2019 – Update – Part 1

I bet anyone reading this blog would believe that we are not doing anything this year. Well the truth is far from that, we have had such a busy year, I just haven’t had the time to be able to post anything on the blog. Also, as time goes on, when so much has been happening it is difficult to know what or how much to post and the challenge becomes a bit daunting.

So, here is a very brief summary of the year so far.


Funchal – Botanical Gardens

In January and the first half of February we were enjoying the fruits of our labour and in the main relaxing at the house. We arranged for the farm land to be cleaned from growth, the streams cleared and half of the Olive trees to be heavily pruned. We also had a wonderful 5-day trip to the island of Madeira. It is amazing the bargains that are available at this time of year, we found train tickets to Lisbon for 9€ each and return the same, a flight from Lisbon to Funchal for 9€ and return for 19€ and a hotel for the 5 nights for price of 4 including an incredible breakfast for 200€.


At the start of the month had half of the land cleaned and the Olive trees pruned, they badly needed it. We also benefited by a substantial amount of wood that we could season for use on the fire next winter. We dod however have to store it away inn the dry.

We also completed the transition from NOS to MEO for our cellular Broadband. The NOS service was not very reliable, we only seemed to be able to get a stable 3G service although we were paying for 4G we very could never get the service stable, it kept reverting to 3G and could take an hour to complete the switch. Plus, it was also getting more expensive. MEO had a better 4G service and for just a couple more Euro’s a month we also got Satellite TV and a phone.

NB. At the time of blogging we are still far more satisfied with the MEO service, not perfect, but so much better and stable on 4G, Down speeds vary from 1 to 27Mbps but the average is around 10Mbps, more that enough for our usage.

The second half of February we returned to the UK to catch up with everyone and sort everything ready for our March venture’s


Something we had always promised ourselves a trip to see the “Northern Lights” and to see “Killer Whales” as a retirement present, so early in the month we set of for a short trip to Iceland.

We had a wonderful experience, it was just a small group of 15 and the courier was amazing doing everything that they could to meet our objectives, alas whilst we did get a glimpse of the lights, it was very cloudy and a tad disappointing. We did see dolphins and a hump back whale, but no sign of Orca’s (Killer Whales), so we may have to try again at some point.

At the end of the month we had a few days in York, seeing all the sights and visiting some old friends we had met in Portugal, who were now living nearby in Goole. York was amazing, very historic and we had a brilliant time catching up with our friends, who made us extremely welcome.

The trip made us realise and remember that there are still a lot of lovely places in the UK we need to visit. Time to start planning for some other places we can go.


April is Teresa’s birthday month and as we have been away most years on her birthday it was great to spend it in the UK with the family. Also, time to get all the personal things done that need to be done in the UK and sorting out issues around the house. The latter part of the month we were back in Portugal and catching up with our Portugal friends.


The Pit – Growing plants from seeds or seedlings has always been a problem as we regularly get fairly strong winds, which of course will damage young plants. After watching what some others have been doing and my own design, we decided to dig a hole about a metre deep and approx. 3 metres square, taking the soil from the hole and building it up around the edge of the hole, so giving an overall depth of around 2 metres. Then with some additional screening against the sun and wind and the help of a close neighbour and his digger, we created “The Pit” an area where we could hopefully grow young plants. So far it seems to have been quite successful, however we are expecting issues with collapsing sides when the winter rains come, but we will face that problem if it happens.

Every other year in May Aldeia de Santa Margarida hold a flower festival, the streets are lined and covered with thousands of paper flowers and the streets are closed to traffic. It is an amazing site.


This month we just really spent the time working on the farm, relaxing and lots of swimming.

Some times it just has to be done.

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