Category Archives: blog

Hello Hurricane Leslie

The parking lot is full, and the lights are on half. They no longer have bread, and the bread baking machines are definitely not going to work today.
Halfway through the first path in the supermarket I meet a man wearing a T-shirt with the print: This is only the beginning.

I meet him on every path during my visit at the supermarket.

 

Well, if that is the case, you can sweep me up after the next one

I had bravely gone to bed, like: “nothing wrong, just a bit of wind. Don’t be such a drama queen!”  I felt just like that at the end of the afternoon, when we hastily brought the pool covers, and the various shadow tents to safety, put all the garden tables and chairs inside, checked all the windows and closed the shutters everywhere. We slipped the stuff around the camper van of volunteers Nico and Gerda (who were in Lisbon with their daughter) under their car, and put their bikes in the shower.

Exaggerated? I really felt quite a drama queen

There was not even a breeze in the afternoon, and with some bright clouds a nice sun it was a lovely autumn weather. What do you mean, a hurricane’s coming? And he would land at Lisbon, so probably we got a bit of a strong wind. Come on. We can handle that, right? We can handle a bit of a storm, even if it already has a name – hurricane Leslie.

Ha! Around midnight I was in the kitchen, praying to a god that I don’t even believe in, with a song in my mind: “It never takes long, a hurricane, it never lasts long. It never takes long, a hurricane, it never lasts long.”

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One of the consequences of Lovely Leslie … 2 trees down and 6 roofs damaged!

Son Broes came along, lit a few more candles, but I objected: “Be careful Broes, we don’t know what else happens, we only have 3 candles.”

“Luckily I picked up Bart from Soure!” says Broes, “If he really had to come here by bike, he’d have been exactly in the middle of it.” Bart is “the young Bart” an old friend of the Termas, has volunteered here 12 years ago, and comes back regularly. A sports fan who thought it was a good idea to cycle to Fátima on Saturday the 13th. And back again.

Fortunately, he went back by train (you can take your bike on the train, costs nothing extra, no problem, you don’t even have to book) and that went a bit faster. I’d already received an app halfway through the afternoon: “Can someone next time tell me that after Sobral there’s not one meter flat in this country” – which made me laugh loudly.

Later I was very happy that he was in his room, because hurricane Leslie was violently present, and had chosen Figueira da Foz as landing spot instead of Lisbon. Figueira is 12 km away, as the crow flies, so we were the winners.

“Pffff, don’t you think this is boring?” Broes would have liked to sit at his computer to play a game or watch a movie, but that was completely beyond every possibility. You couldn’t step outside, you could feel the suction upwards – or was that my imagination? And it was pitch-black everywhere. We were of course badly prepared.

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“Boring. You find this boring. Okay. That’s also possible, of course.”

I hadn’t finished my sentence or there were Lucille and Tomas, the French guests, seeking protection in the warm candlelight in the kitchen. Especially Tomas had a bad time. It was difficult to ignore, because a hurricane doesn’t come quietly. It makes a lot of noise. You didn’t even hear the roof tiles fall on the street – it’s lost in the roar.

Mother Nature is angry. And we will know that too

Sorry, mommy! We didn’t mean it that way! We don’t know what we’re doing, we’re still a little stupid. It’s probably going to be a hell of a mess to change things so that mom gets a little more calm again.

So that man with the T-shirt will not be right with his: This is only the beginning!

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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 Google+, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

You like? Please like! And sharing is not forbidden ....

What to do on holiday? Here’s an idea: read!

I just read that we are all going to be cyborgs, much earlier than we think!

I just read the latest Dan Brown book. Origin. Once, a long time ago, I read the Da Vinci Code, just like everyone else. I started at the end of the afternoon with a good dose of skepticism – “We’ll see if it’s worth all those nice words” – and I put it away with red eyes around 4 o’clock at night.

How do they do that? Writing and creating such a page-turner? Fascinating

I skipped the others, it is not entirely my genre. There are too many helicopters in it, but the Da Vinci Code was ok.

The newest is left here by a guest, I suspect. I rarely buy books. There always comes a lot with the Red Bus in the spring, donated by family and friends, and it’s a lot of fun umpacking them.

Now this time, it wasn’t start and didn’t stop until it’s finished. Impossible, it’s “changing season”: still guests but already starting the maintenance work (maintaining all intermediairs to start with). So it was in small portions.

I always get up early, so I can have breakfast and read. And in the evening before bedtime. Always a book before bedtime. And the best thing: you can read everywhere!

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When I have a good book, I can stay in the story all day. Do you know the phenomenon?

A small part of your brain stays in the story a bit. I think that’s a magical thing. That’s why I think it might not be such a good idea, all that technology.
My main objection is that cyborgs probably don’t believe in fantasy, stories or fairy tales.

Reading is good for your imagination

As a good friend of mine always said: “You always have your most beautiful toy with you” Of course he meant your imagination. Now you have to develop it, and normally you don’t do anything else when you’re a child.

Times change, and children are more often behind a screen. Is that good for your imagination?

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No idea if that is scientific, but I personally don’t think so. Reading, on the other hand, is great for the development of fantasy and imagination. You have to make all images yourself, whilst reading a book.

We now host a young girl who likes to read. “She has already read 21 books in those two weeks that we are gone,” her mother says proudly, and yes, you can certainly be proud of that. Our library’s upside down, she has been there, and I like to see that because where else do we have all those books for?

The last thing she read was “You’re great!”

Totally agree. Readers are great!

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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 Google+, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

You like? Please like! And sharing is not forbidden ....

A good neighbour is better than a brother far off

I meet my new neighbour when she just throws a garbage bag into the big container, and I’m on my way to the washing machines.

It’s not the ideal place for a conversation, right next to the container, but we meet here, so let’s take the opportunity. Both Ruth and I are always doing things – she has her family, her business, arranging their emigration and all that comes with it. And what I have to do, dear readers, you know that more or less, isn’t it?

I have news! We have longterm-rental-neighbours!

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They’ve been around since the beginning of September, but there were so many other things to write about that it has not yet happened. It is a German family with three young children, who have had enough of Germany and want their children to grow in a more favorable climate. In every sense of the word.

They’ve been drawn to the big house – Casa Principal – the house where it all started for us so many years ago. Funny coincidence, or the friendly hand of the gods, or a nice twist of fate – choose your option.
We made a great deal. Until the end of this year the rent is the renovation of the upper floor. A few new windows and doors, a refurbished bathroom, some paint, and most of all: attention for that beautiful but neglected house!

It feels very appropriate for me. I feel like it’s right, this long-term rental

Jens showed me his work – wooden figurines, beautiful drawings, gorgeous photographs. See for yourself. Seeing these, one gets confidence that this upper floor will be wonderful.

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We all have to get used to it a bit. We have talked about it a number of times, there has been emails back and forth, but things happen that you never thought of.

The above-mentioned chat near the container is about how we make the combination “their children” and “my guests” at the pool. In summer it is not a problem because then there are always many children. That’s always enthusiastic & happy noise during the day and mysterious whispering plus the secretive running that comes with that in the evening.

After the high season we get a different kind of guests. Restseeking couples

They are not waiting for screaming children when they’re reading in the sun by the pool. Ruth and I briefly discuss how we can best solve this. That’s going very well – we all know that you can stumble over such things, and that you have to talk about that. It’s quickly solved.

We all want to be good neighbours.

The next day, at the end of the afternoon, I see their eldest running to the pool to see if anyone’s there. The deal is that they can splash and play as much as they want when no one’s there or will arrive, and when there are rest-seeking guests, they will make themselves scarce.

Meanwhile, our good old faithful long-term rental house is radiant – just like the family

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Houses don’t like to be empty. Now that there is a lot going in there again, it looks like it’s standing more upright, like it’s getting lighter and embracing the new company.
This is a good plan.

Life can be so simple if you all want to be good neighbours!


So yes, we have neighbours. Good plan, good experience till now. But er … keep in mind that there are 2 holiday homes less for rent. If you have plans – book on time!

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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 Google+, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

 

You like? Please like! And sharing is not forbidden ....

It’s not all puppies and sunshine

Yes, well yes, life is not that – not always at least. I mean we do have puppies (they’re soooooo cute! Two weeks old and they have their eyes open.) and a lot of sunshine, but er …. sometimes it’s a bit different than you want. Sometimes it goes wrong, or at least, it doesn’t go right.

And sometimes – as now – it is just one thing on top of the other

Sorry, dear readers, every week a humorous story with a positive undertone and a nice message is simply unrealistic. Just as it is most likely in your life as well. The season is over, just like always around this time, and where I secretly thought last week: “As nice as this is, will it ever be over? I need a vacation myself!” – it is apparently really finished now because nobody’s calling and nobody makes a reservation. I don’t get any warning e-mails from Booking.com anymore that someone is about to arrive (well yes, one), and none of AirBnB in which they congratulate me because there’s a booking for tonight! Yay!

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Life is good, in Portugal, but we are now in the “September low”

Not that something is going on, it’s more that a few thousand things don’t go as planned. And especially the waiting, I find that very frustrating. You always have to wait for everything everywhere. Portuguese are so miserable patient, it could make me scream from time to time.

And then you also get the final straw.

The final straw, as far as I’m concerned, was MEO’s bill

Our contract was over, so I’d informed here and there which company did what and where. I found out that fiber cable runs right in front of our doors, because the hotel nextdoor had asked for this. That’s what they call at MEO’s: “uma ligação dedicada” – a dedicated connection. They charge a small fortune for that.

This is not a problem for the owner of the “Pink Monster” next to us. The owner had arranged so much subsidies, European and Portuguese, that he can easily afford it. And he had committed fraud, people whisper, so his pockets are full. (Has he been punished for it, I don’t even know, I could ask about that at those whispering people …)

We need to improvise a bit more in that respect

Our ADSL connection is okay in itself, but sometimes it gets slower. In the evening after 9 o’clock it seems as if everyone opens the tap, so that the pressure becomes less. Then you can wait a long time until you get something uploaded. I’ve learned my lesson long ago, for that matter.

Better go to bed early, and try again warly in the morning, then it shoots through the air at the speed of light

I couldn’t resist to inquire about the fiber connection. That was waiting on the next level – but after a lot of calling and urging, I found out that they wanted 1,500 € for that.

Little bit much

Then a good-humored young man called to see if I was interested in their great offer of 41 euros per month, for television with 693 channels (I have been watching almost no television all my life, so all ok, dear boy), 24 Megas internet, phone and cell with all conversations / text messages (national than). They call it a Plan.

It’s the 3P MEO TOP 24M – Plan

And now I am heavily irritated and angry with myself that I’ve lost that piece of paper with all the notes (and the date because of the recording!), Because what happens? They sent a bill of 65 €.

Look, I don’t think so. That’s popular tripe

And I’m still not indifferent or cynical enough for that. I find it being complicit in a deception of the public. They know very well that they’re the only serious provider here. The only “competitor” is NOS, but you hear such bad things about that – I don’t want to run that risk.

They always win of course. But! I have put down an act of resistance: I didn’t return the signed contract. Portuguese are incredibly bureaucratic, but as long as you pay, they’ll deliver – that’s what greed does. They know that you’ll not run away – that’s what dependency does.

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Are there by any chance readers who know how to dig up that cable, cut it and connect it – in exchange for a nice holiday?

That’s a beautiful dream for tonight to fall asleep. Dream resistance. Against that nightmare-like bureaucracy

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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 Google+, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

You like? Please like! And sharing is not forbidden ....

Baby dogs for free

I had seen them from the corners of my eyes.

Two little rascals in the meadow with our three big donkeys. I hadn’t paid so much attention to it, probably thrown out of the car. That happens so often. Baby dogs are not really a gift from heaven here.

What should you do with baby dogs? Nobody wants them, certainly not if it’s a girl

Every night, when I got in the car to go to the meadow with three bowls of ração for João, Bambi and Faísca, I saw them hide in the bushes.

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Later that month there was only one, and I got complaints that there had been “something” in the trash cans of the guest rooms. After all, I finally took a box of dog food to the donkey’s meadow, because of course we can’t have that, messing around with trash cans.

After the summer, the donkeys went back to the orchard, to the other extreme of our village

The dog moved secretly with them, but became slightly less shy. She seemed to be quite clever, very different from another dog that I had picked up from the road. We had called that one Wolf, because he had a wolf’s head. The rest of his body was not so well made, it looked more like a frizzy sheep. He had too much hair for this climate. And he was savagely dumb.

The first time I succeeded in stroking her she had approached reluctantly. After a few gentle strokes over her head and shoulders she was so happy that she ran like a tornado round the shed. So fast that you could hardly see her anymore.

That was the beginning. She got a bit looser, just stayed with her friends the donkeys, even when there were people around. Especially João was her big love. She licked his eyes clean, and sometimes played with him, that is to say: he remained on his spot, a bit clumsy, and she ran around him and jumped to his head.

Always in the company of the donkeys. Her big friends

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After living with such a creature for a while, and it became clear that she was there to stay, ao the need arose for a name. Gosh, what’s a good name for that animal? We gave her a name in the best Portuguese tradition: function and occupation in one.

Donkeydog – in english, because it had to be international of course. That everyone can understand it

Some people call her Donkiedonk. Also fine. In the meantime she’s so used to being the darling-of-all last summer. She went somewhere special on the stairs to a house, or a terrace to provoke nice treatment.

She knows she may not go in anywhere, that she is not wanted on the village square or by the swimming pool, but I can’t forbid her to just walk past a house at a time when she knows that sweet little boy is at home …?

She has now become a mother. Gave birth to her first litter. Now she was an “old prime” as my sister the midwife always indicated during the table conversations: a somewhat older woman who gets a first child. She prevented previous pregnancies by simply sitting on her ass in case of any interest. She did so – thank God! – when Wolf got an interest in her.

I thought that was a brilliant solution, and proof of her intelligence

Unfortunately she didn’t do that this time. And I know the father. At least … know … I chased him away a number of times. A black-haired tramp, he looked good, a little neglected but not an unattractive dog. “Oh no, Helena L.!” I said to myself, “we have picked up enough dogs from the street. Not again!”

You can’t re-educate severely mistreated dogs, They’ve spent their lives on a chain or in a cage, and never interacted with humans that much. Not like here, anyway.

That is to say: I can’t re-educate them. My pedagogical qualities are nil in that respect, and I’m far too impatient. Just ask my sons. They know everything about that.

I hardened my heart and chased him away. But he left his mark. Two marks, in fact.

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A sweet baby dog, anyone?

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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 Google+, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

You like? Please like! And sharing is not forbidden ....

Porthola! There’s our Portuguese teacher from 20 years ago

Meanwhile, everyone is back to everyday life, with a vague memory of the holiday. Life gobbles you up, and drags you on. This also happens here, but there is space here literally and figuratively to look back, to be equally nostalgic.

It’s still dripping guests

Two French brothers with a very small dog; a big German family with nice plans for the future, who will stay here for at least a year; a couple of Portuguese couples and a young German couple with a very cute baby of almost a year.

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All in all still a full village

It’s difficult to communicate with the French brothers. They only speak French, and I’ve lost that when learning portuguese. It looks too much alike, I have to think for too long. But I still understand it, so if the other party at least understands English, it’s fine.

It’s a bit of a babylonic confusion with the two, cause they don’t, but we’ll get out of it. It’s easier with the Germans, because I still speak German, and they speak English well. Both German families have plans to move here, so one of my first questions is: “Do you speak the language already?” The other: “Have you been here in the winter?”

With all that summertime nostalgia in my soul I immediately associate myself back to before this far-reaching emigration, helped by a message via Messenger

I recognize her name immediately, even though it is almost 20 years since we saw each other for the last time. That’s not always the case – I have quite a few names to remember, but this is one that is connected to an important moment in my life. And we’ve had more than a year with each other, once a week.

It took us years before it happened, and in those years of preparation little brother Broes was born, and besides packing many, many boxes,we also learned the language.

At first from Jeanine, who at that moment was expecting the boy who is here and now 20 as if nothing happened and is sitting at the table like a big guy! For me it’s like: one moment a bubble in your mother’s belly, and the next moment a handsome young man of 20. Porthola! Time certainly flies!

Sometimes it was difficult for Jeanine, the personal reasons not always clear, but everyone has less energy for earthly things when she is pregnant, so occasionally Miguel came to teach on Friday night.

Jeanine and Miguel – a cross-border marriage: he Portugal, she Holland: Porthola, as their translation-services-empire is called

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We learned from them the term “Porthollands” – and we still speak that today. Dutch laced with portuguese, and in our case also with English words and expressions. My sons speak better portuguese than I do now, even though they started with a huge backlog at the time.

And even though I have a somewhat more limited vocabulary, I am still grateful to Jeanine and Miguel for their efforts to teach us the first principles of the fine Portuguese language.

September nostalgia? No … not only that …

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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 Google+, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

You like? Please like! And sharing is not forbidden ....

The trick with the plunger

You can’t imagine what I learn from my guests … I should pay them instead of they me! (hey, that’s a joke!!)

“Do you have a plunger for me?” a guest asks me. I was just a little bit relaxed and enjoying a nice dinner but because of this question I am stranding up straight.

“Er … yes, yes, I have a plunger …”, he sees my growing unease and sudden alertness, and reassures me: “It has nothing to do with the sink, it works fine. It’s for the car.”

Okay … yes, of course you can use a plunger on your car …

(What else? My world upside down! What are the things you could do with a plunger?)

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Now I have a brother-in-law who knows a lot about cars and has helped me many times through a car-related crisis, and a cousin who is a car mechanic, so I know quite something about the tricks of the trade. But I had never heard of a trick with a plunger.

“On arrival, I put the bags in the car, but it was a bit too big for the space. So, I press a little too much … and now there’s a dent in the door. Bad luck. I just wanted to try that trick with the plunger, maybe it works, you never know. It is not in a hurry! Relax, it’s already there for a week.”

They will go to Coimbra tomorrow and the next day they’ll go home

All together, because there are 3 families with children who became friends during their stay. The children, and the parents. Enjoy a day of shopping (the mothers and the daughters) and a day of “Choupal” – a place-at-the-river-with-a-terrace-with-a-beer (the fathers and the sons).

The following morning I make my list for the day after I have arranged the ordered bread and gave water to all my precious flowers in the Butterfly Garden. Oh yeah! The plunger!

I grab the thing and walk to the apartment, and plop it onto the door

To my surprise, it stays in one go. So. That way they can’t miss it. And I can’t forget it anymore.

At the end of the afternoon I meet him again, while I supply a well-known Portuguese neighbour of a Duvel-in-a-matching-glass. “Hey, thank you for the plunger,” he says cheerfully, “we succeeded, but unfortunately not with this trick. There were some letters in the way. The letters of the car, in 3-D.  I just unscrewed the upholstery and pushed it back by hand. All good now.”

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You have to be careful with those rental cars

“We didn’t insure that kind of damage”, he says, “because that’s a few hundred euros deposit, and you have to get it back. You hear those weird stories all the time, about these rental companies! “

Now I believe that it’s not too bad, but you have to keep paying attention when renting your holiday car. Those rental companies obviously have good deals with car manufacturers, but they have to get their profit margins somewhere.

So if you have something with a rental car, you better try to solve it yourself first

And always watch out very carefully before you take it with you!

If it’s necessary, then you know now, that we have at least a plunger here to put it back in shape … liturally!

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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 Google+, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

 

You like? Please like! And sharing is not forbidden ....

Lovely weather for ducks**

I wake up very early each morning with the quacking of ducks in the fields.

Correction: I woke up every morning with the quacking of ducks, because last Sunday it woke up with this: BOOM BOOM BANG BANG BOOM BANG bang bang bang BENG BOOM POP poppoppoppoppoppop POPPOPPOPPOPPOPPOPPOPPOPPOPPOP beng pop pop pop bang bang BOOM BOOM ad infinitum

Opening of the hunting season, duck, duck, go!

It sounds pretty frustrated, as if these hunters had to wait for a long time, and that is exactly the case. They’ve not been allowed to hunt from the spring, so now the bloodthirst is huge.

It sounds like that.

I usually come to the surface at about 6 o’clock, and although I am not completely awake yet, all kinds of things are coming in. Sometimes I vaguely hear the baker coming or driving away, but usually I heard the ducks quacking.

That gives a cozy and good feeling

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What is it, that the duckling of ducklings sounds so cheerful and unconcerned?

“Enjoy your life, guys,” I thought, “it probably doesn’t take that long anymore.”

We once had a couple of ducks. Together with a chicken hen that was a very nice group

Unfortunately, it ended in a drama, just like the good life of those little ones in the fields.

One duckling didn’t survive and died at a very young age, so the remaining duckling joined the chickens. We learned early on to have only females, without a rooster. After all, we don’t want chicks, and for eggs a rooster is not necessary. That’s what they arrange themselves.

And they also organize their daily routine to grassy meadows and back again

They were still very young, so they accepted the duck as one of them. And the duckling was a sweetheart. I have seen her come back to the backyard, to call a distracted chicken that didn’t go to bed with the pack.

She had a very sweet look in her eyes. She was a very sweet duck

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It was a pleasure to see her play and in the ditch, chattering and quacking of joy, diving under water, enjoying the water and her playing with it. The chickens would stand on the side, shrugging – it is a bit of a weirdo, you saw them thinking.

Everything was idyllic and I’m sorry to kill this now, but I really can’t do anything about that, because the killing … that was done by a hungry stray dog.

Our chickens were free to come and go when and where they wanted. Well, in theory, in practice they were lured onto a path, and once chickens have done something so-and-so, they always do the same thing.

Very handy, nice and clear

In the mornings they wandered to the orchard to eat grass, pick up worms and take a sand bath, each went back to lay an egg in private and safety, and they all would come back at the end of the afternoon. to go to bed early. And the duck would tag along.

Maybe I also have a murder on my conscience

The duck swam less and less and did more and more with the chickens – those who were left after the stray dog’s visit. The dog had killed four of them, and the remaining six were clearly more on their guard, especially the first time.

The duckling watched them. That was the moment she went back to get the distracted chicken from the backyard, the group was not complete. So sweet.

Incomprehensible that there are people who think that animals have no feelings. I clearly saw the dismay in the eyes of Big White Fat Susan when she came to the scene of the disaster the day after the drama: “Oh no!” you saw her think, “Oh no, I will never go there again!”

Logical. Where your four sisters are horribly killed, and left torn, no, you will never go there again

I had noticed that the duck was no longer swimming in the ditch. Would it have become too cold? But the water never really gets cold, it comes with 30º out of the well. Then it cools down at night, but it was not that cold at the end of October.

I tried to lure her into the water. That worked, and it seemed like she was having a good time

Sorry, dear readers. This is a dramatic little story. The next morning I found her in the ditch. Drowned.

She probably hadn’t swum for too long.

** title of a lovely old song of Rosemary Clooney

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Moving from one appartment to the other holidayhouse

“What? You’re going tomorrow?” I am confused for a moment, surprised, because: “I thought the day after … ” and then happily: “Maybe you were going to move back to appartment Two, I thought … that is still 3 days free … “

Opi laughs. “Yes, that would be nice. Then we would have ended where we started.”

Opi is a sweet grandmother. This is evident from her name. I do not think that non-sweet grandmothers are called “Opi”. Her two grandsons are clearly very fond of her.

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Mother Ann was late with reservations. I had one week in Two free, and a few days in rooms and houses

After receiving so many years of emails and guests, you get a little feeling for how the people behind the mail are. This mail gives me a nice feeling, cheerful and loose. Especially if there’s another one right behind it with only one sentence: “I just had a lot of fun reading your blog with the description of your target group!”

I think that’s very nice to read, so I sent an e-mail with that message: “Thank you so much, I appreciate it that you send that – after all, I have no idea who our blog actually reads!”

Later, during relocation number 3, when they staid in the simple rooms in the bathhouse, and they had no kitchen of their own, but were allowed to use our kitchen, she came back to the subject and said: “That blog about the winers who count the threads in the sheets … hilarious! So then I was like: We will stay there! That must be a nice place! And of course it is not that far from Coimbra where my brother lives.”

Moving four times, from appartment to holidayhouse to rooms, in two weeks is quite a lot, but if you are as flexible as they are, it’s fine, and it’s an adventure every time

“We love to stay here, so here we go again,” Ann says cheerfully, and I am very happy with it. I’m happy if nice guests want to stay, I have no objection.

And it is fun! Our dog fell in love with them head over heels. Donkeydog is on their terrace, and always moved along with them. It was clear who her favorite was …

Ann even got her a special pill against ticks and fleas. She doesn’t have any flees, but ticks know where to find her.

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Ann had taken them specially for stray dogs, if she would encounter them. She works in a company that makes and sells those new pills, and they work fantastically! Fortunately there are not so many stray dogs anymore – the Portuguese also learn to treat their animals better.

Donkeydog went directly to the Bravecto pill

I got an extra pill for October. It works for months. Well, she’s certainly going to get that, because I haven’t seen any tick anywhere anymore. You can just cuddle with her without those dirty animals getting in the way. Very pleasant!

Everyone has done so. I mean the cuddling. That dog is cuddled like crazy. Lucky for her, other candidates have arrived, otherwise she’d have toughen up.

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They’re going back home, the final move. We’re staying here, with good memories – and a pill!

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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 and mini golf, 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 Google+, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

You like? Please like! And sharing is not forbidden ....

Bird spotting early in the morning

Never knew that there were spoonbills here. Learned something again! It flutters and whistles all around, so I don’t really notice it. In my world there are large and small creatures with wings. And of course the floating, diving & swimming ones.

Yes, I know, I am a barbarian, certainly compared to the ornithologist that we have the honour of hosting.

Funny, because there are two bird spotting people next to each other, and they both have a great view over the fields

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The water attracts an incredible amount of flying creatures. The big ones: storks, egrets, ordinary gray grumpy herons, sacred ibises, other ibises ( forgotten their name), stilts (learned from the birdwatcher guest), and even sometimes flamingos. They were here a few days ago. A large group of flamingos. They come for a few hours, graze over the field, and they’re gone again.

They were very happy about that, but to me they were very strict

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“Ellen!” Susan said half-laughing, half-seriously to me, “you don’t mean to tell me that you have never seen a spoonbill here. There’re fields full of them! “

I bow my head in humility. Sorry, I’m not an ornithologist … but I recognize storks and herons! That is already something? A spoonbill looks a lot like a stork, in my lay eyes. And all those little flyers, european robin, robins of others origins, hawfinch and the gray-brown great tit … I know what an eurasian hoopoe looks like. Those live here too. And a kingfisher has been spotted. 

“Yes!”, I say enthusiastically, “I know! When we first came here they lived in the reeds in the ditch, but they do not like humans very much. I thought they moved out, how nice. They are beautiful, aren’t they! “

Early this morning I was busy with family apartment One, because one bird lover is gone. On to a next adventure. I went outside to empty the kitchen – many people leave a lot behind – when I saw the neighbour and collegue-ornothologist sitting on his chair between the reeds.

I mimed good morning, and he carefully waved back

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There is a lot to see, so early in the morning. Beautiful way of waking up. Nicely seated at the edge of the ditch and see everything there is to see.

The other bird watcher made a mosaic of a spoonbill. To be honest: I think the mosaic is equally beautiful …

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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 Google+, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

 

You like? Please like! And sharing is not forbidden ....
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