that cat smell. And everything is very high. You can’t even see the ceiling in the room. I only see hair. That’s how high it is. I prefer to sit under the garden table, with Woman.

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That’s safe, and it smells like home.

And I’m not allowed on the bed here either. Just like home. Or on the couch.

“To your own bed!” Woman then shouts, “of you go!” I actually don’t even try anymore.

That person who owns this is nice

She talks to me nicely. (Not like I’m a toddler. I’m an adult, I’m a big guy!) She smells okay. Her feet then, because that is again another huge end to look up to – but she comes down to pat me. That is allowed, because she’s nice. Just for a minute or so, then it’s enough for me.

Only recently she crawled across the floor behind the wall with that black flat box in front of her face, when Son Number One almost tripped over her but saw her just in time. She’s a bit weird. She wanted to secretly take a picture of me, it seemed.

She seems like – what’s that called again? – a paparazzi

Boss came to help, because of course I don’t listen to Son Number One. Then you can go on for ever doing what they say. Yes, if they’re going to do something fun, I’ll listen. But if I don’t like it anymore, I’ll go back to Woman as soon as I can. At least she understands me.

I did say goodbye to weirdo when we left

I feel that she also understands me a bit. Not entirely naturally, and certainly not like Woman, but she comes a bit in the right direction. She respects me. So I jumped out of the car to say goodbye. So that she could stroke me for a minute.

Nice place. Not like home, but it works.

Too bad about that cat.

I stick with it: it stinks!

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<< previous

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is going to be a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

Mosaic-making queens

Not only do you have two volunteers, you also get half the Dutch royal family, a Belgian high brow, a clone from Arnold Schwarzenegger and a drag queen. Not surprising, because Ylva does a theater study in Gent, and Roos is a good tempered and smart girl, interested in everything.

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Within a day we’re not only working on the new mosaic project, but meanwhile there is a lot of shouting, teasing, singing and making jokes.

They’ve been coming for years, these voluntary queens, and keep on doing that. And now mainly for mosaic-making

And they don’t just come to make jokes! What also happens: “Can I do anything else for you, my dear?”

That doesn’t happen every day! Not everyone asks that! Yes, sometimes as a formality, after which they continue to watch the blue void very intensely in exactly the other direction when you pass by with a heavy cupboard (based on a true story), but this is really meant. And if I do have something (I don’t always), they even do it too. With a smile.

“Do you want to see a photo of Henk?” Ylva asks. “Yes of course! A new love? ”Ylva raises her eyes to heaven and answers:“ Ooooo, he is sooooo sweet! ”

She picks up her phone and shows Henk

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Henk de Hamster. “Who has a hamster?” Roos asks, “what is special about that?” And Ylva shouts indignantly: “Hey, Calimero, do you want to stay calm? Henk is my darling, my everything, my sweetheart, you can’t say anything about him!”

They make jokes about me as a slave driver

My consolation is – as long as people make jokes about it, it’s not so bad. And the girls come voluntarily so it probably is not that bad.

“She decides,” Rose says, carefully articulating like the Dutch queen Máxima, “she’s the boss, so she may say it. But we think pretty pink is very pretty here. ”

We have started a new mosaic project

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A fairly ambitious project: the entire facade of the bathhouse on the village square side. The corner next to the cafe is now complete (thanks to Astrid, Andrea, Viola) who have glued many, many pieces.

Now it’s the turn of the rest of the facade. Above the kitchen and the entrance to the big room. We’re a bit in the way, but the guests present ensure us that they don’t mind and walk around it. Two more days. Then that scaffolding can go.

Just in time for August to start, the holiday month in Europe

For Ylva it’s no longer a holiday. She has to work. Earning money to be able to pay for the rest of the (study) year. And then come and help in your precious free time, laughing and joking and doing a lot of good things!

If you can’t call that a passion for life, I don’t know what is

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<< previous

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is going to be a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

Cool Camping Guide & ANWB

We are writing 2005. A gray past. How exactly do I no longer know, but I still see the man in front of me in the office. Jonathan. At the beginning of thirty, a bit ruddy, and very enthusiastic. Enthusiastic in English.

He had a photographer with him, and we had to be in the book. In the Cool Camping Guide

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It kind of surprised me. At that time I was busy with everything and everything at the same time, also very enthusiastic – in Dutch, so it went smoothly between nose and lips.

So many people came along. Portuguese, Dutch, English …

They went to make a camping guide. With very nice pictures. So the Cool Camping Guide

In 2005 that was still a real book. On paper. That’s a lot more hassle than an e-book. You did that pretty quickly – even on your own. A whole team was involved in this paper Cool Camping Guide.

I have noticed that a photographer is very important. And that the one photographer is not the other. This was clear, and that still shows

“Olá, hello, hello …. which language do you prefer? Welche Sprache was the first time? “Usually I see it on someone’s nose. And then a look from the corner of your eye to the number plate is a little extra information, along with the experience that you know that in the preseason you often get northerners who want to enjoy the pre-season rest.

This time it was a bit of a surprise, because the woman spoke very good portuguese. Well with a German accent, so I knew it. I do not hear any differences in Portuguese – they can come from the north, south, middle or from Trás-os-Montes, I hear little difference. The only difference that I hear is whether it is inside or not, or with-a-teeth or without, or verbose or not.

I do hear Portuguese-Dutch, Portuguese-English, or Portuguese-German

Well gambled. Portuguese-German. And again: they come via the Cool Camping Guide. The book from 2005. Jonathan and his team have apparently made an immortal book, especially in Germany, because I still get people through the Cool Guide. And it is true what I always call those – always – unexpected guests: “The Cool Camping Guide is great! I always get nice people through them! ”

The best thing is of course: they also like it here. Bingo!

Some are blushing, but it’s true. Exactly the good target group. Prosperous people with a broad frame of mind who are looking for nice quiet special places but not in a snobbish way. Not to mention that they were “at the Termas-da-Azenha, stood in Free Time, were at” Gute Welt “and did you not read that article in the Snob Magazine?”

It will not have been exactly the next day, but in my memory it is a bit linked to each other: right after that a prosperous gentleman from the ANWB came along who was looking for special camping spots.

I showed him everything, and he became happier and happier

The ANWB is a very large organization. I was very impressed, because well, we were not busy for so long, I had not been working on it until after the divorce, so would this be a good idea? “Yes, yes, this is perfect for the guide!” Laughed the friendly gentleman whose name I forgot (sorry), “this is just a place where a part of our target group is looking for. Quiet, green, different-than-different, but kind of Dutch. You will come to our Charm Campsites Guide. Point.”

Okay. He will know. After all, he has experience with the ANWB target group

Yesterday I got a parcel with a “selected small camping” flag and a few – as always – unexpected camping guests. Via the ANWB.

And the flag? Also from ANWB.

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<< previous

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is going to be a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

 

Run for your life – an epic marathon

The petition was offered to the minister last Thursday. Let’s hope it has an effect, because the effort has been great. Three-hun-dred-fif-ty-ki-lo-me-ters of running. I’m very impressed. I’m already bent over panting, when I’ve to run three hundred and fifty meters.

Olá, nurse Duarte Barbosa, your room is ready, just lie down! Have a drink? Don’t forget to enjoy the view, because that’s now at its best. Everything green and peaceful with a lot of storks and ibises in between. That’ll give you strength for the next 50 kilometers tomorrow.

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you have to leave very early in the morning

Running more than a marathon every day – respect!

From Porto to Lisbon, every day a part of at least the marathon distance. When Duarte Barbosa arrived here, it had been 50 kilometers. He came by taxi from Figueira da Foz, because he was supposed to go from hospital to hospital every day to collect signatures for this good cause.

The big goal of this marathon: improvement

Nurses suffer from work pressure, stress, underpayment and long hours. Now they want more salary, earlier retirement, shorter work weeks and recognition of their professionalism.

All things you read in the newspaper every day

How interesting …, you might think now, but Portugal is one of the lowest-paid countries in Europe, and that has consequences. A quarter of the portuguese have gone abroad – you can earn more there. In August there is a swarm of cars with an L on their behind: Luxembourg, the country where a third of the population is portuguese.

This is a sympathetic way of asking attention for your situation, don’t you think?

Very different from what, for example, the truckers did a while ago. They went on strike, and that was less fun, because they were no longer going to supply the gas stations. Within a day, there were kilometers of traffic jams for all gas stations.

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They failed to reach their goal, because they refused to supply the ambulance, police and fire department as an exception. If people can no longer go to the hospital, or the police have to cycle to an emergency, or your house burns down because the fire department can only throw buckets of water on the fire, you soon lose sympathy for your good cause. And their demands were pretty high. Doubling their salary, among other things.

A bit much.

The government immediately made plans to deploy the army

They received little sympathy from their fellow countrymen. Nobody will be happy if you are forced to spend hours in traffic jams, just to be able to fill up your car and all the jerrycans you could find so that you can go to work the next day.

This promotion demands more respect. Whether it will have the positive consequences required …. ?

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<< previous

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is going to be a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

 

… comes a dog at the doctor’s …

She sneaks away when she sees me coming. We won’t fall for that again – be very nice and kind, and then suddenly put you in a closed space that moves, and makes you extremely nervous and a bit sick. So scary! You don’t know what will happen. Those people are unpredictable.

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One moment they are friendly and kind to you, the next they grab you in your neck. Or you just walk somewhere, and you’re chased away. Or they put you on a chain. Or try to poison you. Everything is possible with those creatures on two legs.

It is in the DNA of animals, and especially Portuguese dogs, that you have to be very careful with people

I didn’t grab her for nothing: we’re going to the vet. Dr. Soares is the vet of the municipality, and a very kind and nice man. But she doesn’t know that yet.

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She is shivering in the back.

I just talk in a high soft voice: “Dontworrylovely, allswell, nothingwillhappentoyoudontworry, juststaycalmwe’regoingtohelpyou …”

With all those animals in the Termas – donkeys, cats and dogs in particular – I have seen quite a few veterinarians up close. From most of them, sorry to say, I have the impression that they’ve started to practice the profession not so much because of animal love, but more because you can earn nicely. Especially if you sell the medication with it. Some seem to be representatives of the pharmaceutical industry.

Now some dogs were not very good condition when I arrived

One in particular wasn’t very attractive – we called him Wolf, because he had a wolf’s head. That sounds nice, but the rest was a sheep, with very thick fur. Below he had the pink skin of a pig, one blue and one brown eye, and he was stupid as anything.

He probably had been chained all his life, because he had a piece of broken rope around his neck when I met him. At that moment I drove at full speed to trainstation Bifurcação de Lares to bring someone to the train, and when I saw him, I already knew that I couldn’t drive past him again on the way back.

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You come across some pathetic creatures, but this was one of the worst

It was a warm July day, and he walked completely mad with his thick sheepskin down the road. He was completely lost, literally and figuratively, but he was not agressive at all.

I went to see a number of veterinarians with him, along with my sister, who has impressive medical knowledge and said that a veterinarian could simply cut the ear a bit and sew it up again neatly. That would cure it. But all the vets looked at Wolf as if they saw an ebola-patient, and refused to even touch him. It wasn’t that bad anymore – we had already given him a bath.

Once, we even found a puppy in the garbage container! Surely a surprise, if you want to throw your garbage bag away, and a few adorable little eyes look up at you. We don’t want puppies anymore. It happened a few times, very cute and very sweet, but you have a lot of work with it.

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The last few years it has become less, all those lost dogs

Much more information is given, there is better care, and you can go to the municipal veterinarian if you want to adopt a lost dog or cat. Then the mandatory chip, passport and vaccination package costs little. Anyone can afford that, but you will be screened.

Logical, otherwise you’ll have many more cases of: “Comes a dog at the doctor’s …”

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<< previous

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is going to be a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

 

We’re having a heatwave

Sorry. Wrong title. YOU are having a heatwave. Here in Portugal it’s lovely weather – that is to say: I like some clouds in the morning, and sun in the afternoon, around 25 º with a breeze.

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I guess lots of you are suffering a bit from the heat up there. So … here you go. Good advice from people who have experience with heat and heatwaves.

I thought that could come in handy!

  • Make ice cubes, and a lot of them, use them to cool off
  • Wet towels of any size, put them in the freezer. Good for a quick cool off
  • Invest in 100% blockout curtains if you haven’t yet
  • Close curtains and shutters all the time. Open all of them when it’s cooler in the evening
  • Buy a role of insulation paper from the local hardware shop and stick this to your windows. Cheap and effective (if you don’t do the curtains-shutters-thing)
  • There are lots of animals and insects outside who need a little bit of help. Put some undeep saucers so they can’t drown

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  • If you can, invest in Cool Gelmats. Makes sleeping a lot easier
  • Carry water everywhere. Make sure you drink a lot. You need it
  • Do not use your oven at all. Instead eat salades, raw food, fruit
  • If you’re in a humid place, do not use fans, however tempting it might be. Use ice instead. You’ll get a cold easily with wind being wet
  • Try not to use electric devices – every device you use gets the temperature up. Get a hand fan
  • Stick to the shade (duh …)

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  • Wear sunscreen, even staying in the shade. Reapply every 4 hours. Here’s a recipe for homemade, ecologic sunscreen**
  • Look up the signs of heat stroke and keep them in mind. When you see someone suffering from it, you can help better
  • Wear a broad brimmed hat in the sun. Anyway: head protection
  • Wear sunglasses, you’ll get less tired

  • Wear cotton, not polyester. Breathes easier in the heat
  • If you feel weak or exhausted, lay in a cold bath for a while untill you cool down. If you don’t have a bath, take a lukewarm shower
  • Leave your hair wet, but take care with drafts & wind
  • Make a fire evacuation plan, or study it well in your workplace
  • DON’T FORGET YOUR PETS! Treat them the same as you treat yourself. If you have pets, put ice in their water

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  • Stay out of the sun between 14:00 – 17:00 especially
  • Don’t drink ice water or cold drinks. Your body will need warmth to get it up to body temp, so you’ll loose every effect. Drink lukewarm water or tea instead, and cool yourself off with icecubes or frozen towels (see above)
  • BE CREATIVE!

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** Homemade Sunscreen Recipe

Make your own sunscreen at home with natural ingredients and avoid the chemicals in commercial brands. 

Ingredients

  • ½ cup almond or olive oil (can infuse with herbs first if desired)
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup beeswax
  • 2 TBSP zinc oxide
  • 1 tsp red raspberry seed oil (or less, optional)
  • 1 tsp carrot seed oil (or less, optional)
  • 2 TBSP shea butter (optional)

Optional Ingredients

  • essential oils
  • vanilla extract or other natural extracts (not citrus)Instructions
  • Combine all the ingredients except zinc oxide in a pint-sized or larger glass jar.
  • Fill a medium saucepan with a couple inches of water and place on the stove over medium heat.
  • Put a lid loosely on the jar and place it in the pan with the water.
  • Shake or stir the jar occasionally to mix the ingredients as the melt.
  • When all the ingredients are completely melted, stir in the zinc oxide, and pour into whatever jar or tin you will use for storage.
  • Stir a few times as it cools to make sure zinc oxide is incorporated.
  • Store at room temperature or in the refrigerator to increase shelf life.

Notes

  • This sunscreen is not waterproof and will need to be reapplied after sweating or swimming.
  • Make sure not to inhale the zinc oxide. Use a mask if necessary!
  • Add more beeswax to make thicker sunscreen, less to make smooth sunscreen.Store in a cool, dry place or in the fridge.
  • I prefer to store in a small canning jar and apply like a body butter. It will be thicker, especially if you use coconut oil in the recipe.
  • Remove the zinc oxide and this makes an excellent lotion recipe!

**

Symptoms of Heat Stroke

  • Throbbing headache.
  • Dizziness and light-headedness.
  • Lack of sweating despite the heat.
  • Red, hot, and dry skin.
  • Muscle weakness or cramps.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Rapid heartbeat, which may be either strong or weak.
  • Rapid, shallow breathing.
  • .

Bookkeeper in the spotlight

In 2005 we changed. The first bookkeeper was all the way in Porto; our adventure once started there. I had the idea he wasn’t very reliable and expensive. He never warned about upcoming payments to the state, or that it was time, for example, to reclaim the VAT.

Time for another bookkeeper

I thought it would be a good idea to have an bookkeeper around the corner, and a reliable one, with whom you can discuss this or that. Apparently the government employs a lot of civil servants, and they must all have something to do – and all they can do is come up with rules. That has consequences.

That is precisely the área de especialidade of the bookkeeper

I also have a rule for myself: if I want something, I request a quote from 3 people. Then you have a good idea, and you can make a good choice. So that also happened with choosing a new bookkeeper, but frankly my choice was made from the first moment.

Ferrazcont, as it was then called, made a pleasant impression.

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Their location was great (Soure), their presentation was great (no pretensions, no weighting), their staff were great (people with a real smile) and their price was great (price-quality comparison).

In the beginning I came to check out every month. That is: to pay for their services. At the time, that was just with money, and I was never thinking of asking for a receipt. They told me exactly what I had to do when the Finanças started to automate, and I had to hand in everything every month before the 4th day. And that that was Very Important.

(Later it became the 20th; apparently more people have difficulty with this requirement.)

They tell me with endless patience that it is Really Very Important to hand in your receipts on time, recently again.

Bookkeeping is not my strong suit (but luckily it’s theirs)

And now we suddenly have a logo! I had an appointment at the office of Marcar – as it is now called – because we all have to have a digital invoicing system from July 1; because we all have to register with the RCBE; because we all must have a Complaints Book online.

You need a logo for the latter. We still had not. This was discussed during the interview, and Emília said that she was concerned with these kinds of designs as relaxation. She would arrange that. Top.

Thanks to the compulsive rule of law, thanks to all those civil servants who have to keep on working, thanks to all those rules, and especially thanks to Emília, we now finally have a logo.

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We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is going to be a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

Student orchestra – music on holiday

Just 3 years old, and she already knew exactly what she wanted.

Little Viola saw and heard someone with a violin and at the same time knew: I want to play the violin. Her parents had apparently picked it up intuitively much earlier, and had called her Viola. How beautiful do you want it?

Making music on holiday

We have a few drums, a piano roll, a Portuguese guitar and a small rehearsal for children. The latter was once left by a wealthy mother who, perhaps hopefully, had named her daughter Melody.  Melody was a very nice, smart eight-year-old, with whom I had a lot of fun during a mosaic workshop. The violin didn’t catch on with her. As a Melody you might better become a singer …

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That little violin is not ideal for an adult violinist who has been practising for years and years, but better than nothing. Viola didn’t dare to take her violin with her because it’s a lease. Imagine if something happens to it! And also: it must be transported specially, with a special insurance policy, and that will be pretty expensive.

Playing violin didn’t appeal to Melody, but Viola was very consistent in her desire to become a violinist

Her parents had told their three-year-old daughter that she’d be allowed to play the violin if she still wanted to do so when she was 6 years old. And that was the case. Playing, practicing every day, participating in youth orchestras – it’s a very different childhood than that of many.

I don’t often meet young people who listen regularly to Prokofiev. Or listen to Brahms or Bach while working. It has a somewhat dusty image.

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Unjustified, it turns out. The interdisciplinary ad hoc student orchestra is a kind of a boot camp for young musicians. Playing every day for 10 hours. In the evening they go out to party together.

An intense life as a freelancer in music: work hard, play hard

In this case it is play hard, play hard. Working is playing – now February is the shortest month, but after 10 days of bootcamp your resistance is close to zero. Practicing so much and afterwards so many parties, and therefore very little sleep, a person does not sit in cold clothes.

And then you still have a few weeks to go because then the gigs start!

My respect for young musicians is increasing hand in hand. Not only do they have to work hard – play at least a few hours every day – but they also don’t have much certainty about work after their education. Immediately at the auditions for Performing Musician it is said that it is best to do a study or training next to it. Then at least you have something to fall back on if there is no work.

Unfortunately, we now have no opportunity to enjoy Viola’s musical talents in the absence of a good instrument. Fortunately we can enjoy her cutting and pasting, because like many artfully constructed people, her talent does not stop with music!

blog_student-orchestra-music-on-holiday

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<< previous

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is going to be a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

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