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Only Joe King

A light-hearted look at life in Andalucía and Spain in general. Its good points and its bad. This blog doesn't pull any punches.

FREE at last!
Friday, December 23, 2022 @ 1:14 PM

FREE is Joe King's word of the moment.  He feels he has been set FREE since Covid-19 disrupted his life in 2021. He has written about this on EyeOnSpain.  He has also written about working for free.

In this article he writes about getting stuff for FREE.


FREE at last!

I like the word FREE. In English FREE means something different according to the context:

FREE in the sense of liberated physically, emotionally, spiritually or psychologically, or released from prison.

FREE also means cost-free or unpaid. 

Other languages have two words, eg Spanish 'libre' and 'gratis'; French ​​'libre' and 'gratuit' and German 'frei' and 'umsonst' or 'kostenlos'.

I  imagine FREE meant a lot to the late Nelson Mandela after he was released from imprisonment on Robben Island in 1990 after 27 years of incarceration.

I guess FREE also meant a lot to disgraced former tennis player Boris Becker when he was released from gaol in the UK this week and deported to Germany.

As for me, I became FREE of the stifling nature of conventional behaviour after my brush with the Coronavirus in 2021. You can read about that in 'Rebel With a Cause'

I also believe in the notion of barter and working for nothing. I wrote about that in 'Working for free. Why? Er ... Why not?'

I am also attracted to recycling and upcycling, which I write about below.


Getting Stuff For FREE

It’s amazing what you can get for nothing. You just need to keep your eyes open.

You can get a lot of stuff for nothing in the UK. When I bought my last house there, the vendor left the place pretty much fully furnished. She didn’t want a penny for it all.

The website Gumtree offers lots of free items too. Before I emigrated to Spain I got a very nice leather Chesterfield sofa off that very website, which I gave to my kids when they were first setting up home in London after they graduated. It has since been passed on to others, also free of charge.

My son Tom was given a car by a friend of his mum’s, old yet fully serviceable. He and his wife ran it successfully for a couple of years.

Here in the Serranía de Ronda, there’s free stuff too.

Over the years our good friend Jill has given us a nice jacket, that belonged to her late husband, a TV and an antique jug.

Some years ago, when I was doing up a house in Ronda for my then girlfriend, we were twice given a load of smooth stones for the garden by the builder’s merchant. He couldn’t be bothered to raise an invoice, he said!

Three years ago I took a fancy to an oak bookcase in our local hotel’s reception area, Hotel Palacete de Manara. I started negotiating a price with Álvaro, the owner, but in the end he just gave it to me for nothing!

In the second-hand emporium Mi Altillo in Ronda, I enquired about the price of a rather nice Spanish grammar book that was on sale. Juani, the kind owner, just gave it to me!

Another local hotel, Hotel Ronda Valley, is going to give me three wall lights which match other lights I already have but which are no longer available to buy. I offered to pay for them, but they wouldn’t hear of it!

Our acupuncturist, Doctora Luz Calderón, gives us a free session from time to time. That’s much appreciated by all of us who go, as a session is normally not cheap.

Something I’ve not tried yet is a free hair cut at Peluquería Vicky in Calle Lauría in Ronda. Every evening you can get your hair cut by a trainee for nothing at all. Makes sense to me!


FREE from the tip

You can often get decent free stuff from the basura.

Over the last couple of years, while renovating my old house in Montejaque (Málaga), I've acquired the following from the 'tip': tiles, three framed pictures, a kitchen drawer unit, shelving, sheets of new hardboard, cupboard doors, books and pallets.

The tiles are laid, the pictures are hung and the kitchen unit is refurbished and installed. The shelves are up and the books displayed on them. The hardboard lines the walls of a built-in wardrobe and the cupboard doors have been upcycled. The pallets have been chain-sawed into firewood for the winter. To be sure it burns quickly, but it costs 100€ less than a dumper-load of logs.

I knew an Irishman, Seamus, in Setenil de las Bodegas (Cadiz) who virtually furnished his house with things left at the rubbish skips.  

A month ago I spotted a set of six dining chairs at a basura in Ronda – they just needed a bit of TLC.

Last summer I got a bead curtain for nothing (over 100€ new) and a nice wooden coffee table which I’ve restored. Both were left at the rubbish point near our house.


FREE coffee

And the number of times when I go for my early morning coffee and I go to settle up, somebody has already paid for mine.

Amazing! Who needs money?

I reckon if you really put your mind to it, you could almost live for free.

© Joe King


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