A month has gone by without me writing a post … could be I’ve been too busy, or maybe I’ve had nothing to write about! Or possibly a bit of both …
Last month I said I was feeling much happier than I was in January, but I was still looking to move, if only I could find the right place. And would you believe it, I do believe I have! I’d posted on one of the Facebook Portugal pages that I was looking for somewhere cheap/free and had a few offers, including one that sounded ideal. So I went to visit, and this weekend I will be moving to a wooden cabin in a village near Carregal do Sal, in the Viseu district. Two rooms plus a bathroom – the luxury!!! – for as long as I want, free of charge in exchange for keeping an eye on a house and studio on the land, and looking after a dog and two cats. It’s a fair way from Coelhosa and my friends’ farm at Aradas, but only 20-30 mins from two very good new friends I’ve made over here, and a three-minute drive from a UK friend who moved out here in October. Small world, huh. It’s in a village with two bars and lots of permanent residents, and only 2km from a town and 20 mins from a city. It’s also in an area where there’s loads going on, including craft groups, a choir, music events, markets and river beaches. I’m really excited about exploring the new area, socialising with my friends and meeting new people. So this week I’ve been packing everything up and tidying the house, and I will be heading off on Saturday morning. I just hope Pickle and Bob take to their new home and animal companions!
Otherwise, it has been a busy month, with new work opportunities and social engagements galore. I’ve had a few interesting Proof Fairy projects to do, including revisions to an existing client’s book, book formatting for a new client, and a website for another author (my first WordPress build in years!). I’ve also started a little part time job, replying to online messages for a number of companies. It doesn’t pay especially well, but I can work as many hours as I want and it’s good to know I can still earn money each week if the Proof Fairy stuff dries up.
Socially, I had a Valentine’s lunch out with a very lovely gentleman friend (not a romantic engagement, before you ask, despite the occasion!), I’ve visited several friends, I had a very enjoyable (and more than slightly drunken) night at the Coja Carnaval, and I enjoyed seeing Fernando and Mr and Mrs Lopes when they were here for a week for orange harvesting. My best friend Andrea and I have had coffee a couple of times, and we also had a great evening out at a meal celebrating International Women’s Day. I’ve also been learning about astrology, cooking roast chicken, baking biscuits and enjoying the lovely sunshine (though there was a week of rain). Pickle and Bob have also taken me on lots of walks up the mountains and through the eucalyptus trees.
So this will be my last post from the little cottage in Coelhosa. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my nine months here, and in a lot of ways I’m sad to move on. It’s been good for my soul, this period of solitude. I’ve managed to get my head together and find some inner calm, and I’m a much more relaxed and focused woman than I was when I first came to Portugal. I’ve done art and writing and grown my own veg, and I have a much clearer idea of what I want out of life. I’ve loved meeting Fernando and Fernanda, Helder and his family in Coelhal, and the Lopeses and their crazy cousins, and experiencing their generosity, learning about their lives and being part of their little community at olive harvesting time. I’ve enjoyed exploring this area, and have made lots of friends I hope I’ll still see after the move. And I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this simple, uncomplicated life, which has definitely helped me view the world from a fresh perspective.
I’ll miss the cottage, and the view, and the absolute peace and quiet. I’ll miss the river beach at Pessegueiro, and the Monday market in Pedrogao Grande, and the hilly, winding roads that take forever to take me anywhere. I’ll miss watching the sun set from the shrine at the top of the village, and seeing the clouds lie low in the valley first thing in the morning. I’ll even miss Fernando! I’m hugely grateful to my friends Andrea and Jeroen, firstly for putting me up in the caravan on their farm, and then for offering me the cottage for all this time. I don’t think I’d have made the move out here without their support. But the time is right now for me to move on, stand on my own two feet and start a whole new adventure.