Peter's Blog

Iberianspices spicesiberia

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Rains gone washing done

We have had a lot of rain this week and living on a lane that goes down a hill sometimes it's a river not a lane. Our rain normally goes down a gully at the side of the lane but this week it overflowed but that's no problem. A while ago the local Camara " or council " had the lane resurfaced and the camber of the lane now runs away from the house so when it rains the rain drains away from the house.

Getting washing dry at this time is always a problem but so what, today as the sun was shining i put my washing out in the sun to dry. It took less than three hours and it's dry already so it's been a good day up to now.

 At this time of year in the UK i was always coughing very badly with a very bad  chest cough. When i came here to live i found that i didn't cough anymore and it's thanks to the lack of pollution in the air. The air here is clean and pollution free and the picture below shows why. The tree's have something called Lichen growing on them, Lichen only grows in places of very clean air so who's a lucky boy then.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Being without a car

Suddenly the reality of living in another country and way of life makes you think for a moment. My car failed the MOT as i have mentioned before today. My car runs on Autogas and also petrol one thing it failed on for it's annual test was the ABS brake system and that's been fixed but only after getting a part from the UK due to the cost here in Portugal.

My car also failed on the exhaust emissions being high. The test station advised that i switch of the gas when i drive for the retest. This i did as the tester said that the high emission may be from changing from Gas to Petrol. I did as advised but at test the emissions where still very high and the car failed again.

Instead of  going to a garage and have someone changing part after part until they find what's wrong i looked for a specialist who had the right diagnostic equipment. After finding someone i went late one afternoon to ask when i could leave my car for testing. The owner who speaks quite good English said he would have a look there and then. He connected the car to his computer system and quickly ruled out various things and said that i would need to leave the car for further testing.

The day came when i had to leave the car and i was lucky to have a friend to drive me back home. It's only now i feel lost without my car. Now is the first time in 46 years driving that i have not had something to drive or even borrow. Life does get lonely when you suddenly find yourself of the road.

I got a call and the garage confirmed what i found out from calling my cars dealer in the UK , I needed a Catalytic converter wow that's very costly. The garage said the best price he could get was 540€ ouch. Due to competition in the car parts market in the UK you can always get a deal from somewhere. First port of call after getting a part for my brake system was EBay. It didn't take long to find a very good competitive price. £114.02 and delivery to a UK address was free. This was not the cheapest but one i was happy with as the seller has over 50,000 positive feedback so i ordered my part from them.

It's now a waiting game, waiting for the part to be delivered to a UK address and then sent over to me. Wait wait and wait but being without a car will be hard to take. Being out in the country and without a car is not good. There is a bus service from our village each Tuesday morning to go to the market and that's it. OK i have friends but i don't want to put on them as may car is my problem but i should have it back soon

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Ok so it's raining but we need it.

For month after month, after month we had sunshine from morning till night. We had temperatures up to 40c and now it's all gone winter is on it's way. It's not all bad it's just got a little colder during the day 20c is still ok by me but for the last few days we have had rain. As i live half way up a lane in a tiny village you get to see views from the windows looking down the valley. Today with the rain we had what looked like a river outside caused by the constant rain.

The rain stopped about noon and now we have blue skies again. The rain of the last few days has got the tinder dry ground growing again. Gone has the brown dry burnt ground and now we have plant life growing again.

This is a picture taken outside of my front door. Even the wild Fennel is growing well, days ago this was a wilderness all burnt and dead.

The effect of the constant rain has been the timber on my veranda has got wet. One strip of the deck timber has distorted badly and it's not the first time this has happened. This will be replaced when i get to go to the shop i got the timber from but the level of rain was extremely heavy. Little dried up streams now have water flowing again, so what should we expect for the coming winter Who knows but i would rather be here not knowing than in the UK.

A local carpenter says he has not seen this happed before. But once replaced all should be well.

I recently went past a man made lake that i first saw in about May of this year. I didn't have my camera with me but it was clear how much water was in the lake then but now the lake is very low.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Internet who needs internet. ME

For three months i have battled with the phone and internet supplier over my internet speed and a noise on the phone line. Today i went to another house to try my phone in case the fault was on my phone but that was OK.

Four times in the last few weeks engineers have been to our village and worked on teh lines. My friend has no problem with his phone but his internet is slow. Last night an engineer called to work again on the line and also in my house. He changed something in a box on the wall. When he went back to his van i didn't know that he was leaving, i had wanted to get him to test the line and my internet speed but he was gone.

My speed on one day was so slow it didn't even register on the phone companies speed tester. Another day it was faster to upload than download, what crazy times we are having here in my bit of paridise.

It's with a bit of luck that when i can i download loads of stuff so when speed is this bad i have something to watch.

So slow i could walk faster than this.

This is faster to send e-mails that to access the internet.

Still no better.

Better but still can't stream from Filmon.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Autumn is on it's way but still some strawberries

Well Autumn is upon use but that's not stopped the growing process as the pictures below show. Mr favourite is Srawberries, as the picture below shows they are still growing well. I don't expect that they have much longer before they are finished for another year. The Strawberries have started a number of runners and i will cut and pot them on the coming days for next year. Next year i will have a Hydroponics unit up and running. The benefit should be that the strawberries will be hanging down instead of being stuck under leaves and open for the slugs etc to attack.

This year i got from the Miranda Do Corvo market a Scotch Bonnet chilli. For those who don't know they are a very hot chilli. I have a number of Scotch Bonnets hanging up to dry before they get put a way in jars to be used at a later date. 

Here we have a variety of different chilli's outside drying before they will be stored in jars like the Scotch Bonnets.

Good spuds feed on good clean water from the tap and loads of washing up water. Now will they taste of Fairy washing up liquid later after i eat them i will know but i grew them.

Happy days

Reason my website is white

I have just been asked about the fact that my website is shall we say colourless. There is a good reason for that and when i explain you will understand.

For those who have seen my website the background is white and there was a good reason. I first created a Blog as i found it easy to design using a Blog and then giving it to a designer to make the site for me. The one major thing all along was to have the site as easy as i could get it for those who were not very good at using a computer.

The feedback i have had is that it is as i wanted easy to use. Now about the lack of colour.

I came to having to put images for each of the Herbs and Spices so as to let people know what they were buying. I could cut a picture but couldn't find out how to change the background of the picture. A square picture with a round image that was white looked OK on a white background so white it was.

The pictures may look out of focus that's because they are bigger than they should be. I will over time change the whole site when i can cut the image from the background and i can then have a new base colour.

For now the feedback is very good so i hope that you enjoy what you see. If you like it then please click the LIKE on the home page where it says Facebook.

Monday, 14 October 2013

You can even be ripped of in Portugal

Last week I needed a job doing on my car and again i asked the same garage to diagnose the ABS warning light fault as they had a machine to do a test who had previously ripped me off. Now what could go wrong Plenty.

He quoted 169€ for the parts and I said that I could get them from the UK and I did.

Before I left the car I asked if he could do a couple of minor jobs as well I asked carefully how much I needed to get from the bank to pay him. I asked three times and each time he said between 60/ 70€ each time I said is that the final amount.

To my horror on my return he said the bill was 100€, I had taken a friend with me as a witness and I had a Dictaphone with me in case I needed to back up everything I said should I need it.

I said to him five times that he said 60/ 70€ and each time he said he also did the other jobs. Each time I said but I asked what is the amount of money I need to get from the back but he was having none of it he said he was an honest man and the cost was 100€.

I then after five times of trying to get him to see that when he said 60/ 70€ that I asked for the final amount. With not getting anywhere I asked for his Complaints books and he then tried to negotiate at 80€. I then explained that as he didn't give me the complaints book when asked I had to go to the GNR and report him. He soon said OK 70€ but I said no sorry but I had to report him as he didn't give me the Complaints book when asked. After he said 70€ twice I said OK and told him I had recorded the whole conversation and that I will tell all Expats I come into contact with just how dishonest he is. At this point i told him that i had recorded everything in case i needed proof of what had gone.

With this I took the keys and left

Moral of the story. Use the complaints book only when you can back up a complaint

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Iberianspices is now live

It's such a long time ago that i decided to create my own website for selling Herbs and Spices. This came about from my not being able to get the Spices i wanted for my cooking.

I still have some minor bits to finish the site and you can't buy online till Monday the 21st October. It's the home page title that needs work and a number of the latest products i have had delivered .

I am mentioning it now so as it can be seen and to get interest in the site. If the reaction is as good as i have had from the market i go to i will be happy. I had found a supplier in a local town called Arganil and he had a great selection of 12 products. Being an ex retailer i have done the job right, i have 87 different Herbs and Spices and more are on order.

In a day or two there will also be a Facebook page where i will post information and recipes for you to enjoy. Please take the time to look at the website and should you spot something i need to  correct then please let me know.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Chicco did a fine job cutting my timber.

When i moved into my house there where three wooden boxes similar to coffins but used for storage. I set about taking these apart but with the first one i did more damage than i was happy with i was to heavy with the hammer. I ended up with a lot of timber planks from the three boxes and after sanding one plank i knew just how good timber was. It turns out to be Chestnut and due to it's age it's not going to twist or distort as it's well seasoned now so it will be perfect for the job i want it to do.

The timber you see will be cut down to go around the windows and the doors. Also i will have the doors for the kitchen units from the same Chestnut. Like my kitchen ridge beam i will oil the timber first before it's used. I will first find out what i should use to treat the timber but i hope that Allan says to use Linseed oil as it's what i favour . Allan being a carpenter all his working life knows better than i do about getting the best from timber.

Friday, 4 October 2013

When you need a car part ask a Manc

I went last week to get a new MOT for my car at the local MOT station. Here in Portugal it's called an IPO certificate. My car failed because it needed a new ABS sensor but Vauxhall Incorporated it into a wheel bearing. So i needed a new wheel bearing for the drivers side of the car.

I went to a local garage where the owner speaks English and he said to come back the next day and he would get me a price for the part. Next day i arrived to find out what it was going to cost to get the car repaired. I was told 169€ wow that's a bit much as i had already found that on Ebay i could get the same part for £41.95. Now that's a bit of a saving and it's like when i needed a rear back box for my exhaust were the top price was 245€ or a copy part from Spain for 150€. I got one from a shop i use in Liverpool for £44.67. Why the difference  i don't know but the exhaust came back with me on the plane after i had been back to Liverpool.

I found a firm Manchester  now i know that people from Liverpool and the same for Manchester have a rivalry some would say a hatred of each other but that's only the football fans.

The firm i found was Andy's auto parts and they had what i wanted and they sent an e-mail with a link to pay via Paypal. That's were i had the start of problems in no part the fault of Andy's auto parts.

My card first had to be changed for the one i had registered on Paypal and when done i tried to pay but i wanted to have the part sent to an address in Portugal. My card is registered to an address in Liverpool.

Andy's again came to the rescue and told me you can get the address changed and that was the next problem. I could have a gift address but i couldn't change the address to Portugal. I decided to try and buy via Andy's shop on Ebay but this also had it's problems i couldn't add the delivery charge as on Ebay Andy's delivery was free.

The guys at Andy's really did all they could to help me and the final thing to try was via a bank transfer. Again Andy's guys came to the rescue and it didn't take long and payment was made and delivery is on it's way.

Would i use them again that's a BIG yes not only that but i would recommend them to anybody who needs car parts.

Thanks Guys

0044 1616286199

Thursday, 3 October 2013

New roads from old

It's now well over four year since i first saw what was to be my home for the future. When i came over for a couple of days i would drive round all the villages so when i heard about the house i knew just were it was. The lane up the hill was just a well worn track and i would have to drive from one side of the road to the other to avoid the holes and obstacles in the track. Work started at the end of 2011 and while i was in Liverpool early 2012 the lane was cut and Tarmac was laid and the new wall built opposite my front door.

If you compare the two pictures you can see the changes in the last two years. We no have a Tarmac road instead of a gravel path.

The lane is much wider now and the drain at the side on the left is now much better.

You can see here much better just how the changes have been. The lane on teh left was cut back over 3ft to allow for a wall to built.

Now how's that for a good job well done. The job was held up by a week until they found someone to explain to me that they needed my permission to cut a Metre from my land to make the lane wider.