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The end is in sight.

In September everyone was back from holiday, and we went to Portugal for a final meeting. We knew this would be our last opportunity to ask for changes, and the moment to fix dates, determine extra costs and ask about the paperwork necessary for moving in. Three months had passed since our last visit, and the most striking change we noticed was the stone and concrete walls that enclose the garden. We were surprised to find the front garden, high above the road, had no area intended for grass, but was all to be paved. Inside the house the changes were less immediately visible, but the windows (apart from the special hall ones) were all in place, and the carpenters were in the house, finishing the bedroom floors. Still no internal doors though, and no kitchen yet.

The next day we met Steve and Abel and the builder. The workmen had started to lay the front paving. Ian expressed his disappointment at the lack of grass in the front garden, and immediately a solution was found. With only minor rearrangement of the drainage, it was possible to pave only half the area and leave the other half for grass. It took a little longer to find a satisfactory solution to the problem of the rather blank wall which faces the gate. Finally it was decided to build a series of raised flower beds in steps along the wall, insulated from the wall so as to avoid damp penetration. When we came back the next day the new beds were already well under way!

We went with Steve and Abel to choose the tiles for the pool and surround. On the way back we drove around photographing innumerable iron gates, in order to get inspiration for our own gate design. Having noted how easily our garden can be entered, we decided we need to fix bars on the windows where there are no roller blinds. While we were discussing bars and paving, the painter began working on the exterior of the house.