Could all of these things occur in just a 6 hour period of time… Of course they could when we are involved!
We decided to have a big THANKYOU celebration party at the farm for people who have helped us and welcomed us since we arrived here, so with Samhain only a few weeks away decided this would be the date. I have not been well for the last week, tiredness meant a cold crept in and hung on fast, leaving me feeling awful for a good few days, also meaning the party preparations were stalled somewhat, still the day before the party after a mammoth haul around the city to buy supplies I came home and made a huge pot of vegan chilli with squash, yam, kidney beans and a million other veggies, a huge vegan tomato soup, a bat cape for Toms fancy dress and some decorations to dot around the place the next day.
We decided rather than trying to cram 30 or 40 people into our 35sq metre barn we would instead have the party outside in the olive grove, its the most accessible and with a generator for power we could have music and lights and use the large emperor bell tent as a kid space/rain shelter incase the weather wasn’t on our side. In the morning we were up, toffee apples, banana ghosts, green pepper toads, and tangerine pumpkins were made, and the olive grove adorned with red spider webs, balloons, paraffin lamps, candles. , hay bales covered for seating, a table from fence posts, three pallets and 6 hay bales, and a giant 10ft web made from wool with a 4ft spider made from bin bags, hay and wire popping out from behind a tree…naturally!!
As soon as the olive grove was sorted it was a quick dash back to the barn to get face paint on and pray the ranch owner didn’t come looking for a cow again while we were in our day of the dead get up!
Friends bought so many lovely things to eat, foraged chestnuts, pumpkin pie, homemade red wine, cookies, pizza, peanuts, cake, quince pie, pandoro, chocolate fruit fondue, gallons of Mojito, and pumpkin lanterns to name just some. Spooky halloween mega mix playing away, light illuminating the olive trees all was well, suddenly, noise stopped, just as the generator stopped, after ten minutes of faffing and getting nowhere Jamie, a friend of ours suggested we go and borrow the one we had borrowed previously (and only just given back!) from friends V & L and so with that, he an Andy whisked off into the night in the truck on a hunter(?) gatherer search of power, luckily other friends had bought some their fantastic drums with them and we had a drum session accompanied by Louise a friend who plays the spoons (brilliantly) while waiting and upon the teeny sprinkle of rain from above drummed more and more and away it went, leaving us warm and dry all nights. Soon enough the rumble of a truck bounced around the mountains and back came the boys with power, music back on, lights back on and party in full swing soon enough V & L (who were invited to the party but hadn’t arrived as yet) turned up, a serious face crept over the previously smiling Jamie and Andy… ‘Err, let us explain this one, don’t say anything Clare’ it turns out unbeknown to me they’d arrived on V’s Quinta and because they couldn’t get a reply on phones or door had driven off with the generator anyway… Huge thanks to V for not locking it away yet last night….
The kids had an amazing time, they all play really well together, and had fun toasting marshmallows on the fire, burning sticks, and running free like mad things, it was so wonderful seeing them all have fun, totally unrestricted, free to play and fall and jump and make their own memories, this is what its all about…they even got a free ‘chemistry’ lesson when something set fire to a felt pumpkin on the pallet table, setting fire to the tablecloth, and then everything thing around it after someone tried to put it out by throwing some homemade (very strong) liqueur on it – followed swiftly by a bucket of ice and water :)
I have to say my heart was warmed completely by the whole night, there were several points where I just sat back and looked on not believing this really was our life now, the freedom we had dreamed of, the laughter and close nit community we wanted and never found in the UK, these people are more like family already, we take care of each other, and there is a trust and warmth there which I don’t think you find everyday, we knew we were lucky before, but sat watching people laughing and chatting around the fire at our farm just made it all the more real. People here are here for the same reasons, and often with similar stories, in search of the same thing, its a winning combination.
It certainly feels like we have found our Portuguese tribe <3