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Time to move to Spain

Medically retired at short notice our plans to move to Spain are brought forward by a few years. With little time to spare, this is our story.

Moving House
03 June 2016

Moving House


Its been nearly three months since I last contributed a piece for this blog. its been very hectic, but theres absolutely been no excuse for not having half an hour spare to write. We haven't gone back to the UK to live, we haven't given up on our Spanish dream, we are very much still here. 


That said, we have been occupying our time with looking for and moving in to a new house. While we are not ones to make a knee jerk change of plan over anything, and I'm certainly one for procrastinating when it comes to decision making, we had a change of heart over our plans. The trigger for this change of heart came from some of the replies to one of my previous articles, dated 5th February. We rented our house in the UK out short term in order to see if we wanted to live in Spain after all. the family who rented our house said they would like to buy in January. They wouldn't or couldn't buy and left shortly after making that decision. We had put the house on the market and had some viewings, none of which were positive. The reason for the negative viewings will become evident further on in this article. Maybe we were naive or just stupid but we requested accompanied viewings and to be arranged at the convenience of the tenants and thats where the ‘fun’ begins. More of that later…


The big decision of course was where would we move to live? We had the apartment until 31st May but most available properties were only available for the summer season on a short term let basis. For those who don't know, you can ask the same price for a week in the summer as you can for a month outside that period. The longer term property rentals we were told were only available at the time (February/March) and were being let as soon as they were on the market. In fact many estate agents had waiting lists. We could either take a chance and wait until May and risk being left either homeless or paying a high rent for the summer or find one asap which would mean paying rent on two properties. 


It quickly became apparent when we first came to Torrevieja that the vast majority of houses and villas were away from the coast. Looking into this further I discover that Spain has one of the highest percentages in Europe of residents who live in apartments. We loved being 50 metres from the beach but to get a villa near the beach would have cost a fortune and although we didn't completely rule it out, didn't want another apartment. There followed a series of viewings of properties further away from the coast. Outside space being the number one priority for us, sadly, most were either too far away from civilisation for us or with little outside space. Then out of the blue came the villa we are now living in. Although reluctant to view, as it was right at the top of our price range, Sue immediately said “we’re having it”. I did my usual “we can’t afford it” routine but Sue had made ‘our’ minds up for us. A large swimming pool, lots of outside space and plenty of room for the family, especially dad, were the biggest factors. That afternoon we signed away our next 11 months.  


We flew back to the UK in March, which was pre planned. I had become a Grandad to Oscar earlier in the month and the plan was to see him for the first time. Just prior to our return following a lot of research we took the house off the market and planned to rent to tenants. The estate agent called us to say the house was (to put it mildly) unfit for viewing. I wont go into too much detail on this other than to say it was a surprise to us both and we had a lot of work ahead of us at no little cost. Five days were spent getting the house back to reasonable condition and what was once a furnished house, quickly became unfurnished. 


Theres very little we miss about the UK, family of course but we also took advantage while we were over there to go and see both Frankie Boyle and Dynamo. We love a good comedy show and were fairly regular visitors to he Comedy Store in Manchester as well as Hot Water comedy club in Liverpool. We divided our time between our house near Wigan, my sister in Preston (Where we found you cant get takeaway fish and chips on a Sunday evening in the town centre, much to our disappointment) and Manchester (Dynamo) before we returned to Spain.


Returning to Torrevieja in the early hours of 5th April and moving house the same morning was not one of our better plans but we wanted it all done and out of the way. It actually turned out to be fairly straightforward, all things considered. We had Sues son Reece to help us and the pleasure I felt when I got all the numerous boxes, cases and my bike down the 5 flights of stairs for the last time that morning was immense. Sue went ahead to meet our internet service provider while Reece and I did the heavy work. We had hired a ‘man with a van’ for 70 Euros who arrived a little earlier than planned but we were pretty much ready for him anyway. As a consequence of what had happened to our house in England we were transporting much more from the UK than we had originally planned like furniture and fitness equipment but these were not due for a week or so. 


We only moved about 5 kilometres away from our old apartment and its quite near to and overlooking Laguna Salada de Torrevieja. Theres a lovely view from our balcony and a whole new set of bars and restaurants to discover. The beach is about 3 kilometres away but with the pool maybe we will not miss it as much as we thought. 


Moving to a new house and settling in always takes time and we soon discovered teething troubles. The swimming pool leaked for a start. After some negotiation, the owner got builders in to repair, which took best part of a week and now we have a swimming pool which we honestly haven't much of a clue how to look after. Thankfully the internet is there for advice on the delicate balancing act that are chemicals. Our internet package is not as good as the one we had previously and more expensive to boot. Its gone off for days at a time, sometimes it can be fixed remotely but if it can’t, there appears to be no hurry for technicians to come out to deal with it. As our TV service relies on the internet, its inconvenient to say the least. Happily most things can be fixed without too much trouble.


Two months in, we are very happy here. Its a nice urbanisation, near but not too near to the main roads in and out of the area, nice bars and restaurants and plenty of scope for cycling. We still go back into town for a night out once or twice a month and do miss being so near to the sea, who wouldn’t be? I would have liked market nearby, preferably walking distance. The one we left behind in town sold about 90% clothes and junk and we only went once to twice. We have also started and finished Spanish lessons, participated in local karaoke and visited Benidorm for the first and second time, both of which were ‘interesting’. These will be covered in detail in my next blog. 


Thanks for reading!

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