Blog Posts

Monday, November 4, 2019, 04:49 | No Comments »

Posters campaigning against lithium mining in the Serra d'Arga

Between our house and the sea there's a long, rounded mountain ridge. Though its lower slopes are clothed with eucalyptus and pine, it's a bald mountain, the bare granite crown enlivened with just a little scrub in between the boulders. It looks inhospitable, as though no one would choose to live there, yet as we drive through the foothills and start to climb, we see a homemade sign: "Em Cabração, Lítio não." Translated, that reads as, "No Lithium in Cabração."

Cabração is one of several villages that subsist in the Serra D'Arga, villages which though modernised in many ways, still cling tenaciously to tradition. And none of them is happy about the idea of mining on their mountain.

To read more of the Serra and one of the villages which are fighting a threat to mine lithium, click here.

Sunday, October 20, 2019, 21:36 | No Comments »

A tall umbrella fungus with a white cap and brown central point

Now we've passed the equinox the year has definitely turned. Autumn is here. The leaves are turning colour. Chestnuts are everywhere; in the markets and the shops.... and in the plastic bag of produce handed over the fence by our generous neighbours. Now there is cloud and much needed rain. Yet even in the rain I found treasure in the mountain behind our house. I've been into the woodland up the road and look what I found!

To see more of autumn in the woods, click here.

Sunday, October 13, 2019, 15:07 | No Comments »
Friend L treading black grapes in a huge vat

Living the dream: it's what most of us plan to do at some time in our lives, isn't it? That is, we tell ourselves we'll do it when we retire or if and when we can afford it without disadvantaging the family or... well you get the drift. Actually putting the theory into practice, though, takes real dedication and lots of us chicken out. We make excuses about being too old – "My knees are not what they were..."; no longer having the energy- "Just look at those young folk! How I envy them their get up and go!" Or just needing to be sure we can access healthcare.... and so on.

Above you can see someone who, along with her husband, has had the courage of her convictions and taken the plunge. To see more of L and R's adventure and to investigate what the locals do during the grape harvest in the Minho, click here.

Monday, September 30, 2019, 17:19 | No Comments »
The Palace of Giela in a state of ruin

We first visited the Paço de Giela more than ten years ago. In spite of its status as a national monument this modest cross between a castle and a manor house was then crumbling into decay and we were, as far as we could tell, among its few visitors.

To find out how the Paço de Giela received a second lease of life and the renactment of Portugal's early history, click here.

Monday, September 23, 2019, 23:52 | No Comments »
carved grey stone dragon with a ball on a gatepost

That title is an odd mixture of words, phrases and ideas, isn't it? Have a look at this photo of a dragon outside a house on the way to the Peneda Geres National Park and see if you can tell why I've used it.

The dragon has its tail wrapped round a ball and seems to be giving a V for Victory sign. Don't you think that is unusual? So, what is going on? It has nothing to do with the boy wizard of children's literature nor with the bloody struggles for supremacy in mythical kingdoms so recently a TV hit. Nothing indeed like that. Think about famous institutions in northern Portugal and see if you can divine why the dragon is there.

To find out – if you haven't already guessed – why this family has chosen dragons to tell the world what matters to them, click here.

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