Peter's Blog

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Thursday, 9 December 2010

Photo's of where it all started years ago in Spain

This story was started on the 24th October 2010 but with the pressure of work etc it's taken till now to find the photo's and complete the post for all to see more of how it all began.

Below is a photo of an old winery " Bodega " in a place called the Ayora Valley in Spain. The vines where part of the property and they still where used to make wine. The property came with half an acre of land mostly all used for the vines.

After many months of research i was ready to speak to my wife about having a holiday home in the Sun. Because i was doing research into a possible move i sat down with her and  told her of what we could have, not just for use but our children and there children. She refused to have anything to do with the idea. It seems that my daughter had been having a look at all the papers i had printed about the property and about the region of Spain.My daughter had been feeding her mother with her version of what i was up to. When in fact i was just getting information so that i could answer questions from my wife should she have any about Spain and the Ayora Valley..

The property would have made a great two bedroom apartment on the ground floor complete with kitchen/ diner and bathrooms. The same layout on the second floor as was on the ground floor. In the roof space there was room for a one bed Studio apartment.

To one side was a courtyard where a barbecue area would be and a pool. All this for 104.000euro. Less than one hour from two international airports what could be better. My wife believed that all she saw on tv about Spain and the land grab was true of all Spain. The Ayora Valley was not in the part the was causing many other to risk losing the homes. Sadly the idea was dead in the water.                  

Sunday, 10 October 2010

It happened 42 years ago and fresh as yesterday

On the 8th October Forty Two years ago i went out with a girl called Sue and we agreed to go out again the next night. As i had a car her dad asked to see my Licence Oh well it's like this i don't go in for my test till the 10th October. You can imagine what his reply was but No will do.

Well the day came for me to go in for my diving test. Well i passed first time and i had only had ten lessons. When i got back to work Steve my boss gave me the afternoon of so i could go out for a drive now i was legal. The fist place i went was down to the M6 motorway that had not been open long. That drive was one i will always remember. The evening of the 10th October i again went to see Sue but this time i took my pink slip to show her dad that i had now passed my driving test. Well after that we got on fine.

The best bit was after going back into work the boss's son took his test the next day and failed.

Well Sue and i parted soon after but the 8th to the 10th October hold something special in my heart. The 11th of October is also the birthday of my Sister Susan who is also my eldest sister.

Monday, 20 September 2010

As time draws near " Things to do "

Well on the morning of the 23rd September i will be flying over to Porto to visit Gois and my house.

As you can see from the picture below of the loft, what a great space it is. What you can't see is how good the floor is, all the floor needs is a good sanding to bring out the best in the wood. On the right will be  two Velux windows letting in loads of light. Where the basket in hanging up is where the bed will go facing the Velux windows. On the roof will be the solar panels for the hot water and to feed the central heating system. The roof space under the tiles will be insulated to 800mm with insulation of the type that comes in rolls. The part that can't be seen on the picture is where the eu-suite will go and built in wardrobe.

The beds in the two bedrooms add something to the house and must be kept if it's possible to. One problem is they look smaller than we have in the UK. If it is that i am wrong and they are the same size as the UK all i need to do is buy two mattress's to bring with me when i make my move to my new home. If they are not the same size i will just have to buy two new beds.

Just look at the floor in the bedroom you would pay a small fortune to have a real wooden floor like this in your own home. It is real wood and not laminated.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

New Blog site picture

I have changed the picture of my house at the start of this Blog site. I have a lady who comes into my shop who i have over a period of time got to know quite well. This lady despite having two hip replacement operations is always happy and cheerful. I mentioned a number of times that i was moving to Portugal to retire and during one of these conversations i offered to let the lady see some pictures of my Cottage. This i did by putting the pictures onto a CD and the next time i saw the lady i gave her the CD. Some time later i received the Cd back and i was surprised to hear that the lady was going to do a water colour painting of the house for me.  The day came when she came into the shop with the painting. I am not normally one to have nothing to say but i was lost for words. Nothing could have prepared me for how beautiful the picture is. I will find a frame fitting for the picture for when i get to make my move to my place in the sun. My son suggested that when i get to Vale Boa to put the picture up and take a photograph of the picture in pride of place in the lounge and send a copy to the artist. I think that would be a fitting tribute to someone who has shown such a kindness to me and my new life.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

It's ok having plans to move to another country and want to spend your retirement years in a more relaxed and sunny place. There is certainly nothing wrong with that after a life time spent working it's something to look forward to but, Always a but somewhere in the story. Sometimes things do not go quite as planned. All seems straight forward and then you find a list of things that have to be done before you can move onto your new life. as the list gets shorter now should be the time to start looking forward to the move. But not with me a most of the money to fund my dream must come from the sale of a house i now live in after my divorce. The divorce gave me some money but i have to sell a house before it's my turn to move.

Going to work every day when all you want to do is sit in the sun. After working for over Forty  five years without a day off for illness, well it's time to take a break.  

Monday, 30 August 2010

The journey continues.

Well recently i became Single again and i am happy to say it feels good. Today was another milestone our family home was sold, Sold done and dusted and money in the bank. Wow

But the journey well that's the story. Having someone in my past who proved very unhelpful was at best annoying at worst XXXX. A divorce is bad at the best of times but to constantly having to demand information and  not get replies. Is enough that i made the agent remove the property from the market twice.

Not wanting to pay blood sucking Solicitors any money i did away with them and as luck had it all  worked out just fine from that point on. Her solicitor was happy to reply to my emails and there where lots of emails for there where questions i needed answers to.

The greatest help was a company on the Wirral who even though i made them remove the property from the market twice where more than helpful. Without them acting at times as a go between maybe the sale would not have gone through today.

Another aprt of the journey to get my dream of my Place in the sun.

Thank you all for letting me get this of my chest and to look forward.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Well it's now the Question time

Well time is now drawing near and i must concentrate on preparing to make my move to My Place in the Sun Vale Boa in Portugal.

I now have a Transit van and a big trailer to make my move easy as i will be doing the driving from the UK to Vale Boa portugal.

Some important questions or at least to me they are. In the two bedrooms are two beds now the two bed look great but i want new mattresses. The beds in Portugal at one time where a different size than we have in the UK.

At times there are what's called " Spikes " in the electric that causes a surge in power. So to avoid that i need surge protectors for all electrical in the house.

There are so many issues to address before i go. Most of the information i need can find by asking questions on the various Expat Forums i am on.

 Below are three Expat Forums i am on.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Making my own Ice Cream

It's easy to move to another country and have regrets. For me one would be ice cream i have more than is good for me but i like it.

The answer is to make my own so here is what i did. Instead of using Google i asked a question on a forum i use. I received lots of help and on one answer from Victoria  was a recipe for "   Basic American ice cream ". Well today being a Sunday and i am of work till 6pm so i had a go at the recipe.

For a first attempt i think i didn't do to bad a job.  I had some Raspberries in my freezer so i blended them and added the crushed Raspberry juice to the ice cream. Now that's another problem solved. 

I am told by friends in Portugal that it's the hottest summer for many years. Well ice cold ice  cream will certainly keep me going when i move.

Preparations for the move are now underway.

It seems a lifetime since i started my search to find a Place in the sun. I was lucky to come across a cottage in a place called Val Boa just outside of a small towm called Gois.

Well a few important things have happened and the first one is that our home on the Wirral has been sold, we exchange contracts in the next week. My ex wife reduced the house a lot to make sure that it sold quickly and it did. Well it worked but the outcome was ok for me as i still get my agreed share but it is my ex wife who lowered her share to get a quick sale. Oh well at least i am ok.

As the house i have found in Val Boa is furnished my needs are simple, i am taking with me just what i need so i can move into my cottage and be comfortable. As i paint and decorate the cottage room by room i will then furnish each room as i go.

For the move i have got myself a van and now i am White vanman my mate Dave here in Liverpool has a big trailer to let me use for my move.

I have just had an engine rebuild in my car, after 120,000 miles in five years from new it was best to get it done now. At least i should have another 100,000 miles trouble free motoring ahead of me. 


Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Bike and Cart Festival in Gois in August 2010

 Since September 2007 i have never yet been able to attend the Bike Festival and also the Cart Festival held each year in August.

Below is a report about last years event and also some pictures of the cart Festival..

On Sunday it was the 2nd annual go-kart races of Vale Moreiro/Manjão, and like last year, it attracted many entrants and even more spectators. Our company having sponsored an entrant and provided the official t-shirts for the event, Richard was keen to be out with his camera catching those wonderful moments of triumph and disaster – I was happy to simply observe proceedings from the comfort of my hammock on the veranda, just catching the odd flash of a go-kart speeding past…And how happy I am now that we are back to having our nights disturbed only by the barking of the village dogs – the thunderous rumbling of practicing go-karters at 3am being over for another year!

The Cart Festival is held at Vale Moreiro/Manjão this village is only 1km outside of Gois. This year the Cart Festival is held on the 8th August.

The Bike Festival is held on the weekend of the 19th to the 22nd of August.

The Bike Festival is held on the weekend of the 19th to the 22nd of August.
My friend Richards  is the official photographer. I have left a link at the bottom of the page for the event website and photos.

Here is a report about last years Bike Festival.
Today I breathed a huge sigh of relief on waking, knowing that the Motorbike Festival was over for another year. I try to put myself in the position of a bike enthusiast – I imagine the conviviality of being with like-minded enthusiasts, the sense of freedom from the usual restrictions of having to wear helmets, the sheer joyful anarchy of being able to tear up and down the street on a great thrumming metal machine…yes, I can just about imagine it, but it still makes me jump when the engines are revved, and I cannot really get into the whole big noisy machine thing. Having said all that, it is rather wonderful to see the little town of Góis filled with happy smiling people (I like the people more than their bikes) and to feel that party atmosphere in the air on such a large scale. The music I can take or leave, (with the exception of the Bob Marley tribute band, where I was singing along with the best of them) but the sheer fact of having a huge stage with a proper lighting and sound system is pretty exciting, I will admit. Then there is the sight of so many of the local community doing their bit for the Moto Club, all voluntarily, and the knowledge of how the money raised benefits the local community, as well as the benefits for the local traders…so perhaps it is not so bad after all, and it IS only for one weekend in the year - therefore I have decided not to be curmudgeonly about it. But it is still nice to see the motorbikes leave and to have our town back to normal.
© Richard Land

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Car hire at Porto airport and Faro

After travelling to Portugal now about twenty times i have hire quite a few cars.

At Porto airport you gets picked up and taken to the place where all the hire companies are situated. On two of my trips i found after turning up to pick up my car only to find that i was not getting a car. The reason being was that i only had a personal Debit card. What i needed was a credit card, i only have a company credit card and it's not for personal use. On each of these two occasions i had to walk around all the hire companies until i got a car.

I tried to use my company card but because it was not in the name of the hirer i was refused again.

One company i did find helpful was called Economycarhire now these people use a company called Rentauto to supply the hire car. At the Porto airport you get met by the company reps and taken to the hire company office. At the office unlike the other companies you are expected and the papers are ready for your arrival. Nice comfy chairs to sit in unlike the standing in line at the other companies. The service is by far the best i have met on all my trips to Portugal. At Faro airport on the two flights into there i have made i got the same excellent service. 

If i had a credit card i would never have had the problems i have had or i would never have found a company who provides such excellent service. My reason for a Debit card was simple  if it gets lost or it's stolen then all i could loose was the amount of money i had on the card.

Monday, 5 July 2010

I had to extend the Promissory Contract for my house.

In November 2009 i went over to Gois to sign and pay the deposit for my house in Vale Boa.

The deposit was transferred ready for the signing at the office of My friends Richard and Patricia who run an estate agency called Goisproperty. There is a link below. I was due to arrive at the office at 10am on the Saturday morning but i was still asleep. I was woken by a load knock on the door by Patricia to get me to the office  for the signing. What a time to be late for what must be the most important day of my life. The signing of the Promissory Contract. Well i arrived and duly signed and i was now legally bound to complete the purchase and the Promissory Contract was for a period of Eight months. Here in the UK i have a house to sell in Gwladys St Liverpool and this is to fund my move, well as time is going by it was became clear that i may have to extend the Promissory Contract. I called the agent Richard and explained my position and he agreed it would be wise to get the Contract extended. This we did and i now have till December 2010 when i must pay the balance.

For me it was a worrying time but i had good agents and all went ahead and i now have nothing to worry me apart from selling my house. But that's another story.

I must add that i was introduced to Richard and Patricia by my friends Diana and Terry back in September 2007. At the time Richard and Patricia where like many just expats but working to open there own business.

I found that over a period of time that a number of estate agents have links to my Facebook page and one day i saw a property with one agent called Goisproperty. At this time i didn't know that it was my friends Richard and Patricia. The property i saw was the one i now have a deposit on in Vale Boa. When i enquired about the property it was a surprise to find that i was friends who where  the agents. Before i decided  to purchase the property i viewed it a number of times before i committed myself, i even took my son to see the house. I had to be sure that i was making the right choice.

To transfer my money i used a company recommended to me by others who had used them and they had money transferred without any problems. I have placed a link as they did a good job for me and they may be able to help others as well.

  The Foremost Currency Group

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

The property that started it all

It was about maybe three/Four years ago that i first looked at the first house/ruin in Portugal. I looked at one ruin and the pictures below are of the first property i enquired about. I received a reply from the Nicky owner and at the time i explained that i was only enquiring about the property and that i was not looking to buy.

The Nicky  was very kind and helped me at this the start of my search.  The owners partner like myself is well known on the Forums that i am on and his name is Derek or " omostra06 ".  I could never have created any think like what the present owners  have built it takes a creative person to get the best out of what was in effect just a pile of stones It takes vision also the skills of a good group of builders.

 On the Forums that i use one thing i say often is that before anybody who is wanting to move to Portugal or in fact anywhere is that research is a must. It's no good like my friends Diana and Terry and fall in love with the first house they saw.

So what i am saying is anybody can follow there dream but without knowledge and knowing what to do the dream my take many turns. So please take care.

I would like to thank the property owner for allowing me to use these pictures.  The first pictures are various shots of the property and the last is the house finished. A truly remarkable feat.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

17th June a visit by a free man

I have tried to keep this Blog in the order of events in my journey to a new and i am sure a bitter life.

This is the first visit as a free man. I am now divorced and i am now Free.

I came over to Portugal on the 17th June for three days to attend a party at my mate Dave's place. As i came out of the airport at Porto i heard a voice " are you Peterfc " Peterfc is how i am known on the various Forums i am on and also there is a picture of me the real me. Of course i replied yes. Over a period of time i have replied a number of times to a poster from the Wirral where i used to live. The poster may be known to you as Tinapink. It was a nice to meet a fellow Forum member. Tine and Ken where going to go and sign for there house down near to Tomar and i wish them all the very best for the future. We where both getting a car from the same company so we had a little time to chat. As i had to be in Gois and time was tight i had to bid them farewell,  but on the flight back on Sunday maybe we will have more time for a chat. Tina and Ken asked me to pass on there best wishes to Bob, Jane and Diezel the dog who i was to meet in Gois at the river bar.

On my return flight i met up with Tina and Ken at the airport. Tina and Ken had signed for there hosue at the Notaries office and they are the proud owners of there place in the sun. Moving day is in October and i can only wish the well. I can only hope thta i will have made my move by then to my Vale Boa house.

Monday, 31 May 2010

A visit In November 2009 and my son came with me

We only had two days from landing to take off so a five hour drive each way to the airport took so much out of the trip. Despite that  we made the most of the time we had in Gois.

The first night we went to the May Tay for a drink and to meet a friend. Shortly after we arrived at the May Tay my son asked if i wanted a game of Pool well i have never played Pool in my life.  During our time we got talking to an English guy from the Algarve. Dave is the owner of, they where fitting a new heat system the first to be fitted in Portugal. Who i missed was Simon Sharp who is well known on a Forum i watch.

Just as Dave and his son left my mate came to see use, he and my son took to each other and i feel sure that they are now friends. The reason i came over with my son is that we are not just Dad and son but i like to think we are also friends. It was important to me that he knew where i was going to move to and what it would be like for me living on my own. Also to meet some of the people i have got to know over the time i have been coming to Gois.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

A visit In November 2009 and not alone

Towards the end of November 2009 i visited Gois again but this time i came over with my Son. As there where no flights i had to fly into Faro airport and drive up 500Km to where i stay in Gois.

The car hire at Faro airport was about the best i have had. I used before at Porto Airport and found them the best to use. AT Faro the car hire is in the Lounge when you come out from the plane. Across the road as you come out of the Airport is a car part and the car is waiting there ready to drive away.

The drive north was uneventful Just 500Km of road mostly motorway. The difference being none of the bad driving found on the motorways in the UK. This time i did not have my Satnav so the trip was easy till i came to turn on the motorway and go inland. Once i got to Penacova it was easy as i had driven that road often.

The picture above is of a traffic island and at this point at Penacova is just a case of follow the road for about 26Km and it leads straight into Gois

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Credit where credit's due

Hi well it's about time i showed a little respect for a friend who without some of his pictures this Blog for now and for what's to come would not be what it is.

I was introduced to Richard by Diana and Terry because of my great interest in renewable energy and building an energy efficient house. I was lucky that Richard was an expert in a field that was of great interest to me.

Apart from the help Richard was and will be when i move to Vale Boa. Richard is also an expert photographer. Out of respect to him i should have asked permission to use his archive of Photo's

It came as quite a surprise to here that Richard and Patricia where to open an Estate agency in Gois. I envy the way that Patricia uses words, how i wish that i could use the English language in the way that Patricia does, in particular her Blog on here own website.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Just look what can be missed

Just look what can be missed.

A good title for this next part of my story, It's ok planning a move to another country but consider what you miss before you make the final move.

It's not just in the UK that has Bonfire night,

I received the pictures a few days after Bonfire night 2009. My mate Dave decided to have a Bonfire night party. After the rain of previous days it seemed that on the day of the fire the rain had stopped. So the fire was on.

Just because People make the move to another country doesn't mean that all that traditions that we have grown up with have to be forgotten. But for safety there was not fireworks. I am assured by Richard that the party went well. Next November i will be living in Vale Boa so roll on Bonfire night.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Peter's walk

The country side around Gois is like many other areas of Portugal stunning and spectacular and is as good as any where in the UK. The Peace, the Solitude, the Views and a sense of Calm what more could you want?. After living and working in Liverpool i look forward to the peace i find as soon at i get to Gois.

Every day during my stay i always start my day with a walk in the morning. My walk starts at the bridge that spans the river Ceira just above where the river Bar is to be found.

I then walk along the side of the river towards the village of Carcavelos.

Part way alone the river is a Weir at a place where the old buildings have been restored to provide somewhere to change for swimming. Behind the weir the water is deep enough to swim in the crystal clear waters.

In the above picture you can see the road that leads to Carcavelos and in the background you can see the mist over the hills in the distance. At the point in the road that i stop and have a short rest before i return to Gois is a small wall where i stop and sit. On the many times i have walked along this little road i have only seen one car pass me. As i sit on the i am always disturbed by a couple of dogs that are in an enclosure. These dogs just yap and yap for the time i sit. Once i move on they stop yapping and all is quiet again.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

A day out to see a Timber Frame house being built

I went out with my mate the Timber Frame guy to see a house his company was building just outside of Vila Nova Do Ceira. The drive to the house that is owned by Dave and is about 15Km from the centre of Gois. The road down to the house is very narrow and bumpy, but it's worth drive trip just for the views.

When i arrived Dave had just had the roof installed so the house was now water tight. The outside was just being clad in timber so as to blend into the countryside as the wood seasons. This is a house built just like many thousands across Europe.

Just look at that for a view, the only noise is from the wind, the birds singing and the water as it rushes over the rocks at the waters edge a peaceful a location

The upstairs walls of the old house had been taken down to the create a base that the new house could be built on. The house is insulated and meets all international regulations, so it should be nice and warm in the winter.

Across the front and side there is a deck to be built and when i comeback to this i will include the pictures i took at the time. One think stands out is how friendly everybody is who i have met. Dave is just like a mate i have known for years. since my first time i met Dave much has been done to the house but i will wait until i recount when i took my son to see the house and meet Dave.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

The day i called to see a friend and he was out

While i was out going to get my money back in Serta i used the time to call and see an friend in a place called Tomar. My friend Derek is a well known Legal estate agent in Tomar and is very well respected. I know  Derek from the various Forums we are both on and from his Radio show on a Saturday morning.

On my way to Serta i called into Tomar and found the offices of my friend Derek. As i walked in i saw a photo on the wall of a house that was close to being a ruin that i was interested in. This was the very first house i ever looked at when i started to search the property websites in  Portugal for a property.  

Just then a member of staff came over to say hello i pointed out to the young lady that this was the first house i looked at when i started my search for a property. I was shocked when she said that she knew my name must be Peter and she then pointed out that it was her house and she remembers the email i sent. Well we went next door to the cafe/ bar for a cool drink Ok so i had a Superbok and on a very hot day it went down very well see the picture below. Any way it seems that i had missed my chance to met Derek so i went over to Serta to get my money back " see the last story "

On my way back from Serta i called again to Tomar to see Derek but again i missed him as he was out doing what estate agents do. Never mind we will met but not before it's arranged next time. Don't forget Keep the Superbok in the fridge because i like it cold, very cold. I should also mention that i was calling without first contacting Derek. My time span was such i could not know where and when i would be able to call so i just called unannounced.

Friday, 7 May 2010

So easy to fall for a property

On the all Expat Forums there is always an advice section. When it comes to buying property there are things to do or you could end up losing everything.
  1. First thing to do is first find the area that you want to move to.  
  2. Second visit the area and get to know your way around.
  3. Find the local agents as they are the ones who have knowledge of the area and what's for sale.
  4. If a property looks  a bargain at the price offered then ask yourself why is it priced so low or why does it look such a bargain?

The property above is one i made all the mistakes anybody could make. I found this on a website owned by a company who only advertise but do not sell. This company puts you in touch with the owner//seller.

I was put in touch with the owner or so i thought was the owner it was just another illegal estate agent. If you look careful at the picture you can see how perfectly it's been painted. We apart from a new house the Portuguese don't seem to paint there houses.

After looking at the pictures on the website i contacted the owner. I asked for more pictures and quite soon the extra pictures arrived. The property seemed a bargain at only 30,000 euro's. I contacted the owner and made an offer of the full asking price. To make sure that i got the property i offered the owner a 1,000 euro deposit sent by bank transfer for him to reserve the property for me. The owner agreed and he then supplied his bank details for the bank transfer to go ahead and in due course i sent the 1,000 euro to the owners bank account. That was two weeks before i was due to fly over and meet with the owner and sign the promissory contract. Day's before i was due to fly i received an email to let me know that the property had been sold and that i could have my money back. It was at this point that i realized that i was not dealing with a legal estate agent. A legal estate agent would not have done this, taken a deposit and then sold to someone else.

Well i arranged to meet the agent to get my money back, i arranged to meet because i did not want to give my bank details as i was given  no reason to trust him.  We arranged to me in a bar by the river in a place called Setra at two pm in the afternoon. Well as two pm came the owner came over and introduced himself " no name as there is legal action going on but that's for another day ". well i got my 1,000 euro and drove back to Gois and considered how lucky i had been. At least i had my 1,000 euro back.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

I found a plot of land

In the summer of 2008 i came across a plot of land in a village just above Gois. This plot of land was about 800m2 and the plot was on a gentle slope. The house next door had the land levelled so i knew that i could build a house. I contacted my mate the Timber Frame guy because i had designed a house that would sit into the back of the plot. The house i had designed was to be all on one level and partly built into the ground at the back. The build size was to be 164m2 and would have three bedrooms an en-suite.

I had taken my time over the plot of land wanting to make sure that it was legal to build on that there was power and water. I sadly took to long and when i wanted to make an offer the price had doubled in price helped by a multi national property company who need not be named. I am sure that the price will one day come down to a more realistic price or be placed with a local agent who knows there job. You can see the views from the plot and understand why it was special to me.

Early morning mist looking down the valley.

Monday, 3 May 2010

A meeting with a new Friend and an afternoon out

I was in the Pombalina Cafe/bar in the centre of Gois and i was having trouble asking for a cup of tea. The Pombalina is a little bar just up a small lane that leads up to the Town square and the local Camera office. I was helped by another English guy who introduced himself as Richard and that he lived local. After a little while i explained why i was in Gois and Richard  offered to take me out around the local area for a look around and to see some of what the area offered.

During the time we where driving we came across a little village where there was an old Olive press and sum buildings that the workers would use to rest while the olives where being pressed and the oil stored in barrels. The photos do not show really how beautiful the surrounding area is, i had never come across anything in the Uk to compare with some of the views that you find at almost every turn.

From my early days after just passing my driving test in October 1968 i had a passion for driving. A favourite place to drive to was the lake district and i am sure you will agree it is a beautiful part of the country. But when you start to drive around the various parts of Central Portugal as i have then you come across and find places of such natural beauty as these photos show.

Where would you find a river that has a man made weir built to create an area where the water is deep enough to swim in.

There is nothing better on a summers day that to spend it in the waters by the River Bar. A view from the River Bar across the beach and behind the weir where the water is crystal clear and inviting for a swim.

Monday, 26 April 2010

An important warning beware.

During my first visits i meet a couple who had a very sad story to tell me about what had happened to then. There story made me look at the pitfalls of buying a property in Portugal. After other similar stories all about the same agent i made sure that i had the answers to questions before i started my search for my dream home.

I meet this couple in about October 2007 in a small bar in Gois on a beautiful sunny autumn day. They heard me talking on my phone and after the call they invited my to join them for a coffee. They asked me back for a meal later and they said they had a sad story to tell me.  They then left to take there dog for a vets appointment.

I arrived to find the house they had was really nice. We sat on the patio area over looking the hills and valley that the house over looks.

There story started in the summer of 2005 when they stayed in Gois while looking at property in the area. They met with an Estate agent who unknown to them was not a Legal agent. Unknown to them they had no protection in law if things went wrong. The agent lets call him John " well that is his name " John was a conman. The first house they saw was the one they decide to buy. They feel in love with the house and the area around it.

They agreed a price and paid the agent the deposit and when the time came they paid the balance that was due. BUT somehow it was the agent who got paid not the owner. What they paid to the agent was not the sale price the agent charged app 30,000euro more than the real sale price. Of course when they found out they where upset as you can imagine. BUT under Portuguese law there was nothing that could be done as it was seen as a private sale. This spoilt what was to be there dream home in the sun. But it turned out to be there nightmare home in the sun. It turned out to be a nightmare because they where aware they had been conned. Sadly there dream was ruined and they sold up to move back to the UK.

I am glad that the agent i meet in Gois is a Legal agent and i have the power of the law to protect me in the purchase of my place in the sun. 

It's a case of buyer beware make sure that the Estate Agent you use has an up to date Inci Licence number and works from an office.

Just a quickie

Out off respect for those i have been lucky to become friends with i will only name my friends when i have there permission. This is my story and as such it is about what happens on my journey. The journey has started the dream has begun perhaps this should have been at the beginning. Maybe now is right as i needed to explain why i have not used the names of my friends. Apart from Diana and Terry who are now back in the Uk and not now involved in Gois any more.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Meeting a friend in the area of Lagos

I have over a period of time made friends with Forum members and one in particular lives in the area by Lagos. Well that's the nearest place.

I meet one friend from the Forums for the first time on my way back to Faro airport. My flight was into Faro as there where no flights into Porto until the end of March. I arrived about seven on a bright sunny evening. As i drove up i could see in the background a path on the side of a hill. I had seen this path before when my friend had the Skype camera on. Through the window i could see the hill in the background with the path on it. I now knew that i had arrived at the right place.

After a wash and change of cloths. We left to meet with another Expat and go for a meal at the Marina in Lagos.  We parked a little away from the Marina so that we could walk and see a little of the Marina area. This was all new to me and i enjoyed a nice walk on a nice sunny evening. At the Marina there are a number of Bars and restaurants that looked out over the Marina. The other Expat who we met also has an apartment close by.  I can certainly say i enjoyed the time i was at Lagos also the meal at the restaurant was enjoyed by all and the Superbok was ice cold and went down a dream.

I shall certainly look forward to meeting my friend again and look forward to showing the Gois area off when i may offer the same hospitality.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Timber Frame houses and a Story

After going to so many House building shows over the years i had decided to have a Timber Frame house built when i move to Portugal. I have spent many hundreds of hours doing research into the subject of Timber Frame Building. One company i have come to know very well is a UK company. I have got to know the Owner via email over a long period of time over plans i had for a house in Portugal. It seems that he moved to not just to Portugal but the very town i am moving to, how uncanny is that. Strange i had never mentioned where in Portugal i was looking to move to.

I was having a drink one day at the Pombalina cafe bar in Gois when up came the TF guy to meet me. I was sat with another friend having a quite drink when over came the TF guy who up to now i had only contacted by  emal.

My picture of me on the Forums i am on is not how i look now, the picture is when i had long silver hair and a beard. Well the TF guy and my friend had a quick chat and then the TF guy says excuse me but i must just go inside to meet Peter. Well he has never seen me without the hair and beard. As he approached the door i said Hi TF guy it's me Peter, well you should have seen the look on his face. I had been sat there all of the time and had said nothing.

It turned out that i had made another  good friend but i do hope that he will forgive me for putting this story on my Blog. Only those in Gois may know who i mean as i would not wish to embarrass Him or anybody who i may mention in my Blog.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

A meeting and a Superbok

One of the best days i had on a Forum was when myself and another poster traded comments all day until we where stopped. It was just light hearted banter and days like this was are rare. I was sat one day looking up river at the Bar by the river in Gois when i heard " This Superbok for you scouse? " Well what a shock but the best kind of shock. Here was a guy who if you had read the posts that day you would have thought what happens next. Well i went to sit at the table with his wife and there huge dog called Susie. I could never have imagined that i would make such good friends and i am lucky to have made such a strong friendship. We had a couple of drinks sat at the river bar. I could not have been made more welcome. Over the coming months we have met many times. I may be moving to a small Hamlet just outside of Gois but i will never be alone with friends around.

I did understand why the local expats do not have meetings. Gois is a small town the chances are you will bump into someone and just go and have a coffee how easy is that. Saturday morning we met at the May Tay for a drink and met some of the other Expats who had been to the Language class. I must say everybody was warm and friendly. 

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

The search for a Property continues

On my second visit i went to a town called Tabua. There is a cafe on the main street called the Moby Dick just by the main square and the fountain. I spent some time enjoying a couple of nice cold Superboks nice and ice cold. Because i was driving i had a walk around and came across an Estate agents and there was a young lady inside who heard me speaking on my phone and called me in to say hello. It turns out this lady was a member on the same Forum that i was a member on. It truns out this agent was one i wanted to see as they had a property that i had seen and after i mentioned about the particular property they offered to take me to see it. What the photos do not show is that the property was on a main junction so this was was taken of my wish list. When it was safe to drive i went back to the one that was on Sophies site. I could see this all completed i did dream but perhaps a little to much. On the way back from Tabua i called into a supermarket in another town called Arganil.  Again someone heard me speak and called over to me it turns out one of the sales assistants came from Jersey. It's nice as i call into the supermarket to see a face if i have a problem i can speak to someone who can help.

While i am out driving around looking at property i like to have some fruit in the car to eat when i take a stop. One such stop was just by a place called Penacova, there is a picture below.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

The first viewing trip

On one of my first trips to Gois i started to look at property. I had been a member of an Expat Forum for some time. I had some ideas about the pitfalls after reading various posts and advice from fellow Forum members.

I had been watching a property that Sophie had on her site for quite some time and at the time the price was 68,000euro. During my visit i went with Sophie to view a number of  properties of interest to me. The one i have placed a photo was the one for me, i lost my heart to it and nothing would convince me that this was not right for me or for the purpose i would want the property for. It took many visits and planning before i realized this was not for me. I have a very good planning program that let me do all the things to the property i wished for But.
The big But was to build a house to suit my needs using the existing building and adding to it's footprint would have cost more than i could afford.

The Option was to demolish the existing house and build a new home. To do this would make the land 68,000euro as there was no value in a house to be demolished. So the search had to start again. I had viewed this property at least ten times before i came to realize it was not for me. Now it's on a property site that my friend  owns and the property is now priced at 49,000euro. This is still out of my reach. during this trip i went down to Tomar and viewed some nice places but not for me. I did consider having a Timber Frame house built by my mate Chris who owns a Timber Frame company in the UK and Spain. The cost to level the site before preparation and then build was not really an option. Chris does come into my story later on but for now the search goes on.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

The journey starts here

Portugal is a big place and where do you start?

For quite some time i was a member of an Ex Pats Forum. I placed a post saying i was coming over September 2007 for a week and did anybody know where i could stay?  I received three replies and one was from a couple who lived in a place called Gois in central Portugal. It turns out that Diana and Terry had builders in getting ready to become a bed and breakfast. They had a room if i wanted it in the part of the house that was not having work done to it. Diana explained about the builders and what they where doing in the property to become a bed and breakfast. Well where better to learn about life Portugal and the Gois region, So Gois it was to be.  I owe Diana and Terry a debt of gratitude for all the help they gave me over the next eighteen months that i stayed with then. I stayed eight or nine times for two or three days at a time due to my work commitments.

The first time i stayed, i stayed for a week mainly so i could travel out in all directions to get to know the area. I travelled down to Tomar, Penela, Penacova, Tondela, Castelo Branco all of these places where truly outstanding. They couldn't compare to the peace and tranquillity i found in Gois. My favourite place in Gois has to be the bar down on the banks of the Ceira river.

Below is the house i stayed at during my stays in Gois. The house was for many years the home of the town President until my friends Diana and Terry purchased it to establish a Bed and breakfast house.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Finding Portugal

Portugal.  Well my wife had enjoyed holidays with my daughter in the Algarve a number of times. Well this gave me the idea that maybe if i found something somewhere that my wife would like she may go for the idea. Well how wrong was i, again her answer was a big NO. But this time she also said that i could go to Portugal but i would go alone and that we where finished. Wow i did not see that coming, is it just a threat so that  i would forget ideas of a place in the sun or was she serious. Sadly i was wrong my wife started divorce proceedings. The end to 30 years together and three children.

To stay in the UK or move to Portugal that was a question. The answer to me was simple Portugal. It seemed that Portugal offered more for me than the UK could. After the divorce i will have enough money  to buy my place in the sun and money left over to live a simple life in Vale Boa. In the UK the money left over from my  divorce settlement  would just be enough to buy a little Terrace house but i would have little or no money left over to live on. With no money left over from buyng a house  i would have to carry on working until i could retire at 65 years of age.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

The Story

In the beginning what seemed to be a lifetime ago my Story started in Spain. Like lots of people a dream of a life in the sun was something we could have and afford. During my time searching I found a property in the Ayora Valley a valley on the edge of the Valencia region. The property was an Old Winery that included 2000 m2 of vineyard. I spent lots of time before i told my wife what i had found and what we good do for our selves and our families. After i had spend  time doing all the research into ever aspect of life in the region. I also looked at what we could make out of the property i had seen. I sat down with my wife and with all the papers i had printed off and with as much information as i could find i made a proposal to my wife that we could enjoy the good life like lots of others do. NO that's the answer i got. I had hoped that my wife would consider what we could have for now and our retirement years. Also that we could have a holiday home for all the family to also enjoy. After a little while and more research into the Ayora Valley i asked again if she would reconsider and at least have a look at what was on offer in this part of Spain. NO! was the answer i got. That is the first part of the journey that see's me look else ware! but where? as i now want to retire to somewhere warm and enjoy the coming years that where ahead of me.