So before I carry on, I thought I’d give you a vaguely relevant track to listen to whilst you read…

So here you go, it’s beautiful….

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyxHS_R0fic

So after a longer than intended stay in the UK, (I passed my TEFL, yee haw, hee haw). I’m heading back to Portugal on Thursday to live with goats, well I will be in a caravan, the goats will be outside, I hope. My dad’s mate, Gordon the Welder, used to have a guard goat that lived in a caravan, I’m hoping it’s just me in the caravan, and maybe a hairy hippy man, that would be acceptable.  

I am pretty much shit scared of all animals, so this is going to be a real challenge for me, as well as goats, they have dogs, probably my most feared of all animals, (in a realistic way, I’d shit it if I saw a lion but that’s not as likely as seeing a dog, well not in Crouch End or Portugal – I hope).  So yes I’m really excited but also totally crapping it, but hoping it will help me get over this dog fear or Cynophobia, (I just looked this word up to look clever or ridiculous, I’m not sure which).

My next stop is here, www.casalinho.com,  with one night in Lisbon along the way, looking forward to that, more green wine before the worthiness begins. The farm has suffered loads of storm damage over Christmas and New Year, so they need help rebuilding their farm, the other caravans for wwoofers, (please note its wwoofing, not dogging or rolfing), as well as planting the Spring garden, and continuing all the many chores and jobs to keep as self sufficient as possible.  I’ve chatted to Andrea one of the hosts and she sounds great, told me it’s the goats I should be worried about, not the dogs – eeeekkkk!

So I’m full of excitement and, of course, a little bit of trepidation, my last trip was just 2 weeks and I really enjoyed it but obviously nothing’s perfect, and this time round I should be out of the UK until at least June, with far too much to carry. Travelling with clothes for cold weather and working gear means there’s a hell of a lot to carry.  I’ve got wwoof placements sorted and booked until mid-April, (including a week off to drink Port with the Vixen in Porto – yee haw).

So why the trepidation, eh, I’m living the freaking dream aren’t I?

Cultcha.

I admit it, I’m very, very British, (more of this later), and I struggle with ‘foreign’ light entertainment TV shows.  Being an arrogant and pompous culture snob, I renounced my TV many years again after being sucked in by the first Big Brother, and the addictive behaviour of Nasty Nick.  There I said it!  

During my wwoofing trip before Christmas, the nightly ritual of watching the Portuguese ‘The Price is Right’, was completely torturous, especially as my lovely hosts Keeley and Rui loved the show, ‘this is Portuguese Culture’ they said excitedly, fuck, I thought, it’s the same the world over, culture has become a bag of shit, a piece of me died inside and wished I was reading Finnegan’s Wake.

The show is presented by this vile little fat man, who I suspect has mental health issues, in Portugal he’s a comic genius www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6d9Xi1T73E, that was a clip from The Price is Right, I hope you understand.  

This is when I feel very British and also totally condescending. I think of our, ‘British’. light entertainment and comedy and we are just so much more sophisticated, this is genius and totally spot on.   This is COMEDY, British Comedy,  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4dzjLQ9t_yw   

I just googled the UK The Price is Right, the last series was hosted by notorious joke stealer and unfunny man, Joe Pasquale, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kac_4ICzJwo  It never pays off to be so sneering and pompous, this clip instantly makes me hate humanity and am infinitely glad I am a TV-less smug twat.

Being British

OK so the British thing, it’s something I struggle with, I’m open minded, unjudgemental, happy to embrace new ideas, abhor racism and biggotry but when I’m abroad, I realise how totally British I am. I just can’t help it.  

When I go abroad and I order a beer and it comes in some tiny little glass, I think, ‘that’s not a fucking pint, it’ll take me 2 seconds to drink that and then I’ll have to queue at the bar again, or catch the waiter’s attention. That’s actually less than a fucking half, you wouldn’t get that in a British pub’.  

I along with most Brits, drink to get pissed, we don’t drink to be social, we want a big drink and we want to drink it quickly, to get pissed.  I’m more than a bit suspicious of this so called sophisticated European drinking culture.  Can they really all have wine and lunch and be totally sober, I don’t think so.  

See what I mean, I’m so British, ‘things are better at home’ and I’m suspicious of ‘foreigners’ and their habits!  There are more examples of this Britishness thing, I will address them as I encounter them, (which I know I will), along the way, it’s worries me and shocks me and makes me look like a foolish prick, I need to address this!

Nature

I was lucky on my last trip, but I might not be so lucky next time, up in the mountains, with the goats and the dogs – help. So on my last trip I was nearly eaten by a massive killer dog when I was home alone in Portugal.  Keeley was leaving for work as I was merrily skipping down to continue working in the polytunnel, a happy day of pottering in the garden ahead, on my own, just my thoughts to keep me company, with not a care in the world.  Keeley shouted just as she pulled away in her jeep, ‘there’s a massive dog down there, I don’t think it’s dangerous, but if it looks like it might attack you, throw a rock at it, that’s what they do in Portugal’.  

I immediately crapped myself and legged it and hid inside the house.  I was alone in the middle of fucking nowhere. Keeley would be gone for 6 hours, I was going to die.  I’d survived the wild mushrooms but the crazed killer dog wolf outside was going to tear me apart and eat me.  I’d be a dead laughing stock. I’d stuck 2 figures up at convention to follow my dreams, only to be eaten by a dog, this was not looking good, convention would have the last laugh, the bastard.

As I mentioned earlier, I’m shit scared of dogs, especially big, wild, wandering with no-one in charge killer wolf/dogs. I had recently read quite a lot about the increase of savage wild wolves in Europe, especially the Northern Portuguese mountains.  I was on the South East coast, but I was certain the beast outside was a one of these notorious killer dogs, ok, they normally took sheep and chickens, but a big sheep was about the same size as me, I was a gonna.    

I already knew the ‘throw a massive rock at it’ trick.  When I’d be staying in a remote part of Thailand, a tiny ‘resort’ which was 4 huts by a beach, an hours walk through the jungle from the nearest village, this Dutch guy staying in one of the other huts had been attacked by a dog, walking to the village and had stoned it to death to stop it totally savaging him, horrific stuff.  I’m pretty certain had I come across Lassie or the Littlest Hobo, in the wilderness on my own, I would have attempted to stone them to death.

I hated both Lassie and The Littlest Hobo, (good theme tune, granted), when I was a kid.  Dogs without owners just wandering about on their own, it just wasn’t right.  In fact I hated all those creepy ‘hero’ animal programmes and god there was loads of them, far too many.  My memory of the details isn’t totally clear but I do remember this much:

Gentle Ben:  Buck tooth weirdo kid hanging around with a massive, scary, huge bear. Terrifying.

Flipper:  Dophins are sinister, horrible fixed smiles, strange noises and they gang rape, enough said.

Skippy The Bush Kanagaroo: Kangaroos, I wouldn’t trust one, they box for starters.

Animals behaving like humans, horrible stuff, like those dogs dressed a humans playing poker, or a fox dressed in hunting gear, it’s just twisted shit man.

I did like Animal Magic though, Jonny Morris could do some damn funny animal voices.

Hhhmm am I really cut out for life on a farm!?!

Botox Gone Wrong

I was savagely attacked by some form of insect one night, I woke up to it feasting on my face.  I managed to prise it off and frantically flap it away. I couldn’t find them to kill em in the dark and when I turned the light on they stopped buzzing.  I think there were 4 of them as soon as I turned the light off they flew at me, got tangled in my hair and went for my face, it was horrific.  I managed to slump down into my sleeping bag and cover my face with a pillow, that seemed to put them off.  I got up at 7ish the next morning as we had a long day ahead, the local farmers market from 7.30ish til 11 then the Christmas Market for the rest of the day, til mid-night, (although I went off to explore Aljezur).  I had 4 massive bites on my face and several on my head, under my hair utterly gross, my entire face had swollen up and I had half a massive trout pout.  If I’d seen anyone I knew in that state they would have been certain that wwoofing was a decoy and I’d really been to some low rent unqualified plastic surgeon instead.  I was the new Bride of Wildenstein.  Last week I had all my hair cut off to make cold showers less traumatic and reduce insect attacks.

Electric Passport Machines

OK so I should have knows, you are meant to be over 18 to use these, it could be height related, but there was a massive queue at the ‘human’ passport control, so I thought I’d give it a go. They do not recognise you if you’re 4ft 9″,  the camera doesn’t go down that far, that is all.

Sell out

On another note I’ve signed my soul to the devil and bought a kindle and I LOVE it.  Any inspiring books or just good read recommendations welcome.  I’ve stocked up ready for cold nights in the caravan!!

More sooooooonnnnnnnn………………………

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