Monday, April 30, 2012

Integrated Memoirs

Thanks Eliss for your blog interview last week. I really enjoyed the questions you sent. In the run up to your wedding, remember to breathe in and out as often as you can. :)


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Em Abril Águas Mil!

That's the old Portuguese proverb. In April, a thousand waters. What normally should occur round these parts is a thoroughly wet cold winter (see earlier postings), early Spring with days of sunshine in March to plant out all the potatoes and veggies and then April arrives to water them all in.

This year the weather forgot the script.

We've just had one of the driest winters on record here in Portugal. Almost 5 months from November to March with hardly a drop. It has now, graça de Deus, begun to rain a bit more. Not yet a thousand waters, but showers every few days.

With the new Spring rains, the flowers finally make their entrance. With a huge sigh of relief. Not because the cold dark winter has ended and sunshine is on tap, but they let their breath out for all the world to see because they've been dry as a bone for their hibernation this winter.

Water is life. We, like the plants all around us in the gardens and forest, are grateful it's raining.

And with the rains and the flowers came our first guests of the year to stay on retreat with us. The Kilpatricks, an amazing family from Porto. You gotta check out pappa Sandy's new album. It's melancholic and resonant. and those beautiful videos shot in the Portuguese countryside. Outstanding.

At the end of the week all the kids had a delicious family session of yoga with us too. We've uploaded some of the photos from the class to our Facebook page. It really was as lovely as it looked. Thanks Von. You're the best.

The second retreat just finished at the weekend, with Amalia from Sweden and Isabel & her gorgeous 6 yr old Madalena from Lisbon. What a privilege to host such fine people. Really, it was an honour and a wonderful start for our 2012 yoga retreat season.

Earlier in March we finally put up our new Vale de Moses website, which was fun to make thanks to a great design company in Braga called Seegno. Highly recommended if you're looking for web design. At the same time we went up on Facebook too, and have been overwhelmed by the response. Such lovely words people have expressed especially from the Portuguese.

The best thing about the speed of this social networking thing, is that in just 1 month we've been able to make contact with some great people in Portugal in the world of yoga, meditation, massage, gardening and rural self sufficient living. With invitations to visit each others homes and projects being swapped around cyberspace like cards flying from a croupier. We hope to meet some of them this year, either at Moses or in a road trip we're planning at the end of the season to see more of this Portugal we love so much.

Meanwhile, in the realm of the real, I've been cooking. I'm often fascinated by the course our lives take. My first job was as a Mexican chef in Dulwich Village, London. It's a real joy to be back in the kitchens again serving lunches and dinners, yet even more so as now I can work from home in a restaurant we built ourselves! And learning how to apply macrobiotic principles within the context of what herbs, veggies and fruits we can actually grow well in the gardens here, will keep me experimenting all summer long.

When Ellie and Josh can, they're always there ready and willing to lend a hand and help. Plus a cake or two thrown in for good measure. And not just in the kitchens. Over Easter they helped us spring clean the guest cottage with another lick of lime paint. This time with some soft yellow iron oxide pigment added to warm it up a touch. Terrific painters the pair of you.

You make us proud cubs.

We've have a wee break now until our next guests arrive in May. And the list of things to do around the place is vast and extensive! Vonetta is, as you can imagine, gardening passionately as always. Preparing the terraces for the usual spectacular summer show. While reminding me daily that the greenhouse I am yet to build would literally save the lives of so many of the hand reared, lovingly tended into being vegetable seedlings that are dying because it's not yet built.

I hear you dear. It's coming.  First, I'll just see to the courtyard stone flooring, then the saloon doors in the lounge for the dogs' bedroom, then the chicken shed and run fencing. Hopefully with a bit of luck, I'll get the improved composting structures built over our next break. Barn for the tractor and shredder, river damns and levada irrigation restoration, new roof and floors in the Adega and clearing the overgrown riverside and valley terraces will all have to wait. The greenhouse is coming babe. Promise.

"Palavras, palavras". Eu sei.

Peace and all good things to you