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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.

Can it be good & cheap ?
02 July 2015 @ 23:13

Well if it sounds too good to be true then it usually is, I think that's how the adage goes? Well this was just the case with the granite for our kitchen.

We went with a long standing local business offering traditional hand craftsmanship. As the boss had been to our place and taken all his own measurements and made drawings you would expect the granite to be right or very close when it arrives, wouldn't you?

When he made his measurements all the appliances and sinks had been already been fitted in the MDF so he was able to take the size from the hole that had previously been ok, easy!

Where the tops fit to the wall, the corner is not 90' it's more like 105' to allow for this and a good line on the cupboard fronts the cupboards are at 90' and stand an additional 50 mm from the wall, providing a extra wide top and covering the error. I highlighted this to him so he could make the top's rear edge follow the wall. As for the island it's a rectangle cut it out, edge it and your done.

Well on the big day the boss, aged about 60 arrived with what must be his dad, 80 years old if he's a day and a young lad in his 30's. the tops had been finished in four pieces and were stacked on the back of a truck, now in front of the Cortijo there's a 2m patio of white marble paving then a low wall then the new gravel turn around and parking so I assumed that they would park opposite the kitchen door on the gravel a mere 2m from the door. I was stunned to see them reversing the truck up the patio having moved the pots and chairs just to get 1m closer to the door?  

When they got the tops in the "installation" consisted of putting in place and aligning the joints no fixing or jointing was to be done, the cut outs for the sink etc were all on the large size leaving minimal overlap for fixing or sealant, as for the electrical outlet it dropped through the hole.

The not so square corner was not an issue for this guy as he cut the granite square and said the resulting 25mm gap was the tiler's problem.

The lovely wife was not impressed and they were soon on their way as the ensuing discussion between the lovely wife and I was a good example of why we have no close neighbours by choice as I tried to explain how I could maker it right and she explained why I shouldn't have to!

surface to say that a couple of days later all was level and fixed and the magician who is Juan our tiler sorted the incorrect depth on the sockets and blended the wall to fool the eye and cover the gap behind the granite.

I wasn't quite sure if he knew the guy or not but being from the next village and a similar age he must have, our Spanish is not yet good enough to understand the finer points of the slating he was giving but it covered the lack of beauty in the work and a Mr Goat having a dump, the latter part was acted out as I didn't have a clue what he was trying to tell me. He wanted to call him to pass on our misgivings but I managed to convince him that this was over and above what was required.

I think he was almost as put out as we were, each time he came In the door he would stop look at the island and say in Spanish "no Beautiful".

Now the dust has settled and all is done it looks all we imagined, the painting is finished ( in the kitchen at least ) and the cupboards are starting to fill with items not seen for over two years.

having that to put the granite right then finish the painting pulled our attention away from work on the fly free area for over a week and we are now just getting back to that, the wood framing is now complete around the poles and we have started with the olive netting on the top.

For fixing were using 18mm staples from an air stapler and then a 20mm cover latch with screws on top of the perimeter and each pole so hopefully it will hang on for a few years. As big lad is a big lad the lovely wife has been driving the stapler from a small scaffold tower, this was accessed from a set of steps. Now as anyone who's used this type of kit will be aware that the danger point is the transfer from one to the other.

Needless to say complacency and the heat got the better of the lovely wife and down she came, having toppled the steps whilst stepping across, well the first meat on the BBq was the lovely wife's face. She was so lucky escaping with out a mark on her face just bruising on her arm as she slid down the side of the BBq. I reached out and grabbed at the back of her trousers which due to them being elastic had a slight yoyo effect. Fortunately she's ok and can now see the lighter side of it and has a new found understanding of working at heights.

In true trooper fashion after an afternoon on the settee watching Wimbledon and a dip in the pool she was back up to finish where we left off preventing any wind damage. Another couple of days will see it all enclosed with just the doors to build.

It won't be long now before we can start entertaining the neighbours with more than just hot tempers LOL.








Like 0


Weescottie said:
03 July 2015 @ 11:59

Glad to hear your wife is ok....I did chortle at the yoyo effect though...still giggling now. Love your blogs!

siaux said:
04 July 2015 @ 22:30

You do sound like an expert on building things and I do admire you for it but why not DIY?I would if I knew as much as you.And can you truly live with 'imperfect" results comfortably in future?What about fissures and untimely cracks as things start shifting.(But I hope not).I am sure many admire your knowledge around building.

STEVEE said:
05 July 2015 @ 08:22

Thanks Siaux,

I would agree if you can do it yourself then do so. This has been our way over the years . However my brick work is solid but only just passable and my plastering has found its home in a rustic cortijo LOL

Wood , plumbing , drainage electrical etc etc no problem, the limiting factor is access , both knees are shot and I have a collapsed disc so ladders etc are out these days . But you can learn the theory of the net from manufacturers websites and videos if you have an insight to what you want to do you can judge if your able or supervise someone to get a better finish .

As for cracks this place is over 250 years old we have cracks in most room , just mark the end with a pencil and look in from time to time ! As most of the walls are over 100cm thick were probably ok. Apparently most of ours occurred after the big flood of sept 2012 . Being just 75 m from the rambler the ground probably got very wet below even though the cortijo was dry.

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