counting blessings

I left my bubble this weekend, which was terrifying and necessary

I went to Tuscany to visit some very dear friends, I ate some amazing food

walked miles, talked the hind legs off several donkeys, hugged friends and strangers, basked in the sun, admired the amazing views

we took part in an online “how to make gnocchi” course

which was bloody funny and utterly disastrous, but Bella pulled it out the bag at the end and turned the whole thing into a delicious omelette (minus the snotty gnocchi)

whilst sitting on top of a mountain with a group of strangers, amongst the stones and earth, listening to an explanation of the how’s and why’s of grafting grapes and the necessity to grow bio-dynamically and the vision one man has for the future of wine

I realised that the dreams we have for our own futures are not always logical or even sensible but what is clear is if we are honest with ourselves we can do the most extraordinary things…….this is something that I most admired about Rick and his crazy idea’s

seemingly coming out of nowhere and to anyone else completely impossible and bonkers, but with the right amount of determination, anything is possible, because when we focus and follow our hearts, there is an energy that becomes available to us that is not something we can control, it comes from elsewhere….

After many conversations about death and life and the after life and what happens to us when we leave, I do know that all of us are connected to everything, we are everywhere and the longer we disconnect ourselves from each other and nature the worse it will become

so, get out there, get your hands dirty, do something that terrifies you, hug a stranger, eat something you have never eaten before, have a dream that is beyond you’re wildest fantasy, do something for someone with no strings attached, give stuff away, be grateful for everything you have and above all, just try to be nice to each other because you just never know what is going to happen and how much you might wish you had done things differently……….

sunsets

we’ve been blessed with the most amazing weather lately, very cold nights but bright and sunny days and therefore spectacular sunsets, although we are a bit tucked in to the mountains here at home, a short drive up and we can see what feels like the whole world!!!!

i snuck a couple of photos in there from Porto, which also had the most amazing weather over the christmas period

some things I like about Portugal

The total lack of health and safety

nerve wracking and awesomely liberating
1

team work

tree down, traffic jam, get out of car, cut tree up, move to side of road, job done

2

getting on with it(ness)

women still do a lot of the heavy lifting, on their heads, with
or without a husband

3

 weather

we can have a lot of weather in one day and all of it is spectacular

4

 having fun

on first glance the Portuguese have a certain grumpiness about them, but look deeper and give them an event and they are the first to take part and take the piss out of themselves

5

things still come in proper boxes

if you take the time to look around, you can still find charming shops full of boxes and boxes of useful stuff

6

proper modes of transport

portugal has some of the highest death rates on the road in Europe and it’s no surprise, however, there are still people doing it the old way and they are not killing anyone (this category gets three photos ‘cos i couldn’t decide)

7

oranges

8

Silliness

despite what we may or may not think about Portuguese rice pudding, it is a national treasure and making the biggest one in the world  just makes sense, no?

9

self-sufficiency

everyone in the countryside grows most of their own food and livestock, nothing goes to waste, everything is saved and dried and utilising the streets for this is perfectly normal

10

photo opportunities

there’s a photo opportunity around every corner, you just have to look

11

patience

you can’t afford to be in a hurry here, aside from the fact that there really is no need to be in a hurry (unless you are incredibly disorganised), slowing down and being patient is a blessing

12

amazing faces

the Portuguese have been through a lot, their ability to smile and be thankful and so friendly is beyond words

13

folk-lore-yness

these traditional dances and ways of life are still celebrated here, young and old alike, everyone joins in and respects the need to continue

14

willingness

no, he’s not having a poo, he’s sheltering from the rain, a car park attendant, who really didn’t have to stay and continue to do his job in the torrential rain, why he didn’t have an umbrella, i don’t know given that you would never see a Portuguese out in potential rain without one, so, he uses the bin instead and smiles about it

15

landscapes and light

I’ve travelled a lot and I am not sure I have been anywhere where the landscapes are so varied and the light so amazing

16

17

Thank you Portugal and thank you Portugal people

knobs and knockers

I’ve been taking photos of knobs and knockers, not all from Portugal, but anyway. I liked the idea and I like both the words; knobs and knockers, meaning of which, is lost in translation as I discovered when in France last weekend. My obsession rubbed off on the people I was staying with and the people I met, who all said they will never be able to pass a door and not think of me!!! nice


this, I know is not a knob or a knocker but I liked it because we had a similar one on the house I grew up in (only in English!!)

and this, cos it’s lovely,

kill it, cook it, eat it

well it should be buy it, cook it, eat it, but kill it sounds more aliterate.
One of the things I love about the markets here is the food. Normally it’s just chicken and chips, which is always good and never dodgy, today though it was buy it and cook it yourself, and pay someone else to give you chips and wine…excellent.

and then finish it off with a freshly fried fartura