WELCOME TO Val's Alentejo -I write about my region of Alentejo. My art ,painting, my cottages, Family life, my animals -Travels And my love for Roses- and rural country life.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

boxing day..

I arrived at Miguel and Sasha's at 1pm Christmas eve.  I hadn't been to Estoril in a few years. The highways were full of traffic, coming and going. All on their way to families and friends for Christmas. It was a little intimidating for me driving the outer ring roads.   I am so used to the country and  hardly any traffic where i live.  Anyway, I arrived safely and spent 2 wonderful peaceful happy days with Miguel and Sasha.   Just relaxed and enjoyed each others company. 
 I took a few photos of christmas. but on my tablet..and i have no idea how to get them onto my blog.
just happy times we all had.
These photos i took are on the way home from Lisbon.   I have shown some areas here before.  I took the back road to my village. I like the drive and the day was sunny and lovely.
The area here is from Alcaçer do Sal to my village..  Its a winding road, so one has to pay attention.
In this area are very very large farms.   Cattle, cork, pine trees, and the salt paddies.
                               The storks are back again.   I took this from my car window. The municipality of Alcaçer, have erected poles specifically for the storks, as they were using the telephone poles and electric posts.
                                 A lone church  just outside of Torrao.. about 30 min from my village
                                      The rice paddies are dry at the moment, and are being prepared for the next season.
                             I couldnt resist this photo.. The trees looked like ghost trees against all the green of the other trees.  I have never noticed them before.
                                  A lone  Iberian pine.. The fields are getting greener and greener
                             A private Estate.. I  stopped to take a little walk around, my legs were stiff from driving.  I spotted these beautiful cows.  they have rich ground cover.
                                 Very well kept.   The trees you see are cork trees
                       A close up of a cork tree.  You can see where they have stripped the bark.. they dont trip the whole tree, as it would kill it.  The cork is harvested, every 9 years.
                    Our little Buddy.  One of my little doggies.. He spent most of his days with Mr. M..and as soon as we arrived home.. he jumped out of the car and ran up to the big farm.  He was sulking and didnt eat at Miguel's. He is happy to be home.   He is with his big pal.. Vouga, the farms watchdog.
Stopped at the side of the road.. My little village in the distance.  I always get excited when i see this sight. I know i am on my way home.  
                              We had a very big storm during the 2 days of christmas.. but some of my roses survived.  I have normally pruned them by this time of the year.
                                Poor roses.  but some weathered the storm.. I wanted to see how long I could get roses from the bushes..and they have'nt stopped blooking.   They must however be pruned this week.   The pool patio.. the storm had blown leaves and sticks all over the place.   It started to rain again this morning. So no hurry.  Will clean up when the weather gets better.  It's 15 deg. today.. its warm.
                         I was invited boxing day afternoon to my Dutch friends house for a buffet with friends.
As i was leaving , this duck sat there staring at me as i drove down the drive. I stopped and took this photo.. (this is for you Tex) What kind of duck is this.. I want some. Never seen them before.

           Fallen leaves from the storm.    Its just stopped raining.    Glad to be home.  lots of projects on paper and on the go.  2014. lots to do.

I loved being with my son and the break was super.
But i love to be home.

How about all of you.  Did you all have a good Christmas time.!

Thank you for all your lovely christmas comments..

Have a good weekend. The last of the year


  1. glad you made it there and back safely and even got a chance to enjoy the drive a little. thanks for explaining the stork roost and the cork trees, too! poor little pup. glad he is safely in your care and back home where he feels comfortable.

    that is a muscovy duck. i really like them, too. we used to have a flock here on our pond but two of our dogs ran them off or eliminated them when the dogs were young.

  2. Thanks Tex.
    Ican tell you, I am not used to driving anymore in heavy traffic.
    Buddy, is very happy to be back home.
    Ohhh. I knew you would know the name of the duck...
    He was so placid. I would love to have a few..but i think the dogs , might do them in. Thanks for coming over..always great to see you.

  3. Hello Val and welcome home. Sounds like you enjoyed your break with your family. I always think about the song "It's so nice to go travelling but it's oh so nice to come home". We are in relaxing mode at the moment. Just reading and catching up on some (my) favourites on TV. John's not one for the TV so I have carte Blanche over what I see. Looking forward to getting back to normal now. Lots of plans and projects for 2014. I've been floundering since I got my degree but have a few ideas up my sleeve. Your Roses don't look too bad. We've had some very severe storms here too in the UK but tomorrow is forecast to be sunny again, so we might take advantage and take ourselves off for the day somewhere. Take care.
    Patricia x

    1. I did enjoy my short break. The traffic in the city is scary. living out here in the quiet countryside ..its become daunting.
      You are not the only one relaxing. We watched movies.. and I have watched a few in the last few days. Great to hear you have projects.. likewise here.
      looking forward to all our new posts next year.. I watched sky..you have had some awful weather and without electric.. Thanks Patricia..nice to see you

  4. So what is boxing day? And I am so glad you made it to your son's and back and had a nice Christmas. Your pup is cute. And the scenery wonderful - even you had a great time. lol Happy New Year.

    1. Boxing day..is when friends and family from afar, cannot make it to you on christmas day. So they visit on the 26th..its a holiday...they bring their presents then..hence boxing day. Do you not have it in America.!
      Thank you Sandie.

  5. Do you harvest olives at your location? How is the big boat adventure?

    1. Hi there Sunnybrook,
      Yes i do harvest my olives, and most of the farms around. I use the bater system. Snr. Ze Maria, a local from the village. Harvests my olives.. and prunes them. He keeps the olives in return for my olive oil after the process at the local co op. So I have olive oil all year around.
      Skipper, phoned home last week , via satelite communication..and all is well. They should make landfall by next weekend.

    2. That is so good to have real olive oil, we are getting fake stuff in the stores here, they mix it with other oil and make it green like extra virgin. Glad the boaters are doing well, no major storms down that way.

  6. Hi Val. No place like home for sure. Nice photos all. No we do not have Boxing Day in the US. Some of your traditions didn't make it across the pond. No Christmas crackers, mince pies are not very popular and no one makes fairy cakes! It's interesting how traditions vary from country to country.

    1. Thank you for your comments Sanda.
      No you do not have boxing day.
      Its traditinally English I think.
      I also love to see the American traditions , and traditions from other countries.

  7. A lovely post, as always Val, and I'm glad you enjoyed your Christmas. We certainly enjoyed ours too, with a little grandson here to enjoy. Well done for all the driving - I must admit I have lost confidence with driving in the busy city areas these days, and try to avoid it. We saw ducks like that in England and I took lots of photos; they are very attractive to see. Your roses are fabulous, always! Happy New Year, Val xxxx

    1. Thank you Patricia.
      I see you are really having hot weather there.. Its really cold here now.
      I think ,I am getting to the stage of loosing confidence driving in busy areas.

  8. So pleased that you had a lovely time at Christmas with Miguel and Sasha. Do they also live in the States too?
    Well done for negotiating all the holiday traffic on the roads. When you get used to pottering around country lanes busy city roads can be a nightmare.
    My eldest son's family spent the night rocking and rolling on the ferry boat when they should have crossed in only two hours, but eventually arrived here 24 hours later than intended. My other son's ferry dropped them off in Cherburg instead of St. Malo which gave them an enormous car journey to negotiate, but they too thankfully arrived safely in Brittany.

    1. Thank you Rosemary,
      Miguel and Sasha..have now made their official home here in Portugal.. living in Estoril.
      Miguel still travels to lecture.
      But their base is here.
      I will be checking the co ordinates tomorrow.. to see how Skipper and crew on "Pheonix" are fairing.. D.I.L. says she spoke to them 6 days ago.. all good.
      Well what a terrible time your boys had. It was very bad weather over christmas. I am glad they all arrived safely.

  9. Dear Val,we have in Australia Boxing day!!Last year my daughter was there celebrating the boxing day!I'm glad you enjoyed Christmas with your family!!
    Wishing to you and your family Happy New Year 2014!!Take care!Hug!

    1. Thank you Dimi.
      can't believe New Year is upon us.
      wishing you all the best...love val xxx

  10. Hi Dimi... yes Boxing day is a day celebrated by the English colonies and England.. It was for the workers to attend their family christmas.. and others who couldnt meet them on christmas day.

  11. Hi Val,
    It sounds like you had a very nice Christmas with your Son and family. Such wonderful scenery along the way. Aaahhh, look at your little doggy, he's precious. Glad you're home safe, and my wish for you in the new year is peace, joy, and love. You are a dear blog friend to me.


    1. It was a christmas to remember Sheri.
      Its the very first christmas alone with my son in many many years.
      It was relaxing and peaceful.

  12. Good to read that you are safely back home after spending Christmas with your son and his wife. It's nice to unwind over the holiday break and that's what I'm doing too. Sorting photos for a family reunion next month and tidying the garden.
    You have had some lovely sunny days and I enjoyed the photos of your journey home, especially the photo of the church and of the silvery trees.
    Warm wishes for a happy, fulfilling new year Val. Look forward to glimpsing aspects of life around your home and the Alentejo countryside.
    Betty ox

    1. Thank you Betty.. I enjoyed being with my son. The others on the high seas.
      wish you luck with your photos, and family reunion next year.
      Yes, we had sunny days after christmas eve and christmas day.
      best wishes to you Betty. see you next year.

  13. It must have been good for you to get away on your little trip and also to see your children. But I know that it is always nice to get back home. We drove to Nashville, Tennessee, for the Christmas holidays and be with our daughters, a son-in-law (one daughter is not married) the 4 grandchildren – the baby is now 7 months old and has grown a lot. It was good getting back home though. Your roses are pretty – so late in the season. I hope you will have a Happy 2014.

  14. So glad you had a nice visit and Christmas, but it's always nice to come home, isn't it?

    1. Thank you Jen.. It is always nice to be home. Happy New year. val

  15. Hi Val, So glad to hear you had a happy time with your son. It was lovely to share your journey home with you. How long do the storks stay? We remember seeing them when we visited Portugal in July.
    Sarah x

  16. I'm glad you had such a good Christmas with your family, Val. Thanks for the lovely photos of your countryside, which I always enjoy. Your roses are beautiful and interestingly even in North Yorkshire my daughter's yellow rose is still blooming. Not enough frost yet to kill the flowers. Wishing you all the very best for 2014.


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