Peter's Blog

Iberianspices spicesiberia

Saturday, 24 September 2011

A bit of what i did this week

Tuesday i collected a couple of friends from the railway station at Coimbra who are staying close to me. Friday i took back to Porto airport a friends family who had been here for a holiday. My friends mum is a young 92 year old and a nice lady to have a chat with. I now look forward even more to my own mum coming out to see me for a holiday. Maybe not in the Algarve where my Dad loved to go but in the most beautiful part of Portugal. Well i would say that woudn't I.

Thursday night i went for a meal with the lads i picked up at Coimbra, on the menu was wild boar. Yes i had wild boar and boy it was incredible and i will go back there again for some more Mmmm.

Now this brings me to Saturday a day to do my washing and some baking. First i did a loaf in my bread maker i am very good at making bread but then again all you do is measure things out and switch the machine on. I use the timer so it's ready before my evening meal and it was perfect to have with a Turkey curry. For only 4€ i got enough turkey for 4 meals anyway the chicken breast for the same weight would be double the price.

Apple crumble should be no problem, should be but i was making it. Where did i go wrong well i measured everything out into my mixer. Well that is where i went wrong, i shouldn't have used a mixer. Instead of coming out as a crumble the mixture came out as a dough.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Well work is well under way now on the kitchen

Over the last few days I have had to get help to take the chimney down well that is now down and the roof has been repaired. I have a few pictures showing once the chimney has been removed and one where the batons have been put in place and then when it's all complete. If you look at the first you may just be able to see the moon in the distance.


We went out yesterday to get a new marble sill to go under the door. We went to a huge factory that makes just about everything out of marble. While we waited my sill was drawn for the machine man to make the sill. It took about half an hour from going in to the machine man giving me my new sill. The cost including tax was 7€ Yes that's less than £7 and it was made to measure and while we waited.

The door and window company are coming today to fit the door and windows. It was nice that the window guy arrived as arranged. He only left the door and window as the gap for the door was the wrong size. When the door was measured the company owner wrote down on the wall the size to make the opening. This we did but in the mean time he changed things so we could have a sill under the door. Well we had a bit of changing to do but the next day all was Ok and the window and door where fitted.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Work has restarted again on the Kitchen

Well as you can see from the title work in the kitchen again. Work had stopped because until the window and the door for the veranda had been fitted. The window company tell me that they will be ready to fit the door and window tomorrow Wednesday the 21st. The same day the phone company are also due to call and repair the line so I can have my phone working also my internet. It's only been three weeks waiting for the phone man to call. In the UK you don't know just how lucky you are if your phone is off it can be repaired the same day by a man and his little van. Hey but this is Portugal you have to take
the good with the bad.

There is one thing I know will be done on date and on time is the chimney will be taken down tomorrow. One of my friends is going to take it down as it's one job I don't feel comfortable doing. Also where the chimney is taken down from that part of the roof needs to be tiled and my friend will soon sort that out.

I had to take down part of the wall under where there was a window, also the window needed to be taken down as well. Once I marked the wall and used the cutting disk it was quite easy to remove the wall section. After using the cutting disk I was covered from head to toe is brick dust and my hair felt like sand paper.

Friday, 16 September 2011

A quiet time at the moment.

At the moment I am waiting for the window company to install my new window and veranda door. Until they are made and fitted everything else is held up. The window and door are due for fitting on the 20th of September. Like many stories there is always a but. When the company installer came to measure up so that the window and door fitted correctly he measured from the top of the frame and down to the floor for the door. He never asked about what was to be done with the floor. I met the tiler later on the day of the Porto trip to check about the floor. It seemed that we needed 20mm gap for the floor tiles, I am having the door open in and there was no way that this could happen. I went to the door company who as luck had it the door was not made yet so I was able to get the door made so as I could have the floor tiled.

Today the 14th I did a trip to Porto airport to collect a family coming to stay with a friend called Celia from Cabril. Cabril is not very far from Gois about as far from Gois on one side as I am on the other side of Gois. One of the family I am picking up is Celia's mum who is 92 years young. So if she can travel then I look forward to my mum coming to see me next year sometime. My mum is a young 85 years of age.

As I need to use all seven seats in my car I had very little room left over for luggage. So I really needed to use a trailer to carry the bags but my trailer is so big I could have carried the bags for a whole plane load of people. I asked Richard if I could use his trailer as mine was to big. Richard said I could but it may need a clean out. The last time the trailer was used was for Horse manure. Yes it did need a clean but lucky for me it had all dried out so I was very lucky. It was not a messy job.

One little ting I did find in the trailer was three Wasps nests. Yes and they where active and wasps could be seen coming out of them when I opened the trailer top. Loads of Fly and wasp spray soon got rid of them. It didn't take long to get the trailer cleaned and ready to go and I was on my way and clear blue skies, I normally use my air con but I tried to drive with the windows open but with the temperature at 36c as I put my hand out the air was very warm. I was driving at 60mph and the heat coming in was to much so it was back to the air con.

Monday, 12 September 2011

A quiet few days

The weekend started with me being a guest on a English radio program that is on air Saturdays from 10am till noon. John decided this show was about me and my move to Portugal.

After the show we had a look around the record library and as John was 64 that day we looked for the Beatles " When i am 64 " but what we found was the Beatles " Live at Hamburg " this was recorded before Ringo joined and Pete Best was the drummer. Pity the cover was not in good order or it would have been worth a good few bob.

In the cellar was a number of big wooden boxes and i decided to start to take them apart as the timber will come in handy to panel one wall in the master bedroom. I will put some pictures up as soon as i can and explain how difficult it was to take just one apart.

I had a call from Anthony who had someone to speak to me. It was a lady who was the first customer when i opened my Video shop in 1985. Since then she married, had two daughters and two grand children. Over the years a lot has happened and she is still a customer of the shop now it is a Bargain Booze franchise.

A little later the phone went again and this time it was so i could speak to someone special. It was Jeff an ex sargeant from the Parachute regiment. Jeff is now well into his eighties. We used to joke about his wife who is a nurse. If you know the program Open all Hours you will know about Nurse Gladys Emmanule. Well Jeff has his own personal nurse. It was so good to be able to speak to him.

So many people where a part of my life while i was in Liverpool and i must admit i do miss them but this is now a new chapter. So it's the future i am looking forward to.

I do look forward to speaking to more of my friends still in Liverpool. Anthony can't begin to understand the pleasure i got speaking to old friends. Thanks son. 

Friday, 9 September 2011

Well the air con is now done

Well i have gone and done it i have installed my air conditioning and it worked right away, no problems.

No Problem well that's a lie as i now have to keep cleaning as there is dust in the air but i can live with that. As you can see from the first photo the temperature was 28 C but it didn't take long and after setting the temperature to 20 C it was nice and cool. well cool enough for me.

Well as you can see from the photo i had to connect the inside unit and the pipe work up and then pass through a 65mm hole in the wall. Now the pipe you see has 2 copper pipes in it and the main cable and a sensor cable. I had to lift the unit complete with the pipe up and climb a step ladder. This was not an easy thing to do and aim the pipe to go through the hole in the wall. Well i did it and boy am i proud of myself.

Considering in the past if i needed anything doing i would always get someone to do it for me. It was an easy thing to do all i had to do was pay. Well as you have seen from the kitchen and now the air con there are things i can do. I will admit to being a bit concerned  but you can't imagine the pleasure i got having completed what i consider was a big job. I was also concerned as to how i would get the pipe and unit up without an extra pair of hands but i managed.

This unit is to big for what i wanted and i mean in effective output. I got this unit as i have 2 bedrooms next to the lounge and by leaving the doors open they also would get a benefit from the air con. When i tested the unit the temperature also went down in the bedrooms as well so all was achieved in one go. Just look at the picture above that's the hole i had to pass all the pipe work through.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Today is a day for working outside

Nice as the house is there is one feature that really annoyed me was the railings outside of the house and the gates. The walls had sharp spikes on the top and the gate also was made the same. Today I got my grinder out and cut the railings down. I need to get someone to remove the chimney stack and if you look at the pictures you will see why I had to get rid of the dangerous railings. The gates do not open so they are ok against the wall but at a later date I will decide to either replace the gates or remove the top spikes.

I have been preparing the inside for the air con in the lounge and I have put a photo of where it will go above a window. This was the only place I could put the air con so as to have the outside pipe in the right place. What a crap colour on the ceiling, the doors are also painted the same but I can live with them. If I started to change bits here and there I would end up with a house with lots of bits done and nothing finished.

The reason I did the air con was because I had a weekend with nothing to do. Today I had nothing to do so I removed the dangerous railing. I can't do any more to the kitchen until the chimney is down and the whole in the roof where it was has been fixed. Then I can start to insulate the roof and then start to panel the ceiling. So while that is waiting to be done I am doing little bits, but that's all.

I was going to edit the picture of the chimney so as to show just the roof and chimney but just look at that sky, it's a day like this that I play the came I came up with and it's called Spot the Cloud.

I am going on this beautiful day to confirm the order for my window and veranda door. For the door and window double glazed and fitted 562€ that's not bad when you consider they are not standard sized windows or doors.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

About ready to start rebuilding the kitchen

Well the title says it all, the demo is all done so now it's putting it all back together. Well not quite. I have one bit to finish and that's below the window this and the window has to come out so I can fit the door that will lead to the veranda. Monday I will go and get the wall insulation boards so I can insulate the three walls that are not insulated. I am getting plaster board that has insulation on the back of it, when I went to the builders to enquire about it he spoke English and explained that you just put the adhesive on the wall and push the panel against it. We would say that you dot and dab it. It didn't matter I understood him. At 25€ a sheet it's not cheap but it would waste having the ceiling done and leaving the walls uninsulated.

The wall below the window will not be removed until the day the door company call to fit the door they not only make the doors but fitting is part of the price. On Saturday I had nothing to do so I got the stone cutter out to make the first cut where the door will be getting fitted. Not having anything to do all weekend and saying I was not going to start any other jobs till this one was finished, well I had time on my hands so I drilled and positioned the back plate where the air con was going in the living room. I had a 65 mm hole cutter but mine was for timber or plaster board. I had to cut through stone so I needed a 65 mm stone cutter. I have a friend who has a 65 mm hole cutter so I will be using that.

Above you can see how the ceiling will be open, the little black things on the ceiling are nests.

The next step now I have the cable is to lay the pipe into the wall for the electrics to go into I will be having 4 twin sockets also a socket for the TV or Monitor above the fridge freezer.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Well the work on the Kitchen is well underway

Well as the title says the Kitchen demo has started. The reason for removing the ceiling is because by taking out the hideous vent that took up half the room I have weakened the Chimney vent. After removing the vent it was to late to put it back. A concrete beam had been cut so as to form the vent and that would have been needed to be replaced also then a beam would have to be put in place to secure the underside of the chimney. The option I chose was to remove the ceiling and have it all open with exposed beams. Two of the concrete cross beams will be retained and clad in timber for support for the walls and ceiling.

The pictures below show the various stages in taking down the ceiling and also the exposed beams. It's common in the UK for floors to be made from what is called Block and Beam construction. What Block and Beam is well concrete beams are put in place where a floor is to be put and between the beams what looks like breeze blocks are laid to form the floor.

The ceiling was formed using five concrete beams and between them special ceiling blocks then the ceiling was skimmed with concrete for what reason I do not know. Concrete seems a common thing to use in building here in Portugal it seems that it's the only thing they have to use. After the ceiling was built they just used concrete whereas in the UK we would use plaster. On the top of the ceiling guess what they had more concrete. A photo is included of the end of a block still to be removed from the wall that shows the way the blocks are made. This is common in Portugal and Spain for construction of houses walls and ceiling are made this way.

It took me a day to remove most of the ceiling blocks and there is just a bit now and it's all down. Then I have to look at sealing the roof so I can insulate between the rafters. And then face of the ceiling between the rafters with timber as you can see in the photo from a friends house. Well all the ceiling is now down apart for two beams that for safety sake I need help getting them down.