Let me tell you about Bird

Let me tell you about Bird.

We rescued her in January 2020 from Vizsla Rescue UK. She was just over a year old and in need of a new home, due to a change in family circumstances – for her original owner.

She was a reluctant surrender, but it was the right and honourable thing to do, giving her to breed rescue who found her a loving and active home with me.

We renamed her Bird, because she pecked at her food, chirruped when she wanted something, and always perched herself on my feet (or shoved her butt in my face – not sure thats a Bird thing…but feel I should mention this).



She is always by my side, and a brilliant and constant companion for Ginger. They play non stop, taking it in turns to chase each other through the long grass and amongst the orange trees.

She was skinny, nervous and not too keen on cuddles when she arrived, but we found food that she likes, she’s become confident, brave and obedient and can’t get enough snuggles, belly rubs and ear scrumples.

She always wants to get in on the action (as per these attempted photos on Sunday) and plant a kiss or two on my face – which makes taking photos more challenging, but these are the photos and memories I treasure the most.

#adoptdontshop #adoptadog #vizslarescue #magyarvizsla #hungarianvizsla #vizsla #rescuedog #rescuedogsarethebest #rescuedogsrule #rescuedogs

One way ticket to a galaxy far far away

Thoughts of a galaxy far far away….

When you have been in relationship with someone for a long time, you will be familiar with thoughts of, and the desire to, jettison them to a far away planet, on the fastest one way rocket-ship.

There have been a few times, that I would gladly have done everything in my power to make that happen.

Nobody is perfect (….except…? – I’m joking!) and neither could they ever be. What we want and need changes over time.

We’ve been together for 37 years.

That’s a long time.

This morning, I found Shaun dripping water into Bird’s mouth, because he’d seen me doing it last night, encouraging her to drink. He kissed her head, held her paw and talked gently to her. She gazed into his eyes, wondering what the hell happened yesterday and why her belly hurt so much.

It reminded me of when Seb was a baby in his incubator. Shaun would gently stroke Seb’s tiny hands and feet through the porthole on the side of the incubator for hours, talking to him and gazing lovingly upon his tiny form.

How Seb ever learnt to walk I will never know, as Shaun wanted to carry him everywhere. He was a hands-on dad, and loved every moment of raising our son. He probably would have liked a house full of children, he’s never said that, but of course it wasn’t meant to be.

So today I would happily cancel his one way ticket to galaxy far far away….. (or maybe I’ll just ask for a credit as tomorrow is another day).

iPhone 12 Pro portrait mode. He always looks tanned and great in photos. I like to think I’m pale and interesting ?

Stupa Budista

The Buddhist temple in the mountains of Algarve.

In May 2021 we visited the Buddhist temple – ‘Stupa Budista’ in Salir, Loulé, Algarve – just 15 minutes away by scooter from our home. We decided to go at sunset to watch the sunlight fading over the mountains, with far reaching mountainous 360° views, including the Atlantic ocean in the distance.

We were greated by a big white and brown Rafeiro do Alentejo dog, waiting patiently by the temple for some fuss and attention from visitors. We were alone and had the place to ourselves for the whole visit, which was magical. I know we will visit again, maybe at sunrise instead.

We walked clockwise around the stupa in a positive frame of mind, as advised on the information board.

Salir is a very quiet, tranquil and peaceful village of traditional homes, nestled in the Serra do Caldeirão hills. Hiking on top of one of these hills is a wonderful treat all year around. Spring is the best time to visit.

To get there- West of Salir on the N124, a sign points north to Moinho do Malhão. Turn right and take the scenic winding road up to the cross roads and look for a large sign on a sharp right hand turn, marking the entrance to Humkara Dzong, a small Tibetan Buddhist community. The rough unmade road leads to a magnificent and beautiful Stupa with a most spectacular view in the Algarve.

Lama Kunzang Dorje founded the community in 1982 and in 2008 the five metre high Stupa was constructed and consecrated. The first of its kind in Portugal, the monument marks the highest point in the hills overlooking the Algarve and the Atlantic Ocean beyond. From this point, it’s often possible to simultaneously watch the sunset and the moonrise. You will enjoy some of the cleanest air in the world on this hilltop. It was windy when we visited, and starting to get chilly at 14°C as the sun disappeared under the horizon.

Just beyond the Stupa, there is an old windmill hich has been converted into a temple where the Buddhist community gathers each morning for prayers.

In the Buddhist faith, the Stupa is symbolic of the potential that everyone has to achieve enlightenment: we consider all expats who have chosen to live here in the Algarve as ‘enlightened’. Thousands of prayers, sacred relics and other offerings are contained within the Stupa. Buddhists believe that the shrine is a source of positive energy which promotes health, wellbeing and prosperity. Whether you’re a believer or not, you won’t be able to deny that this spot brings great joy and peace to the visitor.

Definitely worth a visit.

Chilled summer soup

An easy and delicious summer raw chilled soup, based on Spanish gazpacho. Use whatever fresh veggies you have available, such as cucumber, celery etc.

I like to serve this soup, fresh at room temperature. Avoid putting it in the fridge as lower temperatures switch off and decrease the flavor of tomatoes. I love using rosa tomatoes as they are abundantly available in Portugal, but use whatever you have available, fresh and in season. Always use good quality olive oil.

Serve with fresh bread, croutons or toasted pine nuts.

Chilled summer soup

Based on Spanish Gazpacho, this is a fresh, vibrant, chilled summer soup.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Course Appetizer
Servings 4 People

Equipment

  • Blender, lemon zester.

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Wax free lemon. Zest half of it.
  • 1 large red pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 tbsp Good quality olive oil
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate vinegar (or sherry/white wine vinegar)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp chopped scallions
  • 2 large Rosa tomatoes or 8 plum tomatoes

Instructions
 

  • Blend all ingredients.
  • Add a little water if desired.
  • Serve with an ice cube and more fresh herbs