Thursday 7th June - on our way
At gate 56 by coincidence we met Trevor, who happened to have a property in Villa Facia. We must have driven past it a number of times on our way to and from staying at Sammy's. Trevor has had a lot of experience with property and refurbishment in Portugal and gave us lots of advice. He explained the process of getting a train from Porto to Pombal, something he does each time he visits when his wife, Michelle, picks him up at Pombal. If you have your own car in Portugal and can get it to Pombal it saves having to hire one and, best of all, you don't have to drive through Porto. This is what we would like to do next time - Sammy is looking out for a car for us and has said that we can park it near his market building when we are not in the country.
The flight out was delayed at Stansted and we all waited on the tarmac for some time, arriving in Porto about one hour late.
As we were to call in to IKEA (again) just outside the airport and would be a few hours we couldn't offer Trevor a lift. Trevor had planned ot take the train (Metro to Porto) back to Pombal however it turned out that today was a bank holiday and there were no trains. Michelle had to drive all the way to Porto airport to collect Trevor. We found out a lot later that they arrived home only an hour before we did.
We had hired a larger can than usual, a Renault Megane diesel, and filled it with crockery, duvets, pillows, cushions, glasses, etc. On the way to Mega Fundeira, we shopped for groceries at the Intermarche in Figieuro do Vinhos finally arriving at Casa da Ribeira at 6.30pm.
Friday 8th June 2012 - the bank, BricaMarche, Taco Bar
Saturday 9th June 2012 - bathroom door, gas bottles, BBQ and football
Sunday 10th June 2012 - Sammy's market, puppy, Julio, strawberries, cherries
Monday 11th June 2012 - Strimmer, chickens, gas, strawberries, Cafe da Picha
A couple of the people who work at the cafe speak very good English so we had no problem ordering food.
On another table were a group of four people, who eventually made their way over to us and joined us in conversation. A hilarious time followed. They were all Portuguese, two of whom had originated from the local area but they all had moved to Vancouver as young people and their children and grandchildren were all Canadian citizens.
Tuesday 12th June 2012 - Bathroom door, Cafe da Picha, Bella-Rose, hot water
At the Cafe da Picha, apart from Susan, we had the salted cod, which was delicious. Susan, who is a vegetarian, made do with an omelette again. We took coffee outside and met Michelle, who had brought along her strimmer and her new puppy who she has named Bella Rose.
Wednesday 13th June 2012 - Strimmer, Carlos, sewage, pizza
We took the strimmer to a repair shop in Pedrogao Grande (BricoMarche is an hour's drive), but they wouldn't touch it as it was not a well-known make. Ah well, back in the car with the great long thing. We were going to call in to see Fernando and Carlos our estate agents but met Carlos just going back to his office. He asked how we were doing and we said that we hadn't heard from Paulo about the kitchen. Not meaning anything by it but Carlos immediately explained that there is a kichen maker in Cortes, just up the road from Mega Fundeira. What! He insisted on taking us there as the owner didn't speak English. Soon, the owner and one of his employees was in our house to measure up. We had already chosen the units and a work surface of marble. Carlos stayed on to have a look at the house (as it was on his books to sell originally). He was impressed with the changes but concerned about the leakage from the waste pipes to the septic tank. We called Paulo and, so we believe, did Carlos, as a workman was at our house by 1.45pm. Two others joined him and they began to cut a channel in the garage floor.
Thursday 14th June 2012 - Septic tank, kitchen, Zezere, garden, more cherries
Carlos had been trying to call us but there is no mobile signal in the village, so he drove to ours and took Roy to the kitchen makers to check the quote. I agreed the price and paid 50%. We will give the kitchen makers our door key before we head home tomorrow. Our kitchen will be just base units with a sink, cooker, hob, extractor and marble surface. We will add a fridge-freezer and microwave next time. And we will get a washing machine installed in the utility area.
The workers had left a really foul mess, which Susan had cleared before we had returned. She was very distressed by the ordeal.
Once Carlos had gone and we were satisfied with the effort to clean the courtyard, we had some lunch and went for a walk. 200 metres from our house is a walk that follows the Zezere river to Pedrogao Grande.
Friday 15th June 2012 - Pig's trotters, Border Control, puncture, home
The flight home was okay but we were held on the aircraft when it landed as there were people already queuing from Border Control to the concourse. It took us 2 hours to get through. But before we could get out of the car park we had to have the good services of the AA as the front offside tyre was flat!
We finally got home at 4am.
Looking back it was a very interesting week. We had made many new friends, found out a lot more about our village and Portugal, got some outstanding jobs done and ordered a kitchen.
I contacted Paulo and he will complete the septic tank connection and, hopefully, seal the shower tray - oh! haven't I mentioned the leak?