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Friday 24th December 2021Blog from the Edge - 19

Happy Christmas to all of our friends and family from myself and Alison - and a little news in her blog!



Merry Christmas from Madeira!

 

Paul and myself would like to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year. We are planning Christmas dinner right now. I think it will be prawn cocktail, followed by pork Wellington - turkey and sprouts nowhere in sight🤣.

 

The last year has been a challenge for a lot of us but one thing stands out - health is the key.

 

Where we are in the world at the moment is probably a lot safer than most places, for which we feel grateful and lucky.  We have had problems over the last six months but in the end they have all been overcome. Jose’s only English phrase resonates : ‘No problem, Mr Paul!’.

 

We are thinking of all our loved ones, friends and family over the seas, and we miss you all.  We look forward to 2022 for a lot more catch ups and visits back and forth as hopefully world travel gets back to ‘the norm’

 

Stay safe and well 💕. 

Posted on December 24th 2021 on 04:22pm
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Friday 24th December 2021Blog from the Edge - 19

Happy Christmas to all of our friends and family from myself and Alison - and a little news in her blog!



Merry Christmas from Madeira!

 

Paul and myself would like to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year. We are planning Christmas dinner right now. I think it will be prawn cocktail, followed by pork Wellington - turkey and sprouts nowhere in sight🤣.

 

The last year has been a challenge for a lot of us but one thing stands out - health is the key.

 

Where we are in the world at the moment is probably a lot safer than most places, for which we feel grateful and lucky.  We have had problems over the last six months but in the end they have all been overcome. Jose’s only English phrase resonates : ‘No problem, Mr Paul!’.

 

We are thinking of all our loved ones, friends and family over the seas, and we miss you all.  We look forward to 2022 for a lot more catch ups and visits back and forth as hopefully world travel gets back to ‘the norm’

 

Stay safe and well 💕. 

Posted on December 24th 2021 on 04:22pm
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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 🌞 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 🤗. 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 😳.

 

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
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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 🤗. 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
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Sunday 24th October 2021Blog from the Edge, 16

Here's a new blog from Alison, the first in a little while, with news of our pool and a Madeiran passionflower festival. 

 

 

Pool and Passionflowers

 

It’s been a couple of weeks since I last posted and things are progressing fast - not so much on the house and electrics side, more outdoors. Paul’s ‘market garden’ is  coming along nicely!  We also decided to take the plunge 🤣 and go ahead with a swimming pool. This solves the problem of what to do with the big space - we can now plan and plant around it.  Umberto (son of Paulo our neighbour) and Jose are doing it - they actually dug it out by hand because of lack of access for a digger. The beer fridge has certainly come in handy!

 

This weekend saw the first festival in two years down in Ribeira Brava - the Passionflower Festival. Bar Rio had a pop up bar, we had to try the passion fruit Poncha 😜, and they were baking garlic bread.  Madeira’s answer to the Von Trapps, Il Divo and Adele provided the live music and a merry night was had!

 

This coming weekend sees a visit from my daughter with two girlfriends and, of course, my grandchildren Ellie and Libby arriving for three nights. I think a chill out time with cocktails around my sister’s pool is on the cards!

Posted on October 24th 2021 on 12:53pm
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Tuesday 12th October 2021Blog from the Edge - 15

Alison’s Blog from the Edge- 15 relates our latest explorations of the island and some new discoveries.

 

Poncha, Potatoes and Pool - Life in Madeira

 

This last lovely week was spent seeing Madeira anew with family again.  Suffice to say, my niece Emily has left already planning her next visit with her friends, and mapping out Levada walks and hikes!

 

We had one gentle meandering day walking the streets of Funchal, and then Emily (plus her parents and Paul and I) took the obligatory cable car up to Monte and raced down via the toboggan. On another day, we went out on a little boat, aiming to land on the secluded beach of Calhau da Lapa (the only access). Sadly, the sea was too choppy (I had already slipped getting on and bruised my thigh 😳) but we enjoyed sailing along the coast and had a swimming stop later for those who dared! 

 

A very memorable day was a trip out with Paulo, who took us around the north and east of the island, visiting Cabo Girao glass viewpoint (the highest in Europe) then down to pretty Camara de Lobos (famous for the Churchill connection).  Next, we travelled high through Curral das Freitas - or Nuns’ Valley: nuns took refuge there during the French privateer attacks from 1492-7.  From there we went on to the highest point on the island - Mount Pico at 2351m. The weather was perfect so we got stunning photos! We dropped down a little to Santana and had a lovely meal: we girls had the local Scabbard fish (found only in Madeira) with banana - delicious 😋! We all continued on around Sao Vicente, Ponta Delgado and finished at a local Poncha bar at the top end of Ribeira Brava - a long but unforgettable day!

 

Gilbert, our taxi driver, picked us up one night from Ribeira Brava then stopped at his home in Tabua on the way home and persuaded Paul to go in with him. They arrived back in the taxi with two huge bags of potatoes - they’d just dug them up from Gilbert’s potato patch in a cave in the dark! Gilbert then took us higher up to a little isolated Poncha bar, probably just frequented by locals - it had a real feeling of the ‘Wild West’ to it🤣

 

My sister’s pool was a big draw for us all - the weather was glorious all week. At this time of year it starts to get a bit mixed and cooler.  We had a fantastic last evening meal at Muralha’s in Ribeira Brava, accompanied by a stunning sunset.

 

Our next visitors could well be my daughter and family again for school half term week (at the end of this month) but flights have rocketed in price. It’s so unfair that airlines do this! If they do arrive, I’ll be blogging about it! Thank you for the lovely feedback for my earlier blogs.

Posted on October 12th 2021 on 01:02pm
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Friday 08th October 2021Blog from the Edge, 14

Alison’s latest Blog from the Edge tells of our visit to Funchal to see its vibrant flowers.

 

Flags and Flowers 

 

The prayers flags are flying over our house in Madeira and we enjoyed fabulous flowers as we carried on exploring Funchal this week.

 

With the arrival of my sister Judith and brother-in-law Neil at the beginning of the week, and also of our combined small extra shipment of belongings, many days have been spent arranging, hanging and sorting furniture and paintings at their house and catching up with jobs at our own place. There was also the problem of having no hot water at their house (sounds familiar) - Nono to the rescue again!  After a visit to Tabua garden centre with Judith and Neil, a delivery of plants arrived for them which we duly potted up.  I resisted the temptation to buy more for us!

 

We went to Funchal on Tuesday. The actual flower festival parade was on the Sunday, but Funchal was still full of flowers - and the flower girls! It was actually a Bank Holiday on the Tuesday, so it was very quiet through the day - the perfect time to meander and explore the intriguing streets and back streets without the crowds!  The atmosphere picked up at night, when we enjoyed cocktails and a lovely meal.

 

Judith and Neil’s daughter has arrived for a week so we are planning more trips out, which you can read about in my next blog! 🤗

Posted on October 08th 2021 on 06:24pm
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Tuesday 28th September 2021Blog from the Edge - 13

Visitors here to Madeira enrich our lives - and return home enriched by the island in return. Alison writes about recent visitors in this week’s Blog from the Edge.

 

 

Bread and Yoga!

 

Another week and another set of visitors leave smitten with Madeira and looking for a place to buy for themselves!  Our friends want an old house rather than a new build (which are sprouting up all over in the most precarious spots clinging to hillsides).  Although there are plenty of derelict little houses dotted around, hidden among swaying banana plantations, it is very difficult to trace ownership of them.  A lot of families emigrated - Venezuela was popular - because of the lack of jobs on Madeira before the tourist boom hit.  When we were looking around with our visitors, it made us so aware of how lucky we are with our house in Ribeira Brava.

 

Our visitors gave us lessons in bread making and yoga (the yoga outside on the bedroom terrace), both of which I hope to keep going.  Paul was given advice on installing a water feature for his ‘cave project’ - all exciting stuff!

 

We were invited to Bar Rio on Friday for Paula’s birthday (her and her husband own it) and we were among a merry throng of family and friends and customers.

 

My sister and brother-in-law arrived last night 🤗 -  we ended up eating and drinking rather late and going to bed rather early 😳!  A date at their pool today was arranged - such a hardship!

 

As we approach October the weather is still beautiful - still hot through the day but cooler at nights. There’s not a cloud in the sky these mornings, but there is a mistiness on the horizon, which gives an autumnal feel.

Posted on September 28th 2021 on 01:25pm
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Monday 20th September 2021Blog from the Edge, 12

Here’s Alison’s Blog from the Edge number 12, as she contemplates just a few of the differences between life in Madeira and the U.K. 

 

Three Ps: Pondering, Potting and Produce

 

I made a batch of mango chutney this week for the first time ever, with fruit picked from my sister’s trees. We have now purchased two trees for ourselves and will get them in the ground this week.  It led me to thinking that this is something that I wouldn’t have contemplated doing in the UK - plus the fact that mango chutney is difficult to come by in our local supermarket here.

 

In fact, grocery shopping is totally different here in Madeira: if I see something that may come in useful, I grab it and stick it in the freezer or larder. For example, in the three months that we’ve been here, I’ve found sausages just twice!  Our diet is quite simple, as fresh food is what is available on the island - free range chickens and eggs, fish from the sea, potatoes and vegetables and fruit from the local farmers. I flavour them all with tons of garlic and fresh oregano!

 

Another example of making do with what’s available is that we’ve been trying to source an extra wide worktop for my sister’s laundry area. There are none in stock in the shops, it would take 2 months for one to arrive, so we are having to go down the custom-made route with the materials and labour that are available to us.

 

I’ve started potting some plants up for the house this week, but still need more 🤣. Our hibiscus pots are out in bloom - beautiful colours. It will be interesting to see how long they flower, alongside the geraniums and petunias. The rose bushes are a continual show of vivid red - with poinsettia bushes just behind them. 

 

Our guests have just arrived. The weather is not so hot at the moment, so it’s a good day to have a long walk around Tabua down to the sea front.

Posted on September 20th 2021 on 06:12pm
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Monday 13th September 2021Blog from the Edge - 11

Here’s Blog from the Edge number 11 from Alison, as we carry on working the garden and exploring the area.

 

Funchal, Fiesta and a Rainbow

 

We’ve had a quietish week this week. I decided it would be a shame for number 11 to be blank, so I went ahead with my blog.

 

We took another trip into the big city of Funchal via the Rapido bus, there and back this time - a much quicker journey, but not as scenic (as there are so many tunnels). The price is the same. The trip primarily was for bureaucratic matters, but we took time out to bimble around the side streets and sea front and saw the first cruise ship for a while in the harbour. We found an art supplies shop for Paul 👍 - and then visited the big garden centre again. More plants were ordered - mainly bougainvillea for our perimeter wall.

 

The weather was cloudier this week with some rain, mainly through the night. It was actually a bit of a relief from the intense sun.  Because of the rain, weeds pop up before your eyes, so consequently Paul has been clearing the garden again and keeping on top of the orchard whilst I’ve been hanging huge curtains at my sister’s house.

 

We took a trip to Madeira’s equivalent of our B&Q to source items for my sister’s place - Nono (our electrician guy) kindly offered to take us. On the way back, we stopped for a beer at a little village and its very busy quinta (old, traditional house in Madeira) - they were just starting a fiesta. The priest was making his speech in the local church and outside people were gathering.

 

There was a lovely rainbow tonight - everything was green and sparkly and fresh!

Posted on September 13th 2021 on 12:32pm
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