The furniture arrived from IKEA and Sammy was on hand to let them in.This was last Thursday (26th April). We had asked IKEA if they would assemble the furniture without Sammy being there but, as it turned out, they would not do that and Sammy stayed longer than planned. He let us know that one piece was broken and that IKEA will replace it. What would we do without Sammy? You may have gathered or if you have looked at the Links page you will have seen that Sammy has properties he lets out (www.livinginportugal.org). His own property has a touch of paradise about it as it nestles in a lovely valley that has a river running through it with many trees and plenty of large rocks. Absolute perfection.
We are waiting with bated breath to hear if our furniture delivery was made today. Next time we return to Portugal we have no accommodation booked and intend to stay at Casa Da Ribeira - with or wthout a kitchen! Paulo our builder is meant to be quoting us for a new kitchen, we are waiting for this as well. Although here in the UK our house is stacked to the brim with antiques we are ordering our furniture from Ikea for Casa Da Ribeira for several reasons. There is an Ikea less than a mile from Porto airport and its easy to get to; traditional Portuguese furniture is very expensive to buy - whilst some of it is to our taste and truly beautiful this is not the case with all of it; buying it all from one shop means we don't have to spend all our visits and precious time on the hunt for furniture and Ikea will deliver it all in one go and assemble it (at considerable cost!). PLUS most of the Ikea staff speak really good english!
We are pulling together a list of items we intend to fly over with us, mainly smalll things but vital, includng some essential gardening tools, forks, trowels and such like so we can begin to tidy up the garden a bit. Not that these things aren't readily available in Portgual, its just we don't know where to begin buying them. Also we have so many duplicates here in the UK from when we joined forces and moved into a new home together, both having had our own properties previously, it seems a shame to buy yet more stuff when we have so much here.
Another update coming soon! Susan.
The first thing we did was to buy a kettle in Figueiro dos Vinhos and update our address with Santander Totta in Avelar. The river, where our house is in Mega Fundeira, is the boundary between the councils of Leira and Gois. We altered our address to show that we are in the Leira district.
It still amazes us that with our very limited ability with the Portuguese language we are able to communicate. We ask whoever we want to talk to if they speak English and generally the answer is 'very little'. This usually translates as excellent.
Before and after
_Well, the house is looking great. Paulo arrived not long after we got there to show us some of the things he had done. Top class work. The stairs are brilliant and open up the whole of the top floor. The roof terrace has been tiled as well so we used that to sit out on quite a lot.
_One of our neighbours, Marie-Rose, seen below going to her chicken shed, saw us laying on the terrace and promptly gave us two stools to sit on. She later gave us a broom she had made of olive tree branches, that was after showing us around her home and telling us lots about the area, which was completely lost on us, being able to only pick up a few of her words. The photo on the right shows another neighbour working the land to grow vegetables. It is a massive area that is shared by all.
We stayed at Sammy's again in Salaborda Nova as our place had no beds or kitchen. But we did have a kettle to make tea and coffee. Next door to us at Sammy's was Anna, a French woman who has lived in Portugal for six years. She was very helpful and informative. Sammy's property the other side of us was let to a family, also French, who were there to find a home.
A fund-raising event in Cortes
_On Sunday, 1st April, we took a walk through the forest opposite our house, across the river and up a steep, unmade path. We did this to look for the cafe in Cortes, a small village tucked away in the hillside. After about 45 minutes we were in Cortes and heard an accordian being played. It was just our good fortune to be there on the day when they were holding a Scout's fund-raising event. The photos below show that chickens, etc were for sale along with home-made bread, cakes, wine and jams. We bought some cakes and found the cafe.
Cost of Living
For anyone interested in what it costs to live in Portugal, please note that there are a lot of variations depending on what area you decide to live in. For example, our yearly 'council tax' is 51.81 euros but we met someone who paid 240 euros in northern Portugal on the coast. Still very much less than what we pay in England, which for us is 1560 euros per year. Our monthly water charges in Portugal are 4.12 euros as against 32.40 that we pay in Suffolk.
Roy James and Susan Adcock.