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Allotment Stuff => Locations and Sites => Topic started by: BarriedaleNick on July 09, 2020, 16:29:56

Title: Changing location - by over 1000 miles
Post by: BarriedaleNick on July 09, 2020, 16:29:56
I've been thinking about this for years and we have finally done it and put an offer in for a place in Portugal.
All being well (and god knows if it will be), we will be out of the UK by the end of October and living the good but hard life in a warmer climate.
We are buying 6 acres near a town called Cartaxo - near a river with lemons, oranges, peaches, vines and loads of other fruit.
It's scary and exciting but we have a plan and if it all comes together i'll never work a day for anyone else again!
Here's some pics if you are interested...

(https://i.imgur.com/zl00WTG.png)

(https://i.imgur.com/bq4PE2t.jpg)

(https://i.imgur.com/FYF4zC4.jpg)

(https://i.imgur.com/mjeOBG4.jpg)

(https://i.imgur.com/X4woTx9.jpg)


Title: Re: Changing location - by over 1000 miles
Post by: Palustris on July 09, 2020, 16:39:35
Best of luck!
Title: Re: Changing location - by over 1000 miles
Post by: Tee Gee on July 09, 2020, 17:38:13
Best of luck Nick

Who know’s you might have to come to A4A members for fruit pickers rather than photo entries! :glasses9:

Title: Re: Changing location - by over 1000 miles
Post by: saddad on July 09, 2020, 17:53:42
Looks impressive... must visit Iberia... never quite made it yet...
Title: Re: Changing location - by over 1000 miles
Post by: cudsey on July 09, 2020, 17:59:53
looks fantastic lucky you hope all goes well 
Title: Re: Changing location - by over 1000 miles
Post by: BarriedaleNick on July 09, 2020, 18:31:39
It is going to be challenging but I have already found a few agricultural shops..
The whole area is covered in vineyards, peppers, toms and generally very agricultural in nature.  I have a million questions floating around in my head but I am trying not to get over excited as it could all go wrong..
Title: Re: Changing location - by over 1000 miles
Post by: Peanuts on July 09, 2020, 18:40:32
Oh wow, what an adventure!  And we understand that, having done similar ourselves in moving to France in 2006.  Don't regret it for one minute, except distance from our now married offspring, and five grandchildren (the last one having been born this morning!) Do you speak Portuguese?
hope you'll continue to take as active a part in A4A.  All the best.
Title: Re: Changing location - by over 1000 miles
Post by: galina on July 09, 2020, 19:17:54
Congratulations Peanuts.

Brilliant news Barriedale Nick.  What a super place.  Wish you and yours so much luck to get everything done.  Very happy to read about your excitement and share in it.  :wave:   
Title: Re: Changing location - by over 1000 miles
Post by: Tee Gee on July 09, 2020, 19:19:46
Congratulations Grandma 'Peanut'
Title: Re: Changing location - by over 1000 miles
Post by: Peanuts on July 10, 2020, 05:45:07
Thank you!  The distance from our two offspring and grandchildren has been hard this year, as for so many people.  Seeing photos of the new arrival yesterday, and realising he will be the first one we've not held when very small.  We still don't know  when we will be visiting them all - end of summer?  or perhaps in October?  As our daughter and son-in-law both work  in the NHS, they are adamant that they don't want us to come back and risk they give it to us.  Easy to say that's not a risk now, surely.  But we know one family near us where the offspring came from Paris for the lockdown, unknowingly bringing the virus with them, and gave it to their parents here,  . . .who both died.  Just awful.  So we do understand the attitude of our two. 

Sorry this is a bit off-topic, except that  distance from family is one of the aspects that you must have considered in your exciting decision, Barriedalenick, and one that will go on being relevant!
Title: Re: Changing location - by over 1000 miles
Post by: pumpkinlover on July 10, 2020, 06:48:13
Congratulations to PEanuts and Nick!
Wow it's all happenng.
Title: Re: Changing location - by over 1000 miles
Post by: BarriedaleNick on July 10, 2020, 08:02:32
I don't have any family here aside from my wife.  My sister is in Egypt and her kids are all over the place including Portugal so I don't have any concerns myself.  My wife's mum is still around and that has been hard but she has come around and will visit often.  We will of course miss our friends and all plots and our work colleagues but we have loads of room for them to come and visit and we will pop back every now and then ourselves. 
The benefits however outweigh these issues.  A warm climate, loads of space for fruit and veg, cheaper food, massive amounts of house (there are three kitchens and another kitchen area!), 50 mins from Lisbon, clean air, a river beach nearby.....  We will keep and rent out our London house so unless we want to we never have to go to work again - there is plenty of work for us there as it is though!
We will get residency and then hopefully citizenship in time so we will benefit from that..
Title: Re: Changing location - by over 1000 miles
Post by: Obelixx on July 10, 2020, 12:24:37
I hope it all goes thru to plan and that you will be happy there.

We moved 800km from our old home in Belgium to get a warmer climate and easier house for our retirement.  It came with even more land than the old one but we definitely wanted countryside and not village or town.    Our daughter is still in Belgium, finishing her studies this year and was then all set to work in Belgium or set off and travel, neither of which look likely now.   

You'll probably get loads of visitors to start with but it is important to integrate with locals so you have year round contacts and a social life plus places to go for help and advice on local stuff.    Learning the language is a great help too.   Have to say we avoid like the plague the kind of Brit who's been here for years and still can't speak French and sticks to English friends and habits - wrong mentality. 
Title: Re: Changing location - by over 1000 miles
Post by: BarriedaleNick on July 10, 2020, 14:10:45
I will do my best to learn the language but it is a hard one!  A lot of Portuguese speak English but that wont be an excuse and we are looking at options for learning at the moment. 
The place we want is about 5-6 km out of town but 500m from the station to get to Lisbon so we have countryside, town and city all within an hour of our doorstep.
There is so much space too.  There are two houses and one house has a couple of flats under it so we have space for B&B or visitors.  Trying not to get too carried away as there is much that can go wrong between now and then. 
Title: Re: Changing location - by over 1000 miles
Post by: galina on July 10, 2020, 16:34:11
The picture with that lemon tree looks amazing.  All that in exchange for renting out your London house.  That's a very good idea.  Place looks well connected too.  As for language learning there is always Duolingo.  Is Portuguese much more difficult than Spanish?    https://www.duolingo.com/enroll/pt/en/Learn-Portuguese

:wave:
Title: Re: Changing location - by over 1000 miles
Post by: galina on July 10, 2020, 16:39:17
There is also Memrise which is free as well as a whole load of paid for Portuguese courses.  https://www.memrise.com/course/1121957/portuguese-portugal-1/

:wave:
Title: Re: Changing location - by over 1000 miles
Post by: BarriedaleNick on July 10, 2020, 17:27:44
The Portuguese have a very different pronunciation of certain syllables - it can sound very Eastern European in parts and they tend to swallow letters.  Our local station Setil is pronounced like Shteel so speaking what you see is difficult.  As long as I can make an effort and be polite when I get there I will have plenty of time to learn..
I just have to decide which of the 3 or 4 kitchens or which of 3 bbqs I will cook on each day!
Title: Re: Changing location - by over 1000 miles
Post by: galina on July 11, 2020, 06:46:26
You will manage this.  Know what you mean as we experienced the reverse in how our Portuguese dentist (who has sadly gone back to Portugal due to Brexit) used to pronounce English. 

Wish you all the best.  Presumably you need to register at the local office before January and also have your driving license exchanged.  Is there a national health service? 

Is it like a summer kitchen in a smaller house to vacate the bigger, posher house for tourists in summer?  Or was it a multigenerational house?  In any case, there are great options for earning a bit of tourist Euros.

:wave:   
Title: Re: Changing location - by over 1000 miles
Post by: BarriedaleNick on July 11, 2020, 07:20:05
Memrise is pretty good. Vamos La!!
There is the old house and the new house but like so many places out there they have separated the bigger new house into a couple of units.  So underneath the house is a proper flat with a decent kitchen but there is another flat that needs a lot of work.  So altogether there are four units.
I'm more excited about the wood fired bread oven!
We will register for residency before the end of the year and real Brexit hits (although Portugal is very liberal with its residency esp for UK folks) and get our driving license exchanged.  Health service is very good, there are some costs involved but nothing too much.  After 5 years we can apply for citizenship which we will do and we will retain our freedom of movement. 
The plan is to never come back here to live but who knows what the future holds.  When we are ancient and can't look after 6 acres we can go and settle anywhere so we might head to Lisbon which is a beautiful city or we might head to the coast to finish up our days, as we grew up, by the sea.
Title: Re: Changing location - by over 1000 miles
Post by: pumpkinlover on July 12, 2020, 07:31:45
It sounds like a good plan. Living in London would feel like a complete change, I could not imagine living there and can see why you want to move. What is it like for growing vegetables?
Title: Re: Changing location - by over 1000 miles
Post by: BarriedaleNick on July 12, 2020, 07:51:37
I still love London for its vibrancy and availability of everything but after 37 years here I have had enough of the noise, pollution and generally busyness.  It's tiring!
The new place (if it comes together!) is great for veg - they have a massive plot and when we went to see it last week it was full of beans, toms, melons, squash and all sorts of veg.  We will wait to see how things like carrots and parsnips and other root veg do in the heat but there is a well and town water supply.  We might have to adjust our timings a fair bit as even in March they have chillies outside..
The whole area is agricultural and the next door field is currently used for growing rice!  We drove past fields of peppers, corn and tomatoes and there are vines everywhere.
We are the the yellow star pin on the map - you can see the river and all the fields next to it..
(https://i.imgur.com/5kZujgf.jpg)
Title: Re: Changing location - by over 1000 miles
Post by: BarriedaleNick on November 22, 2020, 18:59:54
Well we are here and we are settling in.  It ain't easy but I know I would rather be here than back in my old life.
The sun has been shining for the last few days and the days are warm - nights get cold though and there will be frosts at some point.  Today it was 20c and I got a nice 25mile bike ride in - lovely to see the open countryside and the river and hardly any cars.
Growing seasons are going to get some getting used to I think.  There is a place at the local market that sells veg plugs and you get 15+ for a Euro!  Hardly worth staring them yourself but of course I will.  He is selling Brussel Sprouts, leeks, onions, all sorts of cabbage, lettuce and loads more so I assume they will all grow well now..  The monthly market has a great seed stall and they are pretty cheap too - also loads of bulbs and trees so I bought kiwi, lime, edible passion fruit, plum and apple..  I can grow apples and bananas in the same place!!
The soil is familiar - bloody clay!  It is really variable though as some places are really sandy and some solid sticky clay.  The land wasn't worked this year and is covered in weeds - some familiar and some not so..  Obviously I am not growing on all 6 acres but there is still a huge amount to do - still the garlic and onions are showing and I have a few rows of onions and leeks and the rhubarb crown I planted is showing through so all is well.
Covid wise - no real lockdown and everything is open - but not on weekend afternoons!  There is a 11pm curfew but I am normally asleep by then so it doesn't affect me so life is pretty much as normal..
Met a few folk and keeping in touch with mates over Zoom etc...
There have been some tough moments but really I don't think I'll ever go back to the UK to live..
Title: Re: Changing location - by over 1000 miles
Post by: ancellsfarmer on November 22, 2020, 22:51:50
 Great adventure, just keep telling us all how its going. Feel we need a ray of sunshine right now. Will there be livestock on the remaining ground or 'natural planting' as some descibe wilderness!
Title: Re: Changing location - by over 1000 miles
Post by: galina on November 23, 2020, 06:39:57
Glad to hear you are literally putting down roots in your new home BarriedaleNick!  Yes please keep the news coming.  How is your Portuguese going?  :wave:
Title: Re: Changing location - by over 1000 miles
Post by: JanG on November 23, 2020, 06:57:15
It sounds wonderful. It seems that you get the best of both worlds growing-wise: the cooler weather crops you’re used to growing - Brussel sprouts, leeks, cabbages etc, plus a whole exciting new range of warmer weather crops. Perfect!
Title: Re: Changing location - by over 1000 miles
Post by: saddad on November 23, 2020, 07:50:10
Is the "Air B n B" up  and running yet? Just woken up to the first proper frost, so the nasturtiums will have gone over..
Title: Re: Changing location - by over 1000 miles
Post by: Obelixx on November 23, 2020, 14:12:38
Sounds good.  It'll take a while to feel part of the community but it pays to make the effort to join in and get to know people and growing veg and sharing crops and plants with neighbours will help.   Our farmer neighbour brings Brussels sprouts over for OH as she knows I won't grow them if I can avoid them.  She also grows amazing caulis and brings us fruit compotes.   I give her home-made jams, cakes and biscuits and, now we have hens, eggs.   T'other neighbours have got into growing veg since I gave them a bag of potatoes in our first summer and some garlic the following year.  They give us well-rotted horse poo, quinces and swapped some eggs for a butternut squash.

It will be fun learning what boundaries you can push with crops.   I have given up growing potatoes as they need more water than I care to give them to get decent 1st earlies and sweetcorn and beans failed too because of drought but we have PSB, cavolo nero and curly kale which I never see in the shops here.  I tried broad beans last year, sowing in December, and they were brilliant.

We have strawberries and raspberries which do well despite the heat in summer and, unlike my last garden in central Belgium, I can grow artichokes, asparagus and garlic with no worries about them being frozen to a mush.   I can also grow sweet potatoes, cucumbers and tomatoes with no fuss but also apples, pears and plums which you'd expect in a cooler climate.   I have citrus bushes in pots in the polytunnel for winter as well as nectarines and a peach.  I have an apricot outside.

I find salad leaves do best grown in a window box or trough on my north facing terrace in summer - close to the kitchen door so easy to check for snails, keep watered and pick off leaves as needed.   This year I have 2 troughs of red oak leaf lettuce on the south facing steps at the front of the house.   So far so good.
Next year, we'll be growing squashes and courgettes in a newly manured bed and with a seep hose to improve crop size and quality.  Fruits a bit smalla nd sparse this year.
 
Title: Re: Changing location - by over 1000 miles
Post by: Digeroo on November 23, 2020, 19:19:53
My Aunt moved to Portugal she found the people very friendly.  She hired a young student to help in the garden and teach her Portuguese.  And as a bonus he learned English.
She found winters were colder than she had expected mostly because they do not seem to have central heating.   She had to have radiators shipped over from the UK.
Portugal has been an ally of the UK since 1386 and they are very proud of that. 
So I do hope you enjoy your move to Portugal.
Growing veg in a new climate zone will be a challenge presume you can watch what other people are sowing.
Buying plants is good I presume they are right for planting when they are on sale.


Title: Re: Changing location - by over 1000 miles
Post by: BarriedaleNick on November 24, 2020, 10:03:58
Yes there are challenges and one of them is heating! There is no central heating although I have seen houses with it in.  Winters are colder than you think - you often get lovely sunny days where it feel in the 20s in the sun and then come 5-6 o'clock the temp drops rapidly and you get a heavy dew which can freeze on the coldest days..
Still we have a wood burner and a ton of wood so we wont suffer plus the air con units are also heaters and we have a few solar panels..  Today is very misty which is quite common and damp is an issue here..
Language is tough - even they say it is hard!  I have met a few people and have a few facebook friends but we don't really have neighbours as such.  However the locals are lovely and we get by with signing and google translate!  We are picking up a few words here and there but I need to get some structured learning..
Next door is David who just farms the bit of land and next to him is Ze who again just grows veg with chickens etc - his plot looks amazing and very full for the time of year - but neither speak much English.
There is a ton of stuff to do in the houses. Essentially we have three!  The old house really needs some TLC and downstairs is a shell but we have time - maybe not money but time!  We have my MiL staying which isn't ideal but saves her being locked down on her tod in the UK. 
The old house will be the first real project - then we can have folks over in our own B&B..
We need to sit down and make plans for the land.  At the moment a local man, Delio, runs a horse on much of it but we could easily run sheep or goats or even pigs.  There is a local pack of pigeons that I don't like the look of and the band of merry sparrows enjoy the sharron fruit or whatever they can get - plus there are lots of snails which I am assured will dissapear as it get hotter! So many of the issues with gardening in the UK are mirrored here..
However we need to think about what goes where and how it will work with the house..  However I do want to let some go completely wild and I might plants a few coppicing trees for future wood reserves.  Garden centers aren't a thing here - the local agri cooperative is great though and I can buy a tractor just up the road if I want! I would like to put a pool in and make a couple of different garden areas but there is so much else to do I think it will be an ongoing project. 

There is more drama than you would think here.  On Saturday Ze found a lost dog on his land who looked doped (but was just tired and sacred) so after much activity on FB and a few calls we got here to a vet and she was reunited with her owner.  I made a few contacts on FB though!
Then the horse got out and we found it in the cork woods.  I couldn't budge her but OH marched off and came back with a bit of rope and a carrot and walked her back into our field..  The owner then came round with 5lts of rustic red wine!  It is actually really nice too.

So it can get to you and I do have moments lying awake at 4 am thinking of all the stuff we need to do but then I squeeze some fresh OJ and think about where I will put the lime tree and it all seems a bit easier..


Title: Re: Changing location - by over 1000 miles
Post by: ancellsfarmer on November 24, 2020, 12:10:19
One brick at a time, Rome wasn't built in a day. In fact if you've been there, they haven't finished yet!
Try to get one thing finished in every day. The land of ' Manana' is not far away.....
Good Luck
AF
Title: Re: Changing location - by over 1000 miles
Post by: Tulipa on November 24, 2020, 16:54:57
I love reading your posts, you are settling in well, comparatively, by the sound of it, and getting to know your neighbours is good.  It is early days but you will get there.  I think AF's idea of finishing something every day is a good idea, so you can go to bed and think "Yes, I have made some progress", it might not be dramatic progress but it all helps, it's what I do to keep me sane!  Good luck and waiting for your next post :)
Title: Re: Changing location - by over 1000 miles
Post by: Obelixx on November 24, 2020, 17:42:08
We have 1.4 hectares of land, including pasture we loan to our cattle farmer neighbour, an ex donkey paddock which is becoming our veg plot, the ruins of the old farmhouse and the house itself plus a lot of blank canvas which is slowly becoming a garden.

Sometimes it's good to have a day where you achieve nothing at all and just relax or go off to play and/or explore your new area.
Title: Re: Changing location - by over 1000 miles
Post by: BarriedaleNick on November 24, 2020, 20:57:07
Sometimes it's good to have a day where you achieve nothing at all and just relax or go off to play and/or explore your new area.

Very wise words - it is all too easy to get caught up and forget that we came here to do things differently.
Which reminds me that I must look for somewhere to hang the hammock..

One brick at a time, Rome wasn't built in a day

Cheers - it is easy to be overwhelmed by the amount stuff to do so I try do a few little things every day in the hope it will all add up..
Title: Re: Changing location - by over 1000 miles
Post by: Peanuts on November 25, 2020, 06:40:41
It's fascinating to hear your impressions, BarriedaleNick.  Please go on finding a little bit of time to keep telling us all. 
But learning the language has to be just as important as your projects, and getting things growing.  Two suggestions - decide to use something like Duolingo on a daily basis  (https://www.duolingo.com/course/pt/en/Learn-Portuguese).  This is a good system, and can be done at 4am!!  And spend time every day if you can just trying to talk with neighbours.  It will improve, bit by bit, but you must make the effort. I found a retired French teacher who was willing to give me an hour's conversation every week. 

When we arrived here in the French Pyrenees, I only had bad o'level French.  I couldn't understand the local accent, so talking with farmers was impossible.  But I made myself go out and grab people walking by with their dog, to try to make conversation, and several have become close friends over the years!  Now I don't even notice that the farmers in our village have an accent. Several have also become good friends, to the extent that  when I was seriously ill in hospital three years ago, one of the farmers even came to visit me!  I was so touched.

Most of all, keep well.
Title: Re: Changing location - by over 1000 miles
Post by: Obelixx on November 25, 2020, 11:37:50
Learning the language is a must unless you're happy to restrict your social life to a small ex-pat enclave.

After 25 years in Belgium, living in Wallonia and not in the ex-pat ghettoes round Brussels, my French is good tho nowhere near perfect but I can chat to neighbours, buy a house, get repairs and building work done, do my shopping etc with now worries.  Being on the Atlantic coast, my area has plenty of incomers retiring from other regions of France or coming because employment rates are high (or were before Covid) as well as quite a few Brits and Dutch tho nowhere near as many as in the Dordogne.   

Getting to know the locals and getting involved in local activities means you feel connected, find out what's going on, how to get things done and can help each other out if needed and it's enriching.   Joining local clubs and groups helps too - here there's a Vendée wide gardening club where I can chat, get advice, swap plants and I've been asked to join the committee from next January.   I like cooking and am now involved with a lycée in La Roche-s-Y that has a hotel and catering section which believes being able to cook, serve and do wine in English is key to a successful international career.       I am now president of a patchwork and needlecraft group I joined nearly 4 years ago - because I'm good at admin and organisation.   

Find a way to give back and you'll settle in well.
Title: Re: Changing location - by over 1000 miles
Post by: BarriedaleNick on November 26, 2020, 09:42:31
Where we are we pretty much have to learn the language - yesterday was a case in point.  We're not in the Algarve but near a smallish town in the country..
To get a driving license (and do to anything government related) is like wading through bureaucratic treacle.
First you need an eye test.
Then you go to the docs and get an appointment for a health test.
You take a paper test\evalutation
Then you need to go see a doc for an exam and get it all signed off and delivered to the govt.
The poor woman at the health center trying to deal with us two idiots and explaining this to us was frustrated and angry - quite rightly too.
Not being able to speak makes everything so complex and it makes everyone a bit cross.  Having said that the locals are lovely..
So then I went to the supermarket to get some meat and after some google translating I managed to ask for porco entremeada which I pronounced completely wrong.  The butcher just looked at me and said "you know you can just ask in English"!!

What I love is when they say I speak a little English and then proceed to tell you that the Vet is next to Lidl, across the road, in an orange building and on the first floor.  I wish my little Portuguese was like that!

Title: Re: Changing location - by over 1000 miles
Post by: Obelixx on November 26, 2020, 10:27:32
Give it time and keep at it.

When we first arrived here our vet tried to talk to us in English but I always answered in French and he expressed surprise as well as pleasure.   Says he has British clients here for 20 years who can barely say more than hello.   They must miss out on so much.
Title: Re: Changing location - by over 1000 miles
Post by: galina on November 26, 2020, 11:45:03
When it is individual words or expressions like porco entremeada, then google translate does a fine job, because it has a loudspeaker that pronounces the word for you.  Which you probably already knew BarriedaleNick. 

Well done on coping with the driving licence exchange formalities too.  It will get easier but right now you are having to get your brain round the tricky bits. 

Well enjoy your full English with that streaky bacon, you have earned it  :wave:
Title: Re: Changing location - by over 1000 miles
Post by: BarriedaleNick on November 26, 2020, 13:16:50
On the ground porco entremeada translates to the belly cut.  Back bacon is called porco ingles (or similar) but it isn't cured just sliced and what we call streaky bacon is just bacon!  Although it all varies from shop to shop a bit and literal translations are out the window.  I bought some beef which translated as Cow Titty which was really nice!
I am glad I perfected my bacon curing skills, I don't eat it much but it's nice to have once in a while.
Trad brekkie here seems to be cake, cake and another cake.  Mostly with custard and they are all delicious!