23 October 2010

Meat and Two Veg

We are blessed by having the choice of three villages to do all our shopping in, all within 10 minutes of our house by car.  Village shopping is pure joy.  Takes you back to being a kid, the only thing being that the 'penny tray' does not exist any more.

Although I was born in Surrey, I moved with my parents and sister to the north west of England when I was 6.  We moved to a hamlet in Cheshire called Kettleshulme and I was enrolled in the village school and village life.  I loved every minute of it and that is why I think I love life here in the hills of Sintra. 

Kettleshulme in those days had a Post Office that also sold stationery and other bits and pieces, although the lady who ran it had a bit of a fearsome reputation.  Her husband was the local Postman and as well as delivering letters, delivered our newspaper whilst trying to avoid being savaged by our normally tranquil spaniel, who for some unknown reason, hated the sight of him.  The village also had a very good general store, a cobbler and a man who sold bedding plants.  It also had a mobile fish and chip van and a mobile grocery van that called at least once a week.  The doctor used someone's front room as his visiting surgery and the village school doubled as the C of E church on Sundays.  It also had two pubs - one strictly for locals, The Bull's Head, and the other for the rest of the village - The Swan. 

The Bull's Head

The Swan

Here the villages of Mucifal, Colares and Almocageme cover all our needs extremely well.  As well as the villages we have a weekend fruit and vegetable market on the main road between Colares and Almocageme, a daily market in Mucifal, fresh fish markets in both Almocageme and Mucifal and fresh bread everywhere.  Colares also has two petrol stations, BP and Galp (the big portuguese one).  Almocageme and Mucifal have chemists (different to a pharmacy), butchers, ironmongers, grocers, baby supermarkets (of the local portuguese type), coffee bars and general shops selling everything from fabrics to chicken feed. 

Weekend market stalls in Almocageme

Colares is the only place with a pharmacy and Post Office, the others I believe, are served by the mobile post van.  Colares has a choice of three banks whilst the other two have cash machines tucked away on the sides of buildings.  Colares and Almocageme have large fire stations and also swimming pools.  Mucifal has an amazing junkyard (more of that in another blog), a jewellers, an optician, pet shop and a funeral service.  All have a very good bus service which runs until about 8.00pm.

The newsagents in Colares

Colares Grocery and Coffee Bar

We try to split our shopping between all three as each village has a good choice of goods.  Mucifal is favourite for the junkyard, the ironmongers and the pet shop.  Almocageme for the butcher, the other ironmonger, electrical shop, grocer, coffee shop and laundry and Colares is for bus tickets, the Euromillions on Friday, the newspaper on Saturdays, another ironmonger, the bank, two coffee bars, antique shop and a brilliant village shop where we have made great friends with the people who run it.

Fish market in Almocageme

Grocery shop in Almocageme

I had a heated debate with someone recently (an ex-pat) who considered the opening of a main supermarket in Colares would be a good thing.  She seemed unable to comprehend that people's livelihoods depend on these shops and way of life.  For me it is no contest between shopping locally and frequently for totally fresh produce, against driving for 20 minutes or more to go around a sterile supermarket. I believe a few extra cents on the price of a product is worth it to keep village shops and people in work, rather than lose this way of life that has been systematically destroyed in the UK by the big supermarkets.

We have also found that once the locals realise we are actually living here and putting something back into it, they go out of their way to make us feel welcome and tell us about activities that might interest us.  For example, back in August the butcher told us about a fruit and vegetable auction we might enjoy - we did and have noted it for next year. My auction bargain being a tray of beefsteak tomatoes (about 4kgs worth) for 5 euros!

1 comment:

  1. Hello Sally! I was looking your email but I didn't find it, so I write you a comment.
    I found your post by coincicence and is very interesting for me.
    My husband, my baby and I will move from Nederland to Colares (I think Almoçageme) the next April.
    Is a big change so we are looking information about the life in Colares.
    Are you living in Colares?
    Can you tell me some things?

    Thank you very much Sally!