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Tag: building

Courtyard then and now

Courtyard then and now

I just happened to see an old photo of me enjoying lunch in the ‘old’ courtyard not long after we arrived on 20 September 2009. I think I was having a rest having cleaned the whole place up as it was in a right state then. Funnily enough I have another photo taken exactly two years later from about the same spot.

Sep 2009
Sep 2011
Repairing and building part 2

Repairing and building part 2

The new project I mentioned in the last post is almost complete. I’m not sure what it is called but it creates a cool shaded area in the courtyard which was looking too barren. And I managed to use up the old tiles and some of the wood from the barn roof.

Repairing and building

Repairing and building

Today is the second anniversary of our arrival in Portugal to start a new life. It is also just over a year since we moved in to our new house and we are already doing repairs. Fortunately not to the house but only the polytunnel at the bottom of the garden. The sun has taken its toll on the cheap plastic covering which was falling apart so I recovered it with UV resistant plastic. Looks good now, I wonder how long that will last.

'new' polytunnel

However, we continue to build new things. Since the renovation of the barn, our attention has been on the courtyard and to this end I recently made a new flower bed. I had to dig up the new paving, and a layer of concrete and then the original cobbles underneath but the main reason was to practice my bricklaying as I intend to embark on a bigger project in the courtyard very soon.

starting the new bed
New project started. What will it be?

Meanwhile, as we move into September, things are ripening. Walnuts are appearing on the ground around our three trees and so soon enough we’ll be sitting in front of the telly of an evening shelling them in readiness for a succession of walnut cakes. Also the figs are coming to fruition. Not just in our garden but there are a few trees in the lanes and tracks hereabouts. So along with the blackberries and apples, they are providing sustenance for our country walks.

figs and walnuts

One tree that doesn’t know what time of year it is, is our new apple tree as it has rather strangely come into blossom. I’m sure nothing will come of that.

apple blossom in September

Despite Jackie’s bemoaning of the lack of sun and heat to dry her tomatoes, we have had little rain – as measured by my new rain gauge. In fact in August we only had one decent night of rain which measured a relatively pathetic 25mm. However, this was enough for the grass to be reborn and now patches of the garden are starting to green in a sea of brown. And that is the signal that I’ve got a few months of strimming to look forward to …

Close encounters

Close encounters

Just to share with you the amazingly weird long armed sci fi machine that turned up Thursday to put the concrete on our roof:

Well, I was impressed.

And what a lovely day 🙂

What you can’t really see is the guy with the blue helmet is carrying a box and that’s got the dials for operating the machine, controlling how much gumpf comes out and when. No carrying up buckets by rope, it was all done within an hour. Talking of helmets – none of the builders have any safety gear at all. It reminds me of when there was a fire in the hotel next to the BC in Hanoi and the firefighters turned up: helmets, goggles, matching dungarees… and flip flops.

But now it’s Rain Stopped Play unfortunately and the builders won’t be back until mid next week as they wait for the cement to dry (or is that concrete? I get confused between the two…)

A roof over our heads

A roof over our heads

After weeks and weeks of downpour the weather has started to be kind, and just at the right moment. There were a few delays the first week but now, the week the roof goes up, it couldn’t be nicer. Blue skies and lots of sun. Actually, it could be nicer – it’s freezing cold! Frost welcomed us this morning but hey who cares because when we get to the house the builders are already there and every day there seems to be real progress. Not surprising perhaps with the hours they put in: they arrive at 8 and leave at 6. And amazingly they do seem to be putting up the roof in a week. The concrete posts are all in place and our builder reckons both the main roof, and the flat roof over the extension, will be done by Friday which is splendid news.

My only concern at the moment is the soil in the garden. Despite oodles of horse manure, composting and growing comfrey nothing is ready yet to put on the soil. I hadn’t been too worried up until now – I’d been turning over spadefuls of moist (admittedly rather heavy) stuff, and with worms in too (despite far too many vine weevil larvae which are waiting for some juicy roots and rabbits waiting for some juicy shoots). But the nice weather has dried up the soil and today I went to break up some clods of earth – and couldn’t! Rock solid! The soil desperately needs some nourishment. Meanwhile I tried to buy some potting compost and despite visiting three garden centres yesterday couldn’t find anything decent. I asked at one place and was shown a huge bag of peat and was told that’s what I needed. It looked dry and unwholesome, and suspiciously cheap. So my latest mission is to find good quality potting compost as the little seedlings are going to need a good start in life.

Richard continues to strim away, everything looks so much nicer once the brambles have been blitzed. Hope to have some tile photos up next…