Peter's Blog

Iberianspices spicesiberia

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Today was crearing day in the brew house

In the cellar was brew house that had a some time in the past been used for making a lot of wine and a local brew called aquadentre. Now as I am never going to grow enough grapes for making wine on the scale of the past the contents of the brew house has to go. In it's place will become a guest accommodation. I have the space to create a bedroom with en-suite and a small lounge. As I move into the last room in the cellar to clear it out I will take photos and explain in more detail my future plans.

The contents of the brew house being a big barrel that was used to crush the grapes and I have enclosed a picture with a tin of beans on top to show the size. All the other barrels will be cleaned and put on Ebay. There are five barrels two quite big and three a bit smaller. If I get the price I want then I will deliver them to the UK when I come back to sell my trailer but that's another story for another time.

I have two grapevines below where the veranda will be. It is my plan to train the grapevine to go over the top of the veranda it is common here to train grapevines to form shade. At this time of year the grapes are nearly finished so I will wait till the vine is ready for pruning and get help from someone who knows about vines etc.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

I went today to get some of the bits for the electrics for the kitchen.

Well today Saturday the 27th i went to a shop a bit like B & Q but bigger and with a better selection. It's called Leyroy Merlin. I went to get some double sockets for the kitchen and a light switch. I got the four sockets and a double light switch but also i got a socket to connect a Computer monitor in the kitchen. The cable for lights and sockets here in Portugal has to run through a tube sunk into the wall I got a roll of 100 mitre for only 18€ i was happy at that price as i had expected 100 mitre roll would have been much more.

I also priced up the windows for the kitchen and they are on special offer at 99€ i need a new window for the kitchen so i may go back before the offer end the window is a Mitre and the same height as the picture below.. One window that will be going is the one where the veranda door will be fitted. The window that you see in the picture below is the one that will become a door onto the veranda that i intend to have fitted soon. The veranda will be the width of the wall that you can see, Ok i know it's not huge but it will be in proportion to the rest of the house. 

I have been to a company called Alumnorma it's a door and window manufacturer to get a quote for a new window and a new door for the veranda and i am waiting for a reply as to the price to supply a window and door.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Letters of good luck

Well this is a little overdue, before i left i was given some cards from family and friends from the shop. I was asked to wait till i had arrived and this i did. In fact i waited till my first night in my new home.

I in fact waited till i had made my first cup of tea. I opened the shop ones first and to see just how i would be missed nearly had me in tears. It's a time like this that you realize that people do care.

The hardest was to open the ones from my mum and sisters. Well i was reduced to tears, i may be a long way from home but they are in my heart and with me always. I hope to get back sometime before Christmas as a surprise to Mum so girls keep  quite. I will keep you all up to date with my blog. At the moment it is not easy as i am waiting for my Phone/ Internet connection. Once i get these i will keep up to date almost daily.

Monday, 22 August 2011

The Kitchen has now been started. Pt1

Well you will see from the following photos how work has got on in the kitchen. I have included first before photos and then as I go along the photos of work to prepare for my new kitchen. I may say from here on that all you see was done by me, no stunt double. If it hadn't been for Anthony I could not have got so far in a short time. Anthony had a power tool commonly called a Jack hammer and without this I could have demolished the kitchen. All you see is made from concrete with steel inserted for strength.

The first thing I did was to remove a work surface at the side of the sink, I only have a picture after I removed the work surface but you can see where it was. This was the first time that I had to use a Jack hammer.

Next came what had been some kind of cooking platform as above it was a huge air vent. This was easy as I now knew what I was faced with concrete and steel for support. Even with a Jack hammer it was slow work but it did come down in the end. Thick concrete and steel is not something that you would find in a kitchen but I am in Portugal and things seem to be built to last.

Well it's now the air vent the part I left till the last above the cooking surface. I had packed a step ladder with me when I moved and it's just as well. The vent like all the rest was concrete and Steel. From one of the photos you can see the extent of the steel in the vent. This took a good two days to take down but not without some drama. The step ladder decided that it had had enough it decided to just collapse with me ending up on the floor. Pity that happened as I had had that ladder quite some time and I expected to be using it for a long time to come. As luck had it in the cellar I found another step ladder but the one I found was not made from aluminium thank god at least this will support my weight they seem to have a love of steel here in Portugal. Well what I had started to do was to remove a section of the air vent at a time and this seemed a good choice. But because it was so hot work was slow and bit by bit it was down and just a bit of tidying up to do.

I need to have the kitchen ready to have all the electrical work done. As the kitchen stands there is only one ceiling light and only one socket. How people lived like this is beyond me but the old lady who lived here before me must have had a hard life in each room there is only one socket and a ceiling light. In the kitchen I want to have in the ceiling four LED spotlights and in the walls four twin sockets. Unlike the old lady I have all the things that make life easy. From my bread maker to mixers etc. Now all that is left is to remove the sink but in the mean time I need to make a temporary sink on a work surface. I have all my base units for my kitchen with me that I got from the UK. I will put them together in the lounge so that I have somewhere to prepare

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

The cost of tolls to journeys end in my new home

Tolls and the cost of travel from the UK to Central Portugal. We all have to pay the cost of tolls or go on the A roads. Some A roads are in fact very good in France and Spain. But it was my choice to use the Tolls.

After coming out of the Port of Le Havre there are a number of short stages where the cost is small the first was only 1.60 Euro then I went over a bridge this was more 2.20 Euro and the last at this point was 3.20 Euro. Not bad for this part of the journey. These tolls I paid using my Caxton prepaid card. At one toll booth I had to wait because the card reader was across the other side of the line of toll booths. We the assistant got the card reader the fee was paid and I was on my way. They seemed to have no problem at the manned booths taking payment by card.

As I got a little further south the next stage was a long stretch perhaps 200 miles or more plus the cost was 27.60 Euro ouch and 

they had no card reader or so they claimed. I thought that the assistant was just to lazy to get a reader so I said I had not cash and to get her boss. When someone came over I explained that I had no cash until I could go to an Atm at the next town I was going to stop at. Her boss then instructed her to fill out a form and told me I had 10 days to pay the Toll fee. The next toll was for 10.30 Euro and again as was the case with the next two tolls where all paid with my Caxton prepaid card. It was only the one stretch of motorway where I had a problem, or was it just that it was the assistant being unfriendly who knows or cares. It really was that easy from Le Havre to the Spanish border.

Crossing into Spain was no problem at all you just carry on driving with no border control. The first toll fee was when I came to go into a town for a break and i had to come of the motorway. The fee was just 0.73 cents. After a short break it was time to get on my way to my next overnight stop at Valladolid I only came to have to pay at two more tolls the first being 1.38 Euro and the last being 9.90 Euro.

In total the cost of travel by toll roads from Le Havre to Gois was 85.71 Euros. A driving distance of 1392 miles but that was from Liverpool to Gois crossing at Le Havre. I stopped often and took many breaks off the motorways. I could have saved a lot of mileage if I had just driven through and only came off the motorway from my nightly stops. The thing is I enjoyed my trip and I made the trip all on my own. Would I do it again Yes that's an easy answer because I love driving. Would I recommend driving well it's got to be yes, I got the chance to see part of the Cognac region. I went into Poitiers, Bordeaux. This is the second time I drove over the first time from Postsmouth to Santander with a Transit van and Big box trailer.

Almost from the ferry terminal it was motorway until I came of at the motorway end in Portugal. After crossing the border into Portugal there was little difference to the motorway I had been on for well over 1,000 plus i enjoyed every mile covered.

The cost of fuel to move from Liverpool to Gois in Portugal

Let me say from the start that I drove from Liverpool to Gois and stayed at 60 miles per hour as much as I could I never drive over 60 so as to save the cost of fuel. I also wanted to enjoy the journey and not get into a race.

My journey started of from my Mums in Liverpool almost next door to an Asda. Asda sell Lpg auto gas, so it was here that I filled up for the start of my journey to a new home and a new life. I put in £25 of petrol and Filled up on gas app 58 litres at a cost of £40.34. I only put in £25 of petrol because I had hopped that I could get through to Gois on Gas.

My gas ran out after 342 miles not quite as I had hopped but still good. It was 52 miles before I could get refilled with gas and at this point I was running on petrol. Gas is easy to get in France but the motorway service areas are much further apart than in the UK. My first fill was £53.69 and then I was on my way again. My next gas was for £27.01 this time I filled because I was at a service area with gas and not because I needed it. My next fill was just over the border into Spain and the first service area had gas so I started to fill and got just £1.27 yes that's right the service station had a power failure. Just my luck I could have filled enough to get me through Spain and into Portugal. I decided to push on and stop at the next service area that sold gas. Just my luck to need gas in a country that is only just starting to use gas and i found no more gas till i reached Portugal.

I crossed into Portugal at 11am in the morning on the 4th August a little ahead of my expected time for this point in my trip. I came across gas part way to Gois and filled up with £35.50. Due to the heat gas expands and where in the UK I have had 61.3 litres in a 60 litre tank here I could get less than 50 litres so that's why a fill was much less than before.

Now I am here in Gois I have no problem filling up with gas. What I do is fill up each time I pass a garage that sells gas. Would I recommend gas Yes at 71 cents per litre against petrol at app 1.60 Euro that's less than half price. Prices I have found in Portugal are from 65 cents to 77cents. The one I use most is 71.5 cents per litre. Just a little way past Lousa.

When I first got my car converted I went to a local installer who was a Uk registered installer so insurance was ok, car tax was a little lower and after over 100,000 miles I would not change.

So in total my mileage was 1392 miles travelled. Gas I covered 1087 at a cost of app £117 and milage was 305 on petrol at a cost of £91.68 now the petrol figure is not quite correct for the mileage because before I crossed into Portugal I filled up as the petrol was a lot cheaper that in Portugal.

Well I hope that I have been a help to others planning the trip like me.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Todays is signing day and moving in day

Well it's arrived today is the day to sign the final papers and move into my new home. I go to the Notaire's office at 3pm in a place called Arganil. Arganil is a lovely town about 15 minuet drive away. By about 4.30pm the keys will be mine and i can move in. I am going to get the van and try to unload as much as i can tonight. Every box has been labeled so it should make things a little easy.  This morning i went to Lousa another town in the opposite direction from Arganil. Arganil is north and Lousa is to the south.

Today really is the day where if i had any doubt then it's at this point i should say no i want to go home. Well sorry, i have been up to the house so many times i have not had one reason to think that i have made a mistake. I know in my heart of all the things in my life i have done this is one that feels so right.

I went for a meal with Nigel and Ann last Sunday and with the meal we had wine. Now i am not a wine drinker but it was very nice. I think i will get into the habit of having a glass of wine with a meal in future. Today i got a bottle of Mateus with a free half bottle. Cost 3 euro now that's not a bad price. That's less than £3 for a bottle and a half. Now to drink wine you need to be able to open a bottle and who doesn't have a bottle opener, well now i have. I also got some fruit, my mum has a bowl of fresh fruit after her evening meal well i am going to give it a go. The shops here are full of local grown fresh fruits and vegetables. The selection of fresh fish would make Asda look a bit silly. Lots that are available is fresh that day.

I was showing pictures of my house to John in the Internet Cafe and he tells me his Godfather lived in my house many years ago. It is a small world.

I will be about a week before i have the Internet up at the house but when i do i hope to update every couple of days and to include photos.  This is the end of one part of my life, Tomorrow starts a new day in life.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Well i am now into the first week of the rest of my life

Well since I arrived it's a bit like being on holiday. I arrived on Thursday the 4th August and it's now the 10th August. It seems a waste but you can't hurry up the legal process. After all it's the legal process that ensures that every thing is done correctly and it's for my protection.

Where all the final Legal bits are done is in the office of the Notaire and that's the last stage and it's then I get the keys and my house. The Notaire's office is only open on a Tuesday and Friday and it has to be booked in advance. We have booked to see the Notaire on Friday the 12th at 1pm in the afternoon the Notaire has to read all documents in case of any errors. The land registration has to be paid and proof for the Notaire also

When all that has been done it's of to the Camara “ Council “ and when I register I get 8 years rates free. The land tax is less than 20 euro per year. I can then apply to have the phone connected and to get broad band. Then I am in contact with the outside world. Each day as it passes seems a waste as I should be in the house unpacking all my bits and bobs.

The things right now I am missing is my nail clippers as I have a couple of broken nails and they are getting on my nerves. My shoe polish because my shoes need a good polish and lastly a belt. I have just put a clean pair of jeans on and they need a belt, does this mean I have lost some weight well who knows but I still need a belt.

Yesterday as I drove down to Lisboa airport the temperature was 38.5c outside up to now that is the hottest I have drove in. Good job I got my air con sorted before I left.

The first job after unpacking is to prepare the Kitchen to have all the new fitting put up and the tilling done. I don't intend to have wall units instead I want a nice wood shelve above the base units in the same wood that i shall choose for the doors and the plinth below the base units will be the same.

Today I got the name plate for the house that I had made by in a local craft shop. The house will be called Casita Amellia as the Lady who passed away before I found the house was called Amellia.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

The drive and the Hotels

Well the drive down to the ferry went without any problems and i got to Portsmouth in plenty of time to catch the night ferry. It seems that all cars that are not normal height those with a roof box etc are not loaded till last so my getting to the ferry early did me no good. Well never mind on first or on last didn't matter but getting on did.

On the ferry i booked a reclining sleeper seat for £5 it was not a bad deal comfy seat and only a fiver, for those who can sleep anywhere they would have got a good nights sleep, me if it's not a bed i can't sleep. But i did get some rest and it was needed for the next day for the start of the drive to my new home.

I had planned to stop at a place called Poitiers but as the weather was so good i only stopped for a break and went for a walk round a huge Auchen hypemarket. After a break i started on my way to a place called Angouleme another 110 km's in total the first day i did 553 km in total or 343 miles. While i stopped at Poitiers i used the Wifi at a McDonalds to book a night at a Formulae 1 hotel. The easy way to find a place to stay is from the " find on a map " on the left hand site of the site page. I clicked on an area i new i would be and it showed 6 hotels. I wanted the hotel that was further from Le Havre it came up with one in Anglouleme. The price per night for up to 3 is only 31 euro and that is very good value included in the price was free Wifi. During the booking process the hotel Longitude and Latitude are given for the Tom Tom sat navs. I always travel with a sat nav so this was invaluable. There is a link to the Formulae 1 hotels below.

Formulae 1 Hotels

I was in bed early so i could get a good rest after the ferry crossing and the first leg of the drive. I started the next day a 8am and started to drive south. The skies where blue and with not many clouds to spoil the view as i drove south. I intended to stop for the night at Bilboa and i took a well earned break in Bordeaux after a break it was back to the roads. As it was still reasonably early by the time i got close to making my way to Bilbao i decided to carry on to a place down the main motorway to Portugal and a place called Valladolid. As i entered Valladolid i could not find a McDonalds to use there Wifi so i connected my mobile to my laptop to get online i soon found that there where no Formulae 1 hotels here but there where some Ibis hotels and all part of the same hotel group. Ibis are not as cheap as Formulae 1's but abed for the night was needed so i booked and got the sat nav setting and soon found the hotel and paid the 56 euro that was charged for the room. I soon settled in and got my laptop out but only to find that the Wifi was 5 euro. I am not mean but if at 56 euro and no free Wifi against 31 euro and free Wifi i could do without going on line for one night.

Ibis hotels in Spain

Well the next day was it the day i arrive in Portugal, It was 11am as i drove over the border from Spain to Portugal well not far now. All went well until i got onto the new roads outside of Tabua and i seemed to get lost. I was using an old Tom Tom and the maps are more that 4 years out of date. I have a new Garmin that i left in my van when i first came over with most of my belongings. But never mind Tabua is not far from Gois and. I arrived in Gois at about 1.30pm on a beautiful sunny afternoon. Well the journey is now over and it's time to enjoy a buy new life, first to do is a new kitchen.

Friday, 5 August 2011

I am not hiding in this chicken hutch

When i was small it is said that Mum and Dad had the police out looking for me. Well i was found and it would appear i was in the shed we had for the coal. Well i now have my own coal hole and the picture is included. 

Do you notice the shadows on the left that's from the sun, we get plenty in Portugal sorry for those in the UK but this is what i want in my life Sun and more of it. 
Back to the drive tomorrow when i describe the places i stayed during my drive to the sun.

Now i am here lets update things a bit

Well this is the first time i have had since i arrived on the 4th August, i crossed the border into Portugal at just 11am in the morning. At this point the journey felt like it was about over journeys end was in sight. Well from here it  was just about another hour and a half to go. The pain of the last few weeks was now just a memory. The pessure was just something that happened but i was glad now that it was all over.

The drive down through Portugal was slow and relaxed because i wanted to really enjoy every minute. I was glad to see that Lpg gas was now on sale. From crossing the border from France into Spain i could find no Lpg gas for my car so i had to use expensive petrol. When i stopped for gas it was 65 cents a litre. Probably about 55/58p in sterling.

The story of the drive from Liverpool and the arrival i will post next time as i want to give as much information as i can in case it is of help to someone else doing the same trip as i have just done.