If there’s one phrase for me to sum up the Portuguese, or my love for them, it’s this word, Desenrascar.

Like saudade, it does not have a direct translation into English (web translators volunteer “Get out of trouble” (google) or simply “draw” (libretranslate)). As a South African, I would like to suggest the phrase “to make a plan”. Ons maak ‘n plan.

A stone ruin next to a perfect little secret red shed that I can’t find a picture of right now.

It may not be fully legal, it may not last forever, but it is a workable solution. It does not impose on others, not permanently anyway, it does not get in the way. I guess a bit like redneck engineering.

And I guess, like saudade, and unlike rednecks, it has a well, we just have to get on with it type of grace. An understated grace, as someone referred to the Portuguese hospitality, tinged with melancholy.

Despite my obsession with Scandinavia – the crisp blue skies, the people who don’t get all up in your face, I don’t think Northern Europe, with their obsession with following the rules, would get it. (But I do think Portugal is the “Scandinavia of the Mediterranean”, for what’s it’s worth.)

I guess in these times; the end of modernity, a rapidly changing climate, I feel at home in this quiet sense of desenrascar. Not feverish prepper mentality, not privileged gated communities laagering, not hippie opting out, not end-of-days ivory tower preaching, not morally superior private-jet fuelled policy COP meetings, not alt-right fury. Just a quiet, let’s get on with it then.

I’e been to that little white shed. I cannot adequately explain, nor comprehend how or why it is perched at the side of a unstable looking cliff. I guess someone just wanted some peace and quiet to potter around. Once I moved here and explore more, I found these little respites everywhere. 100% not legal. But ancient and withstanding anyway.

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