The cottage is the second-oldest in the Village.

Starting life in the 1700s both probably and appropriately as some form of animal piggery place, it seems to have been converted into human accommodation soon afterwards. It was then split into three dwellings, before the gradual gentrification into hovel status that caused such ill-feeling amongst local peasants struggling to get onto the housing ladder.

In the 1800s some enterprising builder raised the roof, to provide a proper ‘upstairs’, and added a small kitchen and extra bedroom. You still had to go outside for a wee wee, though.

Frank Spencer lived here at some point in the 1970s and carried out some more additions. A small back room and conservatory. Roofing using the latest asbestos technology, he declined to use non-environmentally-friendly concrete for the foundations, relying instead on a natural earth base, reinforced with motorbike tyres.

But you no longer have to go outside for a wee wee at night: simply duck through the five-foot-one doorway into the second bedroom, totter down the narrow flight of stairs, through the lounge, through a short mysterious corridor, through the larder and you get to an indoor bathroom. If you’ve remembered to switch the hot water on you’re able to have a shower as well, although the ceiling’s not high enough to actually stand under it.

In the early twenty-first century, I engaged the Cheerful Builder. Strictly speaking a renovator, rather than a builder (although still very cheerful), the Cheerful Builder and his brother, the Cheerful Decorator, made the living area of the house beautiful and lovely and warm and cosy. Granted, there were a few false starts, particularly with regards to the chimney, but nothing a bit of work and the GNP of Portugal couldn’t fix.

But now there will be three of us.

Continued tomorrow…

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