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The view from the back

My blog is about our move to Spain, to be exact it's about the intergration of a techno junkie and his lovely wife of 30 yrs into 18th century Spain.

The EU Union
26 March 2015 @ 22:05

Christmas in our new home was more basic then the norm but was non the less very special , the lovely wife and I produced a traditional lunch Turkey and all the trimmings in our make do kitchen all propped up on saw horses. I must confess we gave the Spanish gas oven a swerve and unpacked our new electric oven complete with a thermostat and stood that on a tressel too. 

A couple of days with no builders and no visitors was just what was required, their great guys but absence does not make the heart grow fonder. 
Work continued over the new year now mainly on the out side, as the boss went to the UK to see family he left the guys to build our 1200 block retaining wall in lovely winter sunshine but a biting wind. 
New Year's Eve we thought that we should go to our local bar and try to meet the locals, it was a ticket only event with supper and a live band all for 6€ sounds great . The do was due to start at eight so we arrived at quarter too and got a seat and some drinks the place was already quite busy, now The lovely wife and I are both 50 and were the youngest in the place including the staff. The average must have gone up a year every time the door opened. 
The band were tuning up and doing sound checks etc so they said, what a row , the bar is probably 8m x 8m and they came prepared for Wembley stadium . Their Genre was popular soft rock , moody blues etc fired at an audience more in tune with Fred n Ginger. 
The band tuned for a further 45 mins and then finally they went in to their set With full gusto ! The room settled into their cliques and tried to catch up with the news . The lovely wife and I sat on a table for six alone whilst the other tables seemed crammed ? 
Eventually two senior ladies arrived and asked if they could sit with us, at last neighbours ! Villagers ! New friends ! We exchanged greetings and the usual how long , where etc only to find out that their from the next village along so not even our neighbours really but company non the less.
We sat an hour trying to chat over the band, grasping sentences between songs often the answers went un heard , but all along one of the couple kept showing me her red bra strap, something I was trying hard to ignore .
This went on for a while and I asked the lovely wife if she had see her ? She had , as she had been doing the same to her ! But the band by this point was trying to make my ears bleed with " he's a hero " or something so we decided to bow out and get home before the log burner had gone out ! So we saw the year in with cava and grapes in front of the fire. 
The next day I was recounting our evening my neighbour whilst he was walking his dogs across our almond fields and he couldn't stop laughing as he told of the Spanish tradition of wearing red under wear on New Year's Eve , so not swingers just a nice couple ! 
As for the building works , the bank to the field behind is now secure and the addition is two walls and a door has created a enclosure of about 100m sq that we are now using as a rabbit free veg plot, well for now , but they'll have to dig deep to get under the footings . 
The car port is done and the lovely wife now has hot as well as cold water to her ensuite as the water heater is now in too. The combination of the court yard and car port walls and the existing walls of the patio and workshop now provide a barrier to the floods should we have a repeat of 2012, deflecting the flow towards low ground and the ramblers. 
By all accounts from them who were around at the time we were un touched any way but looking at the scars on the land it was close , very close another 10cm could have been enough for it to eddy back from the rambler and be caught in the front yard , as the house is only 25mm above the patio then we would be getting wet feet. 
Finally the works have progressed to the meat of the project the pool and what a game that has been, the excavation went with out a hitch , the mini digger making light work of the near stone free sandy silt , mmm what's that saying about building on the sands ? 
The next three weeks were spent laying the brick skin and the the spiders web of reinforcing bars and mesh all done in the unpleasant weather we had at the end of January early February . Then the day arrived for the gunite lining , no joke on Friday the 13th .
This job was contracted out , first mistake , to a team of apparently very experienced kosovans , second mistake as no one spoke kosovan and they spoke no English and very little Spanish. However this inter European blend should not be a issue should it ?
They arrived at 8.30 a Half hour after everyone else and started to set up their equipment as time passed and no concrete was on site I asked our builder when it would arrive as he said they would need four 13m3 loads and it was going to be dark at 5 pm, first load is at 10am ! 
At ten the load arrived , the same driver that had brought all our previous loads used to turn the campo grey. He backed up to the pump and the lovely wife and I settled in to watch the show .
One of the team climbed up to look in the drum and shouted to the boss who also climbed for a look , then the driver shouted at them and they got off so he started the pour then stopped as the mix hit the Shute, now I've seen lots of concrete and this looked very dry to me and lumpy the three kosovans and the driver stood around the chute getting more and more animated throwing handfuls of the mix on the ground. My guy was stood back from all this so I shouted to him loud enough for them in Murcia to hear that if there's any doubt about the mix then I don't want it ! Every one looked round as was my intention language barrier or not all knew I was not happy , and that counted for nothing LOL . 
My guy came across and said apparently the gunite boss said that the cement content was low and the driver showed his load cert saying it was as ordered at 400 kg / m3 I express my view that it's dry , too dry to pump and he said that the driver thought that their pump was weak so they wanted a rich mix to ease the way . It was agreed he would return to have an extra 50kg / m3 added . On his return at 11 am his ticket now showed 550 kg / m3 it was as grey as a Welsh slate and surprisingly a lot wetter .
It was always understood that when they start they have to finish to create a one piece skin and it was 11am and not a jot done. As the concrete flowed the shape of the pool emerged up to the point when the first load was gone and all stopped whilst the driver went for a reload ? One driver ? So he returned with a mix after allowing everyone a 45 min rest in the sun, second load in now we're moving although this seems wetter then the first lot ? , mmm sagging issues , never mind scrape it off and have another go the base needs doing anyway. 
Then the second load is gone and we have two walls done ish, what do you mean he'll be back at 4 pm , siesta mid pour your kidding ! No he's gone and the kosovans were under the olive tree having a nap , less than half done and it still go's dark at five Arr . 
The third load arrived bang on 4 pm and they dragged themselves out from under the trees and back at it, I had always thought that it must be hard going back to work after a long afternoon off and it looked it . This load was now so wet is would hardly hold to the mesh and heated words were being passed around as the light started to fade , by 9 pm and under van head lights the job as done and to give credit where due it turned out alright , thanks mainly to a young lad and a big trowel who followed a spot light beam troweling up until the sows ear was some what purse like. 
After all of that every one needed a rest so we had no builders for a week as the gunite set . We have a ... Concrete box in the garden. Next came the terrace walls and after a great debate and increased funding curtesy of the Greeks and the exchange rate boost we have made the terrace slightly bigger to keep the walls in Line with the patio and agreed to have the lot paved to unify the two areas , the right choice but the area is now 250m2. 
The tiles for the pool were always going to be the usual pale blue mix, as seen on nearly all pools but it was suggested that we view a local pool that was done in a dark blue all over , I know that's what I thought but they look really good especially with white accent lines on the steps and a white motif boarder on the water line so that was it if it's good copy it ! 
So there we are just about upto date , the walls are being blanco'd the tiler is doing the floors, and we have a few kitchen units in. 
Til later .   

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