Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Grape Harvest and Autumn Rains

Howdi all.

It's a Tuesday morning and a delicious drizzly mist hangs over the valleys heralding in the new season of Autumn. The air is fresh and clean and every plant and tree across the landscape is savouring the dousing it received last night in the downpour.

Yesterday evening, the final nail went in the last beam on the roof of the kids’ house as the heavens opened. Nice timing Boss. Appreciated.

We’re not working on the houses today. And for that we are, in a way, most grateful. The last 3 weeks have really flown by with an energy that’s been inspiring and a result that often makes us want to cry. After waiting such a long time to start renovating our houses at the top, we have raised (with help from our neighbours and in the last fortnight, professionals) all the walls in stone and clay and have 2 beautifully hand built wooden roofs on top of them. At times, especially when we drive back home from somewhere, observing what now exists that never did before, is truly an emotional experience. We're building our home. Not just for us, but for our grandchildren to come.

The next sunny day will be spent carrying thousands of tiles down the hill and carefully placing them one by one on top of each other and the houses will have their hats. That will be time, hopefully this week, to break open a bottle of bubbly with some friends and the people who have helped us on the road so far.

Meanwhile, Vonnie has been tirelessly hammering in hundreds of little pieces of blue slate, white quartz, hard black stone and soft yellow stone into the spaces between the bigger stones in the walls built in August. It’s a work of patience, artistry and above all, love. The effect is awesome. We now have one complete wall of “jewels” as she says, and over the next few months we will have a entire house of them. It’s becoming a fairy tale house in a forest waiting to be discovered by wandering children in search of adventure, riches and sweets.

We’ve not stopped at the weekends either. The last 2 we have helped our neighbours, Laurinda from the café in Abitureira and Jose & Eugenia, harvest their grapes to make hundreds of litres of wine that we, and those of you who come to visit us, will enjoy drinking with them over the next year. Again a real honour to be shown the country ropes. I'm looking forward to making our own wine next year. No time or space or energy to do so this year, but as we like to say these days, there’s more to come.

All this has been happening while I have started teaching English in the local primary schools again. So you can imagine, it’s a bit full on. Loving it though.

Ian and Merle also arrived from England, with a boat in tow, and have taken the kids up and down the river a few times. This time they are staying for 3 months so their lovely 13 year old daughter Evie is starting school here tomorrow, as a kind of educational experience for the winter term. They return to the UK at Christmas but we are already really enjoying having them here just over the mountain at Eira do Miguel.

Enjoy the videos. We’ll post up some more soon.

Sunday Roof Chat with River and Memphis...

And the rain came tumbling down...

Last thing to mention is that the sunsets and the harvest moons at the moment are breathtakingly gorgeous. At the end of hard day's work, we sit and watch the colour of the sky change through its rainbow spectrum illuminating the clouds as the sun dips beyond the far mountains. After dinner there's another spectacle as the moon rises over the top of the hills behind us radiating her soft reflective light all around like a romantic scene from a play. TV? No chance. This stuff is the best show on earth

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