When I walk up the village-square-stairs with my half-eaten sandwich in one hand, and my glass in the other, my eye catches a lady standing with her back to me in Casa Oliveira’s doorway, talking to the residents.
I’m trying to squint to see more clearly. “Who is this … she looks like Nicole Pesch”, I think “noooo … can’t be … she’s living in Berlin since July.”
I get into the truck to return it to the lumberyard
Stephanie comes out and when I drive by, I hit the horn, because driving a truck something epic – that shouldn’t go unnoticed! They turn around and getoutofhere! – it is Nicole Pesch! (The Pesch family was stranded here at the beginning of the C-risis, and stayed for 3 months.)
All faces are shining, mine too, because this is even more good news.
But, no time now, first take the truck back to the lumberyard
I can borrow the “carrinha” because I need a lot of wood for the upcoming modest make-over of room 4. It could have been done in my old loyal little Opel, but then I would have had to drive up and down four times with the wood sticking out, and the backdoor tied fast with a rope.
With the carrinha it goes a lot faster, all in one go! That was very kind of senhor Engenheiro. And besides: the wood can now be loaded with a forklift, even better.
They don’t always have this wood. They call it solho macho-femea. Wood with a groove that fits together nicely. If I want to do something else with it, I just cut the one-and-a-half centimeter groove off. Then you’re left with a nice plank.
I dream about making an organically shaped closet. For years. For hotel room 4. And now it will finally happen. Frank (the South African cameraman who may not go back to his homecountry because of the C-risis) has moved to room 2, and we lugged the antique four-poster bed to Broes’s room.
There it is a lot better. We will make a suitable bed for room 4. No problem, plenty of wood.
The wood is now on the terrace waiting for processing
There is also a nicely shaped thick plank with the bark still attached. That is the great advantage of buying wood in a real lumberyard – you can find everything there, and it costs next to nothing. Huge trees come in there, which they saw to pieces on the spot. Some remain so rough and thick, and I am going to make a beautiful table out of this one. A dining table.
In the lumberyard I put the truck back in its place and greet Nelson, the owner
The engenheiro is also there. I hand in the key, get mine back, and ask them to pose for a photo for the blog. Ok, the engenheiro likes that, and Nelson is also happy to cooperate.
When they get home, I hear a shout: “Hey, look who’s here!” Stephanie and Nicole are drinking wine behind the house. We walk towards each other, exchanging the necessary Corona information – can we hug each other or not? “We’re quite isolated, and we behave really good”, Nicole laughs, and I reply, “Well, talking about isolated – that’s exactly what we are here! I guess we can take the risk!”
And look there, there’s Frank, with a happy face, shouting that he can stay, he finally has permission from the SEF*!
He had a meeting today, with a lawyer present, because his residency application took far too long. He now has a farm, he has a NIF (a tax number), a social security number, a bank account, a car with a Portuguese license plate; he pays taxes – everything a normal resident of this country has and does.
It’s arranged! Frank is a resident. Nicole (and us) is enjoying a visit. I drove the lumberyard truck. There is a beautiful pile of wood on the terrace of rooms 3 and 4. In my imagination it is all ready and gorgeous (now we only have to realize it).
Is life beautiful or what?
- SEF: Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras – literally translated it means: Service of Foreigners and Borders