Well we are back from our holiday - and I'm exhausted - in fact I feel like I need a holiday! But am happy to report that all is well in Spain, daughter and grand-daughter both hale and hearty and since we took extended family with us (my father and brother) a very raucous and often hilarious time was had by all!
Walking through the village we came across several women preparing peppers for making huge quantities of spicy sauce or 'salsa' for bottling.
First you scorch or burn the skin of the peppers and then you cool them and peel them and then they get added to a pot with chillies and tomatoes and onions and other stuff (yeah I didn't follow the full recipe!!)
The women had huge quantities of home grown peppers to process and they were there for hours doing this... as people passed by they would stop and chat and it was all done in a rather leisurely fashion. A bit different from my mad rush to get produce frozen or bottled or pickled before it is spoiled.
In the process of explaining to my aged father about the difference in lifestyle and attitude towards life in general in Spain and many other continental countries, a few things have surfaced to the top. Number One: We hate living here in Britain. This isn't a surprise but now we have said it out loud doing something about it has become more urgent. Number Two: It is getting close to the time when we need to start doing something about it or we shall never do it at all.
Our house here in Oxfordshire is the first house that we ever bought and before committing to such a huge purchase, we wrote a short-list of what we wanted from our home - we never intended it to be an investment - it was always going to be the place where we wanted to make a home. Our short-list was rather long and we established that we might not be able to tick off everything on the list but some things were non-negotiable... these things went to the top of the list.
Now we are writing another short-list. Once again it is going to be rather long but like before there will be a few things at the top of the list that will not be compromised - the rest will be negotiable. Just writing the short-list will focus our minds on what we really want and hopefully will spur us on to start some cost cutting and making savings which will be put towards making the 'dream' a reality.
Are we just dreaming? Will it really happen? Well now I have told the world and his wife... it better had! And to keep the momentum going I am planning on sharing each and every step of the way with you. So... the first short-list (which of course is up for discussion and amendment).
1. Spain or Portugal? Probably Portugal.
2. House preferably habitable but not necessarily... dependent upon..
3. As much land as we can possibly get for our money.
4. Must have a view... a view that makes you stop and look and then stop and look again and then just makes you stop. We don't mind exactly what the view is... what is important is how the view makes us feel.
5. It must be fairly flattish land - we don't mind being up high provided the land does not slope dramatically. Because...
6. We must be able to make the place reasonably disabled-friendly.
7. We must be able to make the house - if not all of the house but a good part of it - wheelchair friendly.
8. If there is terracing on the land then at least some of it must be more flat.
9. There must be a swimming pool or room for a swimming pool.
10. My kitchen must be HUGE. Or I must have two kitchens - one for every day stuff and one for making wine, chutneys and preserves and long-term storing of food.
11. We want to keep chickens, possibly goats and definitely a couple of pigs.
12. some raised beds for growing vegetables so that someone in a wheelchair can pick them.
13. Room for at least two yurts and a composting toilet and solar shower.
14. Solar power for the house
15. Wells or water mines included on the property.
16. On the edge of a village or within walking distance of a village with a bar.
17. Bordered by a stream and woodland.
18. Bread oven or space to build one.
19. Area where there are historical places to visit.
20. Not too far from either beach or inland lake with beach.
Well that's all I can think of for the moment.... have I forgotten anything? Do I think we will get all that? Absolutely yes!! Just you wait and see!