We are getting to the end of a fortnight at a rented mill house, Casa do Lagar, a few miles North of Ponte de Lima, in the Portuguese Minho: I have been on holiday from blogging as well as generally. The first week was hot, but the weather has changed rather, and as some of the family has now left, I have returned to the computer, despite snail-like connectivity.
We are only half a mile from the A-3 motorway, with a working quarry a similar distance away the other side, but the main sound reaching us is that of running water, with the occasional ox cart trundling past on the lane. Apart from our garden with its swimming pool, all the land around is intensively cultivated – sweet corn, grapes, cabbages etc. The vines mark the boundaries of small fields hardly bigger than allotments: their owners are out both early and late with hoes, diverting streams of water for irrigation.
In the huge Ponte de Lima market, these same smallholders can be seen seated with their produce about them, or perhaps a basketful of rabbits. They stare at us, as we do likewise by training our cameras upon them.