Monday, 16 March 2009

Sun, Sex and a burnt prawn curry at the OK Quinta

Good Morning Portugal!!

Well, I feel blessed to be alive this week after being pursued by Tony One Tooth, Paula Non Stop, Valdemar the Winge, four GNR officers and oh yes two members of the Ambient Death Squad AND a few hundred caterpillars. For those with little time to read my missive, I survived, I partied and I am dead good looking.

For fourteen years, three pine trees overhung my friends property, on the neighbours land. Never a neighbour seen, I cut them down. After being affected by those horrid caterpillars, just as I had fallen three massive pines, the prodigal neighbour arrived... 

a) Tony One Tooth, Patriach, one long bottom tooth.. " It's like having had my legs chopped off!"
b) Paula Non Stop, wife of above "Unbelievable (x 100)"
c) Valdemar the Winge "Like losing my son.."
d) The police "Sort it yourselves"
e) Ambient "Sort it yourselves"

Moral of the story, get a good owner on your side, check with other locals the status of the Winge Family and don't get caught in future. Cost me a nights sleep though.

 It's tricky being the Robin Hood of the Landscaping and Permaculture world. A tough life but I love it!

The sun is out and the future is great. Whilst bankers moan their lack of bonus, our chickens are laying well, cabbages, beans and onions abound. I look forward to the future, to equality, to enjoying simple things not expecting new cars and fancy meals but teaching my kids backgammon and last generations card games, pic nics, bike rides, camping, window shopping, hey even smiling!! Read again what I have just written and these are activities that bring immense joy and cost ZIP. What fun the BMW service bill?

Two litres of boiling water in 26 minutes - in March?

Solar Prawn Curry anyone?

The new solar cooker from Spain is now set up and is incredible. I see no reason for anyone cooking during the summer days to use electricity or gas. They deliver to Portugal and the web site is This dish was about 100 euros delivered - worth every cent. It gives out the heat equivelent to a big gas ring. It isn't going to take long to get the investment back and it really is easy to use.

One of my other investments this week is The Owl Energy Monitor. Full reports on this have been done by Permaculture Magazine and it is brilliant. Not as brilliant as having a purely solar electric system like Rainbows (check out Jonathon at if you want a good high quality installation) but fantastic to see where all your beer money is being wasted on standbys, silly plugs etc. It consists of a sensor fitted to the incoming supply of your fuse board that trasmits to a clock that you can sit anywhere (mine is on the kitchen worktop) that tells you precisely how many watts you are using or how many euros per day et you are spending. I have struck a deal with the suppliers to import them to Portugal and the price will be around 60 euros. E mail me at if I can help you.

Standbys, transformers and just naughty plugs - this machine saves money by showing you how much you bloody waste!!!

Just in case you thought I took time off, I have just finished my passive solar cooker, mentioned in my last blog. We had teething problems - lack of heat after we fitted the black painted tin surround and had to resort to lining the sides with tin foil. The bottom is still black and acts as a heat sink and we broke the 100 celcius barrier this week end (white bit on end of finger to prove it!). And yes, it makes great bread. 
A great week. Small investments, good savings and great food. Good luck John LW and Judith, best of luck on your return to UK and see you somewhere soon xx. Life's great, don't use a bank!

The solar cooker. 100 celcius free of charge.

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