The Good Life

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Living here in Portugal seems to have made me interested in gardening. It was something I always wanted to be good at in England but a combination of poor weather and lack of time to properly look after the things I had planted made for a certain amount of disillusionment.

Spring Onions were my first priority. They seem to come up in many recipes but are not widely available here – in fact the only bunch I have seen were in posh English-style supermarket, Apolonia, at over five euros per bunch! This made them a very sensible thing to grow for ourselves.

What started off as a pot of spring onions, some rocket and a herb garden soon got out of hand the next time we visited the garden centre. The thing is, most things seem to grow so well here AND quickly, which as an impatient person is important – to hold my interest and prevent me wandering off to find a new hobby!

We now have the following growing, in addition to the things mentioned above: lettuces, strawberries, radishes, peas, tomatoes, peppers, peaches, lemons and kumquats. Every morning when I step outside, something has grown or sprouted, and wandering outside before cooking in the evening to snip some fragrant basil or peppery rocket is relaxing and life affirming.

Various plants including jasmine
Various plants including jasmine

All of this edible produce has been placed amongst flowers we never saw in England – delicate looking white jasmine and beautiful purple and white daisies.

Those of our friends in England who teased us and referred to us as Tom and Barbara from “The Good Life,” sitcom when we lived in the Surbiton area will now be amused, no doubt, that it has all come true, although chickens and goats on our small terrace are not being considered!

In other news, the weather here in Portugal is now starting to look a lot more summery, after being given back a little of winter early last week. More friends have booked to come and see us in the near future which we very much look forward to, and, really excitingly, some family members seem to have found a suitable property near to us here in Portugal, so before long we may have some family living nearby, which will be wonderful.

Other than the mosquitoes, which appear to have declared war on us, all is rather good in Portugal right now.

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  1. Hi,

    I am a Portuguese living in the UK and just found your blog on the expats web site. I don’t know why but I like to read how all of you are adapting to my own country, maybe it’s a kind of retribution for the way your country has been receiving us for the last seven years.
    I wish you a fantastic life there in “my” Algarve. You know that “bad times” will eventually appear occasionally – Portugal is not the paradise – and sometimes stupid things do happen. My suggestion is that you should as soon as possible start creating a good net of Portuguese friends; this will help you a lot. Portuguese people really like to be helpful (not all of them of course, in this case “being Portuguese” is a necessary but not sufficient condition), you just need to know to choose the right ones.
    To finish, let me just give you two more suggestions:
    The first one is a book, I recommend you a book from Fernando Pessoa (you can find the English version in the amazon) “The Anarchist Banker” (O Banqueiro Anarquista).
    The second one is a place to visit. Go to visit Reguengos de Monsaraz in the alentejo, from there then you can go and visit, Barrancos, reguengos, the palace in Vila-Viçosa, Estremoz etc.

    Have a nice time

  2. Hi and welcome to the blog – thank you for reading and thank you for your suggestions – I love to read suggested books so will be adding the Anarchist Banker to my next Amazon order.

    We have so far only had time to go to Evora in the Alentejo and can’t wait to explore more of the beautiful area – I especially like the wine from Monsaraz 🙂

    Best wishes, Ben

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