Sunday, September 26, 2010

Good Lord!

Meet Lord, our temp dog. We've adopted him until some neighbours return to Pera permanently in April 2011 or until some other neighbours arriving in October want to take him permanently.

Lord was living in the village with an elderly couple who both had to go to hospital in Lisbon. Their neighbour looked after the dog in the back yard, by feeding him and clearing up after him. This was supposed to be a short term solution, but the couple are still in hospital and will be for some time. Poor Lord was left outside on a very short chain, never walked and surrounded by his own mess. Lord was covered in ticks and fleas and his ears and eyes were very eaten by fleas.

In the end Jon and Laural cleaned up the area Lord was in, Joaquim and Ana gave him a new dog house and together he was bathed in de-flea solution. Peter and I started to walk him once a day and he was getting much happier, excited to see us, not nervous and really enjoying his walks.

Peter and I adopted him last week and it has been a trial by fire. First he was attacked by a dog of some Lisbonites here for the summer. I screamed in the street and this dog finally went away, leaving a puncture mark in Lord's neck. The next day I was out in the woods and saw a wild boar while walking the dog, then later that day the dog that attacked Lord got into the garden. Our garden is not very secure, with lots of entry points and our next door neighbour - Ameila - feeds all the local dogs which can come in. So, after a melt-down then 80 euros spent at the store, Jon and Peter secured our garden as much as they could. It's still not 100% secure, but it is the best it is going to get.

Lord lives outside, he is not 100% sure of coming inside, he is on a long chain now and he is walked twice a day (we've arranged that the attack dog goes out at 9am and I walk Lord before that). This week he has mostly been eating meat (refuses his dog biscuits) and learning to sit, fetch and return to his name. He's won the Lotto compared to the life he had before.

I always wanted a dog, but having one is not what I thought it would be. I worry too much! Still he is very very cute, although he has started trying to hump my leg - bloody typical, so much for being ALPHA, it would appear the pecking order in our house is : Peter, Lord then me! Didn't you just predict this would happen!!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Surprise, it's Porto

It's been a busy time over here in Portugal. Peter surprised me with a trip to Porto, we stayed in a manor house castle which was at the top of the hill. We dumped our bags and went to explore this ancient and beautiful city, with small streets full of houses to the river front and the tourist restaurants and cafes with the bright coloured umbrellas and the ancient churches and buildings with litter the whole city.

First stop, as always with us is the local market. Here this subterranean space was full of vegetables, fish, meat, olives, bread, garlic and plastic flowers! Yep, plastic ... maybe for all the saint shrines?

Once the market was well and truly photographed we went on to explore the inner streets, it is totally stunning with the tram running up the cobbled streets. We had the trusty Rough Guide with us to help us, but as normal, hardly ever looked at it (only when we wanted a place for dinner really). Instead we climbed up to the look out point on the top of Porto. From here you can see for miles across the city, river and beyond.

From the top of the world you can walk across the famous bridge which gives you amazing views across the river. The Metro runs right along side, it would never happen in London, where you can play chicken with the Metro!

One thing we didn't do this time was walk over the bridge to the other side of the river where the Port houses offer tastings and tours. Far too many things to do in Porto, which did include sitting at a bar drinking beers and me getting too drunk too quickly. Never good I tell it ended up in a dash around town looking for somewhere for me to eat my dinner to dry up some of the beer!

Day two, rested (of a sort, just a mild headache) we toured on foot again and saw the smallest house in Porto. Built between two churches as the law stipulates that two churches cannot share a wall (this is the house in the photo below with the railings in front of it). We went into one of the churches, well you've seen one you've seen them all eh! This one had something I'd never seen before - a saint, a story and a collection box. So, you get to choose which saint to donate your euros to.

Of course any tour of any city would not be without a coffee stop (and a cake) every so often. Although Cafe Majestic is very famous, we were seated inside the fab building, with lovely linen and bustling waiters, but alas it was far to posh for us, so we headed to cafe up the road.

We both totally loved Porto, it is a great mix of old and new, city and river, cafes and bars. Next time we go I promise not to get too drunk too quickly and we can stay out past 10.30pm!