Getting started on a car inspection pit

I filmed this with the lock down measures in place, I could not go to our other house and continue work on that so I started on something at our house that will take some time.

Behind or house I want to add a space to park two cars, with an inspection pit in the one parking area. I do not work on cars often since moving to Portugal but hope to at some point. At the very least I want to be able to service / inspect my own car.

An inspection pit will make that job easier and will not add that much to the costs, the biggest thing is digging the hole for the pit. That’s how it works out in my mind anyway.

The soil I am digging out is healthy, rich and dark soil filled with earthworms, so I want to keep it to one side for when we get started on planting vegetables. For that purpose I put down a tarp and have been putting the soil I dig out onto that.

Anyway, hope you enjoy watching!

House renovation in Portugal part 2

For days 2 and 3 I was working on replacing a portion of a window frame that has pretty bad rot in it.

I recycled some scrap wood that I had salvaged from and old bed frame and an old sofa, with most of day 2 spent removing nails and staples from the wood.

On day 3 I was able to cut out a piece from the window frame and get started on the bits to replace it. This took a lot of back and forth to get the sizes right especially seeing as the piece I will be putting in is made up of a number of smaller pieces that I have started gluing together.

I stalled at this point as the government announced tighter restrictions on movement and I do not want to risk fines etc.

Instead of working on this house I have kept busy doing courses on Coursera whilst I look for work.

Thanks for watching!

House renovation in Portugal

In this video I get started on fixing our house, working on an old shower, removing a wood fired water heater, then disassembling a window that has been attacked by termites.

I have not created a video in a while and this is the first where I am working in front of the camera. The house is in another village a few kilometers away from where I am currently living and has stood empty for a few months. Before we lived in it, it had been empty for years and it is showing signs of not having been maintained.

Please let me know if you have any feedback.

Morning mist

I am fortunate enough to be able to work remotely, this means my morning commute is a short walk from our front gate, to the door that leads to the bottom section of our house. As winter approaches I imagine we will be getting more and more mornings where there is a layer of mist all around us.

I personally love the way it looks and this morning was really pretty. The mist was thick enough that I felt my skin get damp as I walked through it.

I just snapped two photos before slipping inside to start work. It’s the little things that make you appreciate the quiet beauty of nature.

The pond by our house

It’s more like a water mine, it seems to have water year round even though we are at the top of a hill. At the beginning of summer when we moved in the frogs would be making noise all day and night long.

With the dry summer the water level has dropped quite a bit, the tree trunk in the water was quite submerged a while back. The frog have also gone much quieter, though there are still frogs, it seems not as many.

It’s odd how much cleaner it looked when it had more water, I am looking forward to winter and the rains so we can see the level of the water get higher again.

Unfortunately people think it’s ok to dump their rubble etc. here, this was from a recent drop off someone had made, the water is on the edge of a road, I think over time it has eroded the soil away and formed the cliff you see. People back op their trucks or trailers and just dump the stuff over the side.

There are quite a few trees, pine and eucalyptus mostly. We have collected a fair amount of pine cones for starting fires in our fireplace in winter. All from these trees.

My house in the distance, so few neighbours, so little noise, other than the road.

Even more trees, behind me as I took this shot there is more land, again full of trees and it goes on for quite a while. One of the things I enjoy most with this house is the easy access to the forest, just to be able to walk in amongst the trees is really amazing.

Yesterday’s trip to the river beach

There is a small, secluded river beach less than 10 minutes drive from us. With yesterday being the final day of the kid’s school holidays we took a trip there after I had finished with work.

River beach?

If I am honest I had never heard of a river beach until we moved to Portugal. It’s not something I had experienced in South Africa, bearing in mind we never really went to rivers as kids.

The river beach close to us is quite small, very secluded and the river is nice and wide, with the water flowing smoothly and only a slight current. It’s much less intimidating for a parent with kids who are not strong swimmers than a river with rapids.

I was too busy messing around in the water then helping the kids on their inflatables to take photos, so these were taken right at the end as we were packing up.

Naturally when it’s time to pack up the kids remember they really want to play, or catch fish, or ….

But it was time to head home. So they had to rinse off in the water and get ready to go.

Power lines and trees

Something that has struck me every time we come here is the power lines that go overhead.

Firstly the trees, to me at least, seem incredibly close to the pylons and wires. Then there is the span. I am always blown away at the distance between the two pylons that keep the wires spanned across the road and river.

The wires come over the river, overhead and then to some other pylon hidden from view by the hill. On the way home I saw it from above, as the road we take home snakes along the hillside. I want to stop somewhere next time a grab a photo from the top, on top of being a stunning view you get a sense of the scale. Truly amazing that these things stay up!

Occasional visitors

So I have mentioned it is secluded, in reality it is quite close to a small village, no idea right now what it is called.

Every now and then we will see other people whilst we are there, twice we have seen people bring a wheelbarrow with buckets and clothes. They then proceeded to wash their clothes in the river.

Yesterday as we walked to the river we passed a farmer I assume, again with a bucket, this time on the front of his tractor. I noticed tyre marks at the river beach, so I assume he went there and filled the bucket up with water and used the tractor to move it.

Other than that we have noticed the occasional tourists, other than that it’s only the road in the distance that sometimes breaks the tranquility of the river and surrounds.

It took a few tries but I managed to catch a truck passing through a break in the trees. Did you notice that was a road before?

Get yourself some booties

It’s not often I encourage people to buy stuff, in this case I make an exception.My wife HATES walking in rivers or even the sea with a passion. If she cannot see where she is putting her feet, she sometimes flat refuses to swim or even go in knee deep.

I present to you hairy legs, no I mean these water shoes/booties whatever they are called. Not the most flattering fashion accessory, but very functional. Walking with these on, in the river, has probably saved me from a multitude of cuts and scratches on my feet from sharp rocks and sticks etc. in the water.

Another river beach we go to is made up of stones that are quite sharp and have noticed people walking gingerly over it to get to the water. We stroll along casually with our naff booties 😀


Often, when I find a place that has a really nice view I take a series of photos, from left to right, then wait to see if Google Photos stitches them together into a panorama.

Yesterdays photos were transformed, I like it so much I am sharing it here with you.

This weekend is going to involve a trip to the shops so I can but the bolts I need to finish up our gate and then onto removing more of our terrace roof. It’s nice to take some time off every now and then though.

What a view

Early Saturday morning, I had woken up, could not sleep. It has been a very long week where I had worked pretty much 16 hour days all week, then we attended a festival on Friday night.

Even as tired as I was I could not sleep. So I got up, made myself a cup of coffee and decided to go set outside on our terrace and take in the view.

I took the above photo with my phone, so had to point it away from the sun, because of this you are missing the part I was most taken with, the sun was filtering through the trees, it looked amazing!

Not too long ago I would have looked out of my window at a street, not ugly as it was in a village with many old buildings, I just am so thankful that I get to live in a house with so many trees around me.

Later that day I took my eldest son and went to go see the Caramulo motor festival at the Caramulo car museum and got to see many cars and bikes I have never seen before here in Portugal.

Getting older and doing some DIY

Well, I am by no means old, but I was reminded that I am not so young anymore when I decided to tackle an issue at home that has been bothering me for a few weeks.

Here’s a photo of the roof over our house’s terrace, it may not seem obvious but theres a serious sag in the supporting beam.

Here it is from another angle. It seems the precious owner was bothered by it too as you can see the rather thin looking wooden pole that has been jammed in for more support. The main bean has actually twisted a bit too, as the parts resting on the concrete pillars seems to have gone soft from moisture and maybe even termites?

On getting older…

In my youth I would quite easily climb on top of a roof, replacing tiles or doing whatever else needed doing. There was always an element of self preservation, so I was never reckless.

In this instance though I was over aware of my mortality and actually had a few moments where I froze up for a few seconds, before willing myself to finish the job.

All I wanted to do was to take a portion of the tiles off of the roof, my reasoning being that the tiles are quite heavy. With a good portion gone the wood would be less likely to break completely. My fear here was that it could break while my family was on the terrace, to be honest it bothered me to the point of losing sleep.

One of the beams at the end is so rotten it also has a pole to support it, some tiles have already made their escape.

I removed one a few of the tiles in the centre of the rood, so that I could climb up through the hole, far away from the edge. This is on a terrace, remember, ladders on the edges of a drop make me super nervous.

I removed tiles, one by one, handing them down to my wife, who stacked them out of the way. I progressed to the edge, then systematically took column after column off. Eventually stopping for a bit of a rest.

Here you can see how rotten that beam is. The beam closest in the photo felt like it was moving as I put my weight on it, very disturbing! It and the furtherest beam are coming down soon!

As I rested I took in the view, it really is amazing.

I do love being surrounded, almost, by trees. We have gone for a few walks on the dirt roads that snake their way through the trees. This is miles better than living in a city or in the centre of a village. I think so anyway.

The end result, we now have a portion of the terrace exposed to the elements, but as it is summer there should be much less rain. Hopefully we can get this roof redone and safe before next winter.

I was truly surprised by how long it took me to get going once on the roof. When I did finally act I was ultra deliberate with every movement, much to the amusement of my wife, who also remembers me being way more comfortable with heights.

Maybe the real issue is that it has been so long? It has been years since I have tackled any kind of DIY on the outside of a house so I am going to go with that.

The house still needs quite a bit of work, so I guess we will see!