Little mistake of the municipality

Where does this begin?

The municipality made a mistake. They had forgotten to ask permission to dig a big hole to build a station of the sewage on our premises. Messy!

Normally I never see any of the Câmara Municipal*, and now suddenly, the Presidente* of the Junta* came along, acompanied by a group of men. I meet them by coincidence. ‘t Is not a habit of Portuguese officials in first calling if it is convenient. Everyone always just barges in.

They are very important, so it seems. I ask if there is something going on, and than I hear for the first time about the plans of the sewage station – basically a big bin full of shit – right under my bedroom window.

Hm. That does not sound very appealing. They also want to break open the path to the bathhouse. The Presidente* says that this is going to happen very soon, but I know better. Then it is probably exactly during the busiest weeks of the high season. So, I ‘d better do something about it now.

Destiny helps. Unusual, because usually Destiny helps you exactly in the wrong direction. Again completely coincidently, I see a man going down the path taking huge strange steps. As if he is measuring something.

I ask kindly if I can help him. Aha! He came to measure the pipe that has to be ordered for the fossa*.

“But nobody told me anything about that” I said, “don’t you agree that that’s a bit weird? The Câmara* should have asked permission to do something on someone’s land?”

Yes, he really could not ignore that unquestionable logic. You could see him thinking, “Shit!”

Where does this end?

The next day an engenheiro* comes ’round to talk about this mistake. I for my part am already glad that I discovered this by accident, before any large machines are digging – because that would surely happen exactly on the day that I have to go somewhere and be away all day. Then Destiny suddenly is not so attentive.

He is very friendly, the engenheiro*, and so submissive, I understand that this must have been a first class Bureaucratic Blunder. We agree on a meeting the next day. Yes, come on, I don’t leave everything because of the stupidities of some bureaucrat.

A good night’s rest

Instead of sleeping, I come up with a wonderful scenario. I tell them with such a splendid English-aristocratic air: “Well, that’s all fine, but I fail to see my advantage in this venture. If we could talk about a nice exchange …..”

Such a shame that reality is always different from your scenarios of your sacrificed sleep. Did I see too many movies? It would have been so nice ….

Fortunately, I manage to make him see the reality that it is madness to dig such fossa just below my window, when there are acres and acres of free space right next to it. Phew! What you call a narrow escape!


Camara Municipal: municipality

A engenheiro / a is an engineer, you have quite a lot of those in Portugal

The Presidente is the mayor (sounds fine, huh?), may be of the Camara*, but also of the Junta. (sounds less fine already, don’t you think?)

Saneamento refers to the sewer, including all accessories.

Fossa is a septic tank.

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Now, last week I promised a recipe for chanfana – but how do I get from here to there?

In fact, it’s exactly along the reverse path. I began at the end, so to speak.

Eventually your chanfana will end there as well, in the sewer, but we will not talk about that anymore.

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Chanfana is a dish that is often created for a holiday. You should start on time, because it needs a few hours in the oven.


1 kg of goat meat

7.5 dl. red wine of good quality

100 grams of bacon

3 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. cooking butter

2 cloves garlic

1 large onion

1 bay leaf

1 tsp. ground cloves

to your taste: salt, pepper, parsley

How to do?

Cut the goat meat to pieces. Cut the onion into small pieces. Melt the butter slowly over a low heat and mix it with the olive oil.

At the bottom of the casserole you first lay a bed of onion, and then the pieces goat meat, bacon, chopped garlic. Sprinkle the salt, pepper, clove powder over it, and then pour the mixture of olive oil and melted butter over it.

Pour the red wine over it, and then put it in a preheated oven at about 180 degrees for an hour or two .. do not cover.

Serve with small unpeeled potatoes and boiled carrots.

Recommended wine: drink a nice Dão with it – it may be a fairly heavy wine.