House & Garden – October 2016

As mentioned in the last blog we had damaged the Main Gate in the summer and I can confirm that the repair has been done well on the side we damaged. However, whilst the repair on the other post was done well, there is still movement in the fixing on that side, which has been there since the original installation. We are going to have to get in touch with the gate installers to see what can be done, then we might be able to make a more permanent repair the post. It just needs the fixing bolts removed and replaced but tightened down properly. The gate does however work properly now, which is of course the main thing.

grassWe had the most amazing clover grass, we really wanted it to be cut more often than it is but it has proved hard to get anyone to do it. The guys doing it now are the same people that demolished the old hut, I guess it’s because they were trying to do it all at the same time.

The net result was we have grass that was about a foot (304.8mm) tall with clover leaves about an inch (25.4mm). The good news is that it has now been cut and with the winter coming it shouldn’t grow as fast as in the summer, the not so good news was that it only got cut on the day we had to leave to come back to the UK.

channelNot sure if this should be in the House & Garden section, the Old Hut or the Farm, but
let’s leave it here for now. The old hut is gone, so we had to get the land re-landscaped and also deal with water flows. We had a channel put in down what was the old track, this was being lined with a concrete gulley whilst we were there. This runs into a drain which takes any water under the track and shoots it into the stream (The old 500mm concrete tubes that we had to upgrade from the stream tunnel were used for this) All looks a bit messy as well at the moment, but I am sure when it is finished and the natural vegetation returns it will be fine!

On the down side the Cactus that we had been trying to keep on the bank dropped out the bank, where the team had to widen the track. On the up side this all happened whist we were there so we were able to retrieve it, and move it to a better place. Just hope it survives! It’s a Cactus, they survive anywhere, don’t they?


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The Old Hut – Gone

hutgoneWell this is hopefully the last entry against “The Old Hut” our visit has confirmed that it has in fact gone. The rubble has been used to build up the bank along part of the stream, which should help to retain any excess water when the rains come.

rubbleneatRubble can never look pretty, but it has been well covered with soil on the non-stream side. The side that is visible from the stream is a bit messy but there’s not a lot that can be done. Time will be the healer here, when the natural vegetation returns I am sure it is going to hide the mess.




Either way the guys have done well to hide the rubble on the land, which obviously saves the cost of removal and disposal.

So that’s it, it’s done.

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The Old Hut – Going, Going, GONE

We were hoping that September would see the demolition of the old hut, but in true Portuguese style it didn’t happen. I am sure many of you that read this blog and therefore have an interest in the Portuguese life style would now that there are two dates with every job, the promised date and the actual date.  It is very rare indeed that these two are the same. The challenge is to try and get them as close together as possible.

going1We had been pushing hard for the work to be carried out as quickly as possible, before the rains came, as we knew the landscaping work we had commissioned needed to be completed to ensure there was no, hopefully, further issue with the flow of water when the rains started.

Well last week the first real rainfall was seen in the area and we think that may have stirred some action with the builder as he had agreed that the work would be done before the rain came and any compensation claims from nearby neighbours etc. would be pointed in his direction. Maybe it wasn’t that, it was just circumstantial, either way, mid-week some heavy equipment appeared.

Over the next 3 days, first the roof disappeared, then the walls, by the Friday evening most if not all remnants of the “Old Hut” had gone. The next question is where has it gone.

We now as mentioned in an early blog the Portuguese put great stature on old weathered roof tiles, we know the intention was that they were being stacked somewhere on our plot for keeping, but where we wonder.

going2Also the old main roof timbers they were going to cut up into “log burner” size pieces and would be stacked somewhere on our plot so we can store and use during the colder months. Again we wonder where.

The thought on the remaining of the brickwork was that it would be used, some to build up a higher bank along the stream side to help prevent future overflows, and the remainder along the tracks down to the lower fruit farm.

going3There was also agreement to use some of the old drain pipes removed from the earlier failed attempt at bridging the stream to form a drain to channel the rain water on one track direct into the stream.  Also to re camber the second track so the water flowed away onto the land above the stream, thus keeping it away from the fruit farm area. Any remaining brickwork from the hut to be spread over the tracks to try and firm up the dirt. Has this happened we wonder.

As you can tell, we haven’t yet been able to see if this has all happened to our satisfaction, however we will be back at the house this week to see for ourselves, so watch the blog for updates.

The one thing we do know if the old hut has finally gone and there should now be clear views right through towards Monsanto, weather permitting of course.



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House & Garden – The Main Gate

During our stay in August we managed to break the electric gate openers on the main gate.

The problem was that a car had caught the centre stop of the gates and bent the fixing screws, which when we tried to open the gates, one of the screws caught on the bottom of one of the gates and stopped it opening. The result was that it put additional pressure on the opener fixing on the post and pulled the fixing bolts out of the wall.

We have a great guy that does a lot of the little repair jobs for us as well as some improvement works. As usual he has done a great job on the repair. See the pictures to see the progress, I think they are self-explanatory.

The big rock was put there whilst the gate openers where removed to stop the gates swinging in the wind.






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House & Garden – Borehole

At long last we have managed to get the Borehole covered, a good neat job I think.



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The Farm – September 2016

vinedripfeedWe needed to get to a base point before we can start to develop the farm in a way that we can maintain and use it in a way that suites our way of living. We think we are nearly at that point.

We have had the irrigation system installed and it seems to be working well, we have attached the feeding tubes to vine runs, although the vines are old and there are many gaps in the runs, we can sort that next year with some new vines, there has been no point until now as we are not there enough to be able to take care of any new plantings, at least now they will get watered, hopefully that will be ok. We still need to settle the feeds to the fruit trees but we are getting there. The olive trees are really well established and extremely hardy so they are fine.

We still have some re-landscaping of the land where we joined the two plots together, when it does rain, it does rain and the water running across the land is running wrong, it is running across the land and missing the natural stream/s so can cause some flooding on the farm (not the house) and it can make its way onto the neighbour’s farm, which is not good. So we need to get that resolved.

We have agreed what needs to be done with the contractor and also agreed the price, we are now just waiting for him to come with his team. He did say September, but we are well through September now, so I guess it’s a typical Portuguese September!!

The plan for our next trip is to get the watering system settled a bit more, prune the vines for the year and re-post some of the runs. We did about 10 of them last year, but one needs some attention and see if we can re-post and wire the runs up on the top terrace. That way hopefully they should all be prepared for replanting in the spring.

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The House & Garden – September 2016

hobAt long last we have managed to get the cover on the extractor over the hob, it had to be specially made, just because of the shape of the vaulted ceiling and the height, now it’s done, it looks amazing. The only problem was that the guy that did the work managed to break the glass on the hob! Nothing is ever simple is it. He has agreed to source the replacement glass and fit it, and we have agreed to cover the cost. Yes you could say it was his fault and he should bear the cost, but he is a one man band doing odd jobs for us and doesn’t have insurance that would cover this, and it was an accident, so we will cover it and he is doing other work for us as well.

The same guy is due to build a small cover for the borehole, but again like all the Portuguese although agreeing it to be done, it take an age to actually get it done.

We also had to add another little job to his list, as we managed to break the automatic openers on the gate on out last visit, just managed to pull one of the openers out of the post. This at the time of writing, he has started to repair for us, reinforcing the post with some concrete before remounting the opener.

sprinklersThe garden around the house is getting there, the watering system is working well for the plants and apart from a couple of the sprinkles tops needing repair the clover/grass is getting well-watered. There are a couple of places that need fixing but we will get there. The biggest issue now is getting the clover/grass cut. The guy that said he would do it is the same guy that’s doing the demolishing of the hut and the landscaping so its suffering the same way, getting him to do it. The consequence is its getting very long.

We have decided that we will get a mower as soon as we can, so at least we can cut it when we are there, we still need someone to cut it on a regular basis but it would help.

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The Old Hut – September 2016

demolitionballIn combination with the landscaping work that we need on the farm, we have also agreed with the same contractor to get the old hut demolished.

The plan is that he will remove all the roof tiles, as these may be reusable, the Portuguese seem to put great value on roof tiles. These will be stacked at a suitable point on our land. The wood inside, mainly the structure of the roof, will be removed and cut into log size pieces that we can use on the wood burner. I expect these will just be left somewhere and I will have to move them and store them in the garage along with all the wood stacked there last year from the pruning of the Olive trees.

The main fabric, e.g. the tile blocks and bricks would be broken down and form a wide path down the original dirt track to the farm area, sloping away from the neighbour and down towards the stream. At the same time reuse the old 500mm pipes that were removed from the stream bridge, mentioned in an earlier blog, to form a large drain to take the flow of water that will run down the track, along with the water dispensed from the pool plant room, when we clean the pool system, or empty the pool and take the water and run it into the stream.

Again, it was planned that this work would happen in September, but as mentioned in the farm blog, we are still waiting.

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The Old Hut – The story so far

hutinsideAt the start of the building of the house project, we needed to get electricity on the site. The main supply, delivered by overhead cables was already to the edge of the plot so we just had to drop a connection down to a meter and connection box.

In conjunction with the builder we decided to go one better, after the meter connection we would run a cable to the new house where the internal MCB panel would be and a further connection to the shed, so we had power we could use on our trips.

It was a great idea and worked well, but later as the new house came to completion and we thought about demolishing the hut, the power supply to the hut was now a problem and would have to be removed before we could even think about demolishing it. This was further complicated because we had a supply now running from the hut to the new Pool room plant room.

So Phase 1 was to work with the electrician who had worked on the house and get him and his team to sort the power and run new supplies to the new pool plant room and remove everything from the old hut.

At the time of writing that has now been removed and we are free to get the hut demolished.

So who does that we ask?

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The Old Hut

hutThe original hut that came with the land when we brought it is just in the way of the view towards Monsanto, so it has to go. It’s been great having it whilst we have been building the house, somewhere to get out of the sun or the rain when needed, plus a great place to store all our bits.

The builders also put it to good use for the storage of tools and materials, but that is all done now and the building is basically empty.

We also now have the garage which came with the extra piece of land we brought later in the process and that is perfectly adequate for all the storage we currently need.

In many ways its seems a shame to remove it as it has history with the plot, but at the end of the day it is just old bricks and tiles and just is in the way of the view so it has to be demolished.

So that’s the subject matter on this project, the demolishing of the hut and its disposal.

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