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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.

Gaping at my naked body.
07 July 2014 @ 16:46

Back at the cortijo, the neighbour above us, Marino, was getting tedious (we used to spend some weekends up there, to keep an eye on the place). He kept going on about a great piece of land he had for sale and I’d say, ‘No, the only bit that interests me is this bit,' and I'd point to the terrace of avocados overlooking our pool.  We finally gave in and followed his van up into the sticks. 
This piece of land he'd been convinced we'd want to snap up was tiny. And to get to it you had to scramble across a narrow ridge, holding onto someone else's boundary fence to avoid falling into the abyss. I couldn’t believe he was showing it with a straight face. In order to use it you'd have to build a bridge. 
When we pointed this out, he said:
'Mira, that's not such a big job. You just build a support here and another there,' and he started talking gibberish.
'If it's that easy,' Adrian replied. 'You do it.'
We had got into hiring big diggers, re-sculpting land, knocking entire top terraces off land and so on in Spain but I drew the line at learning how to build expensive bridges in order to get to crap pieces of land in the middle of nowhere. 
'What would anyone do with such a small piece of land anyway?' Adrian asked.
'Build a cortijo. It's a great piece of land,' Marino argued.
He thought we were as thick as he looked. 
One thing he wasn't though, was thick. How could he be when the logic always worked in his favour? 
You make a mistake when you think these peasant-types with their scruffy clothes and old berets are thick or simple.  Two hundred years before our stay in Spain George Sand had written, referring to the 'peasants' in Mallorca: 
‘They do not lack shrewdness, however foolish they seem from their appearance.’ 
That about summed Marino up. He had land all over the place - presumably the spoils of his time as Mayor in the 70s. The local mayors always ended up very wealthy after a spell in office, despite receiving only a small salary (strange, that).
But for the first two years we owned the cortijo, we couldn't have a falling-out with him and were forced to humour him. This was because our cortijo was built on land that had formerly belonged to his wife, but which he had swapped for his lower terrace of avocados that overlooked our pool. The arrangement had been informal and there was only one flimsy piece of paper proving the swap had taken place. We were now aiming to get a proper legal document signed in order to improve our legal position if we chose to sell. We had asked him many times to get his wife to sign, but they always had some excuse. This game of cat and mouse went on for 18 months.
So we had to be as Machiavellian as him, talking politely to him and regularly visiting his wife with the children in the nearby village where they lived. We did this until finally we got the requisite signature and photocopy of her NIE. It took several visits because – if he wasn’t there, she would say: 'I can’t sign anything without him being here.' 
We succeeded in the end by catching them both in at the same time and getting an elderly  Spanish friend of ours whose sister was related to Marino's wife by marriage to accompany us. 
'She'll do it, if I'm there!' the neighbour said, after we'd explained the trouble we were having.
It worked and the wife at last signed and handed us a copy of her ID.
And what a relief it was to finally be able to treat Marino with the contempt he deserved. 
A month or so after this, one night at about 1am Adrian woke up and thought he could hear water running outside the cortijo. He went out only to see Marino had twisted our big irrigation pipe again (which was now cracking where he'd bent it) so that it just about got to his lower terrace of avocados. He was stealing our water. 
'That's it!' Adrian was fuming. He pulled on his trousers, grabbed a torch and marched over to where he could see the scrawny figure in the darkness. Marino saw him but just carried on, holding our pipe with the water gushing onto his land.
'You've broken our pipe, you cabron!' he said and he grabbed the pipe out of his hands. He then caught Marino with both hands on his collar and said:
'Don't you ever do that again. Use your own water and don't touch our things!'
By the time he got back into the house, Adrian was shaking. He was never violent, but he'd finally cracked.
'I'll kill that f*cking weasel the next time I catch sight of him on our land!'
Oh, I forgot to mention he was a pervy Peeping Tom. One night I'd been in the shower in the cortijo. The bathroom was located to the side and back of the house with a window overlooking our vegetable patch. It was completely private and no-one could see inside unless they were standing on our land a metre from the window, staring in. As it was eleven o' clock at night, this was highly unlikely. 
As I got out of the shower that night, however, completely starkers, I had a strange feeling; as though there had been a slight change in the quality of the light outside; as though there had been the slightest of movements. 
'Adrian!' I called. 'Can you check outside? I've got a funny feeling someone could be there.'
'Okay,' he said and walked out onto the dark patio.
There was Marino, having just clambered down from his terrace and crossed our vegetable patch!
'What are you doing?' Adrian asked, shocked.
'Nada,' he answered and, mumbling something, scuttled off to his van and drove off.
'Oh, shit,' I said when I realised he'd seen me. I felt sick at the thought of the old perve gaping at my naked body.

To see the end result of all the work on our 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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27 Comments


1forchill said:
12 July 2014 @ 09:54

seems you really are unlucky with all your neighbours ...


eggcup said:
12 July 2014 @ 10:34

Hey, what do the three full stops mean? You're blaming me with those little dots, aren't you?
As I said in the title of my previous post - if you have maybe 6 or 7 fairly immediate neighbours in Spain (I'm not saying it wouldn't be the case in the UK - I haven't thought about it, which suggests it hasn't be the case for me), then at least one will be no good.


Gabian said:
12 July 2014 @ 10:36

I think it's something in the air 1forchill. Mind you, I must admit that I do like to look at the odd naked lady now and then......


Gabian said:
12 July 2014 @ 10:40

In my village here in Extremadura there are 2,600 residents, all of which I can say are very, very good. Extremely friendly and very polite, generous and welcoming.

I can honestly say that I could knock at any door any time of day or night and be received with a great big smile.

But that's my village......


eggcup said:
12 July 2014 @ 16:12

Lucky you. Or should I say, what a genius for finding the only village in the whole of the world where there are no bad people. You should get the press in as this is truly a story with international significance.


Gabian said:
12 July 2014 @ 19:15

Have you got any positive things to say eggcup.

Bah humbug...... maybe you should go back to the UK where all the people with your attitude live......

I love my life here in Extremadura and I would never ever change it for the world. It is very basic and simple, non taxing and very, very peaceful.

This is why I came to Spain, not for the hassle that you have created in your environment......

People and friends always visit me continually throughout the year although the nearest airport is four hours away.

Why, because they love me, they love my village and they love my people. They can relax, I charge them nothing and they have a great time.

I don't know why you are so verbally aggressive to the human race. People are people and I know I have said this to you before but you seriously need to chill.

Your problem is that you haven't spent enough time in Extremadura......


Gabian said:
12 July 2014 @ 21:02

You also mention that I should 'get the press in'. Why on earth would I want those vultures invading my peace.

That's your game not mine......


eggcup said:
12 July 2014 @ 23:36

Uh, Gabian, I came back to the UK a long time ago - you don't seem to be able to take it in when I repeatedly point out this is an HISTORICAL ACCOUNT. I am so relieved I came back when I did as well, as I am well out of that corrupt country.
As a landlord in the UK I have just taken on yet another young Spanish tenant today who has escaped a country they are bitterly disillusioned with. You must be living in cloud cuckoo land to see the country as you do. Either that or you have no empathy for the suffering of the people whom you claim to love so much.
And my comment about the press was ironic. Don't take everything so literally.


Gabian said:
13 July 2014 @ 11:15

No eggcup as an author you should get your written script correct. You said "I came back to the UK a long time ago", you didn't come back to the UK, you 'WENT' back to the UK Mrs author. 'Came' is to be here and 'went' is to be or go there. I just thought I'd educate you a little so that you don't mess up your next book......

This 'historical account' you keep mentioning was only brought up by you a few months ago so don't give me that bull......

I also have been and still am a landlord of a few properties back in the UK so it's no big thing......

You mention that the comment about the press was ironic, does that mean that I can't retaliate you idiot......

Get a life and start treating people, yes all people with respect and stop thinking everyone owes you. You are nothing, just like me......


eggcup said:
13 July 2014 @ 14:05

Don't start. I said 'came back' because I live in the UK clever clogs and am writing from the UK. I don't need your 'miscorrections.'
And my, for such a nice guy who gets on with everyone you haven't half got a tongue on you and some quite serious anger issues. Fancy calling me an 'idiot' and 'nothing'. How easy to throw insults at women when you can hide behind your anonymity. You wouldn't say those words to my face.
I also don't know where you get the ridiculous idea that I think everyone owes me. How bizarre.
The main thing here is that I write something people like to read. You can just about manage a nasty comment, but could never write a blog yourself.
Those of us who manage to entertain through our writing don't go on other people's blogs and criticise the writing, because that is a cop-out and an extremely simple thing to do. You don't seem to realise that we do this gratis and you should respect that and not slag us off when we're writing something original and honest. And you were downright dishonest to state that 2,600 people in your village were nice. There's not a village on earth where that would be the case. And since you can't be honest and you're rude, I suggest that you refrain from commenting and get on with some original thoughts of your own - delve into your mind and think if you can come up with an interesting story to regale us with - but make sure you're not negative in any way, as that wouldn't be nice, would it? And even if you're positive, I'm sure you won't mind at all if people you don't know come on-line to tell you they thought it was boring, badly-written etc., because you seem to think it is some God-given right to come on here and have a go.



Gabian said:
13 July 2014 @ 20:10

Well if you read your blog you did actually say you 'came back' to the UK and 'came back' to Spain in the same paragraph. How is that possible......

It's a little confusing to us non authors......

So anyway, why are you winging about the UK so much yet you live there. You're just like the rest of the parasites that complain yet don't act. Whoah is me......

Regarding the idiot bit, I was very selective in my language yet thought it appropriate on this particular occasion. I can really tell that you hate men by the way you try to stand in front of the one species that I really, really adore and nurture with flowers on a daily basis.

You don't understand how much I love women, they are much better than men in most roles. It is just that you are a very poor example of one.

By the way, it would not be a problem to me at all to say these issues in front of your face at all Mrs and with your hero Adrian by your side so please let's not go down that route. Shall we say, that is not the most sensible way for you, and you only to build up an unnecessary situation between us......

You really don't want that......

I have this ridiculous attitude whereby I act on anger and it doesn't matter what is in my way I will break down the barriers. Please be as kind as I am to you and then we can get on as hateful friends......

It's up to you......

I wish you all the very best...... Gabian


eggcup said:
13 July 2014 @ 20:18

What was all that? I honestly don't know what you're on about.


Gabian said:
13 July 2014 @ 20:29

Thank you very much for your professional advice on how to write a blog, is that free or do you want paying for it......

The 2,600 people in my village genuinely are lovely. If you love visiting Extremadura as much as you say then you are welcome to pop down here so that I can prove it to you.

It's not a battle, it's not a game. it's real life. Everybody here lives in peace and harmony. That's what I want and that's what I've got......

I'm sorry if you never experienced it......


Gabian said:
13 July 2014 @ 20:52

eggcup, I am sorry for what I have said. I mean it but I am still sorry.

I have a gorgeous sunset here in Extremadura this evening and there is nothing better than spending the night on the balcony off the bedroom.

Why on earth would you want to go back to the UK when this is available free of charge......

I have the south facing terrace for my morning coffee and this one when the sun goes down in the evening......

I wish I could download some photos......

You are in the wrong place......


eggcup said:
14 July 2014 @ 19:09

I refer you to my latest post: 'Don't get walked over in Spain.'


shanksey said:
14 July 2014 @ 22:45

Phew thank goodness that has now come to a conclusion. Gabian your village sounds wonderful and I believe that you get back what you give out so you must be a nice person. Continue to enjoy it.



eggcup said:
14 July 2014 @ 23:57

Yes, shanksey, he's very nice. You can tell that from the charming way he has written his thoughts. A considerate, erudite and non-sexist man; every woman's dream. I assume you are cut from the same cloth.



1forchill said:
15 July 2014 @ 03:26

well now , just got the latest pix from neighbours (seems they ganged up local and invited friends too)
Hot stuff it is in the hood .
BROMA you really think neighbours peek at your NAKED body ....

Do em a favour , put that I Lov Spain t shirt back on and phantasize back in your wherever studio safely back at home

Pretty sure no harm will come to you , maybe some good on the hop ...


eggcup said:
15 July 2014 @ 10:48

Was that English?


Gabian said:
15 July 2014 @ 13:25

Thanks very much Shanksey but I'd better be careful as to the words I use on eggcups blogg, she does like to twist them around a little.

It is true what I say about my village and you are right in what you say. I make a point of greeting everyone that I pass in the street with a smile and a 'buenas dias/tardes etc,. I have done that from day one and will continue.

It really is a wonderful place to live and thank you once again for your kind words......

P.S. I understand what you are saying 1forchill......


eggcup said:
15 July 2014 @ 14:01

Well if you understood what he was saying, maybe you could translate for the rest of us.
I got the bit where he suggests I imagined it all. That would work if it wasn't for the fact that my husband caught him in the act. My husband's word would count, wouldn't it, because he's a man? Are you all Islamic by chance; do you believe in Sharia law? I ask because you seem to believe a woman's word counts for less than that of a man's? Why would I want to imagine a pervy old git was looking at my naked body, when I was in my 30s at the time? I'd be much more likely to fantasise about a nice fit young man. I think you're a rather strange bunch of men.



Gabian said:
15 July 2014 @ 14:46

So that has ticked off all of the Muslims that did want to stay at your holiday properties this summer.

Anybody else besides rich Spanish people, scruffy Spanish people or us poor defenseless men that you want to ostracize yourself from.

I don't suppose it helps your business too much if you also mention, Quote "I am well out of that corrupt country." Unquote...... still, I'm just an outsider looking in......

I'm sure you are doing your holiday promotions the world of good. Keep up the good work.

We are both landlords with properties in the UK. I think I know who I would rather have as my landlord......

Anyway, how come it's okay for you to be able to 'fantasise about a nice fit young man.', yet if a bloke wants to look at a naked lady in the shower he's a 'pervy old git'...... do you see what I mean......

Have a nice day......


eggcup said:
17 July 2014 @ 10:00

I wasn't going to answer this comment, but I'm bored so I will.
1. We've only had one family of Muslims staying at one of our houses, as far as I know - a French Muslim family, who cheated us out of the third week's rental and left the house really dirty. It's not really an area many Muslims think of going to moreover, so I'm not worried about the impact on rentals of my comment about Islam and Sharia law. If you read my blogs regularly you'll see that I don't like any religions - I've yet to find one that isn't sexist.
2. I don't know why you describe yourself as poor and defenceless. I thought you were some tough army guy?
3. Anyone with a brain knows Spain is extremely corrupt, as are many other countries popular with tourists. It doesn't stop people going on holiday there. As you know, I'm going on holiday to Extremadura this year and have been to stay in our houses in Andalucia. These places are great for a holiday and some people find them to great places to live. Personally, I could never live in Spain again or other similarly corrupt countries.
4. For your information, I am a very nice landlord - we get on great with our good tenants. In my landlord blog I wrote about the tenants from hell and gave hundreds of free tips to help other landlords avoid the mistakes we made. That's a service. It doesn't make me a bad person. How you can imply you would be a better landlord, I don't know. I find your manner really objectionable and on the limited information I have about the way you communicate and the way you view women, I don't think I'd like you as my landlord.
5. I didn't say I fantasised about young men; I said that as a woman in my 30s that would have been more likely than fantasising about a pervy old git. You make a dangerous point when you equate a woman possibly fantasising about a man with a real man trespassing on someone's land and going up to the bathroom window and staring in at a woman coming out of the shower. That wasn't a fantasy; it was an actual event and I think they've criminalised voyeurism in the UK now, as it can be closely related to actual sexual assaults on women. You should be careful about what you say. Are you condoning behaviour that may lead to actual assaults on women? (you, who 'love women' so much)?


Gabian said:
17 July 2014 @ 14:12

I will take each of your five paragraphs one by one. Maybe then if you put my statement against yours you should be able to understand what I am saying a little better and not totally take it out of context and twist it around in your favour......

1. I will not comment on your experience with religions as it is not my right to do so.

2. My statement about 'poor and defenseless'. I also never said I was a tough army guy, I merely stated that I was in the army...... Do you see what I mean about taking things out of context and twisting them around in your favour. I think it's your fantasies working overtime again......

3. I obviously don't have a brain because I have not seen or heard of any corruption in my area. Since I have been here the Government has funded millions of euros in my village alone including new roads, cultural centre, municipal swimming pool, old peoples home, medical centre, cinema and even a helcopter pad to say but a few...... If that is corruption then bring it on. At least I can see where my taxes go in this country......

4. Landlords...... you or me...... I'll let the people be the judge of that......

5. If I was to trespass into someones property and look in their bathroom window whilst a woman was bathing then I agree, I would be a perv...... However, and this is once again where you twist my words, If I was sitting in my garden by the pool and a nice looking woman came into my garden, took off all of her clothes and started bathing in my shower beside the pool, would I look away??? NO...... What full blooded male would...... If you think that is perverse then so be it......

Don't you make dangerous statements about me having to be careful in what I say when you are the one twisting my words around in your favour......

You really are a piece of work aren't you......


eggcup said:
17 July 2014 @ 14:42

I've had your type on here before. You have to have the last word even if you haven't got anything intelligent to say. As I've said before, write your own blog. String together your insulting and conflictual comments into your own post and see what people think of it, since you seem to think you have something to say. The subject matter looks like it would generally concern:
1. How great my area is and how dare anyone criticise my adopted country.
2. I like to lech after women.
3. I like to insult other women who don't toe my line and who dare to speak honestly and have a different view to mine.
4. I think I'm a great landlord and altogether great guy (if I say so myself).
5. I won't talk about subjects like religion because I'm too scared at others' reactions.


Gabian said:
17 July 2014 @ 15:24

You just don't like people telling you the truth do you......

Maybe all those around you are too scared of you and that is why you live in your little obscure dream world where everyone says 'yes eggcup, no eggcup, three bags full eggcup.'

Don't come to Extremadura for your holiday. You are not welcome......


eggcup said:
17 July 2014 @ 15:38

Yet more narcissism. You think you own Extremadura and can decide who is welcome and who isn't. You even referred in an earlier comment to its inhabitants as 'my people.' What are you? Self-proclaimed King of Extremadura?
And for your information, we're going somewhere where the owners of the property love us and where we have made some great Spanish friends. We won't be bothering with expats as there aren't any where we're going.
Also, you wouldn't know 'the truth' if it bit you on the nose. You're only interested in presenting yourself and your life in a favourable light. That kind of superficial obsession with how others view you bears no relation to any 'truth' on this planet.
(come on: carry on - post another facile comment - I know you have to have the last word, even though it's my blog).


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