Hidden away in the cork forests and olive tree covered hills of Alentejo are some real historical gems — especially in the area around Guadaloupe near Evora which is known as the “Iberian Mesopotamia.” The most famous of these is the Cromlech of the Almendres megalithic complex — an ancient stone circle, and to the South the amazing passage mound — The “Anta Grande do Zambujeiro.”
Four or five months ago when I was doing my routine self-breast check I found a small pea sized lump on my breastbone, nestled in my cleavage.
A quick check with our doctor at the time confirmed what I had first thought — a fatty lump or sebaceous cyst — nothing to be concerned about.
Big boxes, little boxes, round boxes, wooden boxes, plastic boxes, crates, chests and of course a suitcase or four, plastic bags a plenty and of course a kitten or five — yes it is official — we are on the move. Official tenancy starts 1st June — we have until 31st May to pack up the contents of the house — that is my job — and all the agricultural equipment, a dead car or two plus all the tools and spares and their housing as well as our tractor. There is also a garage to clear — thank goodness that is his job!
Mr P and I chose to be hand fasted for several reasons. Most importantly it fitted our belief systems to a “T,” but there were secondary issues to take into account such as the Catholic church’s refusal to marry couples where one of the couple has been previously married and divorced and the nightmare of red tape that would have to be surmounted for a couple of two different nationalities to get married in a civil ceremony in a third party country. We are also both of the opinion that we did not need or want the state to recognise our union.
International Workers’ Day (also known as May Day) is a celebration of the international labour movement. May 1 is a national holiday in more than 80 countries and celebrated unofficially in many other countries. All around Europe people are celebrating with a day off or a “bank holiday.”
This is going to be a two-part post — Sines — Ancient and Modern. I am breaking all the rules and giving you the modern first! I’m doing this mainly because when I visited Sines with this idea in mind, the old town was totally blocked off for renovations.
Today, 25th April, is a national holiday in Portugal. It is the anniversary of the Carnation Revolution and this day commemorates the start of the bloodless military coup which with the help of civil resistance led to the fall of the Estado Novo bringing democracy and civil liberties to the Portuguese people and the withdrawal of Portugal from its African colonies. It brought to an end nearly five decades of dictatorship (1937-1974).
Remember me? I am the Alentejo cat that might be getting new pets — the tall one and the red one. They have been coming to see me most days and have been leaving me food. I was very glad of it when it was raining all the time — they even left it on the porch so it would keep dry for me.
Now it is sunny, and I have spent my time trying to catch these two birds on the fence — so far they have eluded me! They are crafty; they steal my cat food and fly off just as I pounce. I am patient though and, like me, they hang around most days.
This was a photographic challenge — to share my backyard/neighbourhood landscapes in portrait format instead of traditional landscape format.
This first view is across the fields towards the small mountain range called Serra do Cercal, you can see the aqueduct which is part of a huge irrigation project in the region crossing the valley and the fire breaks in the forested mountain slopes behind.
I awaken each morning to the soft early light of the rising sun as it filters through the window shutters directly onto my pillow. Its arrival means it is time to rise and shine — no alarm clocks needed here.
Beja is the administrative centre for Southern Alentejo and it was administration that took us there today. Mr P had to renew one of his residence permits — there are several — so he could renew his driving licence.
Beja has been a strategically valuable population centre since Celtic times. It was named Pax Julia by Julius Caesar in 48 BC. Emperor Augustus renamed the thriving town “Pax Augusta”. Next to take over the region were the Visigoths, the town then fell to the invading Umayyad army in 713. This was the start of approximately 1000 years of warring between Christians, Muslims and the Moors. The inhabitants of the city have been massacred and the buildings razed to the ground more than once in it violent history. In spite of all this destruction and reconstruction it retains a certain historic charm.