Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Feira and Friends in August

August in Zion has been full throttle. Fortunately, it’s not been anywhere near as hot as we previously imagined it would have been. Temperatures in July reached into the scorching 40’s in some afternoons. Now it’s topping out at 30 and much cooler in the evenings, dropping down to a chilly jumper wearing 15 or so and was even 11 degrees this morning. But the sun continues to shine gloriously on lifting our spirits every single day.

Restoration work has been progressing at both Moses and Bacelo at quite a pace now we’ve found a rhythm for our work together. Sunshine, River and I spend our mornings at Moses, come back for lunch, rest in the afternoons and help out Moonbeam at Bacelo in the cool of the early evening before dinner. Blues boudoir was finished off and we all decorated it in a TV Makeover show style in just a few hours in readiness for the Purdays arrival. It’s a magical little guest room created in the place where this estate had their bread oven (‘Forno’) in years gone by.

The chicken shed roof is on too reusing the old tiles from a fallen down roof on another building on the property. After rendering it this week, the already ginormous ducks (I know they’re not chickens) will have a new home. Both projects were most satisfying to see completed finally.

Down at Moses, we’ve covered both houses with black plastic in preparation for the Autumn rains that could begin early this month. Next we will turn our attention to the renovation inside – installing joists and lintels for taller doors (you should see the scars on my bald head!) and removing a couple of internal walls which will increase the space available in the kitchen and living room. We also want to start experimenting with earth renders and plasters. The company who landscaped the massive 5 new terraces have also now finished and we’re ready to start building the yoga sala, grey water planting system, the tennis court and earth ship greenhouses. We hope Oleiros council will be able to support our project by covering the new winding road with bricks. Yellow bricks. A magical yellow brick road!

Cuppa tea geezer?!...

First week in August saw the onslaught of the summer festival week in Oleiros – the Feira Pinhal. Hundreds of very cool exhibition style stands in the town square, including a Brazilian percussion stall where we’ve equipped ourselves with maracas, shakers, wooden frogs, a small jembe drum and a didgeridoo. The festa also had a program of entertainment every evening until the small hours. And fireworks, wonderful fireworks. Here a just a couple of short film clips from the night time. An amazing drum extravaganza from an energetic and often comical Portuguese teenage drum corps with accompanying synchronised fireworks, and secondly a more sedate traditional cultural dance for the oldies.

Go on! Bash dem bongos youngstas!...

Take your partner by the hand….

On the final Sunday, the Purdays flew in. Just in time for the biggest firework display of the lot at 2am on Monday morning called “and the winner is….” Brilliantly choreographed to the music from famous oscar winning films. Truly spectacular from the firework factory based here in our own sleepy town of Oleiros. A great welcome to Portugal for the John and Caroline and their kids (this pic is their eldest Maya), and an apt celebration of how we all felt because they had, at last, come to see us here.

Everyday Ellie and Josh have been superbly looking after and playing with 20 month old baby Violet and our 5 year old god daughter Maya. Swimming in the wild river, the open air pool and down by the river beach. We’ve had a week of late nights talking and sharing over bottles (or more accurately boxes) of wine, port and another sweet local brew made from a

type of cherries grown here called Ginga (‘jeanjer’) made by Laurinda who runs the café in the next door village of Abitueira. It’s been such a blessing to catch up with these cherished old friends and watch them visibly relax and soak up the abundance of this place. We’ve even showed them a few properties around the valleys here to whet their appetites for the possibility of perhaps joining us in our endeavours in Zion one day. Watch this space. But just in case they do make the jump with us, we have given them new Zion names too.

John is a talented artist who’s been

teaching in London schools for the last 4 years. As everyone knows it’s difficult to both teach and paint. In just one week here though he’s already drawn or water coloured over a hundred pieces in his scrap book. His eye for detail and panache at capturing the essence of things and in particular portraits of people is astounding. So his Zion name is Hawk-Eye Millions. The insightful eye of a peregrine mixed with the prolific potential of having a million ideas inside him. And to us, he’s already worth millions of pounds whether or not he ever sells a single one of his paintings in the future.

Caroline is a professional photographer and like all mums with small kids trying to eek out a successful career in a big city, is experiencing the pressures of that kind of life. We love Caroline for the mixture of her softness, her compassion, her creativity and her toughness. She is like a fine, expensive tactile fabric, but one that can be destroyed if it is not cared for in the way it deserves. Like Cashmere. Cashmere Snaps. Cos she also has a prolific potential awaiting her in the place that one day we hope she will, like us, call home.

Tomorrow they leave us, and with them they’ll take a piece of our hearts, and likewise leave pieces of theirs until we can be together once again. Oh Lord, hear our prayer.

Finally a promo for mum and dad who fly out to us on Sep 2nd. Hope you like the accommodation folks. Kids are ecstatic with excitement at the prospect of your arrival. Us too, obviously. Travel safely to your new bolt in Europe. Sorry it took us so long to give you your first one.

The new log cabins by the river beach Campismo in Oleiros...

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