Sunday 28 August 2022


I have just discovered a good money-saving tip. I don´t know if it applies elsewhere but here in Brazil it is a simple way to cut costs. When you purchase something via the internet as in most places it is usually cheaper than buying it over the counter from the same shop. The only niggle is the delivery charge which can be quite high. Here, you are given the option by some vendors to buy via the internet then pick the item up from the shop thus saving on delivery charges. 

This morning I bought some Nivea cream from the chemist. It would have cost me R$38 over the counter. On the internet it was R$27, with an offer of two for R$44 and no delivery charge if I picked them up. My local branch of this chemist is only five minutes walk away...I made a saving of R$32. I only wish I had known about this sooner!

Photo by Ibrahim Rifath at Unsplash

Friday 26 August 2022

The Three Musketeers

I have just started listening to a new book on Librivox, The Three Musketeers. I do enjoy listening to an unabridged version of old classics. Nowadays everything seems to be so rushed, condensed and pre-digested in order to cater to our so-called brief attention span that it is nice to be able to take the time to appreciate the book in it´s original form. I´m sure most people are familiar with the story but I doubt many have actually read the book - I admit I haven´t. The same goes for Moby Dick and The Count of Monte Cristo, we know the story, often the Holliwood version, but have never read the book.

It must have been a real marathon for the reader as there are over 26 hours of recording. Ideal listening for cooking, knitting or making pottery as I can really lose myself in the story.

Wednesday 24 August 2022

Healthy and tasty

My lunch today, not only tasty but healthy as well. Simmer some quinoa in vegetable stock until it is cooked. In another pan sauté some garlic, mushrooms and broccoli then add to the quinoa...voilá!

Sunday 21 August 2022



Yesterday it was seriously cold here with the temperature last night dropping to 8C and a windchill factor of -1C.  Despite this I managed to have a lovely night out with the family to celebrate my birthday (76 and counting!). First we had a couple of craft beers accompanied by live New Orleans jazz (and the band played happy birthday much to my embarrassment), then we went to a restaurant for pizza which was followed by cake with a sparkler candle and everyone singing again...I enjoyed it really, despite the attention...

Friday 19 August 2022

Them next door

I bumped into my new neighbour in the lift today when I was returning home from an errand. The flat next door to me has been empty for a good couple of years and I have got used to only having one other neighbour on my landing.

She seems to be a pleasant young lady and introduced herself, commenting that she worked nearby. I welcomed her to the building and got home to a barking Toby who, even half deaf, was disturbed by all the unaccustomed hustle and bustle of her moving in.

I presume she will have a couple of flatmates as it is a three-bedroom flat and would be rather expensive for one person on her own. I was lucky with the previous tenants, three young lads, office workers, who never made a sound and were away at the weekends. The occupants before them were the literal "neighbours from hell" and nearly drove me mad. They consisted of a middle-aged mother and adult son and three large dogs. Mother and son had frequent foul-mouthed shouting matches and the dogs were left on their own for days at a time with someone popping in to feed them once a day. The poor animals used to howl day and night. I knocked on their door to complain once and the son was so aggressive I thought he was going to physically attack me. I complained also to the building manager and they were fined after ignoring a warning letter but the fine made no difference. I didn´t feel I could take things too far as, being a woman living alone, I felt rather vulnerable.

Anyway, that is all water under the bridge now. I shall await developments with my fingers crossed!

Thursday 18 August 2022

Lovely weather


It is really nice here at the moment, crisp sunny days and cold nights. This usually lasts for a couple of weeks then we get a few unpleasant days which are really cold and drizzly - then it is back to the sunny days again. What is not to like? I think this is my favourite time of year.

Tuesday 16 August 2022

Just an ordinary day

So, what have I been up to today? Nothing very thrilling or earth-shattering...

This morning I had my usual coffee and Wordle in bed followed by a little read. When I got up I was sidetracked and did some pottery while still in pyjamas (!) then after a smoothie breakfast I went to the farmers market to get some fruit and eggs (not in my pjs). Their eggs are nice and fresh and very large.

I listened to Radio 4 while having lunch, a most interesting programme about Muriel Spark. Afterwards I had a follow-up doctor´s appointment about my back which was most frustrating. He saw me for all of about 3 minutes, did not ask anything about my back or progress at physiotherapy but just told me because I had had Covid I must not do any exercise until I have seen a heart specialist - this without asking about my heart or examining me in any way! Just imagine if everyone who has had Covid had to go running off to a cardiologist.

When I got home I was planning to do some pottery but a friend dropped by for a couple of hours needing to let off steam about family problems. After she left I made a halfhearted attempt at  some pottery but the idea I´m trying out did not really work so I went to lie down with my Kindle, my go-to solution for most things!

Now I am about to have dinner and watch some videos I follow on YouTube. They are about English couples who have moved to Portugal to live off-grid, something I would dearly love to have done if life hadn´t dictated otherwise. I´m too old to consider it now but can at least enjoy watching other people living that life.

And finally it will be bed with my faithful Kindle.

Saturday 13 August 2022

A lucky find

There is a vegetarian restaurant nearby where we have had lunch a couple of times when my vegan/vegetarian granddaughters have been over from England on a visit. It seems to only open on Saturdays but has a magnificent 'all you can eat'  buffet - a bit pricey but well worth it. 

They also sell take-out frozen meals which are amazingly good value. Each container, which weighs over 900 grams, costs the equivalent of about six pounds, which I thought would give two generous portions but even greedy me found them too large, three portions would be more accurate. So far I have tried heart of palm lasagna, mushroom risotto, bean stew and pasta stuffed with cheese, all equally delicious, and there are loads more to choose from.

This one is aubergine parmigiana. Haven´t tried it yet. Normally a simple lunch out costs about eight pounds here. I know that sounds cheap compared to other countries, but incomes are much lower here too so it is all relative.

I have always made my food from scratch, as it is cheaper and healthier. I cook up batches which I then freeze in portions. Quite honestly, since I discovered these frozen takeaways I am severely tempted to mostly rely on them rather than my own cooking. At roughly two pounds a meal I couldn´t make it any cheaper at home and think of the work it would save me - I am basically lazy anyway! Today is Saturday so I am off out in a bit to stock up. Yum!

Friday 12 August 2022

Stormy weather

Yesterday morning I was gazing down at the street through my kitchen window while I waited for my first coffee to brew. It was wet and very windy and as the early workers went round a corner in ones and twos their umbrellas blew inside out, one after another, which amused me. Luckily umbrellas seem to turn the right way out again fairly easily nowadays. I was thinking smugly how nice it was to be retired and not have to face a daily commute.

Later in the day I was not feeling so smug, though. The storm increased as did the wind and it became increasingly cold in my unheated flat. The gusts of wind were so strong (apparently reaching 80km/h)  that my curtains were blowing about in the draughts. In the afternoon just before I was due to go for my physiotherapy appointment there was a power cut and I had to walk down eight flights of stairs and back up again after when I returned as it was still off. It was a strange power cut as the overhead lights worked but not the sockets, so my appliances, computer etc would not switch on. It was a long evening and I found I only had three matches for my gas cooker which normally lights with electricity. I had to ration the matches, one for a cup of tea, one to make dinner later and one for my morning coffee assuming the lights were still off in the morning - which they were.

I had to walk down the eight flights again next day as I needed some shopping (matches!). My legs were still aching from the day before as I am only supposed to do gentle exercise at the moment. Luckily when I got home at lunchtime the power was back on and the lifts working again. Thank goodness we don´t get power cuts very often. The storm did quite a bit of damage with about 80 large trees falling around town.

Tuesday 9 August 2022

Christmas "back home"?

Here´s hoping!


It has been over four years since I last visited England and saw my son and two grandsons who live there. A couple of years ago I actually had a return flight booked and paid for, but of course that all went pear-shaped. Since then things have seemed so unstable everywhere that I have been in two minds about risking a long journey. 

However...time is passing and I am not getting any younger, so I have decided to throw caution to the winds and, God and governments willing, I intend to spend Christmas in England. Fingers crossed!

Photo by Cameron Stewart at Unsplash

Friday 5 August 2022

Am I alive?

The UK pension service like to check from time to time that we pensioners who live abroad are still alive and kicking. I don´t get a full pension because of living and working abroad for many years, but every little helps. Incidentally, I think it is very unfair that because I live in another country my pension is never increased, the amount I receive is the same as I was initially awarded with no cost of living adjustment.

Anyway, I received my form a couple of days ago by post, which needed to be filled in and signed before a witness and then returned by post. There is only one problem with that...the form was sent to me on March 22nd, taking nearly 5 months to get here - but I was given only 16 weeks to reply. Considering it will take 3 weeks to get back to them that leaves me well over the deadline. I posted it today, 2 days after receiving it, now I´ll just have to wait and see what happens.

Wednesday 3 August 2022

Poor little lad

Toby managed to fall down a whole flight of stone stairs today, nearly giving me a heart attack. The stairs are on the landing outside my flat and I had opened my front door to receive a granddaughter who was coming up in the lift. Toby gets excited and happy when he senses that visitors are coming and he was dancing about by my feet as usual when he suddenly set off across the landing, something he has never done before. Being blind of course he didn´t know the stairs were there and he slipped off the top one. Unfortunately this was on the inside curve where the stairs are so narrow he couldn´t get his footing and he tumbled and somersaulted right to the bottom of the flight. Surprisingly he didn´t utter a sound as he fell and I shot down the stairs to the next landing where he was staggering about, totally confused. Imagine being elderly and blind and suddenly falling through space, I´d have been confused too!

I picked him up and rushed home where my puzzled granddaughter was wondering where I´d vanished to. I was expecting bleeding from his nose or mouth as he´d gone down head first, or even a broken leg or two but amazingly he was unhurt, although shocked and trembling. After a little cuddle I put him down and he started running around as if nothing had happened. I think maybe it is not just cats who have nine lives...although I think he shortened mine today.

Tuesday 2 August 2022

Dreaming of elephants

Like most people I probably dream every night but unless I am awoken in the middle of a dream I don´t usually remember what it was about. I do know that they are often of the "being in a rush and everything going wrong" variety.

The other night I had a strange dream which I remember vividly, though. For a start it was about elephants (or ozents as my brother used to call them when he was little). I dreamt that a young mother elephant was in my home with two little babies. She looked more like a cartoon elephant than a real one and her babies, who were absolutely tiny, looked like real elephants but the size of a mouse. Mum was normal-size.

The babies used to sleep in my bed and one morning when I got up I trod on something icy cold and squidgy and found it was one of the babies which must have fallen out of bed. I was sure I had killed it and started looking for the other one which I found still in my bed, nice and warm and alive. I picked up and cradled the poor little dead one in my cupped hands and suddenly realised that it was warming up and slowly coming back to life again, so I kept cuddling it until it had fully recovered. Then I woke up.

No idea what that was all about!