The sound of the jay cackles; a chiff-chaff sits just a metre away from me on the window sill; the wind rustles through the still green leaves of the eucalyptus grove, and a cowbell rings marking the presence of livestock in the field below me. The bronze chestnut and ash leaves cling with their last breath, defying the sea-breeze that sweeps through the river valley from the Bay of Biscay. Their dance creates a shimmering light as if coated in dewdrops. But there is no dew. The sun blazes in its autumn glory, just peering over the mountains, a dramatic backdrop to the lush valley. Celucos, the tiny farming village close to the river edge lies in the spotlight of the sun from sunrise to sunset. Today, smoke trails from a number of chimneys and linger as if in silent meditation. There is little else to mark human habitation, but the social life of the area is lively all the same. Older men walk, with stick in hand from one village to the next, stopping at bus stops to gossip. Early morning drinks at the local bar are the setting for discussions about politics and football.
It is hard to imagine why anyone would want to leave here, this sedate village in the north of Spain. Yet a date is set for the end of the year, with a view to taking up residency in Portugal in the new year. While sitting on the terrace, I’ve been putting the machinations in process. The cogs whirr, while I translate a rental agreement to see what the penalties are for early withdrawal, notice times etc. We book a place to stay in Portugal for the week before xmas, and I gently turn down xmas invites, saying we can’t make it, as we’ve decided to move to Portugal.
We read this week about people who have bought property in France ahead of Brexit, only to be sent back to Britain. We’ve heard of no such stories on the Iberian peninsula, but the uncertainty makes us feel fortunate that fate has not yet presented the ideal place for us. Our friends and family have been happily supportive and positive about this decision. One, who gets ‘feelings’, told us this seems right to her, and assures us the right place for us will materialise around February.
This could be a self-fulfilling prophecy, so we’ll never really know if the premonition manifests, as now it feels a bit like a goal.