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Lost mobility

So here I am, a week with three pugs and a car that is still a bit sick. With “the little Puggies” as we affectionately call them, because they’re sweethearts, and with a kind of repaired car, but not completely yet.

With pugs you’re not very mobile, but without a car you lose your mobility completely

Anna is the mother of the pugs and is staying here during the winter months. She ran a successful B&B in Switzerland for years, but sold it just before the C-risis hit – perhaps prompted by a good intuition – and survived the Covid years by doing essential work as a taxi driver. She’s now looking for a suitable house in Portugal to start an Alojamento Local again, but the prices are a bit disappointing.

That’s why she stays here for a while to think about what is best to do (“Maybe Bulgaria is also an option”), but recently she received some nasty messages.

The Swiss health insurance company is running amok because she has been away from Switzerland for almost a year, and apparently that is not allowed. (“Oh yes? And who are you then?” But you have no defense because when they come up with that argument for not paying your medical bill what can you say or do?)

Anna needs them because she requires regular medical attention due to an autoimmune disease.

A while ago her 29-year-old son sent the message that after his sudden diagnosis, he had to undergo chemo before it spread, and now the time had come. Enough reason to “just go up and down, then I have proof that I have been in the country again, and then I can help my son – and of course I would like to see him anyway!” she says, as she informs me of the recent developments.

“Yes, of course I can take care of the puggies for a few days,” I say, “See if you can book at a reasonable price, and if you need any help, just let me know.” I almost fall over Rosie when I leave, and quickly give her a pat on her flat head.

Pugs are strange creatures, but they are very sweet. They grunt. That’s cute. Maybe they are distant cousins of pigs – it could be, judging by their curly tails.

But they don’t really like walking, I noticed right away on the first day. Father Pug would rather not get up at all and allows himself to be dragged. I’ll just give up on that right away. Then he’d better pee in the garden. His daughter looks a lot like him. She walks a few steps but then stands perfectly still. The only one eager to go for a walk is son Willie, so I hook his harness to his sister’s and hold it in the middle myself.

Then Willie does the pulling

But you can no longer speak of mobility, it’s a bit along the road, back up the hill, and then they are exhausted already and start to grunt incessantly. Mira and I stroll next to them, a bit dazed, because we could just as easily walk the 3 kilometers to the small supermarket in Vinha da Rainha, have a cup of coffee at the pastelaria as a reward, and then return with a kilometer-long detour.

(And no grunting)

Without a car, walking to Vinha da Rainha is the only way to get food because I don’t want to ask the neighbors if I can borrow their car. I prefer to save that for emergencies.

Mira doesn’t mind it at all, though she also enjoys driving. Me too. Sometimes you have to go a little further than a few kilometers away, don’t you? It is very nice that Hugo discovered that there was a leak in the cooling system and has already replaced the rotten part, but now that delicate character of a Citroën has another thing that is bothering her.

She’s like a fragile toddler who can’t take anything, and is absolutely freaked out when she stubs her big toe. Upset about everything, and always something different. “That’s because…” Hugo then explains…. which goes in one ear and out the other because what do I know about cars?

Rather, what do I want to know about cars?

What I want from a car is mobility. Get in and go. No BS. Just start, drive, get there and back again. Our Citroën, although 22 years of age, may already have too many sensors, and they all could be effete. That’s why I prefer to drive an old car, they have less of those things, but unfortunately more worn out.

We were spoiled by the last one. An Opel that has worked for years without ever stopping or whining.

Things will be fine again. The sensor has already been ordered, will arrive tomorrow, will be replaced immediately, and that’ll solve the problem.

This is just a bit of a thingy with Citroëns. They’re a lot like pugs. Lots of grunting, little walking


We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal.

A big step, especially with two small children.

We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday houses, rooms and a campsite.

You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

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