Saturday, December 31, 2011

A little bit of what you fancy does you good

Wishing all my lovely blogger friends a Happy New Year.  
May 2012 be filled with all good things.. Hoping you all have a little bit of "What you fancy"..
Hugs and all the best, thank you  for passing by and taking the time to read my blogs and leave your lovely comments.  Its been fun.   Looking forward to seeing you all through the next year.

Dresses  ready
Shoes to dance the night away
Champs and chocolates and lots of goodies.. Enjoy your Eve.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Unique decorations

While parking my car at the bank  a couple of days ago,

This delightful sight caught my eye , tucked away in one of our little village squares.   the local Scouts of our village, had taken the time to decorate the orange trees .  I thought it was really festive, and had been decorated without spending much money.
You can see how they have put the net packing around the oranges.  Trully a great idea.
The oranges are picked when rippened and given to the old age home.  

Thursday, December 22, 2011

christmas week for the animals

The animals, have been very happy this week.   We are experiencing some lovely warm mid day sunshine .
The weather man, says its here for the weekend too.

Here is Surprise..she decided to come into the garden for the grass.. better than a lawn mower.
These next few days, the horses will get a treat of oats.  

The sheep at Manuel's happy and fat

Dulcineia has got a new saddle

The bright sun beaming down yesterday ..I took the photo through my car window, on my way to the village. 
Its christmas time for the animals too..   Farm life is never dull, always something going on.

                                                  Enjoy your christmas thursday..

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

wake up call

 Please wake up mummy! We need to go out!! little Buddy and Hardy joining me for my early morning cup of tea.. an extra lazy hour in bed..
A warm greeting on a cold winters morning..
 little robin redbreast dropped by too.

wishing you all a happy tuesday.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

4th Advent Sunday

A christmas morning photo of myself .. taken many christmas's ago.  My  mother lovingly made the dress for me .. I remember  so well ,helping her to glue the sequins on.. It was such excitement. I danced around the house all day.

In our family, we dont really need conversation topics when all together,there is always lots to talk about.   But this year, thought i would add a little of the unusual.    I have taken old photos out of my boxes ,  some old and some new to pass around .everyone will have a photo next to their craker ,and will have to tell a tale about that photo. - an excuse for another glass of wine or two !
Christmas is a time for peace , good cheer and love...

Wishing you a happy 4th advent sunday..  

Maybe you have some old photos in your albums! To share

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas Countdown 2011

Christmas Countdown 2011

less is more

Its sad, but a reality.. Portugal like all the other EU members , are having to pull in their belts.
I myself,  think its bringing us all back to reality.   Not a bad thing at all!!!
Especially now at christmas time.. we are encouraged to bring simplicity back into christmas during these hard times.

The Lisbon christmas lights are less..but look ever so grand and lovely.     Our capital's christmas tree.. far less adorned than usual.  The municipality have done us proud.  The lights shine bright for all to see. "Praça do Comerçio"..
I passed this original christmas design when coming home from Lisbon a couple of weeks ago.. It really is ingenious.. If you look closely, you will see they are umbarellas ..of all colours, with lights behind them..  What a great idea.

With hope in my heart, I give thanks for the blessings I have.
Have a happy Saturday, and hope your city lights are nice too

Friday, December 16, 2011

Weekend before Christmas

This morning , I woke early, just as the day was breaking.  My camera is always on my desk. To my delight took theese photos of my 3 visitors.. As you can see little Peter and Paul outside my door ,.and the other is of one of my baby doves, now getting bigger.and flying on their own,this little one  came very close to my kitchen window. 
  I only have a simple digital camera, It works fine.. but i now think i need to update for 2012. with a larger zoom.
I do love it when the birds come to visit.   The little sparrows often wake me with their twittering in the morning. living here in the country and hearing the birds, the trees blowing with the wind, the horses grazing, my dogs happy ,gives me a nice  feeling of well being. 
Weather permitting , I walk  the  tracks and lanes .my 4 dogs scurring to see what they can catch.   I have  often have i seen a hare or a rabbit scurry off into the thickets and brambles. Always something new to discover here in the country.
Today was christmas shopping day.   After having my tea, dressed myself, my friend arrived and off we both went to the Unesco town of Evora.  Its a walled in city, with lots of charm and full of history. A Cathedral and lovely churches.elegant shops, cafe's, and a great market. 
I stocked up on my weekly shopping, with a few extra things for the christmas table.
 On arriving home , sheer delight awaited me.  My christmas boxes had arrived by post..   just a few of the delights , I cannot buy here in Porugal. I have stacked most away now. Closed the door, as i dont want to be tempted to open anything.. !!!!  
My beloved Christmas Turkey platter .Taken down once a year, otherwise on the wall. Is sitting on my table ready..  Its hand made in "Conimbriga" I bought it over 40 years ago.
Roman ruins of "Conimbriga" in northern Portugal

Conimbriga pottery is unique to Portugal.  With art designs handed down from generation to generation.

Now, i am sitting by the fire, with a lovely mug of hot chocolate , and preparing place settings for the christmas table.

I hope that you dear friends, have had a productive happy day, and hope you enjoy this little blog.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

"My acceptance to a masked ball"

My bags are packed and i'm ready to go.. because "I'm leaving on a Shuttle plane.. I know i'll be back again.
 I am off to a masqued ball..  Looking forward  to meeting all my new blogging friends and especially  giving felicitations for a wonderful evening at "Inisfree"  on the 18th . Our hostess Helen Tilston Painter.. will be receiving guests and friends from all over the world.
How divine It all will be.

My gown of deep purple and cape of light silk.. my black vintage shawl with sequins and all.  A little  lace and pearls to adorn..  black silver pumps with a flair.    A mask i'll take to hide behind..leaving you all guessing who is there behind..      Now I think I'm ready to go  mingle there.. and experience some of that Florida air.
Hope you have your  "gowns" ready!!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

cosy sunday

When i woke this morning, the fire still had a little flicker.   Stoking it up again and sitting down to  my morning cup of tea , and watching the bright glow of the fire fill the room ,its such a comforting reasuring feeling. 

sipping my tea , I started to re capp on some of the goodies i ordered from the English shop yesterday It was such fun. I have never bought anything over the inernet, this is a first for me. When i finished, I was grinning like a chesire cat, or a child in a candy store.

 .. A few extra things this year, as i will be blessed with the prescence of  3 of my children  and my 6 grandchildren..  
 The shop is in the Algarve .    I was delighted when Diana the owner , told me  over the phone, that i could have next day delivery.  What great excitement, cant wait for it to arrive.  My list was full of christmas fare.
Living here in Portugal ,  I can get some British goods, but not all, and christmas for me is a time of traditions,and this year more so. It will be the traditions of Portugal and England   ------- 

My lights outside will go up today
  to guide friends and family too my way
Not long to go for that special night
when Jesus will come bid us all goodnight
With loving thoughts for you all today
Keep love in your hearts --dont let it stray
Be kind to yourself have a wonderful Sunday.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Last of the summer roses and other things

I love this Rose book..My daughter Nina bought it for me..It is well written . I have learnt a lot from it.

 I like to keep most of my books divided into groups..Fiction,non fiction,classics,hobby books,Porcelain antiques,art and gardening ,amongst some.   My art and garden books I like to change  around on my side table once in a while, along with the book that i am reading at the time.   I always find something that i didnt see before in the art and garden books.  I have a weakness for lovely books. 
  These last few days, i have been doing a few things here and there.  
As  its time to prune the rose bushes, with clippers in hand i bravely started this morning, to cut away old dead wood and prepare the bushes for compost and winter feed.  I had once again been reading my rose book to check over methods again.  
my water colour roses
Roses are a very special bush.  It has taken me over 6 years, to really understand them and how to get a better rose .  I talk to them and nurture them. It seems to work. They love food..and a spray to keep them healthy.   
One of the things i did this last week, was to finish off this water colour of the roses  in my garden.. When learning, I was told..less is more.. So I tried to keep it soft.
Water colour painting is new to me. I went on a workshop to Greece two years ago.. and fell in love with the method..but its not easy.  I have painted a few water colours since then.. and hope to get better as time goes by.

A few of my water colour painting books.
Last of the summer roses.. sitting in my favorite little teapot

Sunday, December 4, 2011


The holy family.   I hand painted the marmorite statue some years ago 

A warm feeling of serenity comes over me when i light my Advent candle.. 
With the shops full of materialistic trappings , and the frenzy of  "I must buy this or that"..  I like to think that we have not forgotten the true meaning of Christmas. That we all take time to remember what its all about!
A time of peace and love ,spend time with our family and dear friends ..

  Waking in the morning and while having my tea.. (I am sure you guessed by now,  I love my early morning tea, its my quiet time).. I reflect on the previous days happenings taking time to write in my diary and plan my day ahead. 
 This morning the journey of Mary and Joseph come to mind and how difficult it must have been for them  during such hard hostile times.  To travel  and  eventually find a  safe place in the stable, at last peace came to them .

As the years go by and my children grown. Christmas for me is not so hectic.  This week I have been taking my christmas decorations out ready to decorate ,and leave some last minute touches for my grandchildren.

I will be blessed with my 4 beautiful children and my 6 grandchildren around my yule tide table this year.
We will  enjoy some of our old family traditions.-. Sing christmas carols and thank our dear Lord for all good things.
Wishing all my new blogging friends a happy peaceful Sunday..

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Val's alentejo blog: Christmas time

Val's alentejo blog: Christmas time

Andy Williams - White Christmas

 Some festive music for my lovely blogger friends i have made this year... enjoy it... i am..

Christmas time

Having my tea this morning.  Thoughts of christmas time with my parents came to mind.   As a child, my mother turned our house into a magical place.   Our beautifully decorated christmas tree fascinated me every time it lit up , its still ever vivid in my memory.   we would all hang something on it and remember the christmas before, there was always warm comforting laughter and happiness in my home . ..  The shops full of wonderful tempting goodies -mum  would fill her basket with when we went shopping,an abundance of delights.   Always a new dress for  me for christmas morning Mass.   So many fond warm memories i have of my childhood and christmas time.
Especially waking on christmas morning and looking out the window ..there lay the snow thick and white on the ground.. and i would go out after lunch to build a snowman with my father. It trully was wonderland for me.

My mother Ellen, would always bake two christmas cakes.  She baked them them in october..each day dripping a little brandy into the bottom of the cake.   The reason that she made two was, we would always want some before christmas.. She would ice the first and put it away and we would have slices of christmas cake for tea.  Not to mention the abundance on our christmas table on christmas day..
I cant forget to mention the mince pie and milk for father christmas..

Years later..i used to wonder, how could father christmas come down the chimney when the fire was lit.!!

So, after my tea this morning.  I decided that i should start getting my christmas decorations and goodies out.
While typing this, I know that i have two jars of fruit mincemeat and a christmas pudding, in my larder. I can tick them off.

I remembered that many years ago i painted little naive side plates for the mince pies, for my grandchildren.. i had forgotten them at the back of one of my dressers.. i took them out on sunday.
I continue the tradition of decorating the house on the 12th of December.   One of my many boxes of decorations.    I  always feel like a child,when i open the boxes.   Sometimes forgetting what is in each one..So its an added delight to see all the bobbles and bells once again. I will get the others out tomorrow..

I am not sure when you decorate dear friends.. but hope you enjoy it as much as i do.

Enjoy your day.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Friends are for keeps

Its a wet November Sunday.
Today is the birthday of a friend. I was out in the garden early this morning, wellies and clippers in hand. I cut the last few remaining rose buds of the season, to give to my dear friend, along with her birthday present.. She like me, loves roses.
My friends are dear to me, and I treasure their friendship .
Friendship is love and love is forever. We can always count on a true friend. My friends are always there for me, and i am there for them, thats such a heartwarming feeling. I have friends, that go back many many years. My life is richer knowing such wonderful people and them allowing me to be part of their lives. They truly are a part of mine.
A few of my dear friends live far afield, but they are in my heart and weekly e mails..and every few years a visit,further bonds the relationships.

A true friend is for keeps. They lift you up when you are down, listen to you, encourage you with your ideas and dreams,follow your childrens progress. I am now watching my friends grandchildren grow.
We are rich and blessed with our dear true friends.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

"The train"

A train journey can be exciting, for me it always is.  My highlight of going to lisbon, is to have dinner with my son's and family.      I get a bubbly content feeling when i am with my children.    I get to catch up on their lives and happenings.     Sitting  around the table of an evening, we exchange the events of our days, mine in the country and theirs in the city.     We do however all catch up once in a while, when my eldest son comes to his country home next to mine.
Living in a small village as i do, every day stories  and tales are told, and when they are  retold three fold or more,  you can imagine, the stories become , somewhat eleborated .   Chuckeles of laughter fill the room, everyone is happy.   There is always a village  tale to tell. or events of daily life at the hotel - . As always, a  super meal and an excellent red wine.. we chat and laugh till the evening closes.  Eventually with my head on the pillow.. I fall asleep contented and warm.. another wonderful time in Lisbon.

Leaving my station, it takes 2 hours for me to get to Lisbon.   My book in hand.. I read and nod off until my final destination.

Leaving slowly the Province of Alentejo, with a few stops along the way, we eventually approach the 25th of April bridge.  The bridge spans from the southside of the Tejo to the North side of the Tejo..  The 25th of April bridge, a great feat of genial Portuguese and American engineering.

I am always awake , when we go over the bridge.  It never ceases to amaze me.  The view of Lisboa is spectacular.

25th April bridge Tagus estuary .Lisbon. The statue of Cristo Rei in the background.

The train tracks on the underside of the 25th april bridge.
Always a good feeling to be back home.

Have a wonderful saturday.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Farm life

As a young girl, my life was divided between.. my family and friends , my sport, and my hobbies.
Raising a family of 4 children was the best thing that happened to me.  They brought me joy , they gave me love and lots of happiness.

And i continue to fill my diary with wonderful happenings and memorable days with them.
All grown now, they have their familes and I get to play grandma..

One of my sports was horsriding.   Twice  a week a would be off to the stables.  As the children grew, they too would go with me.  They started to ride at an early age.    My youngest son still rides most weekends. My grandson Tom joins him and is a natural. My grandaughter Maria too. She just loves to ride with her dad.  Riding is in the blood i suppose.!

Before the rain set in, as the clouds are gathering again, earlier this afternoon.    I went to see if the horses had water.. indeed they did. Still a full trough , from yesterday's rain.
 I decided to see where they were.. I couldnt see the horses.. So went for a walk with my four little companions.. Jeffrey.Cassidy, Hardy, Bonita, and little Buddy.

The clouds forming.. Possibly in for a rainy night.  

 Clouds over the cottage and fields

 Pascoa and Surprise.  She is named surprise as we did not know that Pascoa was pregnant.. she kept it to herself. !! Sure was a surprise to us all. 

Duncinea..she likes to be alone, but usually when the female wants to be alone  its a sign she is pregnant.!!! could it be another surprise.
The horses are luso arab horses..with some Isabela.. They are very hardy and live all year around outside.