20 Apr 2014

Happy Easter

 Wishing all my blogging friends a very Happy Blessed Eater Sunday.

Thank you for all your comments on my last post.. apologies for not replying to them..

Life seems to be taking over. I am so busy, I cant keep up.
  My grand nephew arrived to spend 8 days with me.  Its been a very busy time.  
                    I took these photos on Wed.  Hardy and Jeffrey-Cassidy are getting used to Vouga  the giant.
                                         sniffing around
                                                   Jeffrey and Vouga are getting along fine.
                                            Wondering what is outside the fence.

               I let Vouga out of his enclosure now and again.. into my garden.  He gets very excited, he is slowly settling down..very loving.   They will be getting an easter treat later.

                                          HAPPY EASTER SUNDAY TO ALL.
                                                      Love and lots of easter eggs ..

14 Apr 2014

Together always

Now and again ,my family of doves fly around near the cottage.  These two seem to enjoy sitting on the patio wall.  I watched them both for a while.  There was communication for sure between these two.. 
                                                   having a good discussion
                         The female is playing coy with the male.. she is on the right.  can you see the blue magpie.
                                                 now closer and enjoying each other
                                                                kissing and telling each other - we will always be together.

 Wishing all my blogging  friends a very happy Monday.

 Peace and love to you all.

10 Apr 2014

just peeping through!

lOnly a few days ago, it was raining really hard. Last weekend up until wednesday. Slowly Mr sun has been showing his face.    
Today its already 18 or 19º
Most of my rose bushes have been slowly filling up with buds.  When I see this my excitement grows.  I know now that its really spring.
                                     The leaves are glossy and shiny - looking healthy - I notice that some of the roses the bugs dont eat the leaves. Maybe not juicy enough for them.
                          I have been busy these last couple of days. Having to go out sorting paper work out for the new car.  I haven't really paid much attention to the roses..  I was thrilled to see these few had already opened.      This bush is a hardy bush.. it has red tips and an orangy hue about it.
                                                  A reddy pink one starting to open

                              The white ones are coming on.. They start of as yellow buds then turn as they get bigger into white..   I have detected some  beetles this morning.. so it will be spraying this afternoon.

My Fuschia bush is growing so large. nearly every leaf has a bloom ready to open

I am sure most of you will remember on many of our posts that we complained so much about the rain.   I should imagine that we will have a few more April showers! But  I know over the weekend I will have to water the garden.  Are we ever satisfied. !

I am moving into Olive Cottage today.  I have started to pack.  The same old routine every year.
Guests arriving next month.   So lots of painting , cutting back the bigger oleander trees, and getting Rose Cottage ready for summer.
Always something happening around Quintinha das Rosas

Hope you all have a wonderful day.      Thank you for all your kind comments on my last post.
I do my best to get around to you all.

Happy days


6 Apr 2014

Hydrangeas!!! & Azores

 The Azores - Archipelago.. 
 Officially the first islands were discovered in the 15th century by Portuguese  explorer Gonçalo Velho Cabral.
  I am sure that you all know about these beautiful islands.   Magical islands indeed.   The islands are situated on the mid atlantic ridge.
The photos (all courtesy) I am showing you are of the Island of FIAL. (Ilha Azul- Blue Island)
Fial, was the first Island that we arrived at on our epic sail from South Africa to Europe.   We were there for a month.  Which gave us time to get to know some of the people near to the harbor and the old town.

The Fial of today, is nothing like the Fial of the 80's..   It now boasts a marina and lots of new shops and tourism has become prosperous.
A volcanic Island.  It is well documented about the 1 year eruption on the Island in Capelinhos(little chapel)  Erupting on september the 27th 1957  until October 24th 1958.   It lasted 13 months.

Walking up to Capelinhos.. one is just walking on dusty paths, but my gosh.  What an incredible sight to see .
 I can imagine  Mars, must look like this!  There is nothing there..nothing grows.  A very eerie experience, that one never forgets.
The eruption destroyed 300 homes.  During this period of eruption 2.000 people emigrated to the USA and Canada.   In the US.. There are many Azorean fishermen ,with their large fishing vessels that live and fish in Cape Cod.  Mr. M and myself, had the pleasure of meeting some of these lovely families, on one of our trips to the US.
 Their children now 2nd and 3rd Generation Americans.   The same in Canada.  During the summer months.. many of the children come and visit the Islands where their grandparents had once lived.
      My main reason for writing this post today.    I have been thinking about our magnificent hydrangeas that we grew in our garden in South Africa, they were gigantic and the pride of our garden.
 We lived about an hour away from the city of Durban 2000 miles above sea level.  High up the hydrangeas grew to enormous sizes.
This lead me to start thinking this week, about planting some hydrangeas here in my garden .
My D.I.L Heleen has some growing their  Alfange Estate., their heads dont get very big.. but still they seem to do well.  So, they will be my next flower that I hope to plant.  I do hope they take.. i will have to see. They for sure, will not be anything like the size of the ones we had in S.A or the ones growing in the Azores.

FIAL. is known world wide for the abundance of wild hydrangeas growing everywhere , especially so in the town of Horta.   Along the roadsides, up on the hills all over the island the flowers can be seen. A sight for sore eyes, especially in the summertime. I have never seen so many.
Mainly blue hydrangeas .- as  Gonçalo Velho Cabral named the island "Hortensia"  Hortense in English is Hydrangea! Hence the town of Horta.
                                           A map of the Island of FAIL..  we were moored in Horta.
                                            Breathtaking views. Great climate
                                                  Hydrangeas everywhere.  Horta's fields are just thriving and full of these magnificent flowers.
                                                  "Capelinhos" Is the town where the volcano erupted.
 The Azores Islands have some of the tallest mountains on the planet. Measured from their base at the bottom of the ocean , to their peaks. Which are high above the surface of the Atlantic ocean.

When sailing. and the islands come into view. It is a very dramatic view and a feeling that one cannot describe.   One's heart swells with excitement, happiness, lots of feelings all rolled into one.. after the screaming and shouting..  Out comes the rum to salute the captain on his fine  sailing abilities.  We never had any electronic equipment on board.. We sailed over 10.500 nautical miles.
                                                       So so beautiful,,,,,
The Azores Archipelago is made up of  10 Islands.
             Santa Maria
             Sao Jorge
             Sao Miguel
             Terçeira -  Terceira is the main Azores air zone command .  A detachment of the USA airforce have their planes there.  The Americans have always had planes on Terçeira.. NATO. forces.

                                       This is the "Yachties" wall at the harbor of Fial.    Passing sailors on their yachts paint whatever they feel they would like to paint -about your yacht , your crew whatever.  You can see the main church in the distance..  Manel painted his interpretation of "Scally" on this wall.

The Azorian's  , have their own dialect, that even for a native Portuguese speaker is hard to grasp until some time or  a few days ,until you get to understand the dialect.   They have their own cusine and traditions.  
Very lovely hospitable people.  We made good friends there.
My youngest son Filipe- plays his classic music  once or twice a month at Peter's sports cafe in Horta.. a very very well known cafe , with the sailing fraternity ... Peter We knew, died some years ago.  A world renown "Scrimshaw" artist.. His son also Peter, now runs the cafe.. He has opened one in Lisbon too.    Peter is very generous for Filipe's flight and two nights there. Let me say- he always wants Filipe back.

Dear friends.. I could of course go on and on about my travels.  Today its about beautiful Fial.. and if you are thinking of an exotic place to visit and have a holiday..  Keep Fial in mind.

(all photos -courtesy of wikipedia)-

I would like to thank all my kind blogging friends for your comments on my last post.
I have been a little behind with comments and posting.

I hope you enjoyed a little journey to Horta Fial.. !

Wishing you all a wonderful week.   val

1 Apr 2014


I am now at a loss as to what to think about the weather.   The rain ,wind and cold weather is back again.  Mother nature, only gave us a couple of days respite.    There is nothing one can do, especially in the garden, where there is always things to do.      Its like a lake outside .   But have to remember its April.  And April showers come our way.

                                    I took this photo from my window.. you cant see anything.. its just pouring down.
                                    On the other hand,its good for my plants and trees. My pomegranate tree is full of new leaves.
                     Filipe , was down for the weekend.   We decided to go out for Sunday lunch. It was laughter and happiness all the way, with an extra few glasses of wine.
                                   Val, Filipe, Filipe's fiançe Diana, and my grandaughter Maria(Filip's) daughter.
 We go to our favorite restaurant.   Great atmosphere, and they know us so well.
 Filipe finally worked out how to take an automatic photo with my camera.. placed it on the table opposite and ran to be with us.. we laughed our heads off.
Such a lovely weekend.  Even though I say it myself.. I think this is such a happy photo.

 Off to make a coffee.    Wishing you all a happy 1st of April.