welcome to emmas housethought

moving in

They say moving house is one of life’s more stressful experiences. We are doing it for the second time in a month.


It’s tretas anyway. Stressful. I’ll give you stressful.

Emma’s Top Five Stressful Life Experiences:

1. Realising you don’t have your passport at check-in.
2. Losing a very large chunk of money in a global financial crisis.
3. Your dog chasing the neighbour’s herd of sheep into the forest during a hailstorm while you are houseminding.
4a. Your dog getting run over by your neighbour and then the neighbour asking for the money to fix his headlights.
4b. Your other, smaller, cuter dog going missing in mysterious circumstances
5. Building a house together in your first year of marriage

(and a more sincere note, the death or illness of a close friend is very stressful and working with toxic people or in a toxic workplace is too, but that’s all behind me now)


Moving is just packing stuff, and I do love to parcel. I am a meticulous packer and am very good at chucking stuff out, like my mother. Like my father, The One is a bit of a hoarder and packs haphazardly… in that Get it Done way that I aspire to.

The reason I’m such a careful packer is that I once lost three bottles of good french wine in a move. The wine was bought in acutely sentimental circumstances; the last good moments at the end of a relationship, wine tasting in France. I had to move in a hurry: my new flatmate’s friends were homicidal maniacs and I had recruited friends to help me escape. When I arrived at my parent’s house and opened the esky that the wine was travelling in, the contents resembled my bloodied and broken heart. One of those scarring symbolic moments you never forget.


I will miss the lovely village where we’ve been living. Wookie will miss it even more. He has run free with his gang of chums for a year, and we now return to Cú de Judas where all the dogs are chained up, except for the one that bites :-/ Oh how I lecture them about the uselessness of a chained dog as security (he can hardly bite the legs off an intruder), and how none of us will jump up and check on the house if their dog is barking because their dog never stops barking day or night and what’s the need for security anyway? Is this New York? Is this Redfern? And what are these criminal gangs going to steal? Around here, it is the dog itself which is most likely to disappear …


In the last week we went to considerable effort installing gates and some fencing so that Wookie could have a piss outside without hurting anyone’s feelings. Day one and he’s already found a way out. I don’t know why I worry so much about upsetting my cruelty-to-animal neighbours anyway. Maybe if my dog actually gets a goat (the dog which had never caught a mouse) they might consider the wild idea of fencing their livestock…? At this stage I still have no real hope that he will catch a goat, as he is too busy wooing them as playmates, parked in my yard as they are.


Enough pontificating. I have somewhat less interesting things to say about logistics. Our belongings have been divided between five different locations. Mattresses on one side of the mountain, sofas and chairs on the other side, in someone’s garage, I know not where exactly. Some cookware in the annexe, some pet food in the ruin. Presently we have a very random selection of stuff in a pile around us, which does not include the electric frypan, bed sheets or towels but does include stuff for the Miranda boot sale sometime in March. By my calculations we have been using the same doona cover since mid October and The One is still devoted to his Qantas pyjamas which in daylight hour-terms means he has been wearing the same clothes for a more than a month. And we don’t care.


We do have a stunning bathroom although there’s still cement stuck to the floor. And the woodburner is worth the very last scrap of money I had to my name, although the fireplace needs another coat of paint. I can work wonders with only a microwave (The One reckoned Christmas Day’s prawn korma was one of the best ever). We have internet for the day and movies for the night. We are broke but we are rich.


We are in at last and the pets are very happy.



  1. Helder December 30, 2011 11:57 am Reply

    Welcome back.

    I wonder why they do not change that places name – Juda’s Ass?
    – Gosh!! Sounds like The end of the World.

    (By the way:There is a town in Sweden – Trosa, -> means panties, that also, smiling, proudly calls itself The end of the world – LOL.
    For me it sounds more like The Possibility of new live! 😉

    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: December 30th, 2011 at 11:55 pm


    I guess then with a name like helder you’re not portuguese? The place “cu de Judas” from the title of book by António Lobo Antunes (os Cus de Judas) and has come to mean a place, just as you say, at the end of the world, the back of beyond, the back o’ Bourke (australians would say), the ass end…etc. All credit goes to Isabel, an early adopter of my blog, for naming my village thus. Actually someone has found a place in the Açores called this…oops.

    [Reply to comment]

  2. Emma December 31, 2011 12:02 am Reply

    Yeah, you’re in! Can’t wait to see the new woodburner. THE talking point amongst us 40 somethings in the know.

    [Reply to comment]

    emma   Reply: January 1st, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    @Emma, oh you will, you will! Let’s get the garbage bag and box situation sorted first 😉

    [Reply to comment]


  3. Helder December 31, 2011 12:14 am Reply

    Oh, I though it was the sites official name (blush).

    Hehe, Helder is actually a rather common First-name in Portugal, quite specific to Portuguese-talking countries, if I got it right!
    After the 15th century – I guess, we started using this name, should be fun to research.
    It has been spread a little since then.
    It took me 24 years to find it is originated from Holland, not as a name but as a place! (Den Helder)

    [Reply to comment]

    emma   Reply: January 1st, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    Peço desculpe helder! Sinto-me muito! Perdoa-me! How rude… you see I have no idea how common the Cú de Judas moniker is, although it does seem so on the internet. I awlays thought it was a place name of Saramago’s until I looked it up. I only use it when I’m speaking down of the place – in reality most of the time I am admiring the view and relishing it’s sossego. 🙂

    [Reply to comment]

    Helder   Reply: January 2nd, 2012 at 1:11 am

    @emma, no offense felt, Emma.
    I have not lived in Portugal since small childhood, so I may be disconnected with contemporary language use. Although I grew up in harsh conditions there and here too – as You may have traced from some of my posts 😉
    So You have functioned as tutor in my case.

    About “Helder” – I wonder if there is any living person who really knows about the origin.

    [Reply to comment]

  4. Cristina December 31, 2011 12:50 pm Reply

    Well Emma, I’ve thoroughly enjoying reading about your exploits this year (whether or not you live way out in the cu de Judas). I wish you health and happiness…and maybe a Pulitzer nom. Cheers!

    [Reply to comment]

    emma   Reply: January 1st, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    Thanks cristina, yeah a Pulitzer! Or maybe just a cash prize? 🙂

    [Reply to comment]


  5. Andy December 31, 2011 6:54 pm Reply

    Emma Happy New Year! 🙂

    [Reply to comment]

  6. Mary January 1, 2012 3:05 pm Reply

    But where are the pics of the stunning bathroom and I want to see the every last cent woodburner?

    [Reply to comment]

    emma   Reply: January 1st, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    @Mary, well, there is still cement on the tiles and garbage bags of crap everywhere and the super gorgeous door isn’t in yet (this one I hope will be the real thing) and the toilet seat was the wrong colour so we have to change it and it’s just a big mess! The woodburner is ok though, I’ll send some pics if that….

    [Reply to comment]

    Helder   Reply: January 2nd, 2012 at 1:19 am

    @Mary, in the meantime I am enjoying the photo of the Very nice functionalistic retro faucet with the stiled F (as in Freezing) for cold water.

    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: January 2nd, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    Solid taps, mate. Solid.

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  7. Emma Ruiz January 1, 2012 5:09 pm Reply

    cute pictures!

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    emma   Reply: January 1st, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    thank you.. our lovely beasties.

    [Reply to comment]

    Helder   Reply: January 2nd, 2012 at 2:58 am

    @emma, is the goat yours too?

    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: January 2nd, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    no, all the goats and sheep and freeloaders. Although I cant knock their grass cutting services, if only they would keep off the lemon tree.

    [Reply to comment]

    Helder   Reply: January 2nd, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    @Emma, Ahh – Fresh lemon from a tree.

    One of gods more sensual gifts to mankind!
    Wish i could grow one here.

    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: January 7th, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    no damn fruit yet helder… 3 years of being trimmed by goats, the poor tree is stuck in infancy. I have installed electric fencing around it, but I don’t think it actually improves growth 😉

    Helder   Reply: January 8th, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    @Emma, are You not able to find some hens-net and put it around the tree with some stakes making a simple fence?
    You may even eliminate the stakes and just wrap it around, with some leeway for growth.
    Electro-fencing seems unthrusty & unpractical for small trees or areals.

    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: January 11th, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    oh dear I was only joking about the electric fencing for my 1 metre tall lemon tree. Chicken wire it has, indeed 😉

    Helder   Reply: January 11th, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    @Emma, You got me there..
    I was only wondering how You got your hands (!) on the electro-fence. 😀

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  8. Katrina January 3, 2012 11:23 am Reply

    Great news, moving in at last. As a couple who plan to move to Portugal in a year or two we have been following your trials and tribulations (and making notes) throughout. Love your sweet beasties too.
    Can’t wait to see the finished bathroom!

    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: January 7th, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    thanks katrina

    [Reply to comment]


  9. Harry Brugman January 7, 2012 9:24 am Reply

    Hi Emma.

    Tenho ciumes de você. Last summer, my wife and I went to our daughter who studied in Coimbra. We went to bring her back home (The Netherlands) and we became to love Portugal to death! Oh the people, the food, and all the rest. We both speak Portuguese well, (been in brazil for 13 years) so that was not a problem. Fatima is a must. Where do you live from? We might go to Portugal to live there, but as a designer of (school)furniture work might be a problem, what?

    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: January 7th, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    Ciumes? Nem por isso… a realidade neste economia não é tão linda… somos de centro do pais, a beira litoral. Acho eu fica na holand para seu trabalho e anda cá para ferias!

    [Reply to comment]

  10. Nicko January 11, 2012 1:06 am Reply

    Hey dude, glad to hear you’ve finally got back into the old (newish) digs. Like Mary, I wanna see the pics of the of so glorious heater and bathroom. Will be over your way in March to check it out for myself!

    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: January 11th, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    and it will be good to have you – BYO caravan 😉 I’ll send some private pictures as I wouldn’t want to spoil the dream for our regular readers (in respect to our current chaotic living conditions, I blame 3 weeks of the flu)

    [Reply to comment]

  11. Donzilio July 23, 2013 6:49 am Reply

    well done, I am jealous if your journey

    [Reply to comment]

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