Notwithstanding all the emotions involved the hardest part of moving several thousands of miles to a new country is what you take with you. Many people who undertake moves of this distance move en-masse as a family, often with the assistance of an outside agency such as work that will ultimately pay for your removals and help you through the last frantic months in one location and assist you at the other end. Large organisations have their own relocation services, either their own in-house or a specialist company contracted to do the same.

My problem was considerably magnified by the fact that I was moving from 27 rooms worth of house in the UK – full of my parent’s and grandparent’s furniture, paperwork and ephemera, the leftovers from two previous partners and approximately 20 years of assorted junk my kids had “left” behind when they moved out — to a five roomed cottage in Portugal where there is no room to swing a cat.

In the end, that fact actually became my saving grace – I ended up moving about 600 cubic feet of prized possessions. It boiled down to some furniture that had been in my family for years and special possessions — very much as we discussed here — give or take a few.

My next problem was, of course, what to do with my worldly goods when they arrived here in Portugal.

Mr P solved the problem – we would turn the dirt floored, corrugated iron/asbestos roofed construction that housed the lawn mower, sacks of wood, enough junk to put me to shame and which doubled as the cat maternity ward into “my space.” I loved the gesture, his understanding that at times I might need space or just a change of scenery. So here, in pictures is our first joint project together. These are the before pictures — quite a challenge as you can see.

The first job to be done was to empty it completely and to remove all the bugs and assorted insect life along with the wasp’s nest and the mice.

Next we sealed the floor with concrete and replace the roof.

Then we had to remove the front so we could lay patio tiles on the floor. This was the cheapest and most practical solution for our purposes. All my art and craft materials would be in here, here is where I was going to have space to paint, use glue and indulge in other incredibly messy activities. It had to be washable.

All done and ready to paint:


Finished result after electrics had been put in along with lights and all my precious belongings.

This project was important in many ways — I learnt so much about myself and Mr P and how we work together as a team and what talents we both bring to a given situation. Before I moved here and before I met him I would never have tackled such an undertaking.

Ironically the shed has not been used in anger – I have never needed space from him — it has been used to create all kinds of fun projects and the cats love coming to sit with me while I work in there.


  1. What a fantastic story, Nicola! Did the shed come with a preinstalled purple roof? SMILE!

    So many authors and artists will be making their way to Portugal to move in with you!

    Do you have WiFi in the shed?

    Was it tough getting electricity in the shed — and where did you get that magnificent lightbulb?

    I see there’s some sort of white vinyl ceiling — was that hard to install?

    Can you stay there year ’round or is it seasonal?

    1. I looked for Purple !

      Yes I have WiFi – I have a docking station for my Wi Fi pen that provides we with mobile access anywhere in Portugal.

      Electricity was simple – it has its own supply, its own fuse box and its own surge breakers – especially for the computer.

      The light bulb was my response to the ridiculous prices they wanted for an LED lighting system I looked for the slae items and there is was ………….. thought I could keep all my good ideas in it ! Or it could give me some when I run out.

      The roofing comes in sections – burgundy ridges one side – white vynil the other.
      The middle is insulated with foam – depending on use you can get it in various sizes/thicknesses.

      It is very easy to use slide it on, line it up, screw it down. Took two men two hours and a ladder to place five pieces and screw them down and bolt them in place. We covertly enclosed the overhang on the far side and now have a storage space and space for my large chest freezer – win win!

      I have an oil filled radiator in there that cuts in at the bottom end of the computers tolerance zone and I have air con – aka an air colled fan that cuts in at the top end of the tolerance zone. I have had no problems with condesation at all. I think the fact it is made of wood allows it to breathe much more than a house
      would under simialr circumstances.

      Meant to add total cost including the extra help needed for the roof was approx 800 euros.

      1. Fantastic detail, Nicola!

        Are you aware you have violated — “The First Amendment of Internet Publishing” — by mentioning cats without showing them?

        …it has been used to create all kinds of fun projects and the cats love coming to sit with me while I work in there.”

        Please remedy! SMILE!

        1. Now stop anticipating my posts please – BTW I LOVE the pic you found for this aricle at the top !

  2. I love the photographs and moving with you from big to small so efficiently!

  3. Oh Wow – this really came out great. You made it so warm and inviting (though I’m sure it is already pretty warm – looks like a sunny hot day in Portugal) it is important to have a place to create and it looks as if this place will be very conducive to creativity.
    What a move too. Good for you! I have lived in a few countries (including your neighboring Spain) but never just completely on my own without a solid idea of what I might be getting myself into. What an adventure.

    1. Thank you – I love it – I get teased because it is very much “little England” and ironic that it is the place where they all want to come and have a cup of tea when they visit.. Whatever I will be doing it will be getting into trouble – and that is much nicer to do in the sun – whereablouts in Spain were you living ?

  4. Very well done Nicola. I’m glad you worked on and created your own space, that just makes it all the more special and unique. I also, like the roof and the lightbulb.

    1. I love the lightbulb too – have to remember to duck around it and poor Mr P hits his head on it everytime he visits me!

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