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Sunday 12th December 2021Blog from the Edge, 18

Here’s Alison’s new blog, as we enjoy the build up to our first Christmas in Madeira.


Poinsettias, Paintings and the Pool


Well Christmas has arrived, Madeiran style. Madeirans certainly go to town on their lights - and nativity scenes!  We haven’t yet ventured into Funchal to see the lights there, but Ribeira Brava is definitely bright!  We have our own cheerful patch of poinsettias in the garden, interspersed with red roses and lots of herbs.  It does seem a bit incongruous viewing of all these Christmas images against a backdrop of blue sky and warm sunshine πŸŒž although there have been a few cold days and some rain, resulting in masses of weeds sprouting up overnight (my job!).


Work on the pool continues. Jose decided not to work in Funchal πŸ€—. After a mishap with the chute for the concrete, which led to wet concrete spilling everywhere, the chute is now in working order: the floor to the pool is in, the pipe work is there for the pump and shuttering is going up for the concrete sides.  It is very much a building site!


Paul has been extremely busy working on my sister’s two commissions and they are almost completed.  They are stunning and will look beautiful in situ alongside ‘Brides Veil Waterfall’. Read here to find about about visiting Madeira - from Love Holidays - https://www.loveholidays.com/holidays/explore-the-best-of-madeira/


We managed to get our booster covid jabs, and a flu jab for me, yesterday at the local health centre in Ribeira Brava, but we still await our residency cards πŸ˜³.


We have slotted in a few bimbling trips (courtesy of Paulo and Kate and Jay) and we have ventured to Furna (a village above us - with Poncha stops on the way down!), Ponta do Sol (for painting research) and Fanal in the north, famous for its old laurel trees.  This unfortunately was an abandoned trip, because of absolutely torrential rain when we arrived there (a visit for another day definitely) so we ended up in Paul do Mar to dry out and enjoy a spot of lunch. 

Posted on December 12th 2021 on 11:34am

Monday 15th November 2021Blog from the Edge - 17

Here's the latest blog from Alison, with news of our how pool is progressing, our travels on the island - and my current painting.
Pool Progress and Paintings
Since my last blog, family and friends have been and gone and all are much missed! When they are here, it’s the perfect excuse to get out and about and see more of this beautiful island.
I actually can’t believe that Christmas is just around the corner, mainly because the weather belies what is in my mind. It’s so different to what I am used to.  Nights are definitely cooler now and the days often have a cool breeze blowing, although the temperatures are still warm at around 24C. On our last trip to the mountains, it was definitely more autumnal, with brown ferns and autumn leaves everywhere.
Work continues on our pool, but will be on hold from the 26th of this month until the new year as Jose has a job with Bar Rio, manning a Christmas stall in Funchal. The guys all work so hard.  Paul’s main job is to keep the beer fridge well stocked!  
Jose comes up with some great ideas: for example, the smaller of our two Levada water tanks is down at garden level and we don’t really need it. Jose suggested it be emptied and used to house all the workings for the pool.  It took 2.5 hrs to empty it. (The banana plantation below us got a bonus soaking 🀣.) The space is enormous, so we are also going to use it as a potting room and Paul’s DIY tool den.   This frees up the two cellar rooms on the pool terrace, which we are currently using for this purpose. Ideas are forming to transform them into a pool bar and rest room πŸ€—. Because of lack of access, a makeshift chute has been erected from the top and down through the orchard ready for the concrete.  The pool at the moment resembles an iron cage as per photo!
While the pool work is going on, Paul is busy painting. At the moment, he is working on my sister’s two commissions.  
We have become acquainted with Kate and Jay, a lovely couple from London who live close by and who have been here for over a year now. They got stuck here on holiday during Covid and just decided to stay permanently, buy somewhere and work remotely.  They know other ex-pats so we are all getting together on Friday for a meal in Calhetta which we’re looking forward to.
Next week sees a meeting with our lawyer to try and sort out our residency situation 🀞. Once this is done, we’ll be able to travel back and forth from the UK - Brexit changed all the rules!

Posted on November 15th 2021 on 02:42pm

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 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 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
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