Where does the time go nowadays. Doesn’t seem 5 minutes since we were celebrating last Christmas and here it comes again!
Phil’s managed to get loads done this year on the house – mainly due to lack of other paid work, and by June all the hallway and landing had been finished. It’s so nice to walk in to a lovely finished hallway and not a building site! I’ve been busy painting etc and during the summer we concentrated on some remedial work on the terrace to hopefully fixed the leak above our bed when it rains. So far so good but not had a lot of rain yet (November and still in the low 20’s during the daytime!). All the terraces and patio have been painted this year and we took the last small roof off which was at the side of the metal stairs leading up to our terrace – to make use of the space Phil’s created a new store area (nicknamed El Shed) with a small sloping roof – this gives us some more outside storage up there. We also took out the old chimney which passed through the office down to what will be the 2nd guest bedroom. This has created more space in the office and we redecorated that after the work was finished. We’ve also had to rebuild the pillars on our terrace and replace the decorative brickwork with some nice new iron railings – made by Phil of course. I think it looks better now as it seems to open up the views from the terrace down into the valley below. Now we’re into Autumn the next job is the 2nd guest bedroom/bathroom. Phil’s just spent the last week removing the old flaky paint off the ceilings in there and knocking some more walls out. Fingers crossed by May 2014 it will be ready for our friends & family that will be visiting us.
I thought last year we might have the new central heating system (fired by the special log burner in the hallway) up and running by now but alas no – think that will be next winter – we’ll get there in the end. This will get done when we start the last job of reforming the 3rd floor area at the front of the house which leads out on to the guest terrace – this will give us the final 3rd bedroom. Finally, when this has been done we can more or less say we are finished and hopefully start the B&B – if we have any money or energy left.
My mum finally came out to visit in May and had a lovely time – we did the Alhambra, Alpujarra, coast etc. and she is hoping to come back next May for another visit (the weather was just right for her – not too hot). Next year we have some other friends coming to stay in June for a long weekend and they haven’t seen the house since we first started it in 2006 so will have a very big surprise.
Well here we are and it’s Easter already! Weather here this year has been VERY windy and we’ve had quite a bit of rain so the surrounding countryside is looking very lush and green. The temperature is slowly on the up and some spring flowers have appeared to brighten the place up.
Since our last post it’s been busy with work on the house and work has commenced on the hallway. The walls have been sorted and rendered and the staircase is now being remodled and hopefully by the summer we will have a nice entrance space rather than a building site!
My god where has the time gone???? Already half way through January and Christmas seems a distant memory. Can’t believe it was August when I last posted on here – so tardy – getting worse in my old age. I can report that the new utility/store has been finished since July – all painted and working wonderfully. Since finishing that Phil has also renovated part of the old mill area where the old press used to stand (and where we used to store the sand & rubble) that is now the new satellite equipment room and the old area has been cleared ready for the spring/summer to start work on the 2nd guest bedroom area. Till then Phil has also finished our new book case on the stairs which is in the gap where we blocked up the old entrance to the kitchen. I’ve been able to unpack 4 more boxes and found books I’d forgotten I had! Now Phil is working on yet another store area in the old mill bit which when finished means we can store stuff like the bikes, snowboards, etc out of the way and close a door on it to keep everything relatively dust free. Once that’s done (possibly in a couple of weeks time) then I think he is going to start on the hallway & stairs. We want to get this done so that everytime you walk into the house you don’t feel like you’re walking into a building site. As the 2nd guest bedroom is towards the back of the house we can keep the doors closed on that and out of sight whilst the work is going on there in the summer. As we have to take out an old chimmney which passes through the office and down to the guest bedroom we want to wait till the dry warm weather before we start as we’ve decided to put new roof tiles on that section of roof too (the only bit with old tiles). Not looking forward to the mess but in the scheme of things not a lot compared to before. Will have to clear out the office for the work but it’ll give me a chance to tidy up and redecorate in there and once the chimmney is out it’ll give a bit more space. It would be nice to think that by next winter we’ll have the central heating going (running off the log burner with back boiler in the hallway) and 80% of the work on the house done. If we could start taking paying guests by 2014 that would be great as money is getting tight now and we need the house to start paying us back with an income.
Our TV work has gone quiet now – which is not usual in the winter but an added worry is that come the summer all the BBC, ITV, Ch4 etc. will disappear down here in southern Spain. They are moving the channels over to new satellites and these will have a much tighter beam over the UK and less overspill here in Spain. What this means is that unless you can afford or have the space for a satellite dish of 3m or more then bye bye BBC etc. On a positive note, there will be some English channels left (free & pay by Sky) that we will be able to get as they are rumoured to be moving to the new European beam on the new satellites which will give us stronger signals on these channels. As with all technology stuff is moving on apace and it looks like the way to go for BBC etc will be via internet but until we know more in the summer we are advising people to wait and see what’s available in August as new stuff is coming online all the time. These satellite changes will either kill our business dead or open up new opportunities which we are unaware of at the moment. Till then we’ll crack on with the work on the house and see if we can spin the savings out a bit further till it’s finished.
My friend came out to see us in October (just as the rains arrived so not a sunny trip for her apart from her last day here!) for a few days and then 4 days later Phil’s mum & dad arrived for a 2 week visit and the sun shone all the time they were here and temperatures were in the high 30’s for some of the time – couldn’t wish for better weather in October considering the start to it!!
I had a nice week back in the UK at the end of November, seeing family & friends and catching up on stuff. Got a few bits done and some last minute Christmas shopping. It’s been 3 years since our last visit and for me too long – think I need to make a trip back once a year (Phil stayed home with Ginger as didn’t fancy going back – was fine by me as I could do all the stuff I wanted to – like shopping and going out with my friends!!!).
Weather here has been relatively mild so far and as a result the almond blossom has been out since the beginning of January which is very early. However we’ve got some strong cold winds blowing now so not sure how the blossom will hold up against it. Despite a wet start to October the weather has been quite dry over the last month or so but I see rain is forecast for end of this week and into next so looks like dry spell over. Will be good for the campo though and also the ski resort (not that we’ll be going up as breaking his ankle has put Phil off snowboarding for the time being! Perhaps when all the work on the house is done he’ll think about going again).
Well that’s all for now folks. No doubt it’ll be summer by the time I get around to posting another update. Have posted a few photos below.
Mel, Phil & Ginger
Sat storage room finished
New sat equipment storage room in process of reform
New display shelves in utility passageway
Phil making new bookcase
New storage room
Well summer certainly hit us this week with temperatures here in Pinos rising above 40 degrees! There was a breeze blowing but it felt like sticking your head in a fan oven – not even Ginger (the dog) wanted to go out for a walk in the heat! The cross we have to bear for living in this beautiful part of Spain (“lucky buggars” I hear you muttering back in the UK as you dodge the latest downpour)!!! Over the winter months, when it can get down to freezing temperatures here in the mountains, we forget just how hot it can get. For those lucky few with pools, they can dip in and out to cool off, for the rest of us we just have to keep drinking the beer!!! Actually, for those without pools, there is now the opportunity to use the pool at the recently re-opend campsite above Restabal. Accessible on the backroad from Pinos it’s only a 10 minute drive or 40 minute walk (if you’re feeling adventurous in the summer sun) to get there and there is just a 2.50 Euro charge to use the facility. If you’d like more information then visit their website Camping el Valle.
Another new website is The Lecrin Valle, providing information about our beautiful area and some of it’s history. If you like what you see then why not book a holiday or short break and come visit – car hire, rental properties, What’s On etc. can all be found via the excellent South From Granada website. August is fiesta time here in Spain so we’ll soon have our senses bombarded with loud rockets going off, marching bands & the usual mid-night fiesta music – I’m sure Ginger can’t wait!!!!!
Back to more news on what we’ve been up to. At last the Utility/Store area is now all painted and finished! It took a while but was worth it. I spent a couple of days unpacking some of the boxes that have been storing odds and ends for the last 6 years and these have now found places in the new cupboards etc. Slowly our box pile is going down – be just our luck to unpack the last box when the work is all finished and we’ll get an offer we can’t refuse and end up moving again!!! In the current economic climate I think we’ll be here for a while longer. Some other jobs done are: side of the house all newly painted, roof tiles pointed up, last new downstairs window in & new reja – decorative bars, fitted (recycled stair rails – Phil has slowly been dismantling our stair rails to make new rejas – just have to be careful when going up and down stairs now – we’ll get new ones eventually – it’s all part of the plan – well Phil’s plan). Reja now painted and window ledges sealed. Next job is to sort out the corner of the old mill area at the back of the house where we store all our “stuff” so that things can be moved around and placed in some sort of order to give us space to start work on another area of the house. It’s like a game of chess with strategic movements of furniture/boxes to give us space to proceed with the next lot of work. So as you can see we’ve been keeping busy with one thing or another and one day I’ll be reporting that at last the work is done and we can finally open as a B&B, BUT until then we’ll get our heads down and carry on!
Looking foward to seeing my friend P who is coming to visit in September and having some R&R time together.
Well that’s all for now folks and will post some new photos as soon as I can.
Mel & Phil x
Well it’s been 3 months since my last update and I can now confirm that we have the new entrance between the utility & kitchen in place and the old one is well and truely blocked up (not a job we were looking forward to and the dust gets everywhere but at least that’s one more messy job out the way). Now that we’ve got used to the new route into the kitchen it is soooo much better. Phil is just finishing off the last few decorative trims on the units and then I’ve got yet more painting to do. I’ve already painted the Store Room, Cloakroom, Passage way & Doors, just the the last bit to do and then I can repaint the kitchen too and that bits all done! Phil’s even fitted our new door buzzer which connects to an entry phone in the utility so I can talk to whoever it is waiting in the porch – if it’s some one I don’t want to see then I won’t bother going down to answer the door!!! Not sure what the next job is as that on Phil’s list stored in his head.
After a very dry Spring we are now well and truely in to summer and after a week of nice comfortable temperatures they are due to start rising again into the 30’s within the next few days. Ginger has already had a hair cut (did that at the end of May) and after a hour and a half and a carrier bad full of fur she was looking quite sorry for herself but now it’s getting hot she’s glad she hasn’t got the winter coat. She was beginning to look a little “portly” and we thought that after the haircut she might lose a little of the portlyness but no – she’s still looking a little on the chubbyside and now nothing to hide under! As it’s getting hot I’m sure that like us she’ll not feel like eating so much and will lose the “Winter Layer”. We’ll see – if not I see an enforced diet for the winter months.
Have put a link here so you can see some of the photos taken and will add more of the finished result later. Enjoy.
Photos of Utility/Store work
My word – where has the time gone! Can’t believe the last time I updated the blog was October last year – I’m getting very slack in my old age – forgive me.
Well over the winter we’ve done a bit more on the house – the outside is all finished now and we’ve been back working inside. We’ve taken yet another floor out and replaced it with a nice new strong one. We weren’t going to do it but Phil wasn’t happy with the strength of the old one and once we started taking it up we discovered a few rotten beams so glad we did. We now have a new solid floor at a lower level than before in what was the old bathroom area – this area has now been sectioned off to create a new store room, cloakroom & utility. Phil is currently working on all the electrics and has already done the plumbing and waste pipes. He’s trying to get as much done in there before the messy work of knocking through to the existing kitchen. The new entrance will be where our oven unit currently sits so there’ll be some moving around to do and chaos for a few weeks till the old steps up to the kitchen are blocked off and the new entrance completed. Fingers crossed by the summer we’ll be ready to do the finishing touches.
Haven’t been snowboarding this year after Phils little accident last year and he still can’t get his snowboard boots on as his ankle is still slightly swollen even after 12 months and he didn’t want to risk it so soon after breaking it – perhaps next year we’ll get to go up – hopefully the house will be nearing completion by then. At this rate I’m hoping that by Summer 2014 the work will be just about finished and we can start the B&B – till then family and friends are all welcome. Looking forward to seeing P again in September (you know who you are)!!
Well that’s all for now – once I get some more up to date photos I’ll post them for you to see.
Mel & Phil
Where has the time gone – can’t believe we are just 8 weeks away from Christmas! Don’t want to think about it just yet.
Work on the side of the house has come on a lot and Phil has been busy continuing the stone cladding along the side street and put the last new window in. He’s also got the new side door in and so happy the old metal one has gone (everytime you opened it there was such a noise – now we have a lovely new rustic wooden door and a new little porch. He’s now working on the tile work on the rest of the side wall. (We’ve decided to put tile cladding on the remaining part of the wall as it is where the house naturally splits and in the future the house could possibly be split in two and half sold off – we’re keeping our options open and always thinking ahead for potential saleablity. We’ve already got 2 water meters fitted and the electric box has been put in for future development potential). Considering we lost 5 months of work on the house due to Phil’s broken ankle things have moved on quite a bit. The aim is to get just about all the ouside finished before the worst of the winter sets in and then carry on working on the inside of the house. Some how don’t think we’ll be snowboarding this Christmas! Not sure what we’ll be doing this year – will play it by ear.
Check out the photos so far on the work – more to come as we progress.
Happy Hallowean and another update to come before Christmas.
Mel & Phil
Well at last we have finished the new entrance porch – well just about – Phil still has to fit the light on the wall and entry intercom but they are minor things. He’s also finished – more or less, the stone cladding on the lower half of the wall at the front and it certainly sets the house off nicely. We’ve been getting some nice comments from our spanish neighbours and we are really pleased with it. Phil’s just got to carry on with the stone work now around the corner and up the street to the back of the house! Should keep him quiet for a while – if you like jigsaw puzzles then this is right up your street – if not it will drive you up the wall – thankfully Phil is somewhere in between!!
Here are some photos to show you what we’ve been doing on the front of the house – click on the link as these are posted on FB but you’ll be able to access them – we hope.
Mel & Phil
Well summer has well and truely arrived and we have temperatures up in the mid to high 30’s – great when you are relaxing on holiday but having to work in the heat is another matter! Even the fish in the resevoir below Pinos are suffering and hundreds have died from what the authorities think is oxygen starvation due to an increase in algae in the water, but they are still doing more tests – tests on the water came back normal. I could see fish floating on the surface when I passed by this morning on my way out of the village.
Phil has made a start on our new porch and has built the new brick archway and has tiled the floor and step to the new front door. He’s now tiling the inner walls and the next job is to put the finish on the walls before we can paint. Then he can add the finishing touches and it’s all done and he can move on to the next job – cladding the lower part of the exterior walls in stone. Suffering with a broken ankle put his work plan back by 6 months so we need to get as much done on the outside whilst we have dry weather and then move back to the work inside. Once the porch is finished I’ll post some Before & After photos.
Still keeping busy with the TV work and other bits and pieces so no chance of us getting bored!!
If you want to see what’s happening in the beautiful and varied region of eastern Andalucía that lies between Granada and the Costa Tropical or just get some info on Where to Eat, Sports & Leisure etc then visit South From Granada.com and take a look – the site is updated on a daily basis. Our local Fiesta, San Roque, takes place in August from 12 – 16th. The peace and tranquility of the village is shattered and you can’t find a place to park but they do have a good time!!
Well that’s all for now folks – have a great summer whatever you do.
Mel & Phil
Happy Easter everyone!! For those back in the UK – enjoy the lovely sunny, warm weather, for those over here in Spain – make sure you have an umbrella with you!! We’ve got the UK’s usual bank holiday weather!! Still at least we know we’ll definitely get a hot, sunny summer.
Just about caught up on our backlog of satellite tv work and now feeling a lot more relaxed. Back at the hospital 12 May and see what the x-ray brings up for Phil’s ankle. If all looking good then we’ll order 5 tonne of sand and start working again on the house. Lots to do on the outside to finish it off and to build the new entrance porch. Once this is done we’ll start back on the inside work.
I’m busy looking after a few more rental houses this year and if anyone is interested in visiting the area click on any of the links to the right to view some of the properties. If there are just 2 – 4 of you then Casa Abuela is a lovely village house in the lower part of Pinos del Valle. If you decide to book some time there let them know you saw it on Mels blog site.
That’s all for now folks.
Mel & Phil