The House of Many Keys

Happy Sunday. Several people have asked for pictures so I thought I would post a few. I’m a bit superstitious about it so I won’t show too many until the deal is done. But already we’re starting to feel at home. This house hasn’t been lived in for a while so it required airing out. Opening the windows and letting the ocean breeze flow through it, again – the house seemed to inhale deeply, right along with me.

I couldn’t sleep last night – tossing and turning so I was up early dragging a blanket downstairs to the patio sun room – I slept the rest of the night in the hammock. When Jeff woke up he said he searched the house over and over, then thinking I had gone down to the beach he came out to the patio and saw me asleep through the glass. I fully endorse hammock sleeping as a cure for insomnia.

It may sound strange, but I think the house likes us. Yesterday, Jeff said he wanted to get a sundial for the south facing side of the house. We saw one on a church in Colmar, in eastern France, and I’ve wanted one ever since. His favorite was the one he saw on a trip to Brazil. Today, when I started exploring some of the chests that seem to be everywhere in this house, look what I found at the bottom of one of them. A sun dial. So odd. I have this weird feeling that the house heard us and is coughing up just what we need. Next time I should ask for something bigger and I’ll see if it shows up in the chest where my writing desk will be when we move all our things from Valencia.

The feeling of the house is like being inside an old masted ship. That’s the only way I can describe it. The floors are wood or tile. And many of the doorways are arched. Each bedroom has curtains across the arched vestibule to keep noise out. It’s the quietest place we’ve slept since as far back as we can remember. Jeff says his ears are ringing – like they’re trying to replace the city noises we’re so used to.

It may seem unusual to Americans reading this that they’ve sold the house with everything in it – but we found in Spain and Portugal this was more the norm than the exception. I don’t know why this is but nearly every house we looked at all the furnishings were included. This house is no different its just that the items seem more personal and the entire kitchen is still outfitted. There are so may sets of dishes, it’s clear that when they entertained family and friends, people came in droves, so they had to be ready with food and drink. Here is the big tile table that seats 16 in the side sun room – and the kid’s table at the end. The one in the garden is equally as big. And the liqueur cabinet we discovered in the living room once I found the key. But we aren’t hard liqueur people.

As mentioned before, there are so many keys in this house – every door, every cabinet, sometimes double keys in the bathrooms, that it almost makes me afraid to leave a room without checking my pockets. Simply put, getting locked out, or locked in, is a real possibility. Here is the key to the wine cellar. I’ll soon be like a monk with a rope around my waist with an iron key ring jingling where ever I go. Both of us will sound like old-timey jailers. And having copies of these keys made are expensive – but necessary. We’ll have them done in brass so they won’t rust – hiding them in secret places outside so if we do get locked out we aren’t stuck – see my post of getting locked out in Valencia. I don’t imagine a bone scan will be as easy to come by here.

We had dinner at the restaurant on the corner last night. It serves amazing food. In Portugal they don’t go in for paella. It’s all grilled-everything! And the seafood and steaks are mouthwatering. The owners are very nice people and happy to have us since their summer has been a bit of a bust due to Covid. It was €34 for a goat cheese starter, Brazilian steak w fries and rice/beans (not sure why), my pork chop w the same sides, Jeff’s 2 beers and my water. Crazy.

Our local cafe/bar is where everyone gathers since it’s only one of two in the town. The owner made me my coffee yesterday and when I went to collect it – no table service due to Covid – I dropped all my change into the cup. Ridiculous! But he was gracious ‘Don’t worry. It happens sometimes.’ But no – it doesn’t happen, ever. He made me a new coffee then took my change-filled cup and came out later to the table. ‘I think these belong to you.’ Jeff looked at me weird. ‘Don’t ask. But he’ll never forget us.’ And he didn’t because I saw him this morning. ‘Be careful with your coins.’ he told me from behind his mask. We both laughed.

Sitting at the cafe enjoying my coffee, I heard a loud horrible horn and looked over and a white van was pulled up on the sidewalk and the driver was laying on the horn. ‘What I jerk.’ I told Jeff. Then he got out, masked and gloved up in full apron, opening the back of his van and then the side door so we could see inside. There were knives in a block and big bins full of fresh seafood on ice. People came out of their houses and started queuing up from the back door. He greeted them like regulars, then began to sell his catch out of the back of his van. Filleting the fish as they specified, or scooping clams or mussels into bags and weighing them on the scale before taking their money – which was exchanged using a plastic bag where the buyer put in their money, he took it and counted it through the bag and then gave them their change in another plastic bag. Very sanitary. We sat and watched him serve all the people who came when he honked his horn. Obviously, we were the only ones not in the know about how this whole buying-fresh-fish-out-the-back-of-a-van -when-he-honks thing works. But we’re savvy now.

Today is a day of rest. A walk on the beach is in my future this afternoon. Tomorrow I’ll start in on getting things organized and sorting through the knick-knacks that festoon every surface, and opening more cupboards after I find out where the key is hidden. Looking forward to whatever surprises the house has in store for us to discover. Cheers from a little house on a bluff overlooking the sea in Central Portugal. Until next time.

5 thoughts on “The House of Many Keys

  • Hi Kelli and Jeff , It’s a blast following your journey. I’m really happy for you – sounds like that house has a lot of good karma, and not a bad view !
    Raul

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    • I’m glad you’re enjoying our adventures. One day at a time. I don’t think I’ve seen Jeff smile and laugh so much in a long time. 2020 has knocked us all for a loop. The universe dropped this in our lap and we are determined to savor every moment of it.

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  • When Milito’s mother was alive she had a fish guy, meat and dairy man, knife sharpening guy, potato man and bread dude that all came to the house. The first time I ever visited I was amazed! But there were no stores around here then in 1986 so I understand why they were needed. I am sure Portugal has all of these services too. We still have the bread dude.
    And wow, all those doors! There’s no such thing as the open concept in Spain or Portugal. 😁

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    • This is interesting. In Lebanon we had a very old blind ‘onion guy’ who came to the village shouting ‘busli’ which means onion in Arabic. He carried them on his little donkey and the donkey knew the route and he just hung on. On Mykonos there is the palm tree guy w a loud speaker who travels the roads selling palm trees. Our kids would run to the gate to wave at him when they heard him coming. Even though we never bought a palm from him. I forgot about all that. Thx for the memory.

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