Tag Archives: spanish inland properties

April 2018….. the collapse of the chimney and other nicer things (a couple of Days in Granada)

This year we flew into Granada for the first time, we knew it was a lot closer to the cave but had never tried this run previously, we are definitely coming this way again at every available opportunity. We picked up our pre-booked hire car from AVIS who were very helpful and didn’t try to hassle us in to buying upgrades or extras, the car was better than adequate (bearing in mind we always use the cheapest cars we can get our hands on). We were out of the Airport within 1/2 an hour and on the road. The scenery along this route is amazing, you’ve got the edge of Granada City then the Mountains of the Sierra de Huetor and the snow capped Sierra Nevada followed by the Red and Orange, Outer Space like scenery of Guadix and then finally the Altiplano in the Baza Region – We arrived at the cave within 1.5 hours.

On arrival we heard from the locals that this was the coldest spring they could remember and that it had been snowing overnight in Castril, we ended up getting getting handed three days of cold winds, cloud and light rain. This then picked up and turned to intermittent sun and cloud. 

A few weeks before our arrival we were informed by Clive that he had found some issues with the chimney, basically some of it had collapsed. It was around the chimney where my initial water leak had appeared back in 2014 (catch up with the original Story Here). To cut a long story short, this area of the cave had been left until last and when attempting to fit the new woodburner the mantelpiece collapsed bringing with it a big pile of mud,clay and stone. I hasten to add that I didn’t like the existing fireplace so I was somewhat happy to have it worked on. I am very happy with the outcome and it is nice to get some more organic curves replacing harsh straight lines. 

This visit also saw the last few bits of furniture being delivered from the UK, stuff I’ve had stored firstly in Devon and then in Merseyside since 2013. The Cornish Methodist Chapel Pews for the dining room, a double mattress, a Moroccan brass table, an odd hall stand, pictures, lamps and various other bits and bobs to scatter around. Finally the dining room looks like a useable part of the house rather than a dumping ground and walk through to the other half of the cave. Clive had also fitted the Candle Lanterns that I converted to electric in the kitchen and got all the electrics working in the master bedroom. I would like to add here that for the first time ever It actually feels like a home rather than just a place we go on holiday.

We spent the last two days in Granada City, right in the heart of the Albaicin at an apartment with a roof terrace that looked directly over the Alhambra and Mirador San Nicholas (Check Our Apartment Out HERE, it is well worth a Look). The owner asked us to meet at the edge of town so her husband could guide us in, which is just as well as we would never have made it otherwise. The route went from normal road into winding single track cobbled streets that reminded me of James Bond car chases, we only had a small car but it was still pretty hairy after the luxury of the empty motorway. This area is a fantastic place to explore and we spent our time doing nothing more than bar hopping around colourful shady streets listening to and watching the large variety of buskers and street performers who seem to mainly be working hard in the sunnier plaza areas. We found some lovely interesting shops, bars and restaurants all dotted about in the maze of tiny streets….. I don’t like towns in general but I love Granada and even after the second visit there is still heaps to explore ! 

The Winter Blues are setting in already…but there is stuff on Telly :-)

I always suffer a complete sense of gloom at this time of year in the UK, partially because I know I won’t be going back to Spain until the spring and partially because I know it is going to get darker and wetter here for the foreseeable months. It’s usually about now that I will start practicing learning Spanish again, I find it much harder to concentrate between Spring and Summer because I am always too excited about flying out again. So this week I have been back on DuoLingo and also catching up on the British TV shows about people moving to Spain (A Place in the Sun, A New Life in the Sun etc). These little things just make me feel closer to this part of the world that I adore.

Anyway…. Yesterday I was having a little break from moping and spotted a facebook post from Cuevas Helena which is about 15 minutes from my place, talking about a TV show that they were featured in.
Channel 5 – Our Dream Hotel. This is a great watch if you are interested in Cave Houses (or of course holidaying in one). Lovely to see such passion not to mention a fantastic finished cave. I am always grateful to see Mt Jabalcon too as it reminds me of another home 🙂

You can watch it on catchup at Channel 5 – Our Dream Hotel

 

August Holiday and a Trip to Granada

Well we popped over for 11 days in early August for our second and final holiday of 2017.
I was armed with bits and bobs along to decorate a little and put a bit more of a mark on the place (mainly vinyl albums in frames but also some other junk I had collected from charity shops over the past few months). The weather was brilliant, mid to high 30’s the whole time and the jacuzzi was even at 35c when I first turned it on…. more importantly though, My first bit of Great News was that Clive had fitted the new hot water boiler so we now have Hot Running Water, this might not seem like much but it has never worked properly since we bought the place, partially due to me not having cash and partially due to other things that were more important.  The excitement of having hot water forced me to buy a portable washing machine from Amazon and have it delivered to one of the local bars so this was also waiting for us at a friends house on arrival. This was a great addition to the house and meant I was able to leave a full 10 days worth of CLEAN clothes behind thus meaning I can take more junk next time. Clive had also worked on the arch in the large bedroom and made some nice little cubbyholes with sockets inside (just big enough for a cup of tea and a mobile phone).

Our neighbour had told us that “Donk” the Donkey had reappeared and was living in the Old Bullring so we bought a big bags of apples and carrots from the Mercadona in Baza and took her an evening feast (the following day she got sold to another farmer so we ended up with a heap of apples and carrots we had to throw out).

We didn’t really have any plans for this holiday other than going down to Granada for a night. Granada is about an Hour and a Half from Cortes de Baza and we had booked a little apartment on the hill below the Alhambra. I’m not really a city/town person but I loved it there and really look forward to exploring further, our main goals were to visit the Alhambra and Placeta Joe Strummer (Joe Strummers memorial plaza). However I have recently taken an interest in the Spanish Civil War and the story of Federico Garcia Lorca which means we have far more exploring to do in the future. Granada is very hilly and when we visited  the temperature hit 44c so I would advise using the busses or taxis around the town (even though we didn’t). There are mountains of interesting Bars and Restaraunts and the Alcaiceria is certainly worth an hour of your time. We pre-booked tickets for the Alhambra (and I would strongly advise that you do to, if you want to guarantee entry) but by the time we arrived we were so hot and tired that we didn’t queue for the palaces but instead had a cerveza and partook in some much needed people spotting. There are some fantastic views of Granada and the surrounding area from the Alhambra so it is definitely worth taking the time to visit.
Granada Photos Below:

Quick Rundown:
Day 1: Went to the Supermarket
Day 2: Fed Donk and got Got Burnt
Day3: Donk left 🙁
Day4: Went to Granada, got Hot and Tired
Day 5: Came Back from Granada
Day 6: Went to Rachel and Shawn’s for dinner (Lenny the giant dog did not steal my food)
Day 7: Our other friend Rachel arrived from the coast for a few days.
Day 8: Had a look around Baza.
Day 9: We all went to a Barbecue at Bob’s House.
Day 10: One Rachel left and one of the other Rachels came out for lunch at Hotel Galera (for my Birthday).
Day 11: Drank and Ate too much.
Day 12: Did some tidying and washing before setting off home.

I managed to get the drone out briefly but it was a bit breezy and I got scared (footage below).
Drone Footage August 2017

and finally the most recent Cave and Holiday Pics. ….. Thanks for taking the time to have a look.

Bar Jairo

April 2017 Holiday

This was to be (hopefully) our first trip of two this year. I like to get out early in the season before it gets too hot, partially to test out gadgets and of course because I love it here. We didn’t have the teenager with us this time so I us a booked a night at the Hotel Galera so we could pretend to act like grown ups.

The Gadgets this time included a Parrot BeBop 2 Drone as I really fancied getting some overhead footage of the cave and the surrounding area….. I hadn’t flown it before so there was lots of crashes but I did get a little footage which I will post a link to at the bottom if you are interested. I also bought an LG Minibeam Nano LCD Projector as we have in the past enjoyed sitting out on warm evenings watching films under the verandah….. this didn’t go to plan either as it was about 9 degrees after the sun went down, the idea was great though as this thing will practically fit in your pocket and it is rechargeable. Next was the Celestron Travelscope 70 (Telescope). I bought this based on the fact there is so much visible sky and so little light pollution in this are of Spain, having seen the Milky Way looking spectacular last year I thought we might fancy a go at stargazing (It was fairly cloudy/hazy at night so this didn’t get much use but It did fit into Ryan Air hand luggage. Finally this little media player box that you can plug SD Cards, HDD Drives and Thumb Drives into which in turn plugs into a TV or Projector allowing you to watch pre-downloaded films etc. The media player worked very well and exactly as it should, although we didn’t get to try it with the projector, just the TV (great buy at £35 on eBay)……. anyway less of the advertising and on with the holiday 🙂

We spent the most part of this trip relaxing, having arrived (unusually) not on a Sunday we were able to pop to Baza on the way and pick up some essentials because I remembered that I had not left any Cerveza behind last time. On arrival at the cave I found that Clive had made the arch in the main bedroom far more acceptable by making little inset shelves where these massive unusable shelves used to be and joining the whole thing together so it looks heaps better too. Unfortunately I forgot to get photos of this. We spent a couple of days generally doing not much at all except for organising a barbecue for Rachel, Shawn and Bob. This was the first time I had felt any interest in changing things around and rearranging things so they were different from when I first set the place up with my ex-wife. I felt great about the place again, I love all the stuff that’s there but it was a case of moving it into new places and of course adding some new stuff. I even cleaned up the two antique pine chests of drawers that got flooded 2 years ago and gave them new homes in different rooms.

On the Saturday we had arranged to go to Hotel Galera for a night and to partake in their excellent food. We were not disappointed, the food was great, the service was great and the Hotel is Lovely…. we highly recommend it! We spent the afternoon looking around Galera and walked up to the Chapel on top of the hill for some spectacular views then back to the hotel for dinner and sleep.

The rest of the week was spent between Cortes de Baza bars for morning coffee or evening drinks and the chinese bazaars in Baza for light bulbs and cleaning equipment.

Finally the day before we were due to fly back I received an email from Ryan Air saying the baggage handlers were going to be on strike and advising passengers to only bring hand luggage. I guess we are quite lucky that we were able to leave lots of clothes behind and squeeze what we needed into hand luggage. It did make me happy that I hadn’t got to worry about messing about for ages at carousels in the hope that our stuff was on the plane.

Click Here for a short Film from my drone, It gives a little bit of an idea of the area.(expect better ones or at least different ones in the future)

 

A bit of information about our Cave House

I often have people saying “you have a cave ?, where do you go to the toilet?, does it have stalactites/mites?” etc etc. so I thought I’d post a bit of information about it.

Our cave has 13 underground rooms, 2 rooms built on the front and another separate block built room in the yard. It also has a covered verandah. Because it used to be 2 houses it still has 2 front doors but the caves are connected inside via a passage that was dug out more recently.

Front Aspect

The door on the left of the picture by the Barbecue is a cave store room (which probably used to be home for a Donkey as there is an old feeder inside) this measures approximately 4 metres x 2.8 metres. Moving to the right is the extended part which houses the shower, toilet, bidet and washbasin plus a utility area. The covered verandah measures approximately 3.5 metres square and although I’m not that keen on the look of it, it’s great for being able to sit outside on warm evenings even when it is raining. You can just see the first front door in the left hand side of the verandah. To the right again there is a covered pathway about 1.4 metres wide all the way to the right hand end. You can see the second front door just to the left of the tree. The jacuzzi is at the far right by the tartan blanket. In the right of the foreground is the other building which is basically a small room about 3.5 metres by 2.7 metres with light and electric.

Cave Plan

At present there are 2 x double rooms (the one on the right is almost 6 metres long), a single room and a twin room. 2 lounges, kitchen, dining roon, breakfast room, 2 dressing rooms, shower room and the room I call the Music Hall which is inside the second front door and contains my stereo and a sofa. On the plan the tunnel that connects the dining room with the music hall is where the two original caves were connected.

Most caves (that I have seen) seem to be laid out in a similar way where one largish room is cut out first and then other rooms are cut out to the left and or right and then carrying on forward in a similar fashion. Our cave has signs of this but I guess because they were originally side by side they were limited as to directions they could dig.

I love the look of traditional caves like Danny and Josie’s see One Foot in the Cave but after spending time mooching about under the verandah, I’m pretty glad it’s there (even if I wouldn’t have bothered with it).

anyway that’s a little bit of information about the cave itself…… please ask if you want to know more.

The Week after Fiesta in Cortes

Late August 2016

We arrived for our second visit this year the week after the Fiesta, this is the time that the whole village seems to go in to limp mode, not surprisingly as the whole place will have been buzzing for the previous couple of weeks.
We were greeted by the newly built hot tub step/counter that Clive had built, I had asked if he would be able to build a step with maybe a place to put drinks and my iPad so there was somewhere within reach to change music without getting out (I love being able to leave things in his capable hands and know that he can grab an idea and run with it).

Hot Tub Step

We had arranged to put on a Barbecue for Bob and our newly found friends Rachel and Sean on the Wednesday so it was all systems go, mainly because I love the idea of getting together with people but I’m not actually that bothered about getting together with people. I am somewhat introverted ! I can’t really be bothered with having too many people around me and I don’t feel I need many people around me, all said and done though It was a great evening and I thoroughly enjoyed it and I totally enjoyed the company of people who If I’d been them I probably would have said “aww sorry, I’m cutting my nails that day”. The Barbecue was a success not because of Bob’s barbecue skills or Rachel’s Schnapps but because of my Cous Cous (that I always get from Lidl) :-).  As well as Schnapps Rachel brought Daisy along (one of the street dogs she had rescued and the reason we met in the first place) Daisy was looking very happy with her new pack, she also brought Lenny who is from what I can make out a six foot tall puppy crossed slightly confusing himself with a teenage human, anyway enough of that.

This was to be a pretty boring holiday because the weather was lovely and nothing out of the ordinary happened in the way of “set backs” so we made the most of it and visited the local communal swimming pools.
First up was Los Olivos, I think it cost 2 euros each (for as long as you like) and we had to put up with about another 20 or so people.

Los Olivos Pool

Next we headed to Orce for the pool (the one with the fish) which was equally busy.

Orce Pool

Finally Cortes which was again very busy…..

Cortes de Baza Pool

This was to be the first time I really thought about adding to the decor since splitting up with my ex-wife.
I found a guy on eBay who printed canvas prints so I had some album covers copied and then I found some cheap album frames for real albums so I now spend a lot of time in charity shops looking for album covers to put in them. It’s quite nice not having to worry about the condition of the records themselves as I’m not likely to play them as all my music these days is digital.

Album Cover Canvasses

The First REAL Album Cover (Hats off to the Spaghetti Westerns)

All in All this was the most normal and straightforward trip to the cave 🙂

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.

The First Holiday

August 2013:
my marital status was well and truly over, I’d spent a couple of months in hiding, licking my wounds and sofa surfing. I decided I needed to visit the cave properly on a holiday after all the effort that had gone into getting the place…… where do I start?  Facebook of Course 🙂

So I put a status on Facebook asking for a travel companion, typically I got next to no response.
The first was from a friend who runs a tea tent at festivals…. although she was into the idea of a break she couldn’t get around having time away in the middle of the festival season. I was then contacted by another friend who was able to squeeze the dates in… It was on ! I was crawling out from under my stone and attempting to use the place as it was intended (or as I at least had intended).

The plan was to go for the Fiesta (weekend before last in August). I had heard that Cortes gets really busy during fiesta and the population swells to around four times it’s usual amount which by my reckoning would mean there was likely to be 30 or 40 people on the street at any given time of day or night.

We flew out from Exeter to Alicante which was novel as I had always flown from Bristol in the past. Driving to the cave was interesting as I was with somebody else and therefore I almost certainly spent too much time explaining that it was going to be fun even though it wasn’t by the sea etc etc. On arrival I was greeted by the barbecue that had been made from the remains of the old kennels. I love the barbecue, it was one of the silly ideas I had about having my own bar with a pizza oven and then got embarrassed about thinking it was a typical British thing…. a bar with spirits and a couple of lager pumps, a tv with sky sports on 24/7, a place for fat red people with their skin falling off to congregate and a place where I could be the landlord…… fortunately Clive had excelled my expectations tenfold.

On entering the cave it turned out that Clive hadn’t stopped at the barbecue but had also removed the ugly shelving in the shower room and replaced some parts with wood giving it a lot more of an organic feel (I was Very Happy).  I sorted everyone out with their rooms and set about drinking a nice cold lager before we headed off to the fiesta. The fiesta was very busy, there was people everywhere and of all ages. I love the fact that families spend time together in Europe much more than they do here, Babies, Toddlers, Teenagers, Parents & Grandparents all enjoying each others company and not being embarrassed by each others behaviours. I imagine it’s down to having a little more respect for each other ?

I also got the jacuzzi (it arrived on the previous trip) fired up and that was a rather odd experience because I had imagined spending family holidays splashing about in it.

This was to be the first holiday ever and the last holiday for about a year, during this period  there was a lounge collapse disaster and I found love again <3

I apologise for the rubbish fiesta photos below…..

Delivering Furniture Pt. 2

We unloaded the second van full of furniture and scattered it around the yard so we could figure out where it was all going, the puppy spent all his time hiding in, under and amongst everything he could find from rugs to boxes to his final spot in the bottom of the cooker. By the end of the day most of the furniture had found it’s home and I set about hooking up the stereo (which was more important than eating). I heard the guy from next door arrive home so I took the puppy back again but this time he was trying to tell me I could keep it as I desperately tried to explain that I was going home in two days time and certainly couldn’t take a puppy with me…… I dread to think what happened to that dog but like to imagine he lives happily somewhere.

So after a long day moving furniture we set off to get some food and a few cervezas from Bar Jairo happy in the knowledge that it was all coming together nicely.

The following day we met up with Clive and planned out some other jobs, the first one being how to get rid of the pile of bricks that used to be the kennels. Clive suggested that if we wanted anything building then it would make sense to keep hold of them but all we could think of that wanted actually building was a barbecue. Then I got carried away with the idea and thought I’d like some kind of a bar. Not a typical Brits bar with with a Union Jack, a fridge full of Carling and a TV with Sky sports on but an outdoor cooking area with a counter to eat at. We were so pleased with his work so far that we were more than happy to let him take the reins and come up with something.

On the final day we popped over to Baza to get some more keys cut and  pick up a few bits to leave for next time we were over (never has buying toilet rolls and washing up liquid been so much fun).
The weather turned grey and cloudy in the afternoon adding to the feeling that we were coming to the end of an exciting trip, that evening I loaded up the old gates from the kennels and my tools and we got set for the return journey. I remember feeling sad to be leaving but also really excited about the next visit which would be the first trip for an actual holiday.

First thing in the morning we threw our cases back in the van and headed off in the direction of Santander for 10 hours, this time though we upgraded and got a cabin for the journey back across the Bay of Biscay as we both really fancied some sleep…….. I definitely recommend cabins over reclining seats, not because they are flash but because you aren’t surrounded by loud drunken people.

This was to be the last time we visited Spain together, in the May of 2013 we separated which entailed me losing my home, my job, my wife and that side of my family.
I spent several months not knowing how to continue and I ended up living in my friends spare room for about 8 months (If it wasn’t for a couple of very good friends I don’t know what I would have done). I’m not going to dwell on this or go in to it too much but I realised then that things had obviously not been right for some time……..

The Lounge Finished (wait till you next see it)