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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.

'Don't trust the Romanians!'
16 June 2014 @ 21:56

Meanwhile at the cortijo, there was another brick-thief at large. A pile left there following some works just kept getting smaller. Then one day, with his usual drunken red-face and watery-eyes we spotted a scruffy 'weekend neighbour' climbing down towards our land, clearly on his way to nick more. He clocked us and had to think quickly.
‘Hey, amigo, can I take those bricks?’ he asked.
‘No, you can’t,’ Adrian said, ‘we need them ourselves.’ 
‘Fucking cheek,’ Adrian said. ‘He blanks us all the time and then when he wants something, I’m his amigo.’ 
It was the usual codicia/coveting of our goods followed by the stealing of them.
‘Let’s get them into the car straight away,’ Adrian said, 'before laddy gets the chance to take them anyway.' 
Many times we had to go and buy something again, because a neighbour had stolen it, usually from our garden or land.
Then a weird thing started to happen. We'd know we had plenty of water in our alberca, which was sited a 10 minute climb away at the top of the hill, and we'd turn the tap on but nothing would come out. 
'Shit, the water must have run out,' I said the first time it happened. But then when we went down to investigate we found one of the taps on our pipes had been switched off.
This kept happening, so one day when we were up the bar we saw amigo. Adrian went straight up to collar him as he stood with his mates by the serving hatch:
'Hey. Are you the one who's been cutting off our water?'
'Si. It's for my irrigation.' He was too surprised to deny it.
'Well don't do it again! That's our water, not yours.'
We only got that water every 13 days in the summer; if he diverted it onto his land and emptied our alberca  we could end up screwed. We also suspected it had been him who had been going up and closing our metal gate in the acequia and opening his instead - If that happened on the critical day when the water was sent down to us, we could find ourselves with no water for two weeks. We were worried this might happen over the summer when guests could be there. He promised not to do it again.
Another time, sacks of cement disappeared from Simon and Charlotte's house they were building below our cortijo. Our poolman told them that he'd seen amigo on their land, carrying up large sacks. The following week he was cementing his patio. 
Also when our house and pool were being cleaned one Saturday, someone came in broad daylight and took the pool vacuum and net (worth about 100 euros together), which the cleaner had left for a little while by the side of the pool while they cleaned inside the house. This was a weekend when amigo was visiting and our pool could be seen only from his house.
So it was with some irony that I listened to the locals saying the Romanians couldn't be trusted. 
‘Don’t let them see what you’ve got,’ Benjamin would say. 'Don't ever let them into your house. It's okay to talk to them in the street. But keep them away from your things.'
It reminded me of the Peter Mayle book about Provence where he wrote that the French didn't trust the Spanish and Italian cherry-pickers when they came to help with the annual harvest. Well, our friends from the village sometimes went up to do the ‘vendimia’ (wine harvest) in France, so they’d be very insulted to hear that. The French blamed foreigners for causing all the problems. They believed the Germans were responsible for the litter, the Belgians for road accidents, the Swiss and Germans for pushing up property prices and they didn’t like the English constantly complaining about French loos. Mayle reckoned the French themselves were in fact responsible for most of these problems. 
Similarly in our area of Andalucía, the Spanish always blamed foreigners, specifically the Romanians, for all the thieving. Well, sorry, but with the exception of English Denise, all the evidence pointed to the Spanish populace as the perpetrators of the many thefts committed against us. 

To see the end result of all the work on the casa, take a look at the house now: 

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

And also another of our completed projects:

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

 



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2 Comments


casperruby said:
16 June 2014 @ 22:31

Hi
Had to laugh we bought a house in a rural village and thought that we would get a log burner for the winter so this last winter we were over in November and had a roaring fire going with a pile of logs left by the previous owners we went back in January all tge nloody logs were gone. I think there argument was we gought the house not the log store


eggcup said:
17 June 2014 @ 08:30

Yes, things can get quite petty. I think some Spaniards pride themselves on having built their houses themselves and spent practically nothing - uh, yeah, because they're nicking half the stuff.
On a general note, I'm always interested in the petty things of life - I could write a piece on getting into trouble for gathering some olives that had fallen on the road just outside our gates when we rented in the countryside. Probably worth a penny or two - but these things have meaning to people. And for me I can get a lot more riled about someone owing me the £2.50 for a coffee than I can about hundreds or even thousands of pounds I might be down. And I don't believe I'm any different to anyone else, but some people just won't admit to those natural petty feelings.
Thanks for the comment.


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