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.

My day is arranged according to the weather — is the sun shining or not?  Inside chores are scheduled for rainy days — unless I need to wash the tiled floors of the house through from one end to another in which case a hot but breezy day is the best.

If the sun is shining, we move outside, to bask in the sun, to re-energise and soak up its natural energy.  We take our meals outside in a much lighter healthier fashion.  We garden; we compute and watch our family of cats and kittens at play. We photograph with the sun at our backs whilst we revel in all that nature provides us.

My months are governed by the turning of the Pagan Wheel of the year. I celebrate the equinoxes and sabbats, the movement of the sun through the heavens.

Our handfasting was held on the 22nd of September, the vernal equinox a time when night and day and sun and moon were in perfect balance and the time of traditional thanksgiving celebrations.

We follow the seasons with our produce, our plants and fruit ripen in the sun — no finishing off indoors. It does mean we have to manage the glut when it happens because everything ripens at once. We freeze, bottle and preserve what we can and store ahead for the winter months.

For me this is one of the most wonderful things about living in Portugal, that I have been able to tune myself back into a more natural order of things.

I have been able to get back into the rhythm of nature — most importantly the sun — that and the fact that if I am very lucky I can catch the early rising sun early through the sea mists over the River Mira and then watch it in glorious splendour as it sets late in the evening over the sea.


  1. Quite a lovely and thoughtful piece, Nicola. The beauty here is not just in your images, but in the structure of your writing. You pick a meme — the sun — and we follow the arc of that warmth in your life throughout your days. It’s an aesthetic delight!

  2. I love it, Nicola! 🙂 Thank you for sharing this beautiful story.

  3. It has been revolving in my head for a couple of days – it came into its own after your piece yesterday – I am so glad I let it stew for a couple of days – it is far better then the first attempt I made.

    1. Wonderful! That’s a fine lesson in writing: Let stuff stew and simmer a bit. The taste and depth of the end result is always more delicious! SMILE!

  4. Mr P would say a little bit of this a little bit of that, some ” un je ne sais quoi” and some magic !

  5. This is a great peek into your daily life. I hope that when I find a (semi) permanent job, I can take some time out of each day to appreciate nature as you have. I’ve saved the picture of the River Mira to inspire me every morning!

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