The Good — well, we did it — it took us awhile and happened in a very ramshackle manner. We moved ourselves with the help of a cast of extras. One ancient tractor, a front-loading “bin,” two borrowed trailers, the land rover, some Bulgarians, our neighbour Manuel and our friends Joachim and Zee.

Yes, an odd pic for moving house but it sums up everything good about the move. I says we no longer live on a through road so there is no dust which means I can “sun dry” my washing at last. It means we have electricity and water and Joachim has plumbed in the new washing machine and it is all working. It also shows we have space to put the washing machine and a free hand to do what we wish here from our new landlord who is very sympathetic and helpful. It also means I did not lose my camera or any of the cables in the move — that has happened before.

More good is the new sofa, the new chairs to go with the dining table and a bathroom that has a bath.

The bad were unreliable Bulgarians and trying to coordinate the transfer of the supply of TV, Telephone and Internet services.

The Bulgarians dropped out after day two as the fruit-picking season started — talk about being left in the lurch; incredibly frustrating and downright annoying to say the least.

The telephone, satellite and landline saga is almost worth a post in its own right. The “Infrastructure” — the poles and lines and cables are owned by the prehistoric SAPO — very much like BT in the UK owns the infrastructure there. The services supplied over that structure are, however, open to competition from other providers. These are much younger companies, staffed by a younger more dynamic generation of highly competent technically able staff who understand the dynamics of modern communication and the need for seamless transition of services to be clean and quick.

Our contract is with Meo, who understood our need to close one access point down and open up the other on the same day. Not a problem for them all that they needed in the new house was already installed.

The problem, of course, was with the bumbling behemoth that is SAPO. Their engineer had to come and assess the lines before he would allow connection. He decreed that both the lines/wires and the poles were unfit for use and would have to be replaced. This, of course, was handled by a different team in a different department. He could not tell us when this would happen, but did say we would be contacted in due course.

There then followed a fortnight of Ping-Pong phone calls between us, SAPO and Meo; with Meo ringing us regularly calling us to tell us they were going to come and cut our old line and connect our new one and us having to tell them that there were no lines for them to connect to yet!

Eventually we had lines and connection — only to find that the new router did not and still will not connect to my Toshiba laptop or my iMac — we are still waiting for a Meo engineer to sort that out.

The ugly is that the whole place looks like a building site! This has a lot to do with my new surprise present — my very own swimming pool that is nearing completion. It also has a lot to do with all the unpacked boxes, the empty packing boxes for the new furniture and my partially rebuilt Alentejo shed.

The cats have been moving back and forth between the two houses — they have now all settled here except for Shadow — who we think has found a new hunting ground.

Most of what has to be done now is cosmetic and life will start to get back to a new normal.


  1. Yay! It is so great to have you back — for a bit at least, as everything else gets settled! SMILE!

    I love the laundry photo as the icon of a successful move. Smooth. Articulate. Important!

    I am no longer impressed with the Bulgarian work ethic! How dare they!

    The pool must be fun as you watch it build with anticipation. I’m already hot and sweaty here and dreaming of it…

  2. Fingers crossed things will now be a little less frantic, time to bed in properly now – first stage completed – now it is a case of sorting things out – once my shed has been rebuilt and its contents rehoused in it then it will be a case of building the porch and finishing the area around the pool. Then in the autumn it is garden time !

    Poor Mr P and the Bulgarians – they won’t get any more jobs out of season from him thats for sure!

    The pool will be bliss – Mr P now working on setting up the pumps and filtration.

    1. Your plan is precise and specific! Love it!

      What happened with the Bulgarian wives cleaning the old house? Did they come through or poop out, too?

      Ah! The bliss of a pool!

      1. ah but you know what happens to plans !

        We got other Bulgarian wives to do that – and they did a splendid job.

        The technical side of a pool is quite amazing and of course everyone has their opinions on how it should or should not be done – it is quite amusing some of the advice we have been given!

        1. I’m glad the wives didn’t disappoint! SMILE!

          Will you cover the pool at night? Are you concerned about any animals dunking themselves into, or drinking out of, the pool?

  3. Quite a letdown about those Bulgarian workers — they don’t seem to see that disappointing you now will lead to less employment in the future. Glad to see that the move was otherwise smooth!

  4. I agree Gordon – they can be quite short sighted like that – especially as we were paying the going rate as well.

  5. @David – the pool will be covered at night and when not in use – rainy days and winter. We are concerned about Infinity getting nosy – she has a thing for water – so much so that she has learnt how to push the lever taps in this house so water comes out on all the sinks, bidets and the bath! We may invest in a UV filter system so we do not have to depend on chlorine. The initial water tests show an ideal ph for the water though – which is an added bonus and a nice surprise as it comes from a bore hole underground.

  6. Believe it or not I really missed you. Glad you are back and hope you post a lot of before and after photos. I just loved your sense of humor that came through in this post. As soon as I saw the photo and read the first line – I totally got it.
    Oh, how I remember the days of moving and trying to navigate through not only a language barrier but also old and cumbersome ways of getting “simple” services set up, but at least it sounds like you have folks who are willing and able to help you through it.
    Very happy for you having a pool, I’m sure you will get plenty of use out of that.

    Well, look forward to reading about all your progress in the new place. Congratulations.

    1. Aw – thank you – I have to say I missed everyone here and the discipline of writing every day.

      If David lets me I will bore you all with photographs in the near future.

      My pool is now full, and complete with its pump and filters all working – tomorrow will be a mermaid day !

      1. Yes! YES! Bore away! SMILE!

        I hope we get Mermaid photos — and Merman images, too! GRIN!

        We have all missed your discipline, but it’s good to come back to it in your own time so it remains a joy and not a chore.

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