Monthly Archives: February 2017

We Have Water (again)

Early September 2014 everyone I know let me know that the water had been reconnected :-). This was great news as Clive was able to get on with the nasty task of renovating the collapsed lounge (which I know he really wasn’t keen on doing but it made me happy).  I started getting excited about planning the next venture out in the Easter of 2015 this time with my partner and her teenage Daughter which meant more tales of glamping without the glamour. I was really excited about this trip as it was going to be the first time anything major had been done to the cave that wasn’t chosen by my ex-wife and I (not that there is anything wrong with her taste but it was nice to make a mark as it were).

Around February of 2016 my lovely neighbour got in touch to say there was a couple of envelopes at the Post Office that needed to be signed for and she thought that they were from the Ayuntamiento (town hall). Time for me to stress again, I thought everything was on track. It turned out that I had a three of years non resident tax that needed paying, fortunately this was quite straight forward and wasn’t very expensive (about €130 I think).  We were booked to fly out to Malaga from Liverpool John Lennon at 5:30am but the flight time kept being changed with the final leaving time set at 8.40pm, I felt it was better to accept this than lose a day of holiday and I reasoned that at least we would wake up in Spain relaxing rather than in the UK with the thought of another early start and one less day away. We arrived at Malaga at around 11:30pm and had to find the shuttle to the taxi office, typically we saw the shuttle bus leaving and had to wait another 10 minutes for the next one and we did the “first on, last off” routine to find the taxi company hadn’t finished processing the people from the first bus and we were at the back of the cue. Although I’m always up for saving money I do always pay for the full insurance as it includes priority collection and you don’t have to wait to get the vehicle checked over at the end of your stay.

It was now that I remembered that we had Priority Collection and the cue for this consisted of nobody at all (Result) we were in and out before the standard cue had even moved. Feeling happy that for once spending extra cash seemed to have paid off we set out on our 2.5 hour journey to the cave. It was a lovely starry evening but as I had never travelled this route before maybe a little slower than it could have been. We arrived at the cave at around 2:00am greeted by the Jacuzzi that actually had water in it and a powered up fridge that was stocked with lager and wine….. Happy Days !  We set up the beds and then sat outside for 1/2 an hour with a drink to recuperate, the sky was fantastic that night the Milky Way was in full swing and I had never seen a night sky looking so spectacular (I’m not massively interested in space stuff). I promised myself I would get a timelapse video of the sky one evening, I didn’t of course because it was either hazy or cloudy every night for the rest of the week.

Back to car hire……. On Wednesday we decided to have a drive up Mt Jabalcon, the oddly shaped mountain that greets you just after you pass Chirivel on the A-92 when arriving from the East. There are spectacular views to be had here and although I highly recommend the trip, it is a rough drive and most of it is single track with very few passing places…… anyway off we went  and about 1/2 a mile from the summit we got a puncture so I had to do a tyre change (for one of those silly space savers) considering we were on a steep single track road that was covered in loose stone everything went ok but on the way back I thought I’d look out for a tyre place to get the puncture repaired….. and here comes another straightforward event that escalated into stupidity because I was involved ! First off we headed to Baza and tracked down a tyre dealer who hadn’t got any staff working except for a receptionist. Next we headed for another one that the SatNav suggested which turned out to be a house about 1/2 a mile down a footpath. I decided to head back to the cave and then spotted a tyre place on the Baza to Benamaurel road so I pulled in and spoke (loose description of my Spanish communication skills) to one of the guys who tried to repair it and then showed me the 2″ rip in the sidewall after a bit more confusion he disappeared and then came back a few minutes later with an English Girl who was working in the bar around the corner who explained/translated that he didn’t have a tyre available but could order one and it would be there on Friday – Perfect I can drive at more than 40kmh on the way home on Sunday…. Yes Please. She took my number and said she would ring when it was ready. We spent Thursday relaxing at the cave. Friday arrived and I surfaced at a reasonable time with the intention of picking up a new tyre, by around 12:00 I was getting concerned about siesta as I hadn’t heard from the garage and I sloped up to the village to ask Mario if he could ring them for me…… Mario rang the garage who said they weren’t able to get a tyre the correct size…. he then chatted for a bit while I shrank away with a pale face and then finally looked up and said “would a second hand tyre be ok?” “Oh My God yes, anything that means I can collect the wheel and drive the car again”, he said “can you get there before 1:00 as they are closing?” Off I went back to the garage and just made it in time at 12:55. €52 later I was heading back to Cortes with a tyre that held air…… And Relax.

On the Saturday we went down to Mini Hollywood which helped relieve the boredom of a teenager forced to spend a wee bit too much time in rural Spain with not enough Wi-Fi 🙂

 

I should probably show you the great job Clive did of resurrecting the collapsed lounge now.

 

Another Year…..Another Disaster or Two

Around Christmas 2014 I started planning my first visit to the Cave with my new partner, I spent far too much time trying to convince her that she would like it even though it was more than likely going to be like some form of Glamping but without the Glamour.
A roof, some furniture, water and electric but no mod cons. Then in the January of 2015 Clive my builder got in touch to say there had been a leak near the chimney and the front room had flooded, the water had mostly gone but it had left the whole place damp and mouldy. He was happy to fix the leak and get on with tidying around and was able to start work in the February. Clive’s first visit brought with it disaster, the Lounge Ceiling had collapsed dumping about 2 tons of rock on the Leather Corner settee that we had previously dragged all the way over from Devon.
He sent me the following photo…..

Disaster !!!…..

I spent a few months fretting about the whole situation as I had been told over and over to keep caves aired when you are not staying in them but I had locked it up and left it since the previous August. Clive said he was happy to pop around and open and close windows/doors etc when he was nearby and to make a start on the other work while we decided the best way forward with the collapse.

A month or so later when he was starting work Clive got in touch to say the water wasn’t running and he couldn’t find the meter (that will because the water company had removed it). Somehow in my endless list of stupid moves I had not setup a direct debit with the water company so I was in arrears, there was no water and Clive was left unable to do any serious work. So i tucked my tail firmly between my legs and got in touch with Sean at Spanish Inland Properties to see if he could help me sort it out, A couple of weeks later he got in touch with me and arranged for me to pay the outstanding bills and setup a direct debit (Great News)…. I did everything as quickly as I possibly could so as not to waste any more of Clive’s time. He kept soldiering on with bits and bobs but the water never emerged, It turned out that my wonderful friend Mat KT and her colleague Kari had been chasing and chasing the water company (but as we know it takes two weeks to get a phone answered in these parts) Soon it was August and we were booked to arrive ourselves…. so I had to explain to Rachel that it would be slightly less like Glamping, she took it in her stride and I bought a couple of solar showers as a sweetener.  We arrived during the Fiesta as planned and the water still wasn’t on, Mat said I should go to the office and try and converse with the water people, I wrote down some basic bits and bobs in spanish and headed off to the office which turned out to be closed until the end of August.
So that was that….. we went to the village water fountain daily and filled up lots of plastic bottles daily so we could make coffee, wash up and flush the toilet.

Midweek we had booked a night in a Hostel on the coast in San Jose so we could investigate some of the Spaghetti Western sets. I’d figured out that we could drive almost all the way to the set of 1960’s Burt Reynolds Movie Chino (also the setting for Straight to Hell) This was accessible from one of the old roads alongside the A-92 after about 2 miles of potholes we arrived at a massive pile of rubble and decided to walk the rest of the way (about a mile as the crow flies).  Three Issues here: 1) The crow flies straight and dilapidated Spanish lanes don’t. 2) Walking what turns out to be around 3.5 Miles each way in 45 degrees is a lot harder than it sounds. 3) No Water in the badlands of the Tabernas Desert is a stupid idea.
We did it and got some mementos and then headed down to San Jose, the Hostel was great and had running water so we both showered and headed into town, for a bite to eat and strolled back with the idea of a relaxed evening. 9:20pm and the place was thrust into darkness (not just the hostel but the whole town) this was fine for about 1/2 to 3/4 of an hour but then it started getting really hot as the Air Con had obviously stopped (something you never have to think about in caves). The Electricity finally came back on at around 1:00am and we were able to settle.

The following morning we visited Cortijo del Fraile and Albiroques where loads of Spaghetti Westerns were filmed then head back up the A-92 to have a look around La Calahorra Station and the setting of “Flagstone” in Sergio Leone’s movie Once Upon a time in the West. It was lovely to get back to a cool airy cave  🙂

I spent some more time trying to figure out what would be the best way to renovate the collapsed ceiling and when Clive came over we decided that the most economical way would be to backfill the fallen rock and build a retaining wall thus reducing the length of the room by around 6 feet (to be honest it was always a little long for my liking anyway). This also eliminated the need for a skip to dispose of the rock and of course the work involved wheelbarrowing it through the cave and down the yard a distance of probably 50 metres.