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The Travels & Adventures of Flog-It Removals.

Welcome to the Flog-It blog. Here we will post comments and details of our travels hopefully before, during and after we are on the road as well as general observations from while we are just out and about locally.

Party time.
26 November 2008

Isn't it funny how a trip back to the UK always means that you arrive back here with some kind of flu? I don't know why we bother, a couple of days away always means a week off work to recover. Bit of a hectic weekend that was as you can imagine, we partied until the early hours, and what a great “do” it was, thanks for a great party Frank, glad the hernia op went well almost straight afterwards too!!

After finally hitting the sack got woke up again about an hour later by our second youngest having a technicolour yawn, more like a shepherds pie making machine if truth be known, carrots, minced meat, the lot!! All it needed was a mashed potato topping. Then about an hour after finally getting back to bed it was time for the next one up to come back from the local pub where he had been watching some boxing match. Luckily he was sober at least but it still woke us up. So after an awful night it was an early start to hit the shops to do what shopping we could and as we did not rent a car we had to walk in wind, rain, snow, sleet and all the other crap that England could throw at us. Soaked to the skin, frozen to the bone with icicles in our hair it was a far from fun day shopping. One thing I did manage though was to replace Gertrude, she has not been on top form lately so a quick visit to Halfords got us the updated, younger version with the 2009 maps so all that is now needed is for her to be named and then we’ll stick the older version in the car for local use. At the end of the day we had a quick fish and chip supper, then back to base camp to catch up on X-Factor (good old Ruth the Rock-Chick still going strong) and then to bed. 3am and we were rudely awoken by a low battery warning on my phone!! What do we have to do to get some sleep round here? Taxi arrived at 04:30 to get us to EMA ready for the 06:30 Ryanair to Girona and by 10:00 we were home and ready to start work. Well we would have been if not for the lack of sleep and the dreaded lurgy so we went to a posh hotel for a full menu del dia on monogrammed plates, wine included for 10,50 Euro a head (cheaper than the fish & chips in yesterdays newspapers) and then back home again to suffer and die alone. Work? Mañana.

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The week that was..
21 November 2008

Sunday: Early start to Girona airport to drop someone for their flight back to the UK (very frosty at the airport, a little de-icer needed before take-off I think) and then to Lloret for breakfast in the Costa Brava bar. Full English for 3 Euro's, can't complain about that. Then up to Roca Grossa for a few hours gardening at a house that we are now taking over for the winter period as the owners don't get time. Next up to Lloret Blau for some logging, enough wood in the car out of a friends garage to last us for a few days and then back home.
Monday: My birthday. Day off? Like heck... The usual day job followed by pool clean & gardening then in the evening out for a Chinese with friends then home to get stuck into the various malt liquids that always come along at this time of year!!
Tuesday to Friday: The usual day job along with three more pool cleans more gardening and taking the car in for repair on Wednesday.
Tomorrow we leave for England for a birthday party (not mine) and it looks like we picked the coldest weekend of the winter so far to go for it. Oh well, I dare say the rushing around will keep us warm, leave here Saturday morning, party Saturday night, visiting on Sunday and then back here in time for work on Monday after a 3:00am start from England.

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A couple of quick jobs.
18 November 2008

Thursday afternoon and it was time to go and visit the new client who is a friend of ours anyway, and get the low-down on the requirements for the pool and garden. After a brief instruction it was down to work sorting out the garden shed and getting all the junk out and into the van ready to take it all away to the dump. I didn't really have long so picked a couple of the quicker jobs to get sorted today so that I can get stuck in to the bigger things once the owner has gone back to England for a while. At least with a lot of small jobs done she can see something actually happening so the first thing was to fix the electric gate which was just a job of re-aligning the drive wheel with the sprockets on the gate so it would actually move rather than just sit there buzzing. Secondly a quick trim of the hedge alongside the steps up to the house because it was getting very overgrown and the previous gardener obviously didn't worry about brushing past wet branches as he walked up to the house, but the owner does. Yes there is still a lot to do and it will take some time over the winter period, add to the list of things to be done - Fitting a light in the garden shed and then putting up shelves. No problem, all in due course.

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Owners arrive today.
13 November 2008

A few hours a day have been spent since Sunday working up at a house on the hilltop here getting it ready for a brief visit by the owners. After a summer in hibernation, the central heating boiler wouldn't wake up so we had to get an engineer in to kick it and now at last there is some warmth inside. The last guests actually left early because they were cold, if only they had told us instead of leaving a note in the guest book on departure we could have got it fixed. More time has also been spent cleaning the pool, once, twice, and again... These strong winds at the moment are just not good for people who like their pools looking nice through the winter. On top of that there is the mess in the garden to tidy up and two Oak trees that have to come down because they are now deceased. I got the chainsaw out for the first one on Monday and then as I stepped towards the tree, slipped on an oily railway sleeper used as a step, dropping the running chainsaw and falling against the top step which is a rock and giving myself a bruised left bum-cheek. Luckily the chainsaw survived so the job got finished but the other tree can wait until we need a little more wood for the heating in our house. A lot more gardening and a redecorating job needs doing before the next clients arrive at Christmas and hopefully my silicon around the shower basin has worked so we won't get another flooded kitchen this week. It's all go at this time of year isn't it?

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Up on the roof... Epilogue.
11 November 2008

“At last.” I hear you cry. The final instalment. No wind, no rain, (there’s a song lyric if ever I heard one) so up onto the roof after a quick beer (safety first – or should that read safety thirst?) to remove the broken dish from the top of the pole and cut away all the rusty wire that was supposed to be supporting it. Then remove the current small dish from the bottom of the pole and lash the whole support to the chimney with a new giant jubilee clip and a canvass strap at the top where I dare not use anything else. Once all that was done it was just a cash of fixing the new 80cm dish to the pole and using a satellite finder to line her up and Robert is your Mother’s Brother. Job done in under two hours with the best signal quality I have ever seen and I also replaced the broken roof tile. Of course a little socialising followed with a couple of beers and then it was down to the garden to up root a couple of Cypress trees to take with us. Our garden has 17 huge fir trees already within the boundary and a number of Mimosas so us setting another couple of fast growing predators will not make a great deal more difference.
On the way home we had to call in on another friend who wanted a chat about taking on pool and garden through the winter and then tying it in with complete property management ready for next summer’s rental season. So we had a quick discussion over a beer and agreed to talk more over a Chinese next week but in the mean time I start Thursday with a quick clear up. Guess that’ll be another entry here then, but I have more work to do before that.

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Michael Schumacher has left the building.
09 November 2008

Friday afternoon and Michael Schumacher was not at home again. I am beginning to think this is just some cock-and-bull story, either that or he was out bowling with Julio Iglesias who is another reported part-time resident of the area. Anyway, yes you guessed it we are in Platja D’Aro again for a pool clean followed by what I was expecting to be a long job wiring up the internet at the same house. Firstly the pool and yes it was a mess but the shock treatment from the week before had cleared the water so all that was left was to vacuum up the green shag-pile carpet from the bottom. The problem with this was that every slight movement of the vacuum resulted in a cloud of swirling dirt which pretty soon made it impossible to see the bottom again so after the best vac I could give it another load of shock was administered ready for a return tomorrow to see the results.
Now the internet was a much easier challenge. Armed with a plethora of cables and an installation cd I wandered into the office and plugged it all in and, my word, it worked, on line in an instant!! God I’m good!! So I walked out into the living room with a smug look on my face while the computer downloaded nearly 600 emails which was the result of 7 months of being off line. I get that many in a week.
We had free tickets for the bowling so off we went again, funny how in Spain when you get something free it costs you more than it would have done if you’d paid in the first place. Anyway tonight I lost the first game to ‘er indoors and only very narrowly beat the sprog on the other two. The evening did not finish in the successful manner in which it had begun!!

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Life begins at 39.
07 November 2008

Stardate 06/2003, leaving behind a sleepy stockbroker village in Nottingham where I had lived in the same house for 39 years. VW minibus packed to bursting, trailer packed in the same fashion and a roof rack almost doubling the height of the vehicle we set off south in search of the good life. What were we thinking? Work is a doddle sitting at a PC all day long “arranging things”... Fresh air? What’s that? Hard work! Sorry but those are two four-letter words that should not appear in the same sentence.
Why? Because there was this typical Spanish style little house in Lloret de Mar that just begged for some tender loving care. A house with a garden and a sea view. A house with a balcony and with character. A house falling to pieces but perfectly liveable as long as the holes are filled and cracks repaired as you find them. A house you can leave unlocked when you go out in the morning and still find everything where you left it when you got home. Only a rented house, but it was home. Perfect. Thank you Carmen.
What was to follow? Four houses in five years. Seven day working weeks for five years. Working on rooftops in gale force winds and driving rain. Climbing trees with only a chainsaw for company. 7000km round Europe trips driving a van for 10 days at a time, sometimes sleeping in the back in sub-zero temperatures. Having to walk in the woods with an axe in the middle of winter and in the dark to cut wood because we ran out. Central heating? Whats that? And why does the gas bottle always expire when I am in the shower? Blowing the engine in the first van and blaming all the mountains. Having the car crushed by a bloody great dumper truck full of bricks that should not have even been on that road in the first place. Blowing the engine in another car during a house move. So much “Red Tape” that we never actually manage to officially import any vehicle we own. Collecting rocks that weigh more than I do from a railway line so that we can landscape the garden. A hernia. Broken teeth. Digging up a damn great Mimosa tree the hard way (spade & axe) so that we could level the ground for a free-standing pool. Putting clothes away one day and then taking them out again mildew when you need them. Meeting the local English community... “We’ve been ‘ere longer than you and we know what’s best for you so do us a favour and we’ll see you right.” Oh my God if I had forseen all this.
This summer we moved into a typical Spanish style little house near Palafrugell that was just begging for some tender loving care. A house with a garden and a pool, and a small sea view. A house with a balcony and with character. A house not falling to pieces but in need of some work in places to turn it from a holiday home into an all year round home. A house you can leave unlocked when you go out in the morning and still find everything where you left it when you get home at night. Only a rented house, but it is home, and we don’t want to leave. Perfect.
Will we go back to England? No way José. Was it all worth it? God yes, and only another 20 years until we can retire and enjoy it!!

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A friend in need is a......
06 November 2008

Monday night, still raining and under cover of darkness (though not through choice) we found ourselves on a mini garage clearance removing a few items before the builders arrive the next day to demolish the place. The owners asked us if we could take the stuff out and sell it for them... Lol, like it's the Crown Jewels, couple of sofas, chest of drawers, fridge, couple of tellys etc out of a rental flat. Only took about an hour but we had to do it because they are friends of ours and we just stuck the whole lot up on our advertising forum to see what happens. Already sold a sofa though so not all bad, just that storage probably costs more than the rest is worth so oven, fridge and extractor fan are already in the local recycling depot. A friend in need eh? A friend indeed.

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A wet weekend.
04 November 2008

No time really to work this weekend in between the downpours, and what mucky water too!! Already the first phone call for a pool clean has arrived and I duly obliged and added a good helping of shock treatment in the hope that by Wednesday maybe the bottom will become visible again. So after a Sunday of organising the tool shed and re-equipping the mobile workshop with everything that had to be removed to do the previous weekends removal it all got a tad boring, and by sundown it was either bed or... What? Bowling? Okay, why not, off to good old Platja D'Aro yet again (we should move there it would save a fortune in fuel) for a couple of games of skittles... Sorry “Bowling”.... Whilst watching Lewis Hamilton scrape through to his first world championship at the ripe old age of 12, or is it 14? 168, great, my best score ever, so content with wiping the floor with the opposition I became my own world champion and awarded myself an extra beer – No Champagne here like in Brazil – Before a Mexican dinner and then the short hop back home to bed ready for the 6:30am alarm that starts another working week.

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