Today’s task is to drive up the mountain and confirm the plumber. The old kitchen, which I am still using, is upstairs at the back of the house. The builder sadly, and as instructed by us and our lack of foresight, took out the sink and blocked up the drain when the new floor was put in so I have to empty the washing up bowl downstairs in the bathroom. We never imagined we would actually be living there until all the building work was completed so made no provision for this.
We did try rental accommodation which I booked while in France without actually checking it out. Never do that. It had intermittent hot water, bedroom doors that locked by themselves and a massive needle in one of the pillows which my husband found while lying on it. Suspiciously spooky. I am not paranoid, honestly, but I feel sure that the lady in the sepia photograph above the bed who was laughing the day we moved out had previously been standing next to her husband in forties style jacket and skirt, hollow eyes and a stern expression. The place never did warm up.
So there we were happily ensconced in our little village house mid-winter, in central Portugal, having a great adventure and life experience, no proper plumbing, no suitable electricity. The children will thank us for it one day.
Fortunately spring is just about with us and we have a plumber lined up. He speaks fluent French and Portuguese. He is a neighbour of our new bearded, tall, French friend who lives on a nearby farm. This was an interesting combination when he brought around the French speaking Portuguese plumber and the local electrician. I admire anyone who can speak more than one language fluently. Two is out there with the moon landings as far as I am concerned. A strange mix of languages peppered the conversation which ensued in Portuguese, French and English. Having last year lived three months in France I now frequently find myself putting together a sentence with a mix of these three languages, with the occasional bit of Spanish thrown in, and wondering why no-one understands me.
Meanwhile, since we moved in, the electrician has put in a socket for the washing machine which sits in the donkey pen behind the bathroom wall and which will one day be a glamorous kitchen. He then drilled a hole through the wall and tiling so the pipe empties into the bath. Perhaps we won’t keep the tiling after all. Small steps.