Tag Archives: volunteers

The making of a mosaic in our BnB

When this one’s finished (well, it is, almost! Just some finishing touches), I thought it was time to do the whole facade of the bathhouse, village-square-center-side.

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This little corner is next to our little café. You’ll see it when you go up the stairs.

Time for a new mosaic project

A friend would come, and she always does some mosaic work when she’s here. And a volunteer would come, so with the three of us I dared to start this quite ambitious next mosaic project.

First step: preparations

My priceless son Broes got a big plastic up, took the high pressure machine and cleaned the first part of the facade. It’s the end of May, we don’t have so many guests yet. It could be done. One day of a lot of rubbish, the next day a stripped-of-paint facade and a clean village square. Piece of cake.

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In the mean time we three were busy making some other preparations

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Most of the time, I have an image in my head of the final result

Then there’s the challenge of communicating to the others. With Astrid it’s not so difficult, we work together for a long time already.  With volunteer Viola it was also not a huge challenge, because I found some drawings as an example to keep everything together.

That resulted in this. So close up, you can’t see the beauty of it – like looking at a pointillist painting by George Seurat at a distance of 50 centimeters.

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Like this, glued to the wall, is better, don’t you think?

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Now, the challenge was to keep it civilized, because there were some guests, and they have the right to be in a nice environment. We started in the corner above the kitchen, where the scaffolding is not in the way. Very nice guests, by the way, they loved to see how it went on.

And it went on! In spite of the heat (a few days of 33º – quite rare, but who cares about that when it’s that hot), protected by sunscreen and parasols, we presevered.

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Yesterday, the glue dried out, and me too. Time to stop – at 8 in the evening. As you can see, this is the result of 8 days work with 3 people (if we don’t count Broes’ work to clean it). The facade is a little bigger; we’ll probably need this whole year to do all this. 

I always like to have a mosaic project going on in the summer. Sometimes, there are talented volunteers plus some time in between all the cleaning and cooking. Sometimes, there are interested guests, who have some experience and like to join in for a few hours. 

Making mosaics is addictive! It’s hard to stop

As you can see, because there’s a lot to see in our little village. Come and have a look! We still have some availability this summer … info@termas-da-azenha.com

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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.

The volunteer who came in a Volkswagen van

Her son Olle is sitting on a stool in the kitchen, radiant and at ease, and chewing a chocolate easter egg. Sixteen years ago, when his mother was sitting here in the kitchen just as radiantly and at ease, he didn’t yet exist.

When she came here with her Volkswagen, she did exactly the same

They arrived late in the afternoon. It was still early in the year, or it wasn’t such nice weather (also occurs here), anyway – she ended up in the kitchen on a stool and met the other volunteers who had been there for a while.

I felt responsible for her well-being, but I had to do something else as well. “Go on, it’s fine,” Arlene said cheerfully, and immediately chatted on with Connie, an older woman who was also here as a volunteer.

She came with an old Volkswagen van, together with a friend-from-Kindergarten. Yesyesyes, such a van:

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It had been a nice trip, together with her Kindergarten-buddy “Wubbe” whom she had named that way long time ago. Wubbe’s real name is Miriam, but of course everyone immediately took her nickname. Wubbe needed a little more time to get used to, like “normal” people. I say “normal” ´cause I’ve always wondered about the lightning speed in which Arlene gained a place in the group.

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As easily as she sat down on that stool; as easily as she talked with everyone (a lot about the Volkswagen) who’d been there for a while, as easily she got a place in group dynamics

The Volkswagen van had some problems, it rattled a little, didn’t pull well – in short, trouble with old age. I offered to go to the nearest garage to see if they could do something about it. No matter how easily Arlene chatted with everyone, to explain in Portuguese what’s wrong with your old van is a completely different story. That becomes “charades” at the highest level.

My portuguese wasn’t so great at the time, and certainly not my technical portuguese, but helped by my youngest of 8, I managed to make it clear that he did a bub-bub-bub at times when he shouldn’t. And that you heard “screeeech!” when you had to put on the handbrake. Up to the ceiling. And that he was wiggling in the bends and did fjutfjutfjutfjut when it really wasn’t appropriate.

Well, that was a serious problem, but they ensured me that they were going to do their best with this Volkswagen van

In the early days in Termas-da-Azenha it was different than now. Logical.

We were playing a little, playing “Catan” in real life, and trying the weirdest things. The FancyDressingRoom was created in that time, and Arlene has been a driving factor in this. Funny, isn’t it, how can things go?

She saw the small room, an idea fell on her head, and given her nature, she immediately came up with it. I already wrote about it in a previous blog – “Red wall, purple wall” and when I apparently pulled a face, she quickly followed up with: “and if you don’t like it, I’ll paint it white again at my expense.”

One thing led to another, and then there was the mosaic floor of the upcoming FancyDressingRoom 1.0 in the hallway. I had once scored boxes full of pre-cut triangles at one of the tile factories in the area, and they now came in handy for the geometric pattern that Arlene was working out with Wubbe.

It’s a little bad weather now. Just like in the north, April is an unstable month, freeze-sunshine-rain-heatwave, and this year it’s rain

Oh yeah. It was necessary. In the north you also noticed last year that the drought gives a chance of forest fires, so you now understand better that rain is necessary. But it’s a pity to have rain during your week of holidays. Especially this kind of nostalgic holidays.

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Even more especially if you’re in a house with 3 teenagers. The Volkswagen van has been sold – maybe she’s still driving around somewhere. Who knows?

Despite the weather, still very nice to catch up again, to recall memories, to treat well-known people and to sit by the campfire as usual. (not just rain, but also beautiful evenings!)

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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.

Volunteers: the yard wanderer

Henk comes by in the kitchen, when I’m preparing everything for the nasi goreng for tonight. “Come and have a look, if you can spare the time”, he says, and walks ahead of me to his workplace for today.

Volunteer Henk has been here several times, parks his camper next to the reception, and starts doing good, useful things

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Next project: adapting the kitchen in Casa Palmeira

We like that, because there are always good, useful things to do here. For the large part, we do this ourselves – this is a mother-and-son business – but a volunteer who knows what goes on around here is a blessing.

I lay down my cloth and follow to the terrace of guest room 1. There is a roof over the door. That is almost no luxury, because when it rains (sometimes it does) and the wind blows (at the same time), it pops directly on the back door, and rear doors do not like that. Then they start having trouble, and eventually rot.

At least, if they are made of wood. And this one is

This morning he asked for it himself, because I had already dropped a hint (20 times or so, very subtly, that I would love to have a roof over the door of room 1. That that wouldn’t be a luxury, and that the roof that he made over the door of room 2, is super, great, wonderful! It improves the quality of almost everyone’s life!)

Henk understood the hint, not being stupid, but at first he was busy making a trendy love-seat for the Chessterrace

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I immediately jumped up to walk to the spot and started gesturing and pointing enthusiastically. We discussed the action plan. What materials are needed, and what do I have?

“I am going to wander around for a while, then I’ll find what I need”, he said reassuringly, and I know that it’ll be all right. And with a straight face: “I’m a certified yard wanderer.”

And yes, after a few hours, there’s wood there, and roof tiles, poles and screws and everything.

“Like this, two poles, the wood for the construction, starting on this side, covering the whole area – this was your idea, wasn’t it?”

“Yes, exactly! A bit extended on the wind-and-rain-side …this is exactly it. Great!”

“Do you have such a big drill, type cork screw, to make the hole in the ground? Somewhere?”

“Yes, but it only goes 30 or 40 cm deep. I can help you, I can also play a role in the digging of the hole … ” I offer, and Henk of course asks directly:” Hm, play a role, play a role, what does that mean?”

“Well, uh … I could take out my pompoms, and encourage you “Yeah, Henk, you can do it! H-E-N-K-SU-PER-O-KAY! Or something…” I smile widely, “Or, for example … I could possibly also scoop out a little bit of dirt …. it is just a matter of requesting. Filling in the right forms, finding the right tone, having the right connections …. ”

We both have to laugh heartily. The nicest volunteers are those with whom you can make jokes, fantasize, talk about silly things, have a good laugh

Henk pulls a straight face again and says: “I will take it into careful consideration; and later my decision-making will take place.”

And with more laughter I go back to my dinner-preparing, and he goes on with the yard-wandering.

Good to have a yard wanderer around!

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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 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.

Nice plan: 2019 will be the “Year of the Butterfly”

Here you see the result of a few months work. It looks like a small wall, but all in all it takes a little while. Now, of course, we are not talking about 24/7.

This project started in the early days of the summer. In fact, this year is already “The year of the Butterfly”

A Russian girl gave the kickoff. She was here with her little sister, uncle, mother, grandmother and big dog for about a month and a half. She wanted to learn mosaics, and since I was working on another project called “The Little Mermaid” – she could easily participate.

She had an eye for it, more than her little sister. The latter was actually too young for that (4 is a bit young), and perhaps too impatient and too quickly distracted. No problem, Lisa went on.

She made the first butterfly, which was the pink one on the left

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Next, it was my sister’s turn. Exept for a few butterflies, they made some flowers as well. And the caterpillar.

I expected that summer guests would like to join in, but even though I have given many mosaic workshops, everyone would rather make something to take home.

French Nathalie was the only one who really enjoyed making a butterfly, and did so with great dedication. In one day she had made a large one out of very small pieces. Chapeau!

After the summer, my mosaic-buddy Astrid would come by, and volunteer Gerda had also indicated that she’d already done little things, and couldn’t wait to do something bigger.

That’s of course the big advantage of the Termas: you can go big. Walls enough.

That’s something completely different than a bowl or a bird house.

That has its own challenges, don’t be mistaken! Working small is quite difficult, but I can imagine that at a certain point you might be fed up with it, that fiddle-die-doo on the square centimeter. Anyway, I am someone of the big gesture …

Front and back: check, side: check, top: check. A wall has so many sides …

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There was a guest who would like to participate with the Butterfly-Wall: Lucille. Also French, cooked great, nice bunch of guests, and besides nice memories of tasty meals she also left a beautiful palpable butterfly.

Astrid, daughter Isabelle and Gerda added a few more …

… and when they were gone, it started to rain. This means that it is not going to be finished soon … until the sun showed itself again. I grabbed myself by the hair, made some glue, took the box with white pieces and the mosaic pliars, and started working. Not too bad: in the morning sun.

Simply sticking pieces of white is just work, no fun

Finishing a mosaic is not always fun. Then the big gesture is quite a disadvantage; you would prefer to be fiddle-die-doo-ing on the square centimeter. Anyway, matter of discipline.

It’s finished! Wonderful! Decoy butterflies on the wall, now butterflies in the garden

That will take some time, because they are now naturally too cold. But! Hopefully all the flowers will come up again, not too long, because in March it is already spring.

In Termas-da-Azenha, 2019 becomes the “Year of the Butterfly”.

(Thanks to all people mentioned above who participated in this lovely project!)

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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.

Restoration after restoration after Leslie

“Gosh, she’s just rebellious”,  Nico jokes at Astrid, when I – again, against all warnings – gently push a tree trunk in the bonfire, which gives a nice fire drizzle.

“Exactly!”  I agree, “I just like to have a homeless day tomorrow! I’ve had it with lifting roof tiles and crawling over dusty attics!”

We received a lot of sympathetic messages, after last stormy weekend

We’re all sitting around the fire. It is actually still fairly warm, but it’s so cozy, such a fire. It’s only small, and we have a lot of wood to burn, so the coming winters we’ll not going to be cold, with all those fallen trees!

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The French guests, Lucille and Tomás, now belong to the volunteer team

They spontaneously offered their help on Sunday-after-Leslie, and were great at sweeping, sawing, painting and cooking.

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Especially the cooking part was a blessing, ’cause a nice meal after a hard day’s work is well appreciated! Lucille has been a chef gastronomique. In France, you have two options: gastronomique and traditionelle. The latter is the usual for the average Frenchman, the first is for the gourmet.

And we are gourmets!

Many other things have happened, this week. Bart and Broes have sawn all branches off the fallen eucalyptusses. Tomás was helping on ground level in between his painting the closets of the new laundry room. Nico made a wall of reeds at Casa Palmeira.

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And Astrid, Gerda, Isabelle and I try to finish the Butterfly Wall. Lots of activity everywhere!

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While walking back and forth to glue the mosaic butterflies on the wall, I kept sweeping bit by bit

You can let your thoughts flow freely during all clean-up and sweeping activities. I was sweeping the stairs, suddenly remembering a couple of volunteers who’d been here years ago. Italian Clara and English Paul. Clara could tell wonderful stories about her life, in a typical Italian way with lots of gestures and very musical. Paul made the beautiful mosaic trees on the “Little Chinese Wall”.

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They had lived in Margate, once the hometown of one of my favorite painters: William Turner. It always windy there. It seems to me very restless to live there. Clara is only a small woman, so she had to watch out that she was not taken by the wind. She told the story of how she found a solution, in her typical English-with-an-Italian accent.

She put big stones in the pockets of her coat. Then she stayed on the ground

I thought that was a smart solution, and I enjoyed the story very much. But now I look a bit differently at this phenomenon wind.

Yes, I’m definitely rebellious! What’s it good for – wind? Why isn’t the weather on this planet better arranged? What’s fun about it, hurricanes, temperatures of 40º below zero or 50º above, avalanches, floods, falling trees – why does that have to be? Blimey, couldn’t that be better organized?!

Give me a mosaic tree any time. At least that doesn’t come down with a hurricane!

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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.

 

Lost volunteer

“There were a lot of winding roads, with beautiful views!” says the mother of Ylva radiantly, and Ylva herself translates: “We were lost. The GPS said we were already there, but we were not. And I didn’t recognize it anymore, close to here … how do you say that again … Pudrògauwng? ”

“Very well, great”, I laugh, “and this is a very positive way to get lost. There are plenty of people who get totally grumpy because of that. ”

“Why should we be grumpy about that?” Wies asks in astonishment, “it’s a beautiful landscape, plenty of time, and we’re sure we’ll get there in the end.”

“Lost” volunteer Ylva is back. This time as a guest, together with her mother

The other times she was here to help during the summer, and I have very good memories of that.

The first time I lay flat on my back – literally

The volunteer team that was there at the time was my salvation. I caught a nervous-back-problem a few months before the high season. Probably from lifting heavy crates of tiles, because mosaic is a nice art form, but it’s also hard labour.

And I always lifted like: “One, two, three …. and go !! “with a hard tug to lift that crate off the ground. You should not do exactly that. Since then I always say to a heavy thing (a full gas bottle or something): “Eh-eh! I never do it with a hard tug! “, and then I’d divide the tiles over 2 boxes for example.

Once you have felt the pain of a pinched nerve between your spine, you will not forget that any time soon!

That team of volunteers saved the summer of 2015

Tribute to Ylva, Roos, Judith, Barthe and Jesse! And son Broes, of course, but that develops more and more like rock in the surf. Judith and Ylva showed a clear predisposition to domestic work. They may not like it to read, because it is not tough, but I think there is an enormous undervaluation for domestic work.

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Household is part of everyone’s life. And here we have a huge household

The issue of organizing and planning well. Everything in place, so you can blindly grab. Juniors often do not have that routine, nor do they see the point of it. I clearly see that. I have regularly searched half the village for something that was not in place, and I can become quite grumpy again.

Then I wouldn’t be able to stay as radiant as the lost ladies mentioned above with their flexible attitude!

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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 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.

 

They return voluntarily

“I think portuguese sounds so good,” says Tim cheerfully as I try to avoid a few dogs scurrying along the road, “I don’t understand a word of it, but it sounds good, and that gives me a great holiday feeling.”

He continues: “I first heard it from my aunt’s friend, she met them in Brazil – her husband had died and then after a while she started to travel a bit – and then she met that man. He didn’t speak a word of English and neither did she … ”

“But how did they communicate?” I ask in amazement

“Oh, pretty much with hands and feet … he came to stay regularly, and then they talked a bit past each other – but she did have a friend who spoke Portuguese, so she could occasionally translating … funny is it not? ”

We are at the hardware store, I have to get out and do business. Arrange tiles. Before the lunch break. Otherwise, the store closes, and there is nothing to arrange for half past three.

Too bad, because Tim is a pleasant talker. I remembered that from 12 years ago

They were volunteers, Tim and Jessica. In September, not a bad time at all to volunteer here in Portugal.

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I remember that it was warm. Start a little earlier in the morning because otherwise some things can’t be done anymore. In September, it is better not to plant poles into the ground in the full afternoon sun, for example. Or weeding weeds in the vegetable garden.

“I remember very well that I was annoyed that I stumbled over that one little stone”, laughs Jessica at dinner, “I am also such a klutz in that respect. You have that wide staircase, and the whole village square, and then you stumble over that one little stupid stone.”

Her whole face is laughing. The positive attitude to life radiates from it

“And that André … what happened to that?” Tim asks, “that was a different story!”

Oh yeah, they were here together with André. And Bernadette, the Hungarian volunteer, always modest and smiling. I never know exactly, who knows who, that is almost impossible to remember. There have been so many volunteers in the meantime!

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Young Bart” has been here for almost a year and a half, and once counted how many volunteers there were at that time. He came to 87. I was surprised about that number. That’s a lot! I didn’t have that feeling at all.

I still have contact with many of the volunteers. With “young Bart”, with Tim & Jessica, and so on. You get a bond – it’s not only special  just for them, for me as well.

A number of them become part of the extended family

Sometimes it goes like this: first as a volunteer stay here, and then come back as a guest. Sometimes it’s the other way around. And sometimes people become addicted. Whether as a volunteer, or as a guest.

You may become addicted – I think that’s a good idea!

In fact, we do everything to promote that. Watch out before you book! Before you know it, you come back to weed the garden or to paint the wall …

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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 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.

Multi-talented volunteers

Statistically we’ve had a lot of (multi-)talented volunteers and guests.

They’re probably attracted by all the eye-candy that has been created over the years.

The first time Bruno came, it was an exciting event, since I already had a group of four young girls around. They came from all over, Germany, Canada, France and Hungary. Bruno came with his childhood sweetheart Tooske, and in his first elaborate email he wrote about how surprised he was that he recently became 65.

From all over the world in perfect harmony

We started the Termas-da-Azenha, believing it could be a place to bring together people who would probably never meet otherwise. And that has certainly happened, over the years several unexpected combinations of people got along famously.

Just like last autumn. It really improves the atmosphere if people get along.  In case of volunteers it also gets things done better and faster.

So I thought it was great that Bruno came back

multi-talented-volunteers

This time he came with his son. You know his son already, dear readers, it’s Coco from the “portuguese poo sandwich” blog, from a few weeks ago.

“I hope he’ll like it here” Bruno says when he arrives, “I expect he will, otherwise I would never have asked. But we’ll have to wait and see … father and son together for two weeks … it’s been a while!” Coco is 30, so he’s been independent for quite some time.

I had reserved a house for them. Since it’s quiet at the moment and we have 8 houses, so usually it’s only full in high season.

A few days later my family arrived, 5 of them, sisters, a brother and a brother-in-law. I’m used to the bustle of having a large family. However, most people don’t, like Coco who had to get used to it. It can be crowded but it’s also cosy.

Our bikes were due for maintenance

Coco is a bicycle repairman. Great. You can’t imagine what can break on a bike if it’s used by different people all the time! I expected it to take a while, but no. At the end of his first day most of it was done. Impressive.  

“Great” I shouted, completely red and sweaty, from the work – we were trying to salvage a fig tree from brambles, “buttt … not so clever, if you were a little slower you would be nicely sitting in the shade fixing a tire, quietly by yourself!”

It was warm, around 30º C.

Which is fine if you’re on holiday, hanging around and enjoying the sun and the breeze from the sea, but if your cutting brambles it gets quite warm.

It wasn’t a problem for Coco, without saying much he came to help the team. We continued till noon. Then, when it became really hot, we went to do something else.

a-little-dog-looking-up-and-a-painting-of-a-guardian-angel

 

Bruno painted “the Angel”, in the corridor of room Two. He stood there comfortably in the shade painting with a pastel chalk. “The little Dog” was lying at his feet.

“The little Dog” the stray –  a skinny blonde darling. You already know her as well, I tried to promote her adoption a while ago. I don’t want anymore dogs, but nobody agrees, the dog most of all. She enjoyed herself, she felt safe and grew more comfortable around others every day. Everyone adored her and I knew I was beaten, it was useless to resist. 

It’s all Hunky-dory

Till she had the accident. Our dog, Donkeydog, is very good with cars, but “the little dog” was too young and inexperienced. Donkeydog likes to chase the neighbor’s tractor however the little one couldn’t do that yet. She thought it was a very big dog she could play with – and if you fall over one another, it’s no problema, just fun. But this was no fun.

It was a tragic end.

It’s also a tragic end to a light verse blog. Sorry dear readers, I would also have preferred a different ending. Life is usually very pleasant here, but sometimes  nasty things happen here as well.

The Municipality is however already busy trying to change the road. And that is good news.

And Bruno was inspired to write a beautiful song. That is what I mean: multi-talented.

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 portugal’s cultural heirlooms. Termas da Azenha, a old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and camping ground, there’s also a swimming pool. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere. The old bathhouse is a museum, where you can see how things have changed.

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.

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