This is the life in Loule, Algarve, Portugal

Trip Start Nov 27, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Mark and Sally's

Flag of Portugal  , Algarve,
Wednesday, January 20, 2010


To start off, a photo to show the strenuous conditions under which I have crafted this entry...

Another couple of weeks of helpexing and this time for Mark and Sally in Loule. They are both creative people and some of the work has been to assist with ongoing projects. We've helped decorate a room, filled the old woodworm holes in an old trunk, sanded the trunk and filled again, cleared land, at least three more bonfires, emptied a storage room, tunnelled under a path to lay a pipe and other jobs. The only request we've been reticent to complete was when Sally asked us to prepare a meal. We both blanched as Sally is an excellent cook and she has worked in a professional capacity as chef.  We backed out of that one!
Our living quarters are top class. We have an outdoor staircase up to our rooms. The door is sat on a balcony and there are plans to convert this space into a kitchen to complete the apartment.  There is a large bedroom with a huge and comfortable bed under sloping eucalyptus beams.  On the tall wall, there are a few steps up to a little door that leads out onto our private roof terrace.   We have a bathroom to ourselves and another large room that we have been decorating, so eventually there will be a living area as well as a bedroom.  


 We can pick fresh lemons and clementines from the trees in the garden for breakfast.


Along with Sally and Mark, three dogs live here. Cleo is the only one that is supposed to live here. She gets her name from the eyeliner she wears like Cleopatra.  Blackie is all fur as well as very playful and jumpy.  Gira, the golden one, is older and very soft and loving.  She's the mum of the other two.


No photos of the Moorish market building, but on a Saturday there is a large market in Loule. There are huge volumes of stalls selling fruit and veg outside the market but fewer stalls inside. Recently the town council equivalent refurbished the market building and put up the rents. So now the produce is in the surrounding streets!  Whilst at the house, I had noticed that the kitchen work surfaces were far too low and then whilst wandering through the market crowds, I felt tall. My eye level was just about at the top of most Portuguese men's heads.  The ladies were even smaller. Tourists failed to blend in by not only the obvious generous height but also by the lack of woolly clothing favoured by locals in these chilly months.  


I've been working in just a shirt (and trousers) some days outside, but mostly with a thin jumper to keep the wind out. The last week has been balmy with spring like temperatures, dew on the ground in the morning and occasional showers.  When we arrived here earlier this month, the orchard was full of bare trees and a floor covering of clover leaves.  We've watched the non-native Jamaican buttercups come into flower and the buds swell on the trees. There are now a few almond blossoms and the bees are very active. 

Laura has been delighted with the local creepy crawlies.  There is a huge black bumble bee that we see occasionally.  It has the colouring of an overgrown bluebottle fly but is more bumble bee shaped.  She has also spotted geckos and salamanders. I play along on our dog walks trying to spot lizards sunning on the rocks but after creeping up to the potential animal it has always been rocks and sticks!  We take the dogs out into the "fields".  It's open countryside, although every inch is owned by someone.  There are unmade roads through the land, and game trails to follow through the bushes.  The few trees are spread out and small in comparison with British trees, reaching only a few metres high. However trees are very important to the Portuguese and, along with the house details, the number and types of trees are listed on the deeds to a property.  There are more bushes than trees, but there is more bare earth than anything else. The patchy ground cover tends to be a relative of Lords and ladies so unlikely to be edible! One of the areas we've walked through was full of wild thyme, growing knee high. It's raining a bit during the night and infrequently during the day now and the earth is ideal for looking for animal tracks. As soon as you step off the road, though, red clumps of mud mixed with the grit of the paths clings to your boots.  The loss of the footprint became apparant when Laura tracked my trail for about 25 metres.  Although this impeded Laura's tracking, it was the three dogs that had no etiquette and trampled all over the ground that obliterated my tracks.  They also kept pushing into the bushes to check I was still there, a total giveaway!
The birds have been interesting too, and with the aid of a local bird book, we've identified crested larks, sardinian warblers and black shouldered kites.  We're house sitting this week, so plenty of walks with the dogs and hopefully more wildlife spotting but it's more likely to be looking for animal tracks.  Laura has tried to sneak out on her own as the dogs scare off the animals but we don't get a choice, we walk and they herd us down the drive and out of the village!
One of the dog walking routes takes us past the "zombie house". I once tried to go in the house but noises from further inside convinced us that the name was appropriate. Another day I snuck round the outside and took a few photos of the next set for Resident Evil 4.
Please do leave a comment or if you don't want the world to see your update send an email about what you are up to, we've had a few emails from friends and family - we love to hear news of what's going on in your lives too.
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Comments on

Thirty years on and you are still crouching down examining nature, I don't think it was poo though all those years ago!!! Brought back good memories!!.You two seem to be having a wonderful time and meeting some lovely people and ofcourse dogs.We are all well here and at last the snow has gone, it was fun for a couple of days but then became a nuisance, that does not look right! Carry on having a truly wonderful time and sending your brilliant photos. Love you lots and lots and send you big hugs mumxxxxXXX

Godfrey on

Great stuff,however I haven't seen anyone else in these photos apart from yourselves,the creatures of the forest and the dogs. Keep up the good work.

lifeinbrian on

We'll find some random photos of people for you Godfrey!

Anna on

Hallooooo Lovely to see you having a wonderful time and dig the ALex hammock time....(to the tune of Hammer time) ... keep safe and you can never have too many thin jumpers for situations such as yours - A & J XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

darren sharp on

wots going on then? that resident evil abode is dead sinister! was our girl hanging out locally with a large gun and slitted red dress??

am concerned by laura preoccupation with poo and beetles. but i ll move on. can i plse see some pictures of hot rugged foreign men please. at least one.

other than that get some pics with both of u in together ;) and

ps. Tell that b'stard Brian that i ve changed the locks. If he wants to hang out with Fanny and Gash its his decision. i miss u brian love snookles X

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