Peter's Blog

Iberianspices spicesiberia

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Gois to Bergerac in a day? and then back

I should if things worked right have been to Bergerac in France and back by now. Nearly 700 miles and the guy who wanted his personal things collecting expected that i drive all that way in one go. I could not get across to him as i was having to drive all that way and towing a huge trailer, i would be limited by the speed that i could drive at and i would be lucky to cover5 miles in an hour.

The job got put back a week as he says that a bed he was waiting for from the maker had not arrived. Out of the blue i get a call one morning to say that they had decided to sell everything and move without any belongings apart from bits that will fit in there car.

I felt all along that something was wrong and out of the blue it's off. I had decided that i would only do the job if he agreed to the job being done over three days. So now if he wants the job done it's three days or i won't be doing the job.

So Watch this space

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

The rain and rain and more rain

A sort while ago it became law that all outside fires where banned. This was because of a serious risk of Fires due to the fact that there had been no rain. In some places it was reported that it had been the driest winter for 90 years.

I wanted to do some work up on my estate and to get wooden poles into the ground i had to first use a 5ft steel wrecking bar to drive a whole into the ground. Well we needed rain to soften the ground and rain it has been doing.  Sunday the 22nd was the only day for the last 2 weeks that there has been a dry day.

So please whoever stops the rain please switch it off. I would like to increase the size of the space that my chickens have to run around in but with this weather i can't get anything done.

I drive down to Gois via a small road at the bottom of a valley at the side of the road there is what remains of a stream. Since i arrived this stream has been dried up and looked unused probably for years by the look of it. Well now water is flowing like it's never been away.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Liverpool a Sea Odyssey and more.

Today has been a good day and it started when i got up late. Normally i would have my laptop on and would have had a call from Chelsee. Today Chelsee called me but i was out so she had to wait till i got home. As usual Chelsee was doing extra homework and wanted my help. Chelsee was doing a story on the Sea Odyssey that has been going on this weekend and she wanted some pictures. I found some video of the same subject that was taken in 2010 in Chile so i took copies for Chelsee for her homework.

 In 2008 for the Capital of Culture Liverpool had a Giant Spider visit and now a Giant Little Girl.

Cut and paste the link below and on the BBC site their is some video of the event.

Here is a real little girl sat on the arm of the 35ft Little Girl

Close up of the Little Girl

Just what every Little girls need an Ice Lolly.

Out for a stroll on the Famous Lime st, Liverpool

Chelsee is able to do so much on her computer for one so young and she just wats to learn more. The next thing we are going to do is start to edit photos. I made sure that her mum knows that we have to download a program to do the editing. I use a program called GIMP. Gimp is as good as Photoshop and there are addons to make it do almost everything that Photoshop can do. Gimp is free to download and is very powerful

First we have to download Gimp but remember that i am in Portugal and Chelsee is in Liverpool. What i often do is use an external web cam so i can point it at the screen to show Chelsee what we are trying to do. As you can see from the picture above and below one is cut from another. Easy you may say and for me it was but i am going to work remotely over the internet using Skype to teach Chelsee so she can do this and more.

I look forward to the coming weeks to being able to have Chelsee take photos, editing them and sending them to me so i can put them on this Post.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Is a Blog a waste of time. No

Over the time i have been writing my Blog it has been important to me to leave my life for others to see and read. My Grand children Chelsee and Sean in years to come may see another side of me that they didn't know.

One nice thing is the comments that readers leave really make it all worth while and thanks to you all for leaving them.

Over the next few weeks there is a lot to do even long journeys ahead but i will write about the next chapter in the coming days and weeks.

I really do thank you all for taking the time to read my Blog it makes it all worth while.


Car registration is now complete.

When i was at the Customs office in Aveiro and the process of getting my car made legal was complete the lady said next week you will receive a letter with my new Registration number on it. I have waited in all week till after the postman had been each day. I was begging to get worried, just because the lady at Customs told me all was done i worried that something could or had go wrong. Yesterday Thursday was over a week and still no letter till today. I could hear the postman on his motorbike coming down the lane from Pias and down into Vale Boa. I waited at the door and he was soon coming up the lane to the houses at the top of the village past me to the house at the top. Then down to Fernando's house and lastly down to me and yes he had my letter along with my water bill. Speaking of water bills mine has gone up now to 6.07€ don't you wish those in the UK had water bills like that. Anyway i opened the letter from the Customs office and there it was confirmation that i had my car now legal here in Portugal. My new number was there and all i need to do is go to the local car shop and have my new plates made up. Then a call to the insurance to inform them of the change to my car.

Well it was not as bad as you would believe after some of the stories on the various Expat Forums. Some stories would have you believe that it's a nightmare and that it's better to pay an agent to get things done. Well i am glad that i did it myself, not because i have saved money but because i was confident that i could do it.

All that's needed now is to go to the shop in Arganil and get my new plates.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Four Hens and a Cockerel or Three Hens and two Cockerels?

As you can see i am happy with my chickens in fact i am very happy. But yes always a but somewhere in a story it looks like one of my girls is in fact a boy. It seems that my white hen is in fact a Cockerel so No1 is a boy. Ok what do i do take it back Greg told me that if one turned out to be a Cockerel i could swap it for another Hen. But which one goes back No1 or No6 i can't decide so they both stay but now that leaves me with only three hens. So i am going to get another hen and the new hen will be called No5.

Well as you can see a rather small and not very good looking young chicken.

What a difference a couple of weeks makes. How could i take this one back to change for another hen. So No1 stays.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

The Chicken saga nears an end.

Well for those who have followed the story from the beginning i am now almost finished. Today i got the chicken wire for my chicken run and when i got home i started to put it on my chicken run. It didn't take long to get it fitted to the outside and then it was freedom for the girls and the boss No6.

A fitting song would have been Freedom by Richie Havens, they  are now free to wander  around there new space instead of being locked away all of the time.

The white one is No1 and the brown one is No2

 This is No4

 Here is No6 the Prisoner or No6

Here we are journeys end a nice sunny day and they are all enjoying the sun.

I went back when it was dark and they had all gone inside for the night, tonight they are inside locked away but when i finish the top of the chicken run tomorrow they will be able to go inside whenever they like. I plan to make the outside space much bigger when i get the time but at least now they have outside space.

Today is there first day of a free life, they will be getting a much bigger pen to run around in and explore around the fruit trees soon. These are really free range and that's as good as it gets.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

How to get a car made legal in Portugal.The facts

Well here goes these are the facts not as i see but as i did.

The most important thing is that to get your car imported and pay no tax you must have owned the car for more than 12 months and have utility bills for 12 months. Council tax, Electric, Gas, Phone ETC. In case your bills are not complete then bank statements to back up your bills. This last part helped me as one of my bills was incomplete but the statement proved continuity of payment so my bills where accepted. 

There are a number of things to do to get your car made legal here in Portugal and this is as follows how it's done. If you have a RHD car then you will have to change the lights to the LHD type the cost for my car was 120€. I know because i have done it, no agent just me on my own.

First you need from the manufacturer of your car a Certificate of Conformity.  This you must have or forget the idea of being getting your car made legal. The cost varies from Manufacturer to Manufacturer. Vauxhall charged me £96 for my car. Other manufacturers charge whatever they like but you have to pay it. Some cars like Land Rover are not easy to get but there are companies on the Internet who can supply them at a cost. A 1972 Land Rover is about £200 for a Certificate of Conformity.

You need this to submit your car to the IMTT for a Portuguese MOT. At the test they check the car complies with the details on the Certificate of Conformity and believe me they check everything. For this there is a form that can be downloaded from the IMTT website. You need three copies and the information is all in Portuguese. You need to copy from the Certificate of Conformity onto the IMTT forms and take them with you for your test. The cost for this is 77.18€

You have to take out residency and you go to the local Camara/ Council for you still in the UK or in Portugal it's called the Camara. The charge for residency is 15€.

Now you have your residency certificate you need to go the British Consulate in Porto or Lisbon.I went to Porto to get a Statuary Declaration this is a legal form that you have to have if you want to import your car without paying import tax. Due to it being difficult to find i will provide separate information including screen shots of the maps etc. When you go to the Consulate you need and i Quote from the Consulate site "   This will be issued once you have taken a statutory declaration and on presentation of your passport, tax-payer’s ID card, your residence certificate and vehicle registration document " The fee for this bit of Paper is 157€. Ouch that's a lot.

The reason it's hard to find is on the Consulate site is a map showing the letter A in a street. The Consulate is not there but it's in walking distance. 

That's only the start but it's not as bad a task as some will have you believe it is. I know i have done it.

OK lets just recap what has been done.

Certificate of Conformity: Done
Residency: Done
Statuary Declaration: Done

Now there is a lot of Printing of forms and photo copying to be done.

I had four of each to be safe.

Driving licence with the paper counterpart.
Residency certificate.
Fiscal/ Nif form.
Car log book all parts.

When you have the car tested and you have the Green pass certificate also you are give a Yellow form you can start the next part and that is submitting the paperwork to the Customs. At Customs you will be given three forms that need filling in and you will have to buy two more forms from the office next door. The cost for these is 1.80€ for the two. Again much of the information is taken from the Certificate of Conformity.

The lady at the Customs gave me back some forms to take to Coimbra to the IMTT office . At the IMTT office i was redirected back to the office where i had my car tested as a number was missing. When i got to the test center it was only a simple thing that had to be added and then it was back to the Customs office. I then gave the lady at Customs the forms that i had to take to the IMTT where one of them she photocopied and then filled in a form which she gave me and explained that should i be stopped by the Police i should give them the form.

The lady at Customs then said in a week i will receive a letter that will have my new car registration number on it and i would have to go back to Coimbra. I have since found out  that when i get my letter then i can go and get the plates for my car and fit them. At this point the Insurance have to be informed of the new registration number. The trip to Coimbra is the last step to take to driving legal and that is to get the new Log book so i am told.

OK Cost
Statuary Declaration.                                           157.00€
Certificate of Conformity                                    £96  for my car
Residency                                                                   15.00€
Car Test                                                                      77.18€
Customs form                                                              1.80€
Car plates                                                                   15.00€ app  
LHD headlights one pair                                     120.00€     

The cost for fuel and tolls could be quite a lot depending where in Portugal you live and what you drive.
My car  trips where to the British Consulate in Porto all from Gois
Customs in Averio
IMTT in Coimbra

All the forms that need filling in are in Portuguese but taken slowly you can do it, also use Google Translate.

The above is Fact i know because i did all the above. I do thank Barbara who did some photocopying for me as my copier is still in the UK at the moment.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Today i started work on the Chicken run.

It's about time that before the Chickens get to much bigger that they get some outside space. Today i started to make a chicken run for them and it's not very big. Because they are only still young and not full grown this will do for them. As i get more time i will make as big an enclosure that i can bearing in mind my estate is only twice the floor area as my humble abode.

Well as the next picture shows the Chicken run is complete. Only one job left and that's a door look. When i get the wire mesh i can put the two roof supports to hold the mesh up i need to wait so i get the right size mesh and then i can place the supports in the right place. With look Saturday afternoon is when i will go and get the mesh and with look Saturday night it should all be done. Then the girls can come outside for a play in there new outside space. An old window made a great door so that was one job less to do. Next update will when the girls come out to play.

Next door to me is an elderly couple, well maybe about my age and today Fernando came over to me with something on his garden fork. He gestured to me to smell it so i did, it has to be a herb of some kind but as yet i don't know what it is. I know it's not mint as i have some mint and i know if you rub the leaves you can smell the mint.  

If you know what herb it may be please leave a comment.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Oregano, Parsley, Thyme, Mint and a washing machine!!!

Last week i was round at my friends Richards house and he gave me a Mint plant from out of his garden. When i got home i planted it in a nice pot and for a few days it just looked limp and half way dying. It only took a few days and it was well on teh way to recovery.

Today while i was at Richards he found growing in his garden Oregano, Parsley and Thyme just the things that i needed this past week in my coking but i had to leave them out as i had none.  have an old washing machine that i couldn't get a manual for so i decided to make another use for it. This time it was going to make better use of it. I was going to grow some plants in it.

I first needed to get some soil in it and some compost, my soil was full of stones so i borrowed a sieve to get all the rubbish out. The soil was full of small stones, bits of roots and other stuff. After i sieved it all i had was good soil  but it needed some compost to make it better for growing things in. Well it's planted now and in use. I put my Parsley and Thyme into pots and i hope that they will do well like everything else i have planted. The one that's letting me down is my Blackberry, it's in a nice pot but it seems to be sleeping but it may suddenly come to life. Lets hope it does.

Well how's this for an alternative use for an old washing machine. The first thing i put in was Oregano and lets see how it gets on in its new home.

The Nightmare the end story

Well this saga is about to come to an end and this is it. On our way back from Porto airport on Monday the 2nd April we stopped for fuel and the car i had was a diesel. Nothing unusual here in Portugal as they seem very popular. Well i stopped at the pump and put 10€ into the tank and started the rest of the drive back to the hotel where the people i had picked up where going. A couple of Km down the motorway i just realized that i had just put petrol in at the last stop. Well this is a diesel car Oh dear what was going to happen all i could imagine was that the engine would stop in the middle of nowhere on the motorway. I was lucky that the next turnoff was where i came off for the drive through to Penacova and then onto the hotel between Arganil and Tabua then for me home and to bed.

We got of the motorway ok but i was worried that maybe the petrol in with the diesel would cause a problem at some point. Ahead was a turnoff where you go to get the Mot done when you get your car Matriculated and across the road is a petrol station. This time i was careful to put diesel into the tank.  As the car never stopped with the diesel and petrol mix i can only guess that the car had more diesel than petrol but i was very lucky not to have stopped with a damaged engine.

Now after topping up it was just case of getting to the hotel. Oh speaking of the hotel the direction i had where in my car but i was not in my ca i was in a courtesy car. Mentally what was i going to do and the only solution i could think of was to go to the wedding venue and get direction from there. As luck had it i was told where the groom was and there i met the hotel owner who took the party on to the restaurant that the groom was at and then took me to the hotel so i would know where to pick them up from for the wedding day celebrations. I made sure that i got the savnav directions so next day it was easy just ask the satnav to get me there and it did without a hitch.

 All i had to do now was collect the wedding party up and it was job done until i had to take them all back to the hotel at night. A scary few days but all done everybody seemed happy.

The problem of misdiagnose with the car was that they did not switch of the gas from there machine. When i got the car back it was still not running the way it should but when i explained to the garage here in Gois they knew just what to do and in a short time they found the correct problem and fixed it. All seems right now iand i don't expect to have any more trouble.

Well that's the end of my nightmare week. Now it's back to  normal life here in My place in the Sun.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Part two of the nightmare continued

Now the follow up to the Nightmare.

Wedding day, I went to pick up a party for the wedding and all went well arrived on time and took them all to the wedding venue and all seemed well. It's now 10pm in the evening and ready for the first trip back to the hotel from the wedding. By the time we left with the first lot to take to the hotel it was almost midnight. Now it's about 1am in the morning and back for the second party to return to the hotel. There was a lady who lived in the opposite direction from the hotel but as the time we where ready to leave it was close to 2am. I couldn't leave her as three of her friends left without her and she was  her own. I left to take the last party to the hotel and then go into the opposite direction well away from my own home. By the time i got her there it was 2.40am and time for me to get to bed.

Well tonight things where not going to plan, the car decided to breakdown again in the middle of nowhere. After about 20 minutes i got the car going again. On Wednesday i was due to take a couple of people from the wedding to the airport but how when my car was broke again. Now the car was going again i decided to take it back to the garage who did such a good job it broke again. After a long drive i arrived and had a doze in my car till the garage opened and thankfully they where not late. Well i got the courtesy car again and left them to get the job done properly i hope. I arrived back a little before i was due to go to the airport again for the last time. I hate going to Porto airport Lisbon is so much better to have to drive to. I am really glad that the drive to the airport went well and i was son on my own driving back to get my car.  When i got to the garage the car was hoked up to a machine and this time they had found the fault and the correct part was about to be fitted. It turned out to be the coil pack. So the first garage who fitted a set of Plugs and an electric switch of some kind and charged 129.88€ didn't have a clue what they where doing. Well the drive back with my car now fixed was so uneventful.

There is still one last part of the nightmare of the last few days and i will come back to this in a day or two.

Chicken Update

Well it's now 2 weeks that the chickens have come to stay. They have certainly grown over the last 2 weeks and when i can get some more pictures of No2, No3 and No6 i will let you see them. But for now enjoy these two.

Well it seems that Anthony has called No1 Barbara and Chelsee has Called No1 Chelsee, me it's still No1.

This is No1

This is No4


Thursday, 5 April 2012

29th March the start of a nightmare week.

The title says it all. Everybody has at some time a period when things go wrong and just seem to keep going wrong, and wrong, and wrong. Well here goes and over the next few days i will recount the nightmare i have just had.

As i was going to Porto on the 29th i offered to collect a friend who was flying back from the UK after a short visit. I was lucky to be able to park very close to the airport so upon arrival time i didn't have far to walk to make my way back home.

After about half an hours drive i started to loose power from my engine, this had happened once before and after a few moments it restarted again. Not this time it was stopped good and proper. My car had gone asleep and would not wake up again no mater what i tried. With my insurance i had breakdown cover and recovery so a call was made to them. I was lucky that they have someone who is English so the language was of no problem. The guy on the phone was great and saying all the things to reassure me i was going to get home safely well by now it was  pitch dark but still a warm night. I was asked just where i was and saying on the motorway was not enough. I had to walk until i found a motorway emergency phone as they have a number on the side that tells people just where you are.

After a little while i get a call back and i then explain just where i was. I was told that we would be getting a taxi home and the next day my car would be taken to a garage in my home town. After an hour we get a call to say the recovery company would arrive ant time and we would be going with them back home. It seems that we would not be getting a taxi, maybe because of the distance to my home or some other reason.

It was not long before the recovery driver arrived and started to put the car on the transporter for the trip home. As we got into the cab of the transporter we both started to put our seat belts on only to be told by a gesture from the driver that we didn't have to wear them. Since the first day i took my first driving lesson i have always had my seat belt on after my driving instructor explained that i had to wear it for my own safely. It's now 44 years since i passed my test and at that time it was not law to have to wear seat belts in a car but i did as the instructor  suggested and i have always worn my belt.

Well to be traveling down the motorway in the dead of night without a seat belt on was to say the least a bit scary but we arrived home OK.

The next morning i called at the garage after using Google Translate to translate what i had to say to the garage owner what was wrong. When i went back for the car he had changed the plugs and an electronic switch inside of the engine and gestured that all was now ok. After a short drive all seemed well for now. The bill for the work done was 129.88€ Ouch but what can you do.

Well all went well till Sunday the 1st April when i made my was to Miranda do Cova for the monthly market.I had traveled 15km when i found that i had left my wallet at home so it was a trip back home to get my wallet should i have needed money at the market. As  made my way back to the market again the car started to act up again loosing power and then restarting. At this point it was wise to make my way back home. Due to the difficulty in the language and not being happy going back to the garage i decided to go to a garage where the owner speaks English. The owner has another garage in  some little drive away and i was asked to go there as they have a machine to plug my car into to find out the problem.

I had to go to Porto airport to pick some people up who where going to a wedding and because of this and the problem with the car i was offered a courtesy car but i had to get back to to the garage  where the courtesy car was waiting for me. Well guess what it stopped again right out in a forest where  i just sat and waited for help to arrive.

Well once i had the car i was on my way to the airport somewhat and late. I was to find that after i had been been driving a sort time that the motorway was blocked by a traffic accident and this only made my arriving at the airport even later. I was in fact three hours late but i had been texting to let the people i was to pick up them late. The result was that i got them to where they where going but a few hours late.

This has been a nightmare but there is more to come.