“Vaca na mesa! Or how do you say that?” Madelon shouts cheerfully, while I laugh. “Now you put a cow on the table, my dear” I reply, “Vaca is cow. If you want to play with the knife on the table, it’s a Faca – with an F.”
We play Azul, a great board game based on the portuguese azulejos
We play it with Stephanie, the biggest game collector in our village, and Madelon, who returns after years and has lived in Brazil for a long time in her youth, and therefore speaks Brazilian.
Hence the cow on the table.
Madelon first came here as a volunteer a long time ago, when we were still very busy digging – and fixing up the whole village.
At the time, she was mostly processing her anger & grief over her divorce, and she was also fired shortly after.
Hard times for people, but she has an indestructible good mood, so when you have that, you’re blessed. “To deal with grief, we had to work it out, yes, exactly, work it out, work work work, you slave driver!” and turns to her new love-of-five-years-again, Robert: “Work, work, work, from morning till night.” “Yep, otherwise they got whipped” I rebuttle, “and from what I can remember, it did you a lot of good…”
“Certainly! When we were hacking the sidewalk to make a garden, I was able to get rid of a lot of aggression. I chopped my ex-boss’s head to bits!” Her blue eyes still sparkle at the thought. Robert sits next to her and chuckles. He can handle that much temperament apparently, and now we’re the two of us in that regard.
If you meet someone who is also a volcano, you automatically click. And Madelon is a cheerful volcano for once, who can sing beautifully
“Well, come on, let’s play” Stephanie joins the conversation, “fack-da-mesa!” We all roar with laughter. The English have little talent for other languages – something that Stephanie herself will readily admit. She takes an intensive course, a few hours a few times a week, only Portuguese, but: “It is sooooo hard … it is impossible to pronounce … and we English are spoiled, almost everyone in the whole world speaks English … “
“Yeah, well, come on then” Robert chimes in, “fack-da-mesa!”
It becomes, you already understand, a winged expression. Witty remarks and jokes fly back and forth all evening, while we try to collect the tiles on our plate as cleverly as possible. We drink ice-cold, homemade limoncello. Nice, and crazy: it doesn’t get you drunk, on the contrary, you become cheerful and funny. (I think.)
At breakfast, Madelon inquires about the kimonos. “Pre-Covid it was a lot easier to sell them” I say, “when we were still a B&B&B: Bed&Breakfast&Bathrobes, guests would pass the rack by themselves. They liked them very much, found them cheerful.” “Yes, exactly, I think so too, I’m going to have a look in a bit, I already have one in mind.”
“Do you also have men’s kimonos?” Robert asks. “No, unfortunately…but…. then you just do unisex, a flowery pattern also looks nice on a man.” I suggest, and Madelon immediately joins in: “Yeah! Then we are the perfect couple!” (You have to imagine the irony in this remark yourself.)
The next evening it’s a bit quieter. Time for a good conversation during dinner, but of course a good joke is never alone. “Not to have laughed for a day …” says Robert in the kitchen with his index finger raised, “and are we really not allowed to wash the dishes?”
Nãonão, strictly forbidden for guests. Then you should have come back as a volunteer. Pity, no mercy, all your own fault.
We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal.
A big step, especially with two small children.
You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.
Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.
Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation
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