This is the continuation of my previous post, A Six Part Journey, A “Cave” Room But No Hot Water – Manhuncelos House Sit (Part 1) . If you haven’t read it please link back to it so that you can get some perspective on what I am writing about here.
I manged to sleep in spite of the cold, I had my fleece pyjamas, socks and my warm sweater on plus my hot water bottle, and 3 of the cats joined me, so I was cosy enough. There were 5 cats in total, the mummy cat who remained fairly aloof throughout the week, and even disappeared for a couple of nights, and her 4 kittens. We also had a couple of visits from daddy cat who tried to sneak in for food a couple of times. The kittens were great fun and wonderful company but my goodness they could be naughty little rascals when they decided to be! (see photos)
The naughty rascals!
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But come the evening when we all snuggled up in the ‘cave’ room all was forgiven.
The first 2 days were wet, very wet, when it rains in Portugal it generally comes down in torrents, but once it stops the sun comes out and everything dries up very quickly. I survived on what supplies I was able to get in the village shop and was delighted to discover that the lady who ran the shop spoke excellent English.
One of the neighbours called in to see me on the first evening and brought me some bread and bananas and although she could speak no English we managed to discover quite a bit about each other with the use of mime, diagrams and my limited ability to understand a few words of Portuguese. By the time she left, half an hour later, we had exchanged information regarding how many children and grandchildren we had and where I was from.
Day three and the rain stopped, the sun came out and I decided to walk into the nearby town to get some groceries and have a look around. There were 2 buses a day, this is also very common in these more remote villages in Portugal, there is an early morning bus, to get people to work and school, and then one back in the evening.
So I set off to walk the 5.3km to the town, a walk that should have taken not much over an hour but somewhere along the way I took a wrong turn and it ended up taking nearly 2 hours to get there. I was a very pleasant walk though, all downhill (until I went wrong) and wonderful views.
The walk to town.
The town, Marco de Canaveses is a decent sized town with all the facilities a person would need. I had a late lunch, purchased some groceries and visited the tourist office where I got instructions regarding where to get the bus home. Once on the bus I realised that it was taking a different route from the one I had walked and I did begin to worry about whether or not I would recognise where I was and know where to get off but thankfully I made the correct choice of bus stops and had only a short walk back to the house.
Marco de Canaveses
I had asked the homeowner if there was any gardening I could do so over the next few days I focused on weeding the vegetable patch in between snoozes in the sun with the kittens and some more Portuguese lessons. I have to take any gardening at a very slow pace due to a back injury sustained in 2018 plus lymphedema in my arm but I do like to give something back to the homeowner when I can. The kittens, of course, had to get in on the act with the veggie patch and had an absolute ball playing in the grass. It was incredibly warm during the day and I was in shorts and a t-shirt a lot of the time but come the evening it cooled down rapidly. In fact, even in the house during the day it was still cold, it was much better to stay outside in the sun.
Fun in the garden.
And, as promised in my previous post…..
The glamorous and exciting life of a house/pet sitter.
In my last post I said that I would explain my unique dress code. So the explanation is below.
As I travel with a carry on case only I am always limited in what I can bring, and moving around from place to place does make it a little difficult to judge correctly just what clothing will be required. On this particular trip I had only one warmish pair of trousers (pants) with me and one warm sweater. So after two or three days I felt that my sweater and my heavier trousers could do with a wash, especially as I had been wearing the sweater in bed. So while I was waiting for them to dry I had to live in my pyjamas, which didn’t coordinate too well with my pink socks and navy and yellow shoes!
One thing I found most intriguing was, when I posted the above photo on Facebook and mentioned that I was going to have trouble keeping warm while I waited for them to dry people were commenting and suggesting things like wrapping myself in a towel while I waited. I remember thinking to myself that it was a strange thing to say considering that I was expecting them to take a couple of days to dry (it was raining again at this point). Then I realised that people were assuming I had a dryer. How I laughed at the thought of it, in a house with no hot water and many of the ‘essentials’ missing, they thought there would be a dryer. It’s not even something that I have ever owned. Just goes to show how different our expectations out. Thankfully the sun returned the next day and I got them dried in super quick time.
Getting back now to my activities during the week, on another occasion the neighbour came round again with this. I should have got her to write the name of it down but I’m sure she said something about tapioca.
Whatever it is gets stirred in a saucepan with water and sugar (this was demonstrated to me) and there is cinnamon sprinkled on top. She said I could eat it cold as once it goes cold it can be sliced. I have since discovered that it is called Aletria and is made with angel hair pasta.
So, there you have it, my wonderful week in Manhuncelos. I hope it has inspired you to consider House Sitting, it is such an interesting way of really seeing a country and living like a local. If this type of sit is too far out of your comfort zone be assured that this is not the norm, the type of sits available vary greatly and the wonderful thing is that we can pick and choose.
Now, just for fun I have a task for you. How many cats can you find in this photo?
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