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Arguing about all sorts: the third year of our Spanish adventure

This account of our life in Spain is loosely based on true events although names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals. I have tried to recreate events, locales and conversations from my memories and from my diaries of the time. I may have also changed identifying characteristics and details of individuals such as appearance, nationality or occupations and characters are often an amalgam of different people that I met.

Concluding the third year of our Spanish adventure.
07 September 2014

As usual then it was a mad race to get all our affairs in Spain organised before beginning the long road journey back to Wales. We had to arrive by the 30th of June as this was when we had loads of appointments and issues to resolve when students moved out of our rental houses and new ones moved in on the 1st of July. And because the children played up so much in the car when we drove long distance, we always broke up the journey a lot and made a holiday of it. 
We would drive to somewhere near Madrid or Valencia and stay in a hostel. Then it would be up to the border of Spain and France and another overnight stay. After the third day of driving we would stop for a few days in France on a camp site and have a mini-holiday. Then it was another day up through France and another two or three night stay and finally the home trek via the ferry from Caen or St Malo. 
We were of course worried that the casa wouldn't be finished in time for the tourists, just as we'd been worried two years earlier that the cortijo summer rentals would go awry. We'd soon find out when we started getting the first bit of feedback. 
There always seemed to be something to worry about. I found life such a struggle. Maybe my feelings were justified. I'd moved country with two small children and I'd experienced a series of disappointments in my new setting - including dealing with liars, cheats, thieves and flakes.
It did at least seem now, though, at the end of my third year, as though things were looking up. The house was nearly finished and was let out for the summer, so there would now be money coming into the bank account for a change and I'd no longer have to devote my days to liaising with builders and buying materials. My father had died only six months earlier as well and I'd handled it pretty well - no nervous breakdown. As for the children; they had friends in their new village school and they were both top of their classes. The business in the UK was ticking over - thriving even with property prices forever on the increase (although we often faced a lot of stress with tenants from hell). Surely we were over the worst and could now relax?


Postscript:
You may now have to wait some time until I prepare the next episode of our Spanish 'adventure' for my adoring public. Frankly, I've got to be in the mood to revisit some of this crap. It's even more tricky now that I'm facing another crisis (which I won't be telling you about; it's bloody astonishing sometimes what life can throw at you).
I'm also trying to think positively - which dwelling on a difficult past isn't that conducive to. Who knows? I may abandon this story altogether. I've often questioned the point in writing and publishing books. Sometimes hardly anyone reads them  and even if millions read them, who cares? Those millions of people don't matter to me. Only a few people really matter to me. What is all this searching for public recognition and validation? We writers are as desperate as celebrities to be popular, have people praise us etc. To care so much what strangers think... 
And what is their praise? A puff of smoke. Gone in a flash. What's the point of anything in fact? 
I shall end with some of my favourite lines from Shakespeare for you to savour on this September afternoon on which as you can see I'm feeling thoroughly depressed:


Macbeth:
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Macbeth Act 5, scene 5, 19–28

 

To see our current properties for rent take a look at the following. There is plenty of availability from September onwards at DISCOUNTED rates: 

http://www.homeaway.co.uk/p86636

And also another of our completed projects:

http://www.homeaway.co.uk/p475271

 



Like 0        Published at 15:35   Comments (5)


Ways we could have come a cropper.
07 September 2014

A while after the casa was finished, I was reading in the newspaper about an empresario who was imprisoned for a year because a Romanian man working for him had fallen two metres from scaffolding.  The case took six years to get to court.  Apparently, the Spaniard bribed the Romanian to say that he had not been working for him and he paid his hospital bill of 3,000 euros (the man had to have five operations on his foot).  The socalled entrepreneur received a year in prison and a fine of 3,600 euros for crimes against the rights of workers, ‘lesiones imprudentes’ (injuries as a result of negligence) and bribery.  
A similar fate could have befallen thousands of people all over Spain who had work done on their houses; it could have happened just if a person had an accident when replacing a missing roof tile, for instance.  I used to watch Benji and the others up on the roof, not taking any safety precautions.
'Benjamin! Shouldn't you be wearing a harness?' I'd call.
'No! No es necesario!' he'd call back.
As it turned out, had any of them had had an accident, we could have ended up in jail. Thankfully, I was blissfully unaware of this (and of course we would have been more than happy to pay for harnesses).  
Benji was also completely set up as a builder with all the equipment, cement mixers, scaffolding, tools and so on, so I thought: how come he'd get off scot-free like we were exploiting him and we'd have to pay him a stack of compensation and land in jail? We were just employing a builder to build our house.  
One good thing about reading all of these stories in the local paper, Ideal, was that we were often so relieved that we hadn’t ended up in the same position as some unfortunates (and I count the empresario among these).  

To see our current properties for rent take a look at the following. There is plenty of availability from September onwards at DISCOUNTED rates: 

http://www.homeaway.co.uk/p86636

And also another of our completed projects:

http://www.homeaway.co.uk/p475271

 



Like 0        Published at 14:51   Comments (0)


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