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Monday 06th September 2021Blog from the Edge - 10

Here’s Blog from the Edge number 10 from Alison - a good insight into exploring Funchal for those of you who are planning a visit in the future.


Friends in the City


This week was highlighted by a lovely visit from friends who were staying in their favourite hotel in Funchal (Porto Santa Maria situated on the sea front, next to the old fort). 


We decided to return the visit before their week was up and rather than taking the 20 minute taxi ride to them, we decided we would take the local bus.  This was a Sunday and the ‘Rapido’ service doesn’t run on this day, so a full 1.5 hrs later, we arrived!


It was a lovely ride - twisting and turning up and down through numerous little villages along the way to Funchal, with fantastic views - for the princely sum of 3.35 euros each. We dodged heavy showers all day - a good excuse to shelter under cafe/bar umbrellas πŸ€£ - but even in the rain it was still warm and beautiful.  After a memorable chateaubriand for the men and fish for the girls it was getting a bit late (and dark), so we decided that a taxi back was the sensible option!   


Other days this week saw us putting in a few sweaty hours clearing my sister and brother-in-law’s garden in preparation of their impending visit to their holiday villa at the end of the month. A cooling dip in their pool was our reward after!  Their two mango trees were laden and so had to be picked - mango chutney on the hob this week, I think!  Also a walk up the hillside above our house revealed a mixture of impressive new villas mixed in with a smattering of the old.  Possible inspiration for future paintings for Paul perhaps?

Posted on September 06th 2021 on 11:47am

Monday 30th August 2021Blog from the Edge, 9

Here’s Blog from the Edge number 9 from Alison, as we readjust to normal life after our family visit and I start to paint a new window.


Painting and Produce


Well, a bit of a quiet week here, folks, and a slight anticlimax after our first family visit to Madeira last week.


The weather is so hot still in Ribeira Brava, with a temperature ‘feel factor’ of 29-30C. We had about 30 minutes of light rain one night this week - just the 2nd shower since we arrived!


Our pots of geraniums are blooming. Here’s a tip I read about: soak banana skins in your watering can!  We picked Paul’s peppers today πŸ˜Š. I can’t believe the rate everything grows here! I have all of the produce - basil pesto/mint sauce/fig jam and tomato sauce - bubbling away on the hob!


The big news this week is that Paul has started a painting - a window image from a derelict house in a little village close to Porto Moniz which we visited last Sunday.  This means that the cave project has been put on hold for a little while!


To finish this week off, we had an invite to our neighbours’ place for a traditional meat and pasta family meal - a lovely night was had.

Posted on August 30th 2021 on 10:55am

Monday 23rd August 2021Blog from the Edge - 8


Here’s Blog from the Edge number 8 from Alison, a big one, as her daughter, son-in-law and two grand daughters visit us for the first time in Ribeira Brava.


Family Visit


A perfect week!


We have packed a lot into the last 7 days and I hope they all go back home relaxed, tanned and wanting to come back for more. (We’ve been assured on that count - probably October.) Today is our last day together - for now.


The weather has been perfect every day, and there’s been plenty of time in the sea for the girls: Libby’s learned to swim πŸ˜ƒ. We drank Poncha and met the locals and ate ‘pastel de nata’ together.


To chill, we went into Ribeira Brava to the bars and restaurants and the sea front, and saw the sun go down. We bbq’d at home and danced on the terrace at midnight. We took the cable car up to Monte and tobaggoned down, went out to sea to look for dolphins, travelled around the western part of the island to see spectacular scenery and villages and swam in the pools at Porto Moniz (care of neighbour Paulo and his taxi).  


This, their final day, has seen us all enjoy a last swim and lunch. There’ll be a sad goodbye, but we’ll all be left with very happy, sunny memories of our time together this summer - our first at home in Madeira. 

Posted on August 23rd 2021 on 05:10pm

Monday 16th August 2021Blog from the Edge - 7

Here’s Alison’s new Blog from the Edge number 7, as we carry on excavating the cave and the area around it and prepare for our first family get-together in Ribeira Brava.
Guest Ready & our Cave Oasis
Exciting - we have family arriving today (Monday), our first guests in Madeira! The rooms are all ready and waiting, and the terraces swept and washed πŸ˜….
The temperature has crept up these last couple of days and is set to be around 30C plus this week for their visit, dropping to around 25C plus at night. Thank goodness for bedroom ceiling fans! We have well stocked wine, beer and food fridges for their arrival.
Elvis appeared this week 🀣 - he’s the guy who we asked to restore the outside lights. We were 6 short, so he turned up trumps with lovely ones that he sourced from a deceased lady’s house, all wrapped up in the Financial Times - dated February 2000!
Paul is still excavating the cave beside the house, and using all of the loose stones from the inside to build a path alongside the Levada. I think it may evolve into a fern and pond ‘oasis’ - I can just imagine it with solar lights dotted around it.
Next week, my blog will be an update on our days out with the family. We’re looking forward to taking them to see the glorious sights of Madeira.

Posted on August 16th 2021 on 04:22pm

Monday 09th August 2021Blog from the Edge, 6

Here’s Alison’s Blog from the Edge number 6, A Mixed Bag, as we start excavating the cave, progress work in the house, and await VIP guests.


ο»Ώ A Mixed Bag


It’s been a mixed bag this week on the weather front, with some gorgeous, very hot days full of sunshine and blue skies - and a couple of cloudy days, with cooler temperatures and clouds blowing down past us down into the valley below. We saw our first rain in 5 weeks last night - not heavy, a steady, gentle soak, but it was still warm.


This week’s been a mixed bag job-wise too. Paul finished clearing the garden, and we’ve been burning rubbish. I’ve been planting up numerous pots, sewing curtains, and giving four very sad chairs found in the cellar a new lease of life, with a few coats of paint. We’ve hung a few more things on the walls (not a hammer and nails job, as they’re solid concrete) and Paul has started work on clearing the cave. Note the dry stone wall πŸ˜!  In between we had a couple of very nice meals in Ribeira Brava and Bar Rio.  Oh, and Paul’s had an excellent hair cut!


Progress has been made on the electrical front. We now have numerous sockets, so we can dispense with a few metres of extension cables running throughout the house! 


Excitement is building as we may have our first guests in a week’s time - my daughter and son-in-law and two grandchildren πŸ€—

Posted on August 09th 2021 on 12:05pm

Tuesday 03rd August 2021Blog from the Edge - 5


Alison’s Blog from the Edge, number 5 - another busy week.


ο»ΏGallery & Plants


Well another busy week folks!  The Gallery is well underway after a mammoth clean.  There’s just the lights to go up - another job for Nono. We keep adding to his jobs list, but we’ve not much ticked off it this week, as he’s been busy elsewhere.


Our first delivery of plants arrived - 5 big boys (palms) and a few others. Our second delivery finally arrived last night πŸ˜Š. This will keep us occupied for a while! The palms make such a difference placed around the terraces and we’ve also managed to get a few planted in the garden, along with bougainvillea along the edge of the wall.  


Sunday was a techi day. I updated my Amazon unlimited music, installed 3 Alexa devices, linked up 2 Bluetooth speakers with my phone and set up Zoom for Paul - not straightforward πŸ€¨. I was a bit brain dead by the end of all that, as this is not my forte - and definitely not Paul’s!



Posted on August 03rd 2021 on 09:43am

Monday 26th July 2021Blog from The Edge - 4

Here is Alison's latest blog, below, about our move to Madeira. We're making progress with the garden, house, and becoming Maderians - with a little help from our neighbours.



Light, a Lesson and a Secret Cave


Well, we’ve got a fledgling orchard!! πŸ˜† We now have 17 trees and we’re waiting for 2 mango trees. September is the best time to plant these, seemingly.


A lesson (and yet another gift ) has come from Nono, who lives nearby and is doing work for us after his work hours - a great guy, very clever! Nono’s been showing us how to skin and clean the local Dorado fish πŸŸ. I think I’ll be giving this a miss in the future πŸ˜³! It’s far easier eating it at Bar Rio, bbq’d in onion, garlic & parsley - delicioso!


We also have outdoor lights! We had the original lights, that belonged to the house, restored and cleaned, but the switches and electrics still need to be tweaked. The switches don’t correspond with the lights - a bit confusing to say the least!


If you zoom in on the orchard photo, you’ll see on the back wall there is a pile of stones. Jose, our garden helper, started pulling the stones away and there’s a cave buried behind! So we going to excavate it, remove all the stones and make a feature of it. If there’s water there, we can incorporate that somehow too.


Looking forward to a delivery of more plants tomorrow- more on that next week. πŸ˜†



Posted on July 26th 2021 on 12:42pm

Monday 19th July 2021Blog from The Edge - 3

Alison’s third Blog from the Edge is below. The Edge is the name of our house in Madeira. 





Precious water - you realise the importance of it when you haven’t got it! After 2 weeks of a mere cold trickle for a shower, we now have 2 super duper brand new showers, spilling out powerful jets of hot water. It turns out that there was a fault on the solar panel and the filter was clogged.


Outside, Paulo our lovely neighbour, delivered the lesson of the Levada system to us. We get a time slot every week to fill our 2 water tanks - to be used for the gardens.  He gained permission for us to get an extra flow to flood the orchard where we’re going to plant numerous fruit trees.  


This week will see us burning all the debris from the orchard and garden in a makeshift incinerator (we’re not allowed to burn without one), then there’ll be lots of weeding - and finally planting.  


So far we have purchased a range of fruit trees:

3 lemon, 3 lime, 2 avocado, 1 orange, 1 guava, 1 fig, 1 olive, 1 grapefruit, and we’re waiting for 3 mango trees πŸ˜Š. We already have a few banana trees.  Can’t wait to get planting!




Posted on July 19th 2021 on 11:24am

Tuesday 13th July 2021Blog from the Edge - 2

Thank you for your responses to Alison‘s first blog last week - here is her second, below, about how we’re settling in - and our experience of the England/Italy final in Madeira last night.

Food and Footie
Our first week is over and it’s flown by!
All of the cobwebs and beasties have been removed - nearly - the boxes emptied, and we’re very slowly finding places for everything.
We have no tv signal, an intermittent internet connection, a trickle of warm water in the hot water taps/showers and an electrical system that needs updating - all of which will be done in Madeiran time. Oh, and an ATM machine that gobbles up Madeiran bank cards.
We have the most superb views here, lovely neighbours, a friendly local bar, gorgeous weather - I could go on - but this paragraph just cancels out all of the above niggles.
It’s also about the food! The photos show produce given to us by our neighbours πŸ₯°; a papaya tree planted last August as a 6” high sapling πŸ˜† (with a chilli plant next to it!) and our Cup Final supper at our local Bar Rio last night (bbq chicken) 😊.
Well done England!

Posted on July 13th 2021 on 11:19am
Labels: madeira

Tuesday 13th July 2021Blog from the Edge

 Alison has started to write a blog about our move to Madeira, to share our news. This is the first one, below.
Our Move to Madeira
5th July 2021 - a date on the calendar marking our next chapter!
We are here!
Finally we have arrived in Madeira, after an epic wait of 18 months or so!
We made a pit stop at the supermarket on the way (taxi waiting), a one basket dash each.
Mine: bread/milk/cheese/tomatoes
Paul’s: beer/beer/beer/wine/wine/wine/- oh and fruit juice x2
Arrived at the house - the garden is a very dry jungle, and cobwebs, dust and beasties are everywhere, but nothing that can’t be sorted!
Tomorrow is another day!
8th July 2021
Third day in - we cleaned and swept and there’s plenty more to do!
Paul has made inroads into sorting his studio rooms - all boxes are now emptied πŸ˜† - see picture of the “Gallery” - a bit to go before we can declare it open. 🀣
NOS, the broadband provider people, are coming tomorrow to link us up (TV, telephone, WiFi). We can make free international calls after 9pm which may be useful.
We watched the football semi final at “wa local” up the road, together with a Portuguese fish stew, vino and poncha!!
We bought our first plants - a selection of herbs - and can’t wait to get them potted up.
An early night for me tonight!

Posted on July 13th 2021 on 11:13am
Labels: madeira
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