There’s a time when everything seems a little sad, the winter drags on and summer is a dream. And then, after the rain the sun comes out, the wind drops and in an instant everything really does spring to life. The trees suddenly have buds and most of them are in leaf, the meadows have some flowers and yes, there are more and more orchids to be seen. Along with the Early Purple (below) and Giant, we are seeing the Man, Naked Man, Helleborine and Sawfly on every walk.
Not to mention the birds and their chorus which greets us in the morning; the blue tits are flying into their box with tufts of Jussi hair and moss in their beaks, the greenfinches and sparrows are squabbling over the bird feeder and the robins are hunting for suitable nest spots. Richard is convinced there’s a couple interested in some nooks and crannies near the woodpile. It happens every year of course but there is something magical about the speed of the transformation. Now that the clocks have been put forward the chickens aren’t put away until after supper. The next two months sees the countryside at its best and the knowledge that that is around the corner is gladdening.
The warmer weather also means we can enjoy one of our simplest pleasures: eating outside. Richard’s birthday was in mid-March and we were able to enjoy our champers in the sun. He’s also been dusting off the bbq and rustling up some paella.
So there is definitely an air of optimism at Casa Azul. The Penela area on the national Covid map has gone from red to orange and now to yellow, just one step away from white. Actually, nearly all the country is now white, there is only a smattering of yellow and orange so all good news. Not that we will see anything of a vaccine for some time yet…
We took a trip up north to have another meeting with the builder. It was all a bit stressful, we have limited Portuguese and even less knowledge of building work and yet we somehow managed to discuss various types of materials for the walls, floors and windows; heating solutions and certain design elements (me brandishing pages from Casas de Campo and saying Isto é o que queremos!) We think we have arranged for him to show us some more of his work, and perhaps come up with a cheaper quote, but who knows. Oxalá!
We had a picnic in the sun and then pootled around Ponte de Lima, it really is one of the most beautiful towns in Portugal. Not only is it charming, it’s full of restaurants which, we hope, will be open the next time we are up. Oxalá!