I arrived in Lisbon too late to catch the last train on Wednesday, so I had to stay in the city. Birds on the runway had delayed my departure from Paris. I went to the McDonald's until it closed and then I walked about the old part of the city which is done in really neat tile on building walls and sidewalks. The part of town where there's a courthouse and other official buildings, has sidewalks made of marble and other very smooth stone. The underground system is really good.
After looking at all that, I got my ass to the train station to catch the 5:30 a.m. train. The ticket office was closed and there was no one to tell me which train. So I went around to each one and finally talked to the right conductor. I had to take one train and then another. At the connection point, a man who was also traveling and had very little English, looked at my ticket and led me to a spot where there was a big chart. He determined which train I needed and I thanked him.
Even the people I met at 3 a.m., who had been drinking we're very pleasant. A group of taxi drivers we're playing music and singing. Some girls came to wait for a bus at 4 a.m. when the bar closed, and two quite rough-looking street guys got out their mandolin and performed many songs, some of which must have been traditional folk songs, because the girls sang along. Every young person I talked to was conversant in English. Very handy for a guy who knows 3 words in Portuguese.
Arrived at 9:45 a.m. Thursday
After examining the many things that need to be done, we decided the most important thing was to get rid of a row of large eucalyptus which are a fire hazard and would only become more difficult to deal with in the future. Eucalyptus coppices well. We are producing enough firewood to last for quite a few years, so by the time it runs out these trees will be ready for another thinning.
We have a brand new 37cc chainsaw. It's a no name brand but certainly not the worst saw I have ever used. Burra's son Alan is a diligent worker, who is naturally organized and safety conscious. He kept debris out of the way and serviced the saw anytime I stopped for a drink or for some other reason. We got started yesterday afternoon and we are getting close to the halfway mark. I woke up before dawn. I have probably kept the chainsaw running at Full Throttle for 70 or 80% of the time. Speed between cuts is more important than having a great big saw that cuts really fast. I've been going quite small with the firewood, right down to the stuff the size of my wrist. Alan is dragging all small branches and bark to a big pile that will be burnt in the winter. Portugal is a tinderbox in the summer because of the huge amount of eucalyptus and the naturally dry Mediterranean climate. If we manage to get through all of the eucalyptus by the end of tomorrow, that will be the single biggest project out of the way, and both me and Alan will need a rest. I expect that there will be at least 2 weeks worth of work for Alan to do after I leave, just in processing this large batch of wood.
Further updates will show up as we move along.
We ran out of gas and oil just about the time it started getting too hot. I'm tired and lying on the couch, so there's no pictures which is very unusual for me. :-)