Permaculturing in Portugal

One family's attempts to live in a more planet-friendly way

So near and yet so far

I figured if I got an early enough start, timed it right to get the drill battery charged up at the café down in Benfeita (Luís having already generously offered use of the café’s electricity supply for charging all our stuff), and worked at it efficiently and quickly, I might just get the platform finished the day we had to leave for Scotland again. We weren’t getting the flight until 21:15 out of Porto, and Porto’s only 2 hours away, so …

The new wood had to be oiled before being put into place which would add to the time, but there wasn’t an enormous amount to do. It might be doable.

All was going well until I realised just what a state the tent was in and how much work was needed in the packing of everything away. Why is it duvet and pillow retailers package their products into such incredibly compressed units? It’s all but impossible to ever persuade either duvet or pillow to fit back inside its original packaging, even if said packaging appears designed for reuse. We folded, we rolled, we squished and flattened, we cut the circulation off in our fingers and got hands stuck inside plastic bags along with duvets, but in the end gave up and contented ourselves with bigger bags and bungy straps.

Then there was the small matter of getting everything back into the wee house for storage. Getting it down 3 terraces had been relatively easy. Getting it back up was another matter. Oonagh was amazing, carting wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow full up the slopes. Of course she’s blown it now completely. Next time she says something’s too heavy or too much for her, I shall know otherwise …

But it was getting to be even more touch and go than it was to begin with, and when I collected the drill battery from the café and found that it hadn’t, after all, got charged, that was the final blow. Instead I got out the linseed oil and put a good coat on the exposed timbers, storing the remainder underneath the platform where they will hopefully dry out without warping too badly by the time we get back to fix them in place.

So here is the platform as we leave it.

Yurt platform nearly complete

Yurt platform nearly complete

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