Peter's Blog

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Friday, 30 December 2011

A reason i only eat fresh food now

I have mentioned  before how I have changed from eating all the rubbish I used to eat and how I now eat only fresh food. The result is that I feel so much better and I have lost so much weight. I now eat only fresh food Fish all Meats and fruit and veg. I use no additives only herbs, spices etc. As an example below is the ingredients from a can of Meat balls.

Meatballs in Rich Tomato Sauce.

Water, Meatballs [37.5%] (Chicken (8%) Bacon (8%) (Contains Preservative: Sodium Nitrite, Water, Pork (5%), Rusk, Potato Starch, Flavourings, Stabiliser, Tri-Di-Polyphosphates: Autolysed Yeast, Sugar) Tomato Purée, Sugar, Vegetable Oil, Modified Maize Starch, Salt, Citric Acid, Onion Powder, Flavourings.

When I make Meatballs I use Good mince meat, Onion, Garlic, one egg, Bread crumbs, and that's it nothing that is not fresh. I normally have them with Rice as I like Rice and I make my own Tomato sauce to have with them.

I mention this because i have just been looking through a box that i have my Herbs and spices in and i found a tin of Meatballs.

So what I am saying is by changing the way I live has given me a better quality of life, I feel better, lost weight and I sleep so much better than I did when I was living in Liverpool. Would I go back well no as to go back I would be doing harm to my Body.  I would end up back over weight. So it's my place in the sun that's home to me now.

A look back over the last few months.

Well the last few months have been very interesting and where do i start well maybe from when i arrived.

Ok when i arrived i had already known Richard and Patricia from Gois Property since before they became estate agents. I was introduced to them by Dianne and Terry, Dianne and Terry are the couple i stayed with in September 2008. Sadly after being ripped of by someone when they payed for there property they have now returned to the UK.  It's nice to have friends as friends and not  because of the work they do.

Nigel and Ann i had known from meeting them at the river bar during one of my trips while  looking for my place in the sun. I got to know Nigel from the Forum we where both members of.

Alan and Barbara i met one day while i was out with Nigel one day  he called to see there house that was being renovated before they moved in. There house had been empty for about 30 years and needed lots of work done to make it there place in the sun.

Pete and June i met again while i was at Allan and Barbara's they had called to see how work was going on there house. Pete and June Have been here for a couple of years  and  beautiful house and a pool and beautiful garden and outdoor eating area.

At the top of my village is a house that is being renovated by a German lady called Magdalene. Magdalene is having a ruin renovated and extended. Being at the top of the village the views are spectacular and as Magdalene is a painter she will have a wonderful house when it's finished. The property is being project managed by family on her behalf and it's Derek you i have got to meet over a period of time during his visits to monitor the work as it progresses. I recently also met Derek's wife Hannah and there children.

The thing i have noticed from all the people i have met is how friendly they all are. All the people who i have met just want to enjoy life in this peaceful place. The year ahead will be i hope for me be peaceful and after the stress i was under in the UK peace is what i will look forward to.


Monday, 26 December 2011

Christmas gift and Dinner

Well Christmas has now come and gone for another year. On Christmas eve a lady in the village who i had not seen before knocked on my door. When i answered she said " Feliz Natal " which means Merry Christmas in Portuguese i replied with " Feliz Natal  e obrigado " Merry Christmas and Happy New year. This was the first time that a local had given me something but at Christmas this was most touching. As it happened i was unable to get some sprouts and i do like sprouts particularly  at Christmas. I have never been a lover of gravy but i decided  to make a red wine and orange sauce.

I had been invited for dinner on Christmas day but this being my first dinner here i declined as this was my first Christmas on my own and i wished have my first Christmas dinner in my home. I went later to a friends house where another two  couples who i have become friends with where also there. I was nice to be able to sit and have a drink without the pressure that we are all under one with a health issue and other getting there house ready to move into before Christmas and me getting on with my Kitchen. I was also able to speak to Chelsee this made my Christmas day special wthout speaking to her it would only have been another day. If Lee  and Margaret would get Skype on there computer then perhaps i would be able to see and speak to Sean my Grandson but lets hope for the coming year they get Skype and he can then also get to speak to Chelsee and Lees mum.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Ceiling insulating done cable in now the Plasterboard.

Yesterday the builder from up the lane doing work in the village came to fit two roof beams for me. These where holding up work in finishing the roof  insulation panels that needed to be fixed into place before the plaster board could be fixed to complete the job. The insulation you can see in the pictures is the same as 400mm of Rock Wool insulation.

The cable was fitted first so that the lights could be fitted after the ceiling was completed. All cable has to be put into tubing and then set into the wall. This i did and took a couple of photos for the electrician . This is normally work done by the electrician but it was something i could and did do. I am having 12 Led lights in the kitchen. 

My front door is being closed of as i have another door i use. I am leaving the door in place but behind it will be insulated and boarded over. This will keep the outside look of the house  but it will give me valuable space in what is a very small lounge.  As the door is set back from the wall to be insulated i had to put insulation over the door before the wall insulation. As the house has no cavity wall so the only way to insulate the outside walls is to fit a special insulating board on the inside walls but only those that face the outside. I plan in this corner to have a log burning fire but that is some time away at the moment i have my air conditioning for heat and it works very well in deed.


Wednesday, 21 December 2011

In the light of the morning sun.

 Today like many over the last few weeks have seen the morning temperature rather low. As i walked down to my car this morning i saw amongst the trees a spiders web glistening in the morning sun. he morning dew can be seen on the almost perfect web.

 I have mentioned before about living in a place where the air is very clean and how i now have no chest cough. Well i noticed this morning just by my house a tree covered in Licken. I could not have guessed that by moving away from Liverpool that i would no longer have my terrible could that i have had every winter for most of my life. I am really so lucky that i am now without the burden of coughing all the time.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Oranges, Outside lights and Christmas tree decorations.

It's been a busy few days and i now have my Christmas lights up outside of my house for Christmas. These are the lights that i got from a trip to Orlando a long time ago a. Due to the power difference it's taken me till now to make use of them.  The lights are 110volts as they use in the USA but to use my lights here i needed a 110 volts transformer lucky for me Richard loaned me a transformer. Shame that outside my front door there is a street light and as it's bright my lights don't look as good as i would have liked but they look good to me and that's all that counts.

Over the last few weeks i have started to collect oranges getting ready to make wine and marmalade. Well the last few days have seen me squeeze a load of oranges and fill a large Coke bottle with juice ready for when the bits i need from the home brew shop in Tuebrook arrive. I started on Saturday to make my first lot of marmalade so i squeezed the oranges and soaked them in the juice over night.The next day i went back online to the BBC recipe so i could follow the instructions more carefully. You have to boil the oranges and there juice for 1.5 hours so i did that and at the end of the time i took the pan of to allow it to could for a few minuets. At this point i strained out the peel as i don't like Marmalade with peel in it and then i carried on with the instructions. Now it was time to put the sugar in and with that done it was just a case of testing the Marmalade until it was ready to be put into jars.

Just a quick update to make you all jealous i have just had a couple of pieces of toast from homemade bread and topped it with homemade Marmalade. Mmmmm how glad am i that i decided to make Marmalade. Delicioussssssssssss

Ok i am sure that you have all seen my Christmas tree on one of the Forums i am on or on here on a previous topic anyway here is an update. While walking through Gois my mate Richard pointed out the tree in a shop window nothing unusual in that but if you look at the picture below you will see just why i had to stop and take a picture. Below i have put another picture of my tree with my famous fairy on the top.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Oranges Oranges amd more Oranges lets make some Wine

One things you see so much here is Oranges everywhere you go you see them growing in gardens at the side of the road and i have even seen them in a small valley not far from me.  The valley was used for growing trees for the local markets for people to replant.

I have now squeezed three huge carrier bags of oranges most from when i went over to Sao Martinho to Gary's house and some from trees local that i have found. I ended up with a 1.5 litre Coke bottle full of juice.  When i can i will get more so i have enough for my first batch of wine. The wine is not for drinking just yet as i would like to distill it into a spirit at some point but for now i will just leave it to mature. But that's another story.

What brings me to the subject of wine is that in the middle of the 1970 i made some wine from kits from a shop on Oakfield road Liverpool sadly it's now gone. I still have a bottle of one of the wines i made as a reminder of those days, it may now be undrinkable but it's from the days when i was married to Krystyna and is a reminder of those times.

I do like when i can use shops in Liverpool it's where i am from and always will it be my now second home. Well i put Wine making shops into Google and came up with a few to choose from  but one i liked the look of was called Wineworks in Tuebrook. I spent a while looking through the site and i was very impressed by the changes from the 1970's type of shop.

While on the site found a number of videos on the subject of making wine. The presenter was a guy called Richard who also is the owner. I sat and watch all the videos on making wine 5 in total. Richard explains very carefully from start to finish the process of making wine.

As they have a UK phone i called them from Skype to enquire about getting an order sent and a time span with sending to me. I am only mentioning them because of how helpful they where and i am sure that i will use them again for my brewing needs.

Why have i not tried here well i went to the local Cooperative. It's not like the Coop in the UK each small town or large village have one and it's owned by the town/ village for the benefit of those who live there. As the local do lots of brewing i expected to be able to get all bits from there but as the local do things on a large scale they don't even sell what i wanted. Even Patrick who brews lots of beers has to go to Porto to buy what he needs. Well it would cost me more that having it delivered from the UK.

Well as soon as i get my stuff delivered i will make a start with my first brew soif homebrew is of interest to you have a look at there information is most helpful and informative.

Good bless Lolly

I  was on Skype today to my Mum as  try to call her most days, i spoke to my nephew David while my Mum was asleep. While David was sitting by my Mum Lolly my Mums budgie sat on his chest playing. While on Skype i did a screenshot from my laptop of David with Lolly on his chest.

Mum has had trouble with her hip operation in fact it went wrong and they had to do it again and now she has to go in again in the New Year for hopefully her final operation. Today mum had a hat on because Lolly keeps going on her head.  Well tonight while the front door opened somehow Lolly got out. All the budgies that my family had and i am sure all the budgies that Mum has had this one little Lolly was by far the best. Lolly has gone.

There is no way we could replace Lolly. Lolly was not just a Budgie but Lolly was my Mums friend.

 God Bless Lolly

Friday, 16 December 2011

Snow in my mums garden today

Today i was looking at my Facebook page and my nephew David had posted a picture from my mums back door. The picture was like a winter wonderland scene there was snow everywhere.  Is this how winter is going to be like in the UK this year who knows but i am glad i am away from it now.  David the picture is very good thanks for letting me use it.

An hour later while speaking to David i asked him to go back out into the garden and while he was there with Mums Ipad i took a screen shot from my computer.  Oh did i mention that i was using Skype and so was David on the Ipad. I then  edited the picture using Gimp " Graphic image manipulation program "

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Bacon update

Well bacon is now a part of my diet but it's home made as you may remember from an earlier post. The belly that i used to try to make bacon was as good as it looked. I now have made my second piece of bacon but as you can see i have used the loin for this piece of bacon and i probably stay with this as there is no fat as you can see. This time this bacon was left a little longer before is was cleaned of salt and dried. As you can see it is a nice pink colour and ready to cook but i will have to wait till morning and have it for my breakfast. The one thing i don't use is the Pink Salt or it's other name is Sodium Nitrite all this does is make the bacon pink. Ok i know it looks pink now but when you cook it it cooks the same colour as normal pork but it retains the taste and flavour of normal bacon.

I used a recipe from an article about Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall making bacon. Well this guy knows what he is doing so i followed his direction. Hugh says  " Incidentally, my bacon doesn't require sodium nitrate (aka saltpetre); salt alone will do the job. The resulting bacon will lose its pinkness when cooked (saltpetre preserves colour, salt does not), but the taste will be better. "

Next time i will make the next bacon with Juniper berries that have just arrived tonight all the way from the isle of Orkney from my friend Richard.

I will be back in a day or two with how it tastes after i have it for breakfast. Mmm

How you make it

150g   Salt
50g     Dark brown sugar " don't know why "
5g       Black pepper

An optional extra that you can put in are the things i have listed below.

A few bayleaves finely chopped
20  Juniper berries, lightly crushed
25g Coriander seeds, crushed

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Radio Merseyside and ceiling work a good day

Today i carried on in the cellar insulating the floor above. Not knowing the floor above size i called into the local Cooperative in a local town and got 3mt of plastic sheeting to get started. I cut the sheet down to fit in between the floor Joists and stapled it into place after using up all the plastic i had to leave what i did yesterday until this morning. I have a lot of insulation that i got from B&Q when they had an offer on 3 rolls 200mm insulation £2.50 a bargain. The picture below shows how i kept it into place great idea until you run out of string ok it happens. The reason for insulating the lounge floor from downstairs in the cellar was because there where gaps in the floor that let  a draft come up just where i sit at my computer.

I started the ceiling today in the kitchen. I put all the cable into place and put the insulation boards up and cut the holes where the lights will be going. On each side of the ceiling ridge beam  i am having 6 LED lights that's 12 in total. In the center of the ceiling i will be having a central light so i will have two different light options. Or maybe 3 options both top rows of lights on one switch all 12 lights on option 2 and the center light is option 3. The LEDs give of so much light but only cost about £1.50 per year for each light to be on. So the running cost is very good

All this was work i enjoyed but to make it better i had Radio Merseyside on and today it was Frankie Conner great presenter who plays 50's 60's and other stuff. Frankie normally has his show cut when there is football on but today Frankie was on for 4 hours and what a show it was thanks Frankie. I sent a request for a Jimi Hendrix track or a Bob Dylan track from the time i was with Jean.  Frankie played a Dylan track for me Called She belongs to me and played it for Jean from me and who knows she may have been listening. Now that would be a bonus great show and a song played from me to Jean.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

I am trying to set up my own Talk Radio how

I have made no secret of teh fact that i dislike using windows on a computer to me it's not safe and secure as it should be. I have been using Ubuntu Linux now on all my machines for a few years and unlike some i have had no problems So.

On a Saturday morning i listen to a program here in Portugal that is run by an English guy called John and I co host with him every few weeks. What i would like to do is start my own radio show of a Saturday morning but having people phone in to chat with me and maybe play a little music as well.

Can i do this hell no but i can with help so i have put a post on the Ubuntu Multi media Forum. These guys on there are real  clever people and if they can't help me i have no chance but i am sure that there is a simple way to do this.

Fifteen minutes after i place a request for help i have a reply with loads of links to help me.

Back later

Friday, 9 December 2011

Time to put my Christmas decorations up.

Well it's that time of year Father Christmas will be calling soon, maybe he will even stop for me. It was difficult to decide how to put all my decorations up to really put on a nice display. I completed decorating my lounge on Thursday night and i am so proud of my efforts i decided to share them with you all.

A tip for all who put decorations up and have a fairy on there tree. You must give the fairy a good meal before you put her away till the next year. If you don't feed the fairy you will end up with one like mine in the picture below. Click on the picture to see it a larger size.

I hope that in the coming year i can carry on with my Blog to the same high standard that you have come to expect from me. For family who i may not be able to speak to i wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

To all my Forum friends Merry Christmas and a very Happy NewYear.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I would like to thank you for taking the time to read my Blog and i hope that i have kept you amused since i started my Blog quite some time ago, seems such along tome ago now.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Today is a remarkable day

Today is a remarkable day because my grandaughter young as she is without my help has now got her own Blog. Although she may be young i made sure that she had her mums permission. I have always tried to be the one to help her with her computer as it's easy with a problem to talk through things that i could help her with.

As i type this she is typing her own first post on her Blog. Any parent or Grand parent would be proud to have a child who could do something like this but as i am so far away i don't have the contact that i did before. The problem that i had when we started today was that because i am in Portugal when i try to go through starting a Blog it detects that i am in Portugal and all the text is in Portuguese. This happens and today of all days i can only get the main Blogpage in Portuguese.

I had to explain  first that she had to  have a name for her Blog. Then after putting in the information that is needed she had to create a password. It's always wise to right down when you create a new password so if you forget you can always find it when needed. So today i am so proud of what she has done.

Before i spoke to Chelsee i was in the kitchen sanding the main ridge beam at the top of the ceiling that i am going to have exposed. I am now ready so that i can get the linseed oil and treat the beam to retain the colour and look of the beam.The difference it makes now that i can stand safely and work instead of using a step ladder. Anyway until Fernando my neighbour comes back i can't get my extending ladders back.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Just got a new toy a scaffolding tower.

I have been working slowly on my kitchen but i have got to a point where i can't go any further. I lent my ladders to my next door neighbour but as they are away on holiday and i need my ladders i have just come to a halt. When i last went to Leyroy Merlin they had a scaffolding tower on offer so i decided to get one as it would be better than standing on a ladder. Leyroy Merlin is just like a B & Q store. Now i have my scaffolding tower i can now get up to the beam at the top of the ceiling and sand it down and now i start putting up the insulation and the plasterboard and finish the ceiling and start on the walls.

I took some timber that i had recycled from some wooden boxes that where in the house when i moved in to a local joinery firm. The picture is from before i moved into the house and has now been cleaned by myself and now looks clean. One of the workers is English and he was the main carpenter who built a local Timber Frame house for someone who i know. So i knew he could do what i wanted. I took some timber from the box in the picture below and asked if he could plain it on one side. I wanted to see just what the timber would be like and if it was OK i would have the doors for my kitchen hand made.

Thursday i went to see the first door that was made for me as a sample and if they come out the same i will be very happy. I don't have a price yet but i do expect that the price will be better than if i had got them from B & Q when i got the base units. Also the carpenter is going to do the end panels of the base units in the wood that i have for him. Look at the picture below and try to imagine just what it will look like when it has been used to make my doors and end panels. I have enough timber to make the kick board for under the units also for the window sills and a nice shelf for above the base units.

I went this afternoon to the joinery shop to take the picture of my door. When you consider i could have got pre made doors from B & Q but look at what i am having made. No contest.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Mum's home and back on Skype

Now for some good news. Last night my Mum was discharged from hospital after her Hip operations saga. Now shes back home she is on Skype with an Ipad and it's so good to be able to see her instead of asking the nursing staff to pass messages on from me. One day the nurses really did show how nice they are, the nurses pushed Mums bed from her room to where they had a phone where we could speak. That was nurses showing how much they care.

Now mum has an Ipad she can read my Blog and keep up to date with how i am getting on here. I have just been speaking to mum and i can say that she looks good. Love you Mum.

Just an update on the Bacon.

Well as you may know i have been making my own Bacon and today is day three and from the site where i got help from day three is the day to try your Bacon. If it's to mild then all you do is leave it for another day.

I cut a few small rashers from the side of the belly and fried them with an egg. Two slices of home made bread and some of my own homemade tomato sauce and i was ready to try my bacon. Well all i can say is give it a try i will never drool about bacon that i can't have as i am not in the UK anymore. For me three days where just right and it was just right for my taste and i will never want for bacon again. This was made from a good cut of belly pork and next time i will use the loin cut to try that but belly is more than good enough for me.

Below is the first of my home made bacon. None of the white stuff when you cook it just bacon as it should be next time i will use the nice round part from the loin and here in Portugal they trim all the fat of it.

What i am left with is 2 lb of bacon and that's about 10 X 200g packets at about £2 plus each that's about £20. Mine cost about £5 for the same amount and no white stuff coming out now and to me that's a result.

My Next thing to do is make my own Ox tail soup. It's nice from a can with bread dipped in but i want to make my own in my slow cooker. I was at a birthday party a short while ago and while talking about me doing all my own cooking the host gave me a book that she had two of. It was called Favourite Scottish Recipes well i am going to use the Scotch broth but instead of Lamb/ Mutton i will use Ox tail.

Ox tail
2 pints water
1 small Turnip chopped
1 Leek chopped
1 Large carrot chopped
1 small carrot grated
1 onion chopped
1 oz cabbage shredded
1 oz pearl barley

Monday, 28 November 2011

Another very interesting day

Well today was another great day. It started of with draining the liquid from the bacon that i am making this is day 2 and maybe tomorrow i may be able to try my own made bacon. On the River Cottage website that i got the recipe from it says that it should be ready after 3 to 4 days so i will try some tomorrow and if need be i will either finish the cure or leave it for another day.

My next thing i want to do is make my own Oxtail soup. Winter is here and bowls of nice warming soup is just what is needed so Ox tail it will be next. The butcher in Gois speaks great English and he is getting an Ox tail in for me so watch this space.

I went over to Sao Martinho just the other side of Arganil this afternoon to meet Cathy and her brother Gary. Gary has just signed for a house there. While i was there Cathy picked another bag of oranges for me is if i didn't get enough the first time i visited them. Anyway Cathy picked an orange and peeled it and within a short time the orange was gone. That orange was so sweet and so fresh i will certainly get to make some juice and some orange jelly as i have lots of Gelatin that i got from Makro before i left. This will help some nice fresh Jellys. I do want to try to make some Marmalade but it's the peel that i don't like so i will look on the River cottage site for some tips about marmalade. I have included some photos of my trip out to see Cathy and Gary.

While i was speaking to my son some customers came in who i know very well one was Jayne who i have known for well a long time as well as Paul and the children. It was so good to be able to see and speak to Jayne after what seems so long since we last spoke. The wonder of Skype also there was another girl who used to come in the shop called Dawn well her husband Mick was in at the same time as Jayne. It was nice to see them both and maybe one day when i make a visit i will get to see them again. The one thing i will say is that it's nothing special me being here it's just that i am now living in a different place i am still me for all my faults. But Jayne you know i have said it before dreams do come true just look at me.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Making bacon and how it's made

Lots of people who move from England move to another country and just want there life to carry on as before but in a foreign land.

Everything you want you can get fresh so wanting things from home is not a option for me. I am more than happy with what is available fresh for me to choose from. Although i do like certain things from the UK i can do without them. I do like tomato sauce so i made my own and very good it is. I like bacon and this is what this topic is about.

Bacon just what you need with eggs for breakfast, well as an ex butcher i have now made my own Bacon. I spent a few days reading about curing bacon from various websites and one in particular the River Cottage site by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall from the TV series River Cottage. I went to the local butcher here in Gois and got my self a nice peace of Belly Pork as i like Belly Pork and it makes good bacon. I took the bones out and kept them to roast them later. I carefully skinned the Belly and then put it to one side so as to get the Cure made.

I mixed up the Cure and rubbed it into the Pork as well as i could and then placed it into a plastic bag and got as much air out of the bag as i could. The cure is made up from Salt, Dark brown sugar, Ground black pepper and last some fresh Bay leaves. There is a Bay tree not far from me so i used Fresh leaves and chopped them up finely.

The effect of the cure makes the belly dry out and a liquid comes out and into the bag. It's this liquid that has to be changed after the first day. At day two and three the amount of liquid that has to be thrown away gets less and by day four there should be no liquid left to through out.

Now take the bacon as that's now what the belly has become out of the bag and wash under cold water until all the cure has been washed away. Now dry the bacon and it will benefit from hanging for a day or two in a cool dry place. Thing is could i wait that long to see how it's got on this being my first attempt at making bacon. Probably i will slice a few pieces to try and then hang the rest. The bacon needs to be hung using a mesh cover to allow it to breath and for the outside to dry out and cure.

Below is a couple of links to a some articles about bacon and did you know that bacon made in a factory is as much as 50% water. Well mine will have no water. When you cook bacon and you get white stuff coming out as you cook that's added water

You may need to Copy and Paste the links into your browser but it is worth a look.

200g Salt
50g Dark brown sugar
5g Ground black pepper.
Chop up some fresh Bay leaves.

Couple of things that have happened this week

Well a couple of things this week have happened and the first being that i am now banned for life from a Forum i was on. I had been passing comments on the Forum. Often a few of use will have a bit of fun with replies etc but the politically correct brigade started to get a bit over the top and started to warn use about our comments. Nothing was said that would offend anybody but in there politically correct mind the moderator is a bit over the top. Nothing better to do than correct people who are just commenting on things that matter between themselves and have nothing to do with the moderator.

This particular forum was at one time Ok and we did have some fun. One time there was a post about Nurses now that was good for those who remember it. I was always careful in what i posted so that i didn't put anything that would case offense to any other member. I won't mention the Forum but i will say that the background colour is green and that's all i will say. I have just got a message from a friend that all my previous posts have been deleted Oh well the moderator has been busy now who will they pick on now i am not there. Not my friend i hope as he is more than able to stand up for himself.

The week before last i had a local builder call to have a look at my leaking roof, while here he promised to be back in the middle of this week. Well i have waited and waited and waited and guess what he didn't appear. Until the roof is sorted i can't carry on with finishing my kitchen. These delays of the last few weeks started when a friend repaired the roof that he left leaking when he first did the job. Until this is done i can't complete the insulation of the roof and then fit the insulated wall boards.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

My roof still isn't finished and i am getting a little fed up about it.

I had a leak in my roof where the chimney was taken down. This has caused me no end of problems that are delaying me so much. I have now found a local builder who will be here sometime this week to relay the tiles that where put up after i had the chimney taken down. Until this is done i can't carry on with the wall insulation as the rain is coming down the walls.

It's a pain not being able to carry on and get the kitchen finished but this is now getting a bit tiring as i want to get the job done. I do have so many other things done and i am making progress. Yesterday i put up my ceiling fan. The ceiling in the lounge has now been painted. That also brings me onto the story of paint. What we call paint in the UK and what is sold in Portugal as paint is worlds apart. I have put four coats onto the ceiling to cover a horrid green paint and it's still not good but it's better. I am when i go to Leyroy Merlin again getting a Yellow dye to make some of the paint a pale Yellow for my walls in the lounge. The lounge will have a wall taken down and the other walls insulated next summer but for now i just want to freshen up the room.

Right now i have my Christmas lights up in the cellar. As they have been in a box since we got them in 2003 in Orlando they need to be twisted in them taken out so they hang straight. What i am doing with them is putting weights on them and soon when i put them up they will look good.

It does look like this year that i won't have my kitchen completed in time but i have all the time in the world to get it done so if it takes into the new year then so be it. I know i was taking my time but the delay over the chimney and now the roof leaking has just put completion back so it's not the end of the world and there are so many people so worse of than me.

A hearty meal in my slow cooker. Soup

I have been busy the last week and haven't had the time to sit down and keep my Blog up to date. Yesterday i went out to do a bit of shopping fruit and veg mainly. While in the supermarket i saw what looked like a side of Lamb but with the leg missing and with it what looked like a breast of lamb. I asked for the breast only to find that the chops where still attached but they where under the breast. Well at 2.99€ a Kilo i said yes that's OK.

As i was preparing the breast to cut and make some soup i started to cut the breast up i found that the softer parts of the breast where the bones all join to form in us humans it is the Sternum the part in the middle of your chest. Well this part was just like the rest bone. So it had to be that this was in fact not lamb but it could be Mutton. But i was happy with that it was still going to make a good soup. Well those who know me may remember that in my youth for quite a few years i was a Butcher. Well last night i put on my soup in my slow cooker at 7pm and as i type now and it's just 12pm the next day that's 17 hours and the meat is falling of the bones.

I went out to a Birthday party last night and June the host who is a great cook told me that Chanfana is the Portuguese word for GOAT. So it seems that i will be eating Goat, i have tried some and it's the best soup i have ever made. Even you Veggies could try this just leave out the meat and cook slowly over night.

1 Large onion chopped up
1 Large carrot chopped up
1 Green Pepper chopped up
Good chunk of Root Ginger chopped up small
2 Potato's chopped up into cubes about 1in square
1 Vegetable cube mixed in hot water
A good hand full of Pearl Barley
2 Cloves of garlic chopped up small
1 breast of Goat cut into small portions. Get the butcher to cut it for you
Enough water for your slow cooker

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Rendering and electrics

Well this week has been a busy week if you have read the story before this one about my cooking. Well i have been busy in the kitchen. After the electrician came to see what i wanted doing. i explained that it was just the kitchen at the point. It's no point doing the whole house as i am not sure what and where things will be going. I got started after the electrician left by putting wires into the pipes in the wall so i could pull the cables through ready for when the wall panels are up. If i waited for the panels to be put up and then found a problem getting the cable through the pipes i would be in trouble. So the cable for the sockets is now in place. All my wiring is being run from the cellar as this will make things easy should any changes be needed at a future date. From the cellar it is easy to get to the main supply. Sadly i do not have the skills to complete the wiring as for safety it must be done by a qualified electrician.

The bottom photo shows the cable through the wall ready for the electrician. I have marked on the photo the cable through the wall. You will also note that i have just mopped the floor. It may seem silly in what is a building site but i need to mop the floor often to keep the dust down. Yes a man can wash and clean i am no different than anybody else if it's not done by me it doesn't get done.

After taking the ceiling down the wall above the door that will go to the veranda and the opposite wall needed to be rendered ready for the insulated wall panels to be fitted. As the photos show i have rendered the walls ready for the panels so this week i hope to be going for the panels i am lucky that i kept my trailer as the plaster board sheets will fit in perfectly. One internal wall will just be plaster boarded the others will have insulation on the back. The biggest problem i have is that of dust. I keep the doors shut but all the time i find that there is dust everywhere. Anybody would think that i don't keep the place clean but i do.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

I now make my own Tomato sauce

Tonight i have been cooking, well i cook everyday to eat but i have had a Post on a Forum i am on. The question i put was how do i make tomato sauce. I like tomato sauce but i have been only using fresh ingredients in my cooking. I have no desire to change that so i had to make my own i could easily have gone to the shops for tomato sauce but fresh i want so i had to make my own. The Forum was of great help and Linda said to add Sun dried tomatoes to make the consistency a bit thicker. Well tonight i cooked two recipes one was the sauce i have mentioned and the other was a Tomato bake.

For the tomato bake follow below

Four Tomatoes
One onion
couple of cloves garlic
Green pepper
Olive oil
Bread crumbs " From a pack i had from the UK "
Pilgrims Choice mature cheddar or other tasty cheese.
Salt and Pepper.

Cut the tops of the tomatoes and keep the tops for the tomato sauce. Scope out the middle of the tomato and use that in the sauce.
Put into the tomato chopped up onion, garlic, green pepper and some olive oil. Put bread crumbs on the top and on the top of the bread crumbs put some really nice tasty cheese. Bake into a medium hot oven till it looks done and enjoy.

My Tomato sauce.

Couple of cloves of garlic
Half a green pepper
Sun dried tomatoes

Blitz down all ingredients and cook on a low light till all are cooked and include the sun dried tomatoes. Cook for a while and when done blitz the lot and strain out the remaining liquid and then put the sauce into a bottle and enjoy.

My next question on the Forum is Chilli con carne i want to avoid using Tesco/Asda packet mixes so i want to know what to use to make my Chilli.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

My Mum

It's Sunday morning of the 6th November. A few weeks ago i emailed BBC Radio Merseyside to the presenter of a show on a Sunday morning. This presenter often mentions about the troops over in Afghanistan and i asked for a record for Mum to cheer her up after her op. I got a reply to say that the request would have to wait a week as she was of till the 6th of November. As it was it worked out for the best as my Mum had to go back into hospital for another op on her hip.Well now she is home and recovering well and hopefully walking without the pain she has had for so long.

Mum called me soon after the record was played and she was pleased, it's nice to do something that brings a little pleasure to someone else. Also it was one that my Dad liked so that made it for me a bit special.

I spoke to Mum later this afternoon Sue and John and Jackie and Ray where there. Sue had Mums Ipad so i called back via mums Ipad and she could see me andi could see here. I has been a worry with Mum back in hospital and me here in Portugal but seeing her made me feel a bit better.

I did a tour of teh house with my laptop even going up into the Loft next time i will be going outside so long as my Wifi holds up.

As a family we all owe Jackie a debt of thanks. It's OK we are all living all over the place and when we should be there to help Mum we are to far away to help. I do know that everybody calls in but Jackie is there all the time. So Jackie i am sure i speak for use all Thanks.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Busy week bricklaying and cable laying

Another week is soon passing but progress has been made in the Kitchen. The Kitchen only had one socket before i moved in and i want five doubles and one behind the fridge freezer and one for the computer/TV screen. All cable has to be run through plastic piping set into the wall. This week i have cut into the wall and put the plastic pipe into the wall. All is now done and the pipe has been rendered over so it's nice and secure.

This week i have also been doing a bit of bricklaying. Well it had to be done because the whole wall will be rendered ready for painting. The bricks are not like in the UK they are bigger and hollow. Being hollow is a problem for me because when you put the cement on the ends it just goes into the holes but with a bit of practice it can be done.I just have a tiny bit to do to finish of but my ladder won't reach to the very top of the ceiling. I may leave that bit for now and maybe i will try my hand at rendering over the bricks something else that should be left to those who know what they are doing. I am sure that i can do the first coat of render and leave the finishing to someone else.

I had a half cubic metre of sand delivered on Thursday and did the rain stop well for a short while. Being on a lane that is a bit steep and with the rain we have had i had to move the sand and put it in the cellar if not the ran would have washed the sand away. OK simple but on a rainy day and with only a bucket to move the sand with well it took a long time to move it all. When the rain started to get to much i had to leave the sand and move the rest later. The only sheet of plastic that i had was only just big enough to cover the sand that was left. I now just hope that the rain keeps of so i can move the rest into the cellar.

Well i am pleased with how i have got on this week. don't have a lot of time left to get my Kitchen finished for Christmas. But i will give it my best effort.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Rain Rain and more Rain

Well over the last week we have had a drop of Rain, It's rained now for three days. Not like at home a few clouds and they drop there load and it gets better. Well here it rains so much trees have been blown down by the high winds. The bark from the eucalyptus trees is all over the lanes that i use a lot. The lane from Vale Boa to Martinho is for me a short cut down to Gois passing a house being prepared for friends of mine who are due to move in to there house before Christmas.

The lane out of Vale Boa is narrow and it bends to the left and the right and if that was not bad enough it also goes uphill quite steeply. But on this day Monday of this week i followed the bread lady up the hill only to find the lane blocked. We have a lady who delivers bread three days of the week. The lane is to narrow to turn even for me so i had to reverse down about 500 yards. Ok no problem but i had behind me my big box trailer, well i managed to reversed all the way down the hill without a stop all in one go. It certainly is a challenge to reverse in just a car but i had a big box trailer behind me and nowhere to reverse and go back to where i came from.

The reason i had my trailer was that i had a flat tyre that needed to be repaired also the spare wheel i have with the trailer was flat and needed repairing.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Getting on with the kitchen.

Over the last few days i have been busy getting all the pipe work installed into the walls ready for when i get the kitchen wired. The walls have to be cut into and a plastic pipe has to be fitted so that the cable can be pushed through them.

I went to a B&Q type shop to get some insulation for around the doors and while i was there i had a look around. Not far from me is a place called Penacova and in Penacova there is a place to buy plaster board and insulation. I got a price for an 8ft x 4ft sheet and i was quoted 25€ and that also had the insulation on the back. At the place i went to on Friday i could get an 8ft x 4ft sheet of plaster board and the insulation separate for less than 18€. The size of the sheet i am glad that i kept my Big box trailer.

I need to brick up at the top of a wall and the bricks i got cost 14 cents each that was 2.80€ for the twenty that i needed. So at that price i was happy. I will include some photos as soon as i can. Below is a picture of the hole ceiling exposed showing how big and open it will be when the rafters have been paneled.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Since i got back lots has been happening

Well we seem to be into the Olive season. Everywhere you go people are up trees picking the Olives. I don't know what it is like other years as i haven't been here at Olive time before. As i type this there is a team for want of a better word picking Olives next to my house and across the lane. There are six women all either up trees or picking Olives up that have dropped to the floor. The boss is sat in his car doing nothing.

Maybe tomorrow i will start to pick mine i have about 8 trees and none have grown very well. The land is on a step hill and facing the sun for most of the day the land is dry. From one of the pictures you can see a section that has just been cut back to allow the lane to be widened. The ground is so dry that the workers had to use a digger as they where cutting back the land by five/six feet.

After the Olives have been harvested i am going to cut the trees down. A couple will be used as a corner post for my chicken run. I want to give my chickens as much space as i can so they get a better life than in a cage. Hopefully they will have plenty of space to run around in.

While i was home to see my Mum my Mum and sister Lynne both mentioned that i had not been coughing at all. Well maybe i have the answer, On a number of the photos you will see that on the branches of the trees something growing. These things growing are called Lichens. Lichens only grow in places with very clean air. They are an indication of air quality as they only grow in clean air. So does this mean that now i am living in a very clean place that my cough is no more. Well the answer to that will show itself over the coming months. Below is a picture of my house seen from over the lane from my land " sounds good my land i am now a land owner "