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Green Lemons are Limes

The adventure that moving and living in Spain has continually been. Tragic events that have turned everything upside down, house moves and running a bar in the Spanish countryside.

The Best Laid Plans
23 May 2019

The Best Laid Plans

 

We arrived home and set about planning our next big adventure, moving to Spain.

We told our families and got our house valued by local estate agents. We wanted to leave before our eldest daughter had to sit her SAT exams, we knew they would put her under even more pressure and not be a positive experience for her. We had just under a year to get everything in place.

My Mum had started to become distant, less and less phone calls, normally we spoke at least every other day and saw each other at least once a week. I brushed it off as she was just getting used to the idea of us moving abroad.

Then Christmas came, a special time, we would always take the girls up to London to see the lights.

 

I met her in the normal place Waterloo station, but to my horror she had two black eyes. I had spoken to her the night before and she had not warned me. She was behaving very out of character. She had tripped and hit her face on the door step with such force that her glasses had given her the terrible bruises.

She promised me that everything was ok, but I had this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.

Things went from bad to worse, her friends were now worried too and my Dad was beside himself. Mum’s speech was strained, her mobility decreasing, the light in her eyes was present less and less.

Her doctor told her she had depression and offered her drugs which she refused. My Dad thought she had had a stroke. I knew it wasn’t depression, but had no clue what it was. After a normal family visit my Dad took me to one side. Mum had a doctors appointment the next morning, could I just turn up pretend not to know about the appointment and go with her.

I drove a little too fast to their house after dropping off the girls at school, knowing if I didn’t she would have left home before I got there. I made it just as she was reversing out of the drive. She was surprised to see me, explained she was going to the doctors, then asked if I wanted to go with her. Mum had always been a brilliant driver but not any more, the five minute drive was terrifying.

As we walked to the surgery I asked her if she thought she was depressed, she said she didn’t know. I went in with her, I didn’t give her a choice, I had my instructions to follow. The doctor asked her question implied she had a problem with alcohol or was depressed at which point I stepped in. Did one glass of wine a week mean a drink problem? No. Did depression normally affect speech and mobility? No, but it could. I explaining that I didn’t think that was the problem and that my dad thought she had had a stroke and wanted her to have a scan.

I was told the waiting list for scan was six months. What about if we went private ? Oh yes, that could be arranged at reception within the week!

The scan was carried out and the results given straight away. On their way to a close friends funeral, my Dad phoned me to break the news that was to change everything. Mum had an inoperable brain tumour. The doctor advised my Dad to go through the NHS now as the treatment would be the same, first a biopsy which would take place the following week.

I only had a few minutes to get my head round the shocking news. Our youngest daughter was in a ballet show at the local theatre. I had to just get on with things, I had volunteed to be one of the parents putting all the girls hair up in tight ballet buns, I could not let everyone down. 

I did not need any time to know that one thing was clear, our Spanish dream would have to wait, no way could I leave my parents now.



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Exploring
19 May 2019

Exploring

 

We spent a week renting a basic apartment in the most beautiful of setting. An old barn made into an apartment, across the court yard was the main house, the original cortijo, with all it’s country charm. We spent time in the swimming pool, exploring the local area, the fresh vegetable market, the main square, the church and the castle. 

We also ventured down to Mojacar. It was unrecognisable as the place of my childhood. It had roads, shops, more than one hotel, it had bars and restaurants, it even had a promenade. In the 1980’s there was nothing really. 

The road to the airport in Almeria had been a single lane, little more than a dirt track hanging to the mountain side. We would sit in the coach looking down at the sheer drop, to the abundance of car remains below. At times it felt that the wheels of the coach were hanging over the edge and that the only reason we did not join the car grave yard was luck.

Now twenty years later it is a two lane proper road, in places you can see where the old road was, how narrow, twisty and close to the edge it used to be.

 

Mojacar village still held onto it’s old fashioned magic even with the all the tourists and the shops that had arrived to cater for them, it was still wonderful and with every step I was transported back to my childhood.

It made me realize how much I wanted to live here in Spain, this trip had proved it, it was like coming home.

We decided we didn’t want to be in Mojacar, it was now too touristy to be our everyday, forever home. A village inland where it was to some degree like going back in time, but with modern luxuries like electric and water (some of the time at least !).

Now all we needed was to work out how we would get jobs without speaking Spanish. As we were weighing up our options, the answers we were looking for appeared. Barry had a friend who had just brought an old mill, locally to where we had been staying, and guess what, he offered Barry a job. He was to run it as an outdoor activity centre, when the building work was finished. In the mean time when planning permission had come through, Barry was to help the builder. It was like all the stars had aligned, we now had a way we could make it happen. Little did we know, what was to come.



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The Decision
18 May 2019

The Decision

 

 

Let’s face it, moving to a different country with two young children in tow is never going to be an easy decision to make. Moving away from family and friend, all the support systems that you have built up around you. But that’s the decision we made. Why? Because we were working hard and getting nowhere. We couldn’t give our girls the attention we wanted to, we were too busy trying to earn the money to pay the bills. Add to that our eldest daughter was struggling at just six years old, the school was telling me that she had learning difficulties. I knew this wasn’t true. She was a very nervous child and just didn’t fit into the very narrow box that the Church of England school she attended put all the kids in. She cried and had to be pulled from me every single day, it was heart breaking. I knew she was being bullied but I didn’t know the extent until later. I had to do something, life had to be more than this. Life should be fun and not full of young children being pressured to be the same as the next child.

After a family holiday in Lanzarote, Barry (my husband) and I started thinking that maybe a different country held the answers for us. Lanzarote was too far from home, with two sets of parents and three Grandparents to consider, it had to be closer.

Main land Spain? Barry had never been, but I had as a Child. Spending three wonderful weeks, three years in a row in Mojacar, on the Almeria coast. I had loved it there, so much so that I cried for the whole journey home. I was normally a well behaved child that didn’t cause a fuss, I just couldn’t help it when leaving here, I felt that I was leaving where I was supposed to be.

Barry had a friend with rooms to rent in Spain and when we looked on the map it was only 60 km from Mojacar, it had to be a positive omen. We decided we would go and check it out.      

The four of us packed a bag as soon as we could and went to see if maybe Spain was for us. 

As we drove through an industrial estate, thinking we were closer than we were in reality to our destination, the doubts began to surface, it was so ugly, did we want to live somewhere like this?

As we continued our journey the landscape changed, gone where the big grey building lining the sides of the road and in their place was the most amazing view of rolling fields and mountain tops. It was breath taking, maybe we could live here, you could never get bored of that scenery.

As we got closer, little villages appeared and disappeared, beautiful farm houses, many in need of a lots of tender loving care, teased us with what may be possible for us. 

Then there it was, a perfectly white washed Spanish village perched on the edge of the hill side. It was at that moment the decision was made to do whatever had to be done to move here.



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Introduction
15 May 2019

My blog is my story from the first moment the idea came into being. The journey between the decision and the reality of moving. The way that life sometimes gets in the way of the best laid plans.

I will share with you the events that lead to a delay in our move.

Moving into a house and paying rent to someone who didn’t own it!

Five more house moves, landlord’s unpaid bills leading to electric being cut off. Landlord stealing our belongings. 

Opening a rural Spanish bar with next to no Spanish.

Bar life, the colourful characters, amazing friends, bands, parties, confirmation and a funeral. The never dull everyday life of a local’s bar. The green eyed monster.Having a stalker. The burglary that closed the bar door for good for us.

The odd jobs that kept food on our table, to the shock and heart break that lend to a move in location and our dream home.

The challenges that come from living in an area with a larger expat community and the fun that also brings.

Living in Spain has not gone how we thought it would, in fact if you had told eleven years ago all that has happen, I would have never believed you. 

I love living in Spain it has been a real adventure. Spain is my home and where I feel at home. 

 



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Why Now ?
15 May 2019

This blog has been a long time coming!

I started writing six years ago, then I stopped. A tragic event in my life, left me no head room to write. Apart from one piece that I am extremely proud of, which was published in the bestselling book ‘365 Life Shifts’.

Then a few months ago I decided to start again, so why didn’t I? 

Well it’s easy, I doubted myself, after re-reading my previous blogs, I saw how badly written they were. I wanted everything perfect this time around. I decided to ask friends to help, then the self-doubt really hit in. Why, because I am not the best writer in the world, my grammar at times is shocking and my spelling not much better. Did I really want to put people I care about in a position where they had to spend hours of their time correcting something I wanted to do, NO!

So although I will still be asking friends to take a quick look, just to ensure it makes sense. I will not be asking them to correct in a big way.

This is my blog, my story, told from my heart.

If you are looking for a perfectly written story, then you best look elsewhere, because this will not be that.

I have had to get to the point where I can shut out voice in my head that’s telling I’m not good enough and just tell my story.

If no-one reads it, then hey ho. One day maybe it will bring back memories for my children and an insight to the person they call Mum. 

I do hope that you stick with me, overlook my errors and enjoy my story.



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