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.

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.


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.

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!!

Plastering The New Guest Lounge

At last we have started to plaster the new guest lounge!!  I’ve done my part by spending the last week slowly picking away at the walls to remove all the old lose plaster and paint in order for hubby to pva the walls and start plastering.  Slowly it is beginning to take shape and I can visualise what it will eventually look like.  Once the plasterings finished I can get on and paint the walls once it’s all dried.  We’ve had to crack on with the work on this room as my brother and his girlfriend and her young son are coming over to stay with us for 10 days and as we only have one guest bedroom & en-suite finished we need to make the guest lounge into a temporary bedroom for the lad.  We have until 18 July to get as much done as possible and all being well we’ll have it ready for their visit.

Until last week the weather has been hot and sunny but this last week has turned quite cool and today we’ve had a torrential downpour (had to take the drain cover up on little terrace as it was filling up like a pool!).  Fingers crossed the sun will be out by Wednesday and we’ll be hotting up again.  It’s unusual to have this much rain in June and glad we’ve finished most of the outside work as this time last year we had started taking a roof off!!  We would have had an indoor swimming pool then!

We’ve been kept busy with our digital satellite & terrestrial tv work and so have to catch the few days here and there to carry on with the work on the house.  We are glad we are busy with tv work as there are a lot of people out of work here.  As long as we can keep ticking over we’re happy.  We get a lot of work inland in the Jaen & Priego de Cordoba region as there seem to be quite a few Brits still buying houses up that way due to better prices – more for your money.  It’s quite a drive up there but beautiful scenery and we get to see so many new places.  Beats sitting in a city traffic jam on the way to work!!

I’ve acquired a new mode of transport – a motor scooter!!!  It’s a 125cc so nice and nippy and I got it at a good price from our local Fishmonger!  It was his wifes but now they have two little children she didn’t use it anymore and so was selling it.  It only has 3,000km on the clock and is like new.  It’s been well looked after and had it’s regular services.  I never thought I’d be back on 2 wheels again and it’s a little different from riding a proper motorbike but once you get used to it, it’s so easy and comfy to ride.  Back in the day when I was a hardened biker I wouldn’t have been seen riding a scooter, but now the years have passed I’ve mellowed and am happy to have my own transport again! (Years ago my dad had a scooter and I have a photo of me as a baby sitting on his knee whilst he perched on his scooter, so perhaps it was destiny that one day I’d have one too). It’s ideal for nipping into Durcal for the local market and for getting around the valley.  Not sure hubby is too pleased I’m back on 2 wheels again but I’m certainly not burning rubber – nice sedate pace for me now!
Well that’s all for now folks.

Fiesta Time Again!!!!

Where has the time gone!!!  Doesn’t seem 5 minutes since we added our last entry and now we’re almost into May.  This weekend is the Fiestas de la Cruz in honor of Santo Cristo del Zapato – patron saint of Pinos del Valle.  On Saturday 1st May there will be the Romeria de Carrozas – when all the locals dress up their trailers, cars etc with flowers etc and parade around the streets.  Many will be dressed in traditional dress and friends and family will flock to the village for the fiesta.  Later on Saturday afternoon there will be the big free Paella feast and later on that night live music.  The village has been well spruced up in time for the fiesta and the sports area at the top of the village (where the festivities take place) has been painted and is looking very smart.  Sunday 2nd May will see the floral offering outside the church in the upper part of the village and many crosses will be decorated around the village for people to view.  Then later that night there will be the big firework display followed by more music and dancing well into the early hours.  Finally on Monday 3rd May the framed picture of Christ will be taken back up to the newly built hermitage and the village is invited to follow it up (not a walk taken lightly as it’s a steep climb and will sort the weak from the strong!).  Those that manage to make it to the top will be rewarded with food and drink to fortify them for the downward journey!

On the subject of the hermitage – it’s been well over a year since it was destroyed by lightening (see our post 1st March 2009) and finally the village has gathered enough money together from donations to have it rebuilt and after walking up there for an inspection the other weekend we can confirm it’s looking very smart now and there appears to be a viewing point which has been created behind the building.  The views from up there are stunning and well worth the tough walk up.  (Attached a few photos – more to come after fiesta).

Work on the house has been progressing (albeit a little slowly due to us being busy with our satellite/digital tv installation work – which is good considering the current economic climate) and we can report that the new floor is in, the new staircase built, dividing wall taken down to create the new guest lounge and now we need to start thinking about plastering the ceiling and walls.  However first the walls need “picking” to get off all the loose plaster or paint to prepare them – a killer on the arms and wrists!  Poco a poco as the locals say – little by little.

The weather has now warmed up considerably and the smell of orange blossom is wafting around the valley – beautiful.  The roadside verges are full of colour with the spring flowers and after the abundant winter rain everywhere is looking lush and green.  My clematis on the patio are in full bloom and looking gorgeous and for the first time since I bought it, my lilac tree is in flower and smells heavenly.

We’re looking forward to my friend visiting very soon and hope she likes the new bedroom and ensuite which we finally finished at the start of the year.  She’ll be the first to try it out! There’s quite a bit of work done since her last visit so lots to see.

Well that’s all for now folks – more updates soon.