Peter's Blog

Iberianspices spicesiberia

Monday, 7 May 2018

Fish Fish Fish

During my teens I was lucky my Dad had a fish tank made for me and then another till I had three fish tanks. In those days I was new to keeping tropical fish and over the years I have had tropical fish again till now. Being retired I am now in the position to get back into the hobby of keeping tropical fish. I follow on YouTube someone called the Diyfishkeeper who got my interest in not just a fish tank as we all know them but a big tank. I have mentioned this before but I am making a big tank 5,000 litres big but this is not about the tank it's about Fish.

I have asked on Forums over the years about finding shops that sell tropical fish. I have even found a few but after watching Joey the Diyfishkeeper on YouTube I now want something more and till yesterday I didn't quite know what I wanted. I have mentioned Oscars and I may got for them who knows but let's wait and see.

Because of the trouble finding a good selection here in Portugal I started looking in the UK where I know Tropical fish shops can be found everywhere. I must have called twenty shops by email asking if they have the means to export Tropical fish. Most didn't reply a few did but really you can only get quantity from the likes of the fish breeders in Thailand, Vietnam or in fact most Countries in Asia.

I started my search again online and found as Spain was not far away I started my search again in Madrid. After all a round trip Madrid and back could take a good day so that was it. After finding so many in Madrid I started to look in Salamanca and then Valladolid. At least now I know I can see the variety of those I may choose to have and the advertised price is so much better than importing.

I have three choices as I said Oscars, Platinum Angels or Silver Arrowana. Oscars I could only have about six at the most. Angels as they don't get as huge as Oscars I could have twenty. But I am leaning towards Arrowanas but as these even in a large tank can get to 70/80 cm and in the wild over a metre so six would be the maximum. I will post pictures when I can I can't now because this damm Ipad won't let me.

Saturday, 28 April 2018

The old garage

I have mentioned about the phone I have just got myself but on the way to the address I went down Menlove Avenue on the way towards the airport in Liverpool. Menlove Avenue was the home at one point of some you may have heard of John Lennon. John lived just around the corner from the children's home made famous in the song Strawberry fields Site of a former Salvation Army children's home & the inspiration for the famous Beatles song.

Enough of that driving down Menlove Avenue I stopped at traffic lights and at these lights is a garage forecourt that was a car sales and car hire business in the 1970's and still is. I worked for a time there after going on a course to learn to be a mechanic after getting married. As a newly married man the wages from being a butcher was not enough so I left butchering to become a mechanic.

Stopped at the lights I let myself dream back to the day I had to change the oil on a Ferrari Dino and to return it to his office now that was a day. That was a good job just as long as I kept the cars well looked after nobody bothered me.

When I travelled over to Portugal so much before I got my house and not wanting to pay huge parking charges it was so easy to park in a side street. The house I went to for my phone was one I parked outside a few times certainly a small world. I mentioned to the lady what I used to do and she said she remembered my car as it had a private plate. Small world.

Getting rid of landline

Over  the years I have enjoyed an offer from Meo the phone company. The offer is for 200 minutes free to call any landline in Europe at any time. I have used this to call my Mum and it was how I kept in touch for all this time. But from the start I have never been told when the offer ends until I get the latest phone bill. As I don't know the offer has ended I just carry on until the phone bill arrives a month later.  As I had no notification when the phone bill came in I would then get not just my normal bill that had the Internet cost but also all the free minutes charged for.

Every time I get a phone bill with increased charges I would call and complain but not her ever got done. The only thing that would happen would be to reinstall my 200 minutes offer but not back dated and I had to pay the charges.

It's happened again the offer has ended without notice and my bill instead of 32/ 35€ came in at 96€ quite a shock. Ok I made the calls but with the amount of British people living in Portugal you would think there would be a system in place to let them know sorry but not all Expats can understand Portuguese and could they let use know in a form we understand. In this day and age it's not a problem to translate from one language to another and with the computing power they must have it should be easy.

What makes the problem more difficult is I am in the UK so I have no means to call and complain as the phone number is 16200 not a number to call from the UK. In Portugal they have a system where every business has to display a complaints book. Also it is law that when asked for the complaints book the person you ask must immediately provide you with the book. Now the system has changed and the complaints book is online this system over a period of time will affect all companies. At the moment only the largest of companies have to have the complaints book online.

I made a complaint online and received a reply early next day. The reply said that the offer runs from one date to another date the next year and to discus the matter call 16200. What part of telling them I was in the UK till the 14th May did they fail to notice?

When I get back I will call and see if I can cancel my landline as my UK mobile on the Three network only cost me 3p per minute. The problem there is some people will not call a UK number from a Portuguese phone so I have an answer for that. My Portuguese mobile that I don't normally use I will use that instead of my land line. As I like my tech my Portuguese phone is great for calls and text nothing else it's no good for the modern world.

I pound for sale in the UK an IPhone for sale and all I need is to get it unlocked and use the sim from my old phone to keep my number. So Meo your days as my phone provider are numbered when I get home I will no longer have a land line.

I have a friend who when we talk we can talk for hours having a good catchup what do I do, I suspect he will be in touch with an answer as I know he reads my Blog.

Visiting my Mum

I'm lucky to still have my Mum unlike many others at my age. My Mum is only a matter of days from being 93 years of age and has said she doesn't want a fuss. What lots of people don't realise how lonely it must be sat on you own not in the best of health and without company. When my Mum was recently in hospital a number of times she said to me how she wished " why won't they just let me go ". Hearing you Mum say that and more than once is heartbreaking and what do you say.

Yes I like the rest of my family want Mum around after all she is mine and my brother and sisters Mum BUT. Yes a big but this time we are selfish just consider for a moment about quality of life. Mum has four careers come in each day as five of Mums children live a long way away. Me in Portugal but I have one sister who lives local and is with Mum most days but she also has her life to live.

My Mum is just like a prisoner, a prisoner has a cell, somewhere to spend time with other and an exercise yard. My Mum has her house but as walking is not very good she spends her time at in a chair. Very occasionally Mum ventures out into her garden so you see life is no better than life for people in prison.

I call Mum almost every day and try to avoid the afternoon as Mum has a nap then. Yes family visit but they also have there own lives and with Mum's coming birthday I hope that the family are able to spend some time with our own prisoner.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

The high street has gone

Today I am in Liverpool for my Mums birthday and to become a Grandad again. Leaving Mum's I got the bus into town so I could catch another to where I am staying. While travelling along we went along a road where I trained as a butcher in 1964 and also past where I had my own butchers shop. I can say the High street as we know in the UK is dead. R.I.P the high street.

I traveled up Townsend lane that when I had my butchers shop there was full of shops all doing good business and not an empty shop in sight. Today it has a Ghost town feel from maybe 20 shops in my day to now only a handful and all look past there best.

From Townsend lane we started up Breck road past the only business that seems to be thriving Georgson's car sales. The owner of the car sales came in every Saturday and I cooked him a leg of lamb from when I worked in the shop to when I became the owner. His business looks to be doing well and during my time he certainly had a very good name as a person who was good to do business with.

Sadly just passed there was the Cabbage Hall pub recently closed and looking like it closed years ago dirty paint holes in part of the roof not a pretty sight.

Between the Pub and there turning for Belmont road what shops still open looked tatty and in need of a good clean and a facelift outside. Sadly with the lack of trade there is not the money to allow the owners to spruce up the exterior of there sorry looking shops.

As I pass the turn for Belmont road we come to the block of shops where I worked and learnt my trade as a butcher. The bank on the corner gone and the building looking sorry for itself, the little shoe shop and next door a ladies dress shop again looking really sorry for themselves. Rushworths the record shop now a Deli but looking so tatty who would go in there. The shoe shop on the corner closed.

Across the road Ohares the jewellers now a Pawn shop Sayers the cake shop gone and empty so is the Chemist next door. Looking past its sell by date next door is still a pet shop and the pub on the corner it would be kinder to knock it down.

It's the same up the road every block less than half the shops on each block closed and what's left looking sad. Across the road and further up are new housing estates so why is everywhere looking like it's time to close and say enough is enough.

Who's fault is it a shopping area that had everything now has nothing. The Car that's where it started, the car gave people the chance to be able to travel to the new supermarkets. The war between the supermarkets drove down prices and the little shops suffered and closed.

The council lost many millions in Rates but did the Rates from the supermarkets make up for what was lost from the high street???

About the only shops left are the ones owned by the ethnic communities because the shop has no wage bill to pay and all the family works in the shops. These type of shop offer no chance of employment for the local communities.

Solicitors, hair dressers, fast food outlets ( chippies ) and second hand shops. That's about all that's left but this is not a problem in just Liverpool it's a problem across the country as reported often in the news.

R.I.P the high street 

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Another spoilt trip

While I was over in Liverpool I seem to have stayed to long in Farmfoods in Birkenhead after a trip to friends. It seems you can only shop for an hour and if you stay longer you get a parking ticket. While my daughter was in hospital in a difficult stage of her pregnancy I borrowed her car and did a big shop. I came home to Portugal shortly after unaware of any problems I may have caused while looking after my granddaughter.

Now when I go back for my Mums 93rd birthday in May I may still have this parking ticket to sort out. I can't understand how you can get a parking ticket when you are in the shop spending in my case some of my Pension on food. I hope Farmfoods are happy.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018


Portugalwildfires is a site created because although the laws a clear not everybody knows just what's what or they think they do. My friend Steve who lives in a village were some people died in the fires of 2017 created this above named website. Actually that's not quite true it was his wife Susan who created the site but with Steve's input.

Much is said on some of the Forums i am a member of but it seems every Brit on the Forums has there own idea of what the rules are in regard to trees being cut down. The laws are in place to make sure all the villages and towns are better protected from any further fires.

Land must be cleared 50m round houses and 100m round the outside of villages and trees inside removed . That's putting it simply but there is so much more that is involved and Steve and Susan have got every detail that home owners need to know. You can even print of the laws to show to the GNR/ Police if they come and tell you trees that are allowed are to be removed.

The best thing would be to go to the site and have a good read or follow the link on the left hand side of the page or the link below.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

All done

I mentioned a short time ago about one of my sons going on a run. While taking part in a Marathon is only for the fit and the brave and to run 26 miles is a fabulous achievement.

My son has just run in temperatures of up to 50c in the Sarah dessert in 6 days a 156 miles. To make it more difficult they where limited to how much food and water they could have because they had to carry everything the runners needed to finish . It was really a case of using resources carefully and doing everything that his years of training in the Marines had taught him.

He was not the tallest Marine but in my eyes he is a Giant amongst men.

Congratulations so i am so proud of you.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

My best friend

Normally i don't mention anybodies name on my Blog because some people live a private life and don't want to see there name of a Blog for all the world to see.

Some time ago i meet someone who has become my best friend and i have needed a best friend after my best friend Dave passed away. Dave never came out of him coma and due to certain brain damage his wife and son agreed to turn the machine off that was keeping him alive. Knowing he never suffered was a help as Dave was the person i used to turn to often over the years.

Now i have another best friend Ashley not one to replace Dave but someone who lives down near to Tomar quite a drive away from me. I am jealous of Ashley I write just what comes into my head when I come to post something on my Blog. Ashley has a much better command of the English language than I do so it makes reading his Blog different.

Ashley like me is at total ease with life because we are quite the same. Like me he is looking at changing his house to make it more comfortable to his needs just like I started some time ago. So if you are thinking about moving to Portugal his Blog would be so helpful.

My Plants

I am lucky a friend who is renovating a house just behind me agreed to take pictures of how my plants are doing. We have had so much rain that after two years of little rain now the reservoirs are full. That rain has helped my fruit trees and everything is showing signs of good growth.

This is the nearest i could get to an Acer tree. I had been looking for a long time for an Acer tree but it's almost just as nice.
This is the smaller of my orange trees but with plenty of little flowers starting to grow.

Maybe this year my Lime tree will have some fruit on it and it's showing a few buds.

This is my pride and joy Black Cardamon that my friend Paul planted for me still looking good.

This is a pear tree that i only got because it already had a few pears on it when i found it in a market.

Now i know that this grape vine is a Chardonnay because last year the fruit was a white grape. I originally got a variety of Chardonnay and Shiraz. As the grapes where white it has to be a Chardonnay.

I looked today at my Black Currant and found some little flowers that will grow into Black currants.

And i came back

A little while ago i was in Liverpool due to my Mums continued ill health and i was due to stay for 2 months until Meo called me. I received a phone call from Meo the phone and internet company and again two days later. What Meo wanted was to tell me that they would be calling at my house to install Fibre Optic for my internet.

Now my village does not have Fibre Optic but they called me twice and sent a contract so i had to go back home. I had the contract translated and yes all was correct and all i had to do was wait till Monday morning. Monday came and i was pleased to say the Fibre Optic guy came and before he came to me he had a walk round the village.

The Fibre Optic guy was walking round looking for the cable that should have been installed ready for him. But he came to see me to explain that he only does the indoors part of the connection. Today he couldn't install my Fibre Optic connection so he got in his van and left. I tried calling Meo to find out what was going on sending someone out before they had even installed the cables. I was told that someone would call me back the next day. But the next day all they said was i was to far from the road where the nearest connection was. Until more people move into the village Fibre optic is not an option.