End of Summer 2014 – Autumn on it’s way

Well the heat of summer has gone and we now have more comfortable temperatures.  This week storms were forecast for the Granada area but so far we only had a small downpour last night with a spot of tunder & lightening.  Supposed to be a few more stormy showers today and then sunshine & cloud for the rest of the week with temperatures around 22 degrees – wonderful.

We had our annual wood delivery the other week so we are now well stocked for the winter when it arrives (seems mad stocking up with wood when it’s 30 degree heat but it’s worth it – nice dry wood ready to go).

Work on the house continues and we are on the last part – the top floor at the front of the house.  The chapa roof is being lined out with 3 different types of insulation and the decorative beams are up and the wood panelling going in slowly.  Once all that’s done I think the new internal walls are next which will also be insulated.  All in all probably 6 months of work ahead but all being well by April 2015 we will be ready to start renting out rooms!!!!  Over the winter we’ll be starting to work on info for the website etc and waiting to see what the new rules are from the Junta de Andalucia for holiday rentals.

I’m planning a trip back to the UK at the beginning of December to see family & friends and to soak up all the festive atmosphere leading up to Christmas so hopefully I’ll get to have a drink with one or two of you.

Well that’s all for now – enjoy any warm weather that is left and have a great Autumn with all the changing colours that it brings.

Summer 2014

Apologies for not updating the blog for such a long time 🙁  Work on the house has been progressing well and after a long 6 months of work the new guest suite is now finished!!!  We are really pleased with it and was well worth all the hard work (on hubbys part).  It was recently christened when our old friend & his son visited and both guest rooms were tried out and given the thumbs up.

Our next job after our friends visit was to redecorate our own living quarters and I’m happy to say that our bedroom, bathroom & lounge are all now freshly decorated and looking good.  The log burner has been given a good sweep out and polish so fingers crossed this winter we won’t be suffering with smoke billowing out into the lounge everytime the door is opened.

As usual the summer has arrived with hot weather and the village is currently getting prepared to kick off with the annual summer fiesta this Thursday evening and it will go on till Sunday night.  The office is ready for Ginger to escape to and hide from the noise of the rockets, fireworks and marching bands.  Peace will return by Monday.

Work has now started on the final part of the house on the top floor to create the last  bedroom & ensuite and access to the guest terrace (stairs are there but it’s more a building site at the moment).  Fingers crossed and if all goes well we might have it finished by the Spring and be ready to start receiving paying guests.  The new rules for renting out property/rooms will be made available later in the year so we’ll see what we need to do to get registered.  In the meantime we’ll crack on with the work.

Hope you all enjoy your summer whatever you are up to and hopefully my next post will be a little sooner – probably Christmas!

Hasta luego

Christmas 2013 Nearly Here!

Where does the time go nowadays.  Doesn’t seem 5 minutes since we were celebrating last Christmas and here it comes again!

We’ve 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 we’ve 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 hubby 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. Hubbys 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.


Happy Easter – 2013

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!

Hasta luego



Happy New Year & welcome to 2013

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 we have 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 hubby 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 he’s 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 now gone quiet – 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 hubbys 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 (hubby 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 hubby 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.

2012 – Hot, Hot, Hot….

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 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!!!

Another new website is The Lecrin Valley, providing information about our beautiful area and some of it’s history.  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.  In the current economic climate I think we’ll be here for a while.  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 – hubby 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 his 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 again who is coming to visit in September and having some R&R time together.

Well that’s all for now folks.

Work on Utility/Store Progresses

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.  Hubby 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!  He’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 the 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 bag 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.

New Entrance Porch is finished – more or less

Well at last we have finished the new entrance porch – well just about – we still have to fit the light on the wall and entry intercom but they are minor things.  We’ve 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 are really pleased with it. 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 hubby 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 he’s somewhere in between!!

Happy Christmas!!!

Well it’s Christmas again (almost) and we seem to be having a “Ground Hog Day” week!  This time last year we were having heavy downpours and days of rain forecast and yet again a few days before Christmas here we go again!!  After spending all summer waterproofing all the areas where we thought our leaks were coming from imagine our disbelief when yet again a damp patch appeared over the window in our lounge (where the terrace drain is) and on the side wall where we had no damp at all last year! Thankfully the other wall that was absolutely saturated last year has stayed dry with the slightest circle of damp appearing at one corner so all the work sealing the wall seems to have paid off and we don’t have water coming in under the log store in the lounge so all in all we do seem to have cracked 80% of the problem – just got to locate the remaining 20%!  We think it’s the other side of the terrace where the house joins up with next doors and their roof-line buts up against us – the amount of rain running down the roof and into the gully has been torrential so the water’s bound to find a small hole or crack to work it’s way in.  Trouble is it’s so difficult to get to and seal but we’ll have another go in the summer when everything dried out.  As for the leak above the lounge window – we will get the scaffolding out in the summer and point up all the bricks that form the under part of the small roof overhang as we think the water could be working it’s way back up.  Problem with the houses here is that they’re not designed for heavy prolonged rain and many other people are having similar problems with their terraces – some make ours look like nothing (which in the scheme of things compared to last years leaks we’ve got off very lightly so far!!!).  However they are forecasting some dry weather from Friday onwards and we are hoping this year that we’ll be able to get up to do some snowboarding on Xmas Day.  I’ve got some new snowboard boots that I bought back in March and haven’t had a chance to try them out yet!  Been walking around the house in them to bed them in.  Fingers crossed I get to try them out at the weekend.

We’ve managed to get our new front door fitted and it’s looking good.  The old door is still in-situ as there’s some more work on the new porch yet before we take it out.  In the meantime we’re finishing building the new fireplace in the hallway which will house our new log burning stove that will (eventually) run the new central heating system (fingers crossed it’ll be up and running by next winter!).  We’ve now decided to take it easy on the run up to Xmas and hubby is currently on Formula 1 2010 on the PS3 and doing very well with his races!

We’ve been wondering for quite a while if the local town hall would ever repair the little street that runs down the side of our house through to the back street, as they seem to have repaired every other street in the village.  I asked at the town hall a few weeks ago and just got a shrug of the shoulders and a “no se”!  However we awoke yesterday morning to the sound of a dumper truck outside, voices and then lots of thumping noises – upon opening the window to have a look we saw at least 7 people outside starting to break up the street!!!  We had a chat with the Jefe (boss man) who said they were repairing the street – yipee.  However after digging down not too far they started uncovering the old drains that service our house and the old water supply pipework that feeds into our house.  There are pipes everywhere and no one has a clue where they all come from and go to – we have 2 stop taps outside now – one which was buried and we didn’t know about.  As we had to go out working yesterday we left them to it.  Upon returning we discovered that the buried stop tap was turned off which had cut the water to our kitchen, however the water in our en-suite was still running so it appears we have two water supplies feeding into the house!  The street had been left as a rubble building site and we had to clean out the rubble from the broken drain cover and put something over the top to stop rubbish been washed in and blocking it (it services our kitchen, bathroom & water run off from the back terrace and patio so if it blocks we’ve got BIG problems).  As it started raining last night and hasn’t really stopped since it’ll be a quagmire out there by the time they come back to start more work on it – which by the look of the weather will be after Xmas now!  At least they’ve roped off the 2 ends of the street to stop people walking through it.  We asked the Jefe it they were going to install new drains but he said no – however after uncovering the old rusting water pipes he said they would replace them with new ones – once they’ve worked out where they all go to and come from!   I have a feeling the work outside on the side street is going to take a few weeks!  I’ll put an update here in the new year.
Ginger is still with us and well – sleeping at the moment as it’s too wet to go out – she came for a quick walk with me this morning when the rain eased up but she’s definitely not in the mood for going outside at the moment!  She ended up having a shower yesterday as she’d found something a bit smelly and rolled in it so in the shower she went.  She did the same thing a few weeks ago and had 3 showers in one week – she smells lovely afterwards (our orange and chamomile shampoo) and once she’s all dry goes soft and fluffy!

Well that’s all for now – hope you all have a great Christmas whatever your plans (I fear some of you back in the UK may not be going far with all the snow – at least you’ll have a white Christmas!).

Hasta luego

Autumn Has Arrived

Where did the summer go????  Well the new guest lounge was finished in time for my brothers visit and we are pleased with the end result.

After that I carried on freshening up the outside terraces with a new lick of paint and sealed all the joints between the floor tiles outside to try and avoid any leaks when the rains start this year! Hubby has been busy painting the front of the house this month and boy does it look different now it’s all white!  The locals all seem pleased it’s looking nice and fresh now.  Fingers crossed if it doesn’t rain tomorrow then he will get the final coat on and our scaffold will come down.  For the top half we had to borrow some scaffolding from one of the locals as it is 3 floors high and we also needed to fit guttering to stop the rains soaking the walls.  We managed to get all the top half finished in a week as the owner of the scaffolding needed it for another job and we were glad that bit was done.  Our scaffolding is high enough for the rest of the painting and we’ve been doing it in between sat work and the odd day of rain.

We had an upsetting experience in August just before the local fiesta began – Fred, one of our beautiful dogs, became suddenly ill and after taking him straight to the vets we discovered he’d eaten some poison.  He was a the vets all day but that evening when we went to see him (thinking he’d managed to get it out of his system) we discovered he was in a very bad state and had been on various drugs all day and Valium but the poison was taking it’s toll and it was 50/50 he’d survive the night.  We had to make the hard decision to put him out of his misery as we didn’t want him suffering any more than he already had.  It really upset us and Ginger (his sister) was so lost without him.  It’s taken her a while to get her confidence back but now she goes off with one of her “friends” during the mornings and then comes back and spends the rest of the day with us and stays tucked up inside every night.  When she comes for a walk with us she doesn’t stray too far ahead and waits for us.  We just hope the same fate doesn’t befall her, but living in the “campo” we have to accept these things can happen (as it has to many of our Spanish neighbours animals).

Hubby has now acquired a new (well second hand) off road motorbike to go off exploring the miles and miles of tracks around here.  He’d been promising himself one for a long time but wanted to wait until we’d got most of the big work out of the way on the house.   Looks like the mountain bike will continue to gather dust now!!!

Well that’s all for now – next blog will probably be Xmas!!