Peter's Blog

Iberianspices spicesiberia

Monday, 30 January 2012

Changes to the Blog

As you may see i have made a few changes to the Blog layout. On the left there is the links to news that i find very useful. On the right everything else, i will be adding more things of interest as the year passes us by.

One big change today is that the Blog is now set up to be viewed on the many phones that can view the internet. So you can catch up while you are out and about and not just sat at a desktop or laptop.

So i hope the small changes i have made are enjoyed by all who find my Blog interesting enough to spend the time to read it.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

My time here in Liverpool part 1

Well i am at home with my Mum here in Liverpool. What a change i can see in my Mum she has an Ipad, she may have an Ipad but she seems that she is using it often. As i type this she is playing music from her Ipad. Mum often plays Solitaire on her Ipad also she uses Facetime whatever that is and Skype.  Mum uses Skype to speak to me when i am at home.

I have been lucky to be able to see my favourite Grandaughter Chelsee a number of times. A few weeks ago Chelsee helped me to set up Twitter while she was here in Liverpool and i was at home by using Skype. It's strange that at 8 and a half year old Chelsee is so good at using a computer. My Grandaughter started  to write a story about a Dolphin called Mickey one day as we where on Skype we spoke about what to write in her story. It starts of where Mickey was trapped in an ocean where there was a storm and he was lost and all alone in a storm.Chelsee is with me today and she is helping me type this part of my Blog.

I  have had the time to visit my son Anthony who works in an Off Licence in Liverpool. It's been nice to see him instead of seeing him on Skype as i normally do. He has a dog called Denna who always jumps up wanting attention but i am not a dog person and one thing i hate is being licked by a dog. I tried to contact my son in Scotland but his phone went to voicemail so i left a message but i have not had a call. Sad.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Lots of work ahead when i get home.

Today at home the temperature was up to 18/20c and here in Liverpool it was cold dull and miserable. Oh how i wish to be back at home. It's time to get started with my plan to get some Chickens and get some trees planted up on my land. The trees will be just behind the Chicken house in two rows. Cherry both black and red, Cox Pippin apples, and another apple, Lemon, Orange, Plum, Lime and Peach. You can get trees that don't grow to high and it's this variety that i want to grow. All the trees will be planted in pots and sunk into the ground with the bottom cut out of the pots so the roots will be well below the hard ground.

I have a place close to where the Veranda will be and it's here that i will have Tomatoes and herbs etc. Trained up the Veranda will be Kiwi fruits and a lot of work to do. The ground up above the Chicken house was last year rock hard as it faces the sun all day. Now after the rain frim the last few months it's workable so before the sun comes it's time to get a lot done.

I now have the light fittings for the ceiling in the Kitchen so as soon as i get back it's time to get the ceiling finished. It's only the plasterboard that needs to be put up all the cable is in place for the lighting.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Another go about Additives in food.

A little while ago i spoke  about the additives in a tin of Meatballs. I was shocked about the amount of stuff in the Meatballs. Today on a flight with British Airways i had a Chicken Sandwich. It looked ok and tasted ok but really it was a bit bland.  I looked on the wrapper and i was shocked at the ingredients listed on the back. Just have a look at the list below.

Ingredients. 47% Chicken with herbs. (81% Chicken, water, potato starch, salt, acidifiers, E326/E262, dextrose, natural flavour, stabilizers, E451/E452/E407, parsley, carrot, potassium chloride, flavour, maize starch, antioxidant, E301, spicer, preservative, E250 ).
46% Bread, (Wheat flour, water, wheat bran, yeast, dry mil, components, bean flour, dextrose, wheat gluten, vegetable oil, (partly hardened). wheat grits, salt, sunflour seeds, barley malt flour, wheat flakes, rye flakes, oat flakes, line seed, sesame, emulsifier. E481, soy pieces, millet grains, rice flakes, millet, skimmed milk, milk protein, vegetable protein, lupine)
7% low fat margarine, (water, vegetable oils and fats, emulsifiers, E471/E476, natural flavouring, acidifier, E330, antioxident, E385 colour, E160a, vitamin A/D3/E),

Weight 70gr.

Could you believe all this is a sandwich. This is a reason why all i eat now is fresh foods and nothing in a box, tin or package. For a product that is meant to be eaten on the day it's made then do they really need all this crap in the food. I may contact British Airways as i am really not at all happy at what i found added into the food that i had to eat on my flight back from Lisbon. All i can say is Watch this space.

I make my own bread below is the list of ingredients i use, OK i don't have all the additives that allow you to use keep the bread for a week , i don't need to keep my bread as i use it in two days and then i make another. Dead easy.

400gm flour
6gm fresh yeast
1 table spoon sugar
1 Table spoon salt
280gm water

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Did you know, well i know now

It's that time of year that i need an MOT for my car and it's time to get ready for getting my car made legal in Portugal. 

Yesterday i went to a local Portuguese garage where the owner speaks no English but he is very well respected by those of the English community who i know. You pay for what he does unlike another garage who does what he thinks and charges for it. A number of things need attention. I have fitted new headlights because now i am driving on the other side of the road to what we do in the UK so i needed new headlights. These need adjusting also the garage found that a steering joint needed to be replaced and a leak from the rear box on my exhaust. Not bad but as always a but. In Portugal you need matched pairs with your tyres on each axle both tyres must be the same make and size. As both tyres where new but different makes this is a blow but i will have two spares now and not one. Also the tow bar on the back has to come off for the Test. The reason is that you can't have anything past the front or rear bumper. So for the test the tow bracket has to come off, after the test the tow bracket can be put back onto the car.  

While i was at the garage someone who was speaking to the owner explained to me about the regulations about tyres and the tow bracket. It turns out he is an inspector from one of the local test stations. He is a friend of the owner and as the owner speaks no English and I speak no Portuguese he stepped in to explain things.  It's good to know from someone who knows what he is talking about  instead of someone answering questions on one of the many Forums

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

A word to the Wise

Towards the end of 2009 i saw a property for sale that i fell in love with i let my feeling get the better of me despite all i advice i had read about being careful. I contacted the owner and paid a 1,000€ deposit until i could get a flight over to complete the promissory contract. Two days before my flight i received an email telling me that teh property had been sold. Under Portuguese law i was entitled to double my deposit back. This i found out later but not at the time of the contract with the 1,000€ deposit. Well i agreed to meet with the owner to get my money back as i didn't trust giving him my bank details to pay the money direct to my bank.

We arranged to meet in a bar in a town called Serta In Central Portugal at 3pm in the afternoon. I received the money back and all seemed well or at least it did. During this trip i viewed a property and liked it, i liked it so much i got another flight to go and see it again and make a decision about what to do. I decided to buy the house after viewing a number of times and driving up to the village also a number of times to make sure that i was doing the right thing. With this i agreed to buy the house and pay a deposit. I transferred the deposit less 1,000€ that i had in cash, so i arranged andother flight to sign the promissory contract.

Three of the 50€ notes turned out to be forgeries, as the money was handed from me to the estate agent who counted it and then handed to the sellers agent who also counted it each time in front of me. The sellers agent was a retired bank manager and he then went straight to the bank where it was found that three 50€ notes where forgeries. The Police where called and i paid another 150€'s from my account. I then flew back the next day and left the Police to carry on with there investigation.

Well on the 3rd January of this year the local Police called at my house to ask me to go to there office on the 16th January at 11am in the morning but no mention of what it was for.!

Today i went to the Police station with the estate agent Richard, Richard also had copies of all my emails over the sale of the house that fell through and the deposit i then paid for my house that i did in fact buy. When we got to the Police station the local translator had been called. Even though the Police could speak English under there system they have to conduct things in there language and not in mine. So the translator was provided for me. The interview lasted over two hours and many times they would go over things to make sure that i understood what was going on. At the end i had to sigh and initial a couple of forms. One form it was pointed out to me was that if the case goes to court i take this form and i can ask for the 150€ back that i had lost.

Well the moral of the story above is Don't look at something that looks to good to be true and loose your heart to it. Take sometime to research all your options, if it looks to good to be true there probably is something wrong.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

The start of 2012 and the year ahead.

 Today  i found out about Twitter from my Grandaughter Chelsee. Chelsee like many children today is very good using computers i think she gets that from me. Chelsee said that she would show me how to get Twitter onto my computer. What i didn't know was just how much Chelsee knew about computers and how to install programs. At one point i must admit i was having trouble so Chelsee  just said to sent a screen shot from my computer via Skype. I have sent Chelsee pictures over Skype a few times so she understands about screen shots etc.  After sending the screen shot she was able to tell me what to do and in no time i was a member of Twitter. Below is a picture that i took of Chelsee from my laptop. After sending the picture to Chelsee i asked that she gets her mum's permission for me to put it on my Blog. Instead of going downstairs to ask her mum she said  to me that she would Text or Twitter her mum. Oh no you go and sk your mum to look at the picture first so i can put it on my Blog. Well here she is my favourite Grandaughter it would be nice to have a picture of Sean my Favourite Grandson. 

You have read about my Grandaughter Chelsee many times here she is.

Well New Year has come and gone but this has been a quiet week. The week started with me trying to finish all the small jobs in the house.  The new lights for the kitchen are the type that go through plasterboard but as i have insulation on the plasterboard i have had to modify the insulation so the lights fit through and work as they should.

When the plasterboard goes up on the ceiling the size it is doesn't fit for the size that the roof beams are. The answer was to put in more timbers for the plasterboard to fit to. Soon i will beat last putting up the plasterboard and then the ceiling is well on the way to being finished. When i go to Liverpool to see my Mum i will be able to get the last of my roof light fittings.

I found that i had one piece of sandpaper left on my sander so i decided to use it to see how the floor in the lounge would come up after a sanding, it was worth doing so i will be getting more sandpaper as soon as i can.

My car came up for renewal on Thursday so Friday i called a number of companies for a quote. I accepted a quote and paid. I called and i was told that they would email the documents in ten minuets, well the documents never arrived. When i called them with the hour change between Portugal and Spain they had closed. I called back on Saturday morning only to find that they where closed until Monday morning. I was upset by not getting my documents as promised, i don't like being let down but what this meant was that the law in  Portugal states that you must have your documents in the car. Failure to provide documents when asked for by the police comes with an on the spot fine of 150€. So not wanting a fine if stopped i stayed in all weekend.

Hopefully Monday morning my issue with the insurance will be sorted out and i will be back on the road.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Happy New Year to you all

Well we are now into a New Year and I would like to  say i hope that all who read my Story have had a great New Years Eve and that your plans  and dreams for the coming year come true.

I had to go to Lisbon airport on New Years eve to collect some friends who had spent Christmas in the UK and where coming home for the New Year. Driving back I could see in the distance some clouds. Now we have been almost cloud free for quite a while and seeing these made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. What was to come from these clouds on the last day of the year? New Years eve night was a cloudy night but upon waking on New Years day morning I looked  out only to see no frost on the ground, for the last week in the early morning there has been frost on the ground until the sun came and warmed everything up. Today the second of January and the clouds have kept the frost away so all is well.

As I type this I have just had a visit from my Neighbour Donnaelisa who lives in the house down the lane from me. She came carrying two carrier bags, one full with small oranges and the other had a Goats cheese in a butter container. Well that's a good start to the year. Donnaelisa and her husband are both well into there 80's and they work hard everyday on there land and of an early evening they can be seen out with there goats.

I came across a website run by friends Derek and Hannah. They have a camp site for holidays, well camp site may not be the right word look at the picture below this is a Mongolian Yurt. If it's good enough for the likes of Genghis Khan the great Mongolian leader then it's good enough for me.

Derek and Hannah are so good they are rated as the No 2 most cool camp sites in Europe in the Sunday Times. 


Camp with a clear conscience in the hills of central Portugal, surrounded by the scent of jasmine, eucalyptus and orange blossom. The turquoise eco-yurts have a brass-knobbed bed and retro furnishings, while the owners’ organic allotment provides vines, figs and basil. Their chickens will lay your morning eggs, and you’ll wake up to find your breakfast in a hamper at your yurt’s front door before you skip off for a solar-powered hot shower.