Some more of Daniel's wonderful photos.

Never ending chicken families.

Another one of Thais hilarious English speaking surprises… While her and me are walking along the beach to find her a piss spot because she refuses to go in the "TOO FUCKING COLD water"….
"oh, 'olly, i got question… what you say if boy, ask you, 'put your fingers in my bum'…..?"

Which results in, "If you like fingers, tell me… I cut my nails.."
Here is Thais and her English speaking.

On Sunday Ole and Bella take us inland to hidden rock pools. Miles cross-country in the back of the pick-up, Ole driving, hammering his hand on the horn a mili-second before charging through a pot-hole/ low-hanging branches. To a tranquil paradise, swimming upstream in the gauges, huge cliff-faces either side, waterfalls, water-lilies, lagoons and mer-people.

What was supposed to be Ole coming down to the workaway house for a couple of goodbye medronha shots turns a full medronha bottle into a big empty one, Robyn arriving with two bottles of champagne + hash, Thais rapping in Brazilian, weird musical improvising reaching it's weirdest peak, Robyn convinced he's having a vision, and us all dancing around and around and around the kitchen table until some hour.

Some fab photos from Daniel.

Team Brazil is split up as Gustavo mysteriously departs for Italy, leaving Thais, who speaks verrrrry little English, apart from when she suddenly comes out with 'Hollyyy I don't remember NUUUTTING and I wake up in morneeeng and my fuckeen arse hole it fucken HURRTS' and other things that make me die laughing. But communication works in strange ways, we laugh a lot. She is teaching me how to sing 'three little birds' by Bob Marley in Brazilian Portugese, and I'm teaching her how to say 'you stupid shitting boy cunt BOY crusty wan shaft tit bags I couldn't give a flying FUUUUUCK' in English, along with all other important phrases.

Sometimes in the evening we climb up the hill behind the farm, up the ladder to the platform on top of the white cube water tower. For yoga + sunset + the view + swallows + the bats.

Our last beachy weekend together, Jack has a bath in a cow trough, Thais and I consistently win at hitch-hiking, so many thanks to the kind people who save us the 4km walk, thrown around by 6ft waves, dreadlock from Brendan (sorry mum), Thais pisses on the sand, octopus salad and Sagres at the beach bar before a night in Odeceixe and a lot of crazy juice medronha. At some point everyone is lost and I'm having a dance-off with a huge Brazilian man who's favourite move is rubbing the top of his bald head on my stomach.

We have a new arrival, Daniel, WALES WOOOO. He asks how to say 'you have beautiful eyes' in Portugese and naturally (oblivious to him) we instead teach 'your cocks are really pretty'. He excitedly shouts it around the bar practicing his pronunciation.

Ai buseta velha.

Sean with Elvis and Katie and Mercedez.

Vida Pura, you see that castle? Don't go there... Never go there... A song about yellow t-shirt'ed Jack.
The stream that pumps water for the garden irrigation system dries up and apparently it wont rain here again until October. = Water Emergency.
Males coordinate transporting the pump to the main river, adjusting valves and pipes and complicated pressure gradients. Thais and I lug 100 5L plastic bottles to the river to fill up with river water, get ourselves stuck in sinking mud and pull each other arse-first into the river, and we're chased away by huge birds with faces like manky cunts, cocking their heads and breathing fire.

Tom drove Brendan, Sean and I along the coast in his yellow camper for a sunset game of frisbee on a different, equally beautiful, equally deserted beach. I don't know who taught me to throw a frisbee but somehow I can do it, I'm a frickin expert..
I also don't know where all the people are or why this coast is so un-inhabited by humans, but it's brilliant.

Spent a hot afternoon fighting with a hundred metres of very heavy and thick hose piping upstairs watering the fruit trees on 'burger hill' (everyone everything fries like a big-mac). Unknown cunt puts it's venom in my thumb. More painful than tattoo, more painful than breaking my leg, I swear.
Continue lizard sculpting, the Portugese builders continue popping their heads around the door to check progress, encouraging nods and 'muito bonito's. 
They weren't checking up when I was experimenting with the best way to smash wine and beer bottles into tiny little mosaic pieces. Throw a hammer at a pile of bottles then duck behind a wall, a flying piece of glass beats me to it and hits me on the eyebrow. Give myself a talking to.
We have also: dug up evil deep-rooted carpet grass with blisters and a pick-axe, carrot seeds sewn, tomato plants tamed, the foundations of a new raised compost toilet begun, burger hill is strimmed, doors are built on the recycling bins to stop the feral demonics, relentless African Tea is pulled up from around the vegetable beds, raspberries and beans and peas and courgettes and cucumbers and strawberries and beetroot are harvested, baby ducks are introduced to their newly built floating mansion..

On the weekend a nearby town, San Miguel, has it's annual street festival. Ole tells us that if we want to go we should go along with him or we'll get beaten up. What he really means is that it's a festival organised by the locals for each other, everybody chips in so that food on the evening is free and medronho (a spirit made from berries grown in the valley) is cheap. He introduces us to some smiling faces and we're accepted into the party. Streets are decorated, singing accordion playing man, traditional dancing in pairs around a square. Pick up a plate and take it to the man gulping medronho and waving a meat-cleaver, who loads you up with raw meat for you take away to cook on one of the huge iron oil-drum fires. Feel sick at the mounds of MEAT but he's too happy to say no to. Follow the sound of whistling to a man grinning and dangling a cooked sausage in the air, waggling it at my face. I guess this means come here and eat this cooked sausage, so I do..

Moneys are exchanged for tokens that are exchanged for medronho shots. Un-labelled glass bottles are pulled out from cupboards under tables, apparently the alcohol content of home-made medronho exceeds the legal allowance. Laugh a lot, dancing with an old indian chief and a dog. Cross-country stumbling route home with a little flash-light, too many rivers to cross and too many right turns left turns, electric fences, paths through corn fields, pot-hole tracks to navigate, a 20 minute walk takes us almost 2 hours. WHERE IS LAMP-POST CORNER. Thais and Gustavo get left behind somewhere and have a 1am power-nap on the side of the road. Until they're woken by the sound of falling piss.

Kut met peren.
Cunt with pear. (Dutch).

Veggie fruity garden
Julian the Frenchman drinks too much red wine and drives his moped too fast. He flies past us on our walk home from pretending to watch/watching the football at the bar in Odeceixe. Dennis the Harley rider recognises the whizzing sound a bike's accelerator makes when someone falls off and is suddenly sprinting up the dark road and it's all very dramatic until we find Julian mounting his moped. Luckily all he has lost is most of the skin from his knee and a little bit of the skin from his elbow, and the alignment of his front wheel and his front bike light. He still wobbly zooms past us on the dusty track, one hand in the air 'BONJOUR!!'

There's a pirate party for Ami's 3rd birthday. Transform from dirty workers into dirty pirates. Screaming and cake and indoor fireworks and a spectacular treasure hunt for a real buried chest filled with gold, shots of Portugese nonsense spirit, flying an excited Ami around the decking for ever and ever and ever in our arms like a fairy.

Robyn tells me about his vision for a 'lounging lizard' in one of the bathrooms of the new houses, and asks me if I'd sculpt it for him, out of concrete. (concrete..!?). The house is beautiful and nearly finished, the bathroom surfaces and walls are smooth, finely-sanded clay with soft corners and edges… ahhhhh fuuuuuck..!! Not expecting a hugely welcoming response from the concrete-providing builders to the conctrete-sculpting artist, I arrive at building site and set about mixing the concrete like Robyn showed me, 3 parts sand, 1 part concrete, river water not tap water..  A few minutes and I'm aware of a something behind me, something is the Portugese builder staring over my shoulder at my mixing. Here begins our days of hilarious failed attempts at communication. He is incredibly helpful, explaining and teaching me, in Portugese, everything I could ever need to know about concrete and tools. Unfortunately I don't understand a word he is saying and to everything he says I respond with 'obridgada' or 'muita obrigada' or 'bom dia'. He laughs at my weak mixing and sighs at me trying to signal about whether the power drill has a reverse function, and looks totally exasperated at me trying to drag an extension lead across the building site and fucking the whole thing up.

He mixes the perfect mix of concrete for me, precise to the nearest droplet of water, untangles the knotted extension lead, shows me the correct setting for the power drill, pops his head around the corner giving me a nod of encouragement, and when I'm trying to get a smooth finish as if by magic he appears with a sponge that does the job perfectly.

He tries to explain to me that I need to wear gloves, grabbing my hand before I can dip it into the mix, comparing my palm to his palm, my palm to his palm. I shrug and smile that I don't really mind, he shakes his head and leaves me to sculpting my lizard in concrete. Concrete is so much fun to sculpt with. Later that evening my hands tighten and blister and over the next few days begin to shed a thick layer of skin. Concrete is toxic, stupid fucking Welsh girl.

Fancy dress party for Sean's 25th birthday. Pimps and Whores. 3-course meal, fake penises, whips and chains, a lot of Sagres, a lot of smokes, music from Ole who used to be a DJ at forest raves in Holland, more Portugese nonsense spirit that I get warned about every time I pour a shot of. There's purple sick in the garden. I'd heard about Robyn and cross-dressing, he arrives at the party as an entirely convincing woman. And tells the boys that if they intend upon living a life of good mental health they need to embrace their suppressed feminine desires. The Dutch are goooooooood.

At the moment we're a team of:
1x Portugese
2x Welshies
1x Scotsman
1x Latvian
2x Dutch
1x Frenchman
1x Aussie
2x Brazilians
and Dutch Robyn, Valeria & their two children, 
and Dutch Ole & Bela.

Train journey back from Porto to Lisbon with mum, repeatedly we accidentally sit in the wrong seats, each time getting asked to move, each time start laughing and can't stop. While mum is in the toilet a man who we'd earlier thought was the ticket inspector comes grinning into the carriage at the opposite end. He spots where we're sitting and marches down the aisle, ignoring the other passengers. He stops and plants fat kisses on my face, and with no more of an explanation than 'Obrigado!' (Thank you) he walks off. 

The rest of the day is with sad goodbyes to mum, getting in stupid dangerous situations at motorway/pigeon shit junction, sitting on my suitcase, lorry fumes and eating bran flakes for 3 hours, then catching a coach down the coast to Odeceixe (oh-de-say-eesh) as the sun sets. 

3 years ago two Dutch friends Robyn and Ole, along with their wives Bela and Valeria, bought a tiny ruined house in a valley and since then, with the help of a team of local builders and 15 workawayers at a time, working 7 hours, 4 days a week, they've created Vida Pura. The little house has been renovated to accommodate the volunteers, with a big kitchen and sitting room, and a massive pantry filled with every kind of food you could have a Sagres/hash fuelled urge for. There are also two yurts + 5 caravans on the land for workers. Ole & Bela and Robyn & Valeria are building a house each for themselves, on the hills either side of the valley. A HUGE vegetable garden run by lunar calendar, grows organic fruit and veggies for the two families and all of the volunteers. 

There's a compost toilet that is so OK you'd only know it wasn't a normal loo when instead of flushing it you put a handful of sawdust down the hole. AND it's used by at least 10 smelly workers. A combination of eco-energy sources from solar panels and wind-mills to black pipes running across the roof to provide hot water, allow them to be surviving entirely off-grid. The houses are built using the traditional Portugese method of clay-packing and straw bales, straw and wood can be found on the land, and clay in the soil, so houses can be made almost entirely from FREE STUFF. 

We start work at 8:30, and finish at 4, with a morning coffee break and lunch break. Lunch cooking is done on a rota, cooking for 16+ people on an old gas stove and a really crap gas oven is a fucking experience… But maybe you get used to it, and people are always around to help. Depending on the time of year, all sorts of work needs doing, from planting and weeding in the vegetable garden, helping with the construction of the houses, maintaining the land, looking after the rapidly breeding animal farm of chickens or 2 baby ducks or 2 huge dogs or 6 cats or 3 donkeys, or the giant cross-gender cockerel Rodney. 

We walk into a pretty stone courtyard where the smell of spunk gradually increases beyond any OK level. Gagging, hysterical, running for an emergency exit. It's the plants, it's the plants! We're SURROUNDED BY FUCKING SPUNK PLANTS!!!!

Mum has spent the last 5 days almost tripping over, almost, catching herself at the last minute. I've been keeping a tally, she's been giving me knowing looks like her bones might shatter.
Today she finally hit the floor, onto a beach bar decking of people chilling out on beanbags. It was so good.

Peacemaaaaaaaan enthusiastic nutter drove us all around beautiful places for a day in an old yellow van.

Mumma's blogawog:

"Went out for dinner last night in an amazing circus-act-supporting place with funky decor and fabulous views, on the other side of town, that Holly 'knew' about. Was lovely. Mojitos, tapas and a bottle of wine. Not sure if it was the combination of all of the above but things went a bit strange after that. These three gurning drug dealers arrived and they sat gurning at each other intensely, and their presence upset the staff who went to pieces and refused to get our bill for us and were tripping each other up and stuff, and Holly lost her ring.
I may have remembered all that wrong. Took charge of the map because I was convinced there was a shorter route back home. Forgot that Holly is my daughter and therefore won't be told. Battle of wills ensued. Got very lost. Map got thrown on floor and stamped on. Strangers got involved. Tried, and failed, to pull the Parent card. Ah well, we got there in the end. Stubborn little witch. Can't think WHERE she gets it from.

 Builders next door started banging things at 8am! Bastards. Accidentally showed everyone on the tram my foof as I stood on balcony inspecting the weather. Eventually got our acts together and got on a tram headed west. Accidentally didn't buy a ticket, although we did try but it was too complicated. Result! Got off at Alcântara and wandered around the LX Factory - a huge arty-farty reclamation of old factories. Found best bookshop ever which had integral bar and coffee shop.
A week of Lisbon + Porto with Mumz, she's keeping a blog:

And this is from it:
" Landed in Lisbon at 7:30pm and caught the bus into the city centre. Holly had booked an apartment between Cais do Sodré and Bairro Alto, the trendy areas of Lisbon (of course) and as we stepped off Rua de Sâo Paulo onto Largo de Santo Antóninho we found ourselves slapbang in the middle of the most AMAZING street party. Barbecues and beer sellers lined the streets and competing music blared from every bar and balcony. If we hadn't been vaguely aware that 12 June was THE biggest festival in Lisbon we would have thought that Lisbon was the most CRAZY and HAPPENING city in the universe. Was fabulous. (Likewise, had we arrived the following morning, ignorant of the festival, we would have gazed at the litter, urine and vomit-lined streets in dismay and disgust).

Our apartment is on the second floor of a building a little way up the Calçada da Bica Pequena - a very narrow, very steep street up and down which trundles the Elevador da Bica - a two way funicular tram. Lovely apartment, with double balconied windows over-looking the street below.


Assos ancient ruins


Wake up at 6:50, poisoned by all the raqi drunk the night before, and crawl out onto the decking, looking across to Lesbos (haha) as the sun rises. If you make the few humans with you shush then the only sounds that can be heard here are the beating of birds wings, clanging of the bells around the sheeps' necks or the screeching donkey 3 fields away. It is soooo nice.

After dropping off the Ukrainian hitchhikers, we carried on along the deserted road home.
On Tuesday we go to a village market to get some more veggies for the week.
We get up early at the farm to walk the two HUGE dogs. It's like
trying to walk, on a chain, two badly trained horses that are equally
frightened and excited by absolutely everything. If they run, you run,
or fall and get dragged. The female pulled me arse-first into the
ditch, broke free and galloped down the track dragging the chain behind her.
Nick tried to rugby-tackle her at the same time as holding the big male
dog and ended up tangled in chains with his legs and arms bound
together and the dogs leaping all over the place, screaming for me
to hurry up and stop pissing laughing as I clambered out of
the ditch. We got pulled head-first inches from the river, after a frog,
and there was an incident with a herd of cows. There's also a 15 year
old grumpy Jack Russell who's favourite entertainment is biting the ankles of the
massive male horse dog as Nick tries to lead him out of the farm, the horse
dog flailing it's limbs, trying to climb onto Nick's shoulders out of reach
of the little dog's teeth.

We get up early and explore the Grand Bazaar.
A two week stay in Turkey Lurkey for zero moneys.

Get a message when we do another one!

Twitter Facebook Tumblr Flickr