I sit here, the very image of Spider Jerusalem (albeit, considerably hairier). Hopped up on painkillers and dope, a beer fresh from cooling in the river by my side, a roll up between my lips and a tiny computer in my lap. Music from an album released six days ago warms my ears as I sit, not in a sprawling Metropolis (ala. Spider), but in a clearing behind an old Roman mill. If it wasn’t for the music, I would be able to hear the sussuruss of water as the Rio Sever, through the trees behind me, idly floats on.

Rio Sever

I sit amongst ancient terraces in a hammock set up between a Cork Oak and an Olive tree. Ahead of me the terraces go up until topped by a ring of trees. From my view they seem to stop suddenly as though there is nothing behind the top terrace. All I can see through the trees is sky. It’s like sitting at the top of the world in The Garden, before the fall. I can picture a snake appearing from a tree with temptations (which I wouldn’t/shouldn’t/couldn’t resist in my current Jerusalem-like state).

It’s late in the afternoon as I sit here. The tiredness of a job well done and time well spent relaxes me as much as the intoxicants (almost). Most of the day slogging a ton of stones (literally and backachingly, I’m not exaggerating) into cement mixers to make a solid platform for a “shed”. The base of which was bigger than the house I use to occupy. This all took place a at a neighbours house (who lives about ten kilometers away). The three of us, Richard, Pete (another helpexer) and I, went over and, with three others, all helped this guy build something. I’ve never experienced that kind of community in England, and yet all these people helping out were English. An expat community that is more generous and open than any street in Britain.

Auf Wiedersehen Pet

When I think of everything I left behind, at home and at work (yeah, right), the friends whom I miss, the duality of simple and complex possibilities of everyday working life. I remember all the good things I miss about back home and still, I am happier to have left it behind to pursue this. It was totally worth it.

I had to walk three kilometers to get to the nearest internet in order to post this. It happens to be in a bar (thankfully,after that walk, in that heat) which does the delicious little chickens pies native to Portugal. So I sit here, with a beer and a pie, and give you this, a slice of my life.

And now I go back, to collect wood, for the stove in my room. The day ends reading by candlelight with a fire crackling gently away, lulling me towards sleep.


This place is beautiful, and I love it here.

And now your asking yourselves, how much of that was true?