All EOS blogs All Spain blogs  Start your own blog Start your own blog 

Puntos de vista - a personal Spain blog

Musings about Spain and Spanish life by Paul Whitelock, hispanophile of 40 years and now resident of Ronda in Andalucía .

The Building History of a 71-year-old DIY Fan
29 August 2021 @ 06:37

A 71 –year-old British man has just completed the total reforma of a village house in the tiny pueblo blanco of Montejaque (Málaga).

Pablo de Ronda, a former languages teacher, school inspector and translator, has been a resident of Montejaque and Ronda since 2008.

But his relationship with the northern part of the Serranía de Ronda began eight years earlier, in 2000, when the Devonian visited Ronda for the first time with his then wife, Jeryl.

We came to Andalucía to celebrate our silver wedding  anniversary. We did a circular tour which incorporated Ronda, Arcos de la Frontera, Jerez, Cádiz, Sevilla, Granada, Córdoba, Antequera and Málaga.

All beautiful places in their different ways, but the place we liked the most was Ronda, and, after viewing umpteen properties over the following 18 months, we bought an apartment in the town in December 2001. We called it Piso Blanco, because it was (ie white) and reflected a part of our surname.

In 2003 we bought an abandoned house just 50 metres from Piso Blanco.

I had learned many DIY skills from my dad, and I had already carried out some major work on our house near Warrington (eg re-wiring, creating an en-suite bathroom, converting a garage into a music room/2nd lounge and even building a tree house for my two children).

With great enthusiasm I took on the task of converting this run-down house in Ronda into something liveable.

Over the course of two years, with the help of my family and friends Alan and Johnny, we created Casa Blanca in the Barrio San Francisco.

A period of turbulence in my life – redundancy, nervous breakdown and divorce all in the same year, 2005, coincided with me renovating a second house in Ronda which belonged to my girlfriend of the time, Maude.

The house was located in the Las Peñas district near the town centre and was named El Rincón, because it was tucked into a corner.

When my relationship with Maude ended, I returned to the UK and went to live with my mum in Thelwall near Warrington.

Out of the blue an old friend from university contacted me to ask for help over the summer of 2008. How could I refuse?

Jac, a Welsh lady, had studied the same languages at university as I had, namely Spanish and German, and we were in every class/lecture together. I had fancied her back then, but my pal Dan was quicker off the mark and indeed the couple married while we were all still undergraduates.

After graduation Jac and Dan moved to Luxembourg to work for the European Commission as translators. They soon had two children and their lives seemed settled. However, Dan was experiencing mental health problems, went off the rails, started taking hard drugs and had several affairs. Sadly, he ended up taking his own life.

Jac decided to stay on in Luxembourg, despite being a young widow with two small children. She left the Commission and developed a new career as a piano teacher.

Fast forward to 2008. Jac had just bought an old house for her daughter Miriam and husband and needed my help to get it into shape.

The deal was that Jac would pay for my flight and give me board and lodging in exchange for my labour. Sounded good to me!

With my mum’s blessing off I flew to Luxembourg for the summer. The renovation project was fun and I was surprised at how much I was able to contribute at the ripe old age of 58!

It turned out to be a great summer. Jac and I even had a short romance, but there was to be no future in it, sadly from my point of view, as 40 years on from our student days I still fancied Jac.

Disappointed, I did not go back to the UK with my tail between my legs. Instead I flew to Spain to spend a long weekend in Ronda.

Little did I know that I was destined to meet the lovely Rita …..

In the meantime, retired and single, I had decided it was time to stop living with my mum and should buy myself somewhere to live in the UK.

I sold Casa Blanca in Ronda and bought Tunstall Villa, a run-down Victorian villa in Latchford, Warrington. This “reform” was to be my project for the next couple of years. Three years later I sold it to buy a home for me and Rita in the Ronda area. We had married the year before, in 2010.

Back to the present, married to Rita for 10 years and a Spanish resident for 12, and after a significant gap in terms of DIY, I sold Piso Blanco and used some of the proceeds to buy an old house in Montejaque. I needed another building project.

From August 2020 until August 2021, with four months working time lost to Covid-19 lockdowns, I worked with friends Jorge, José, Stewart and Miriam on renovating the house which is now an exciting mix of traditional and modern.

I have named the house Casa Real, in honour of the family that owned the house for three generations. Their surname is Real.

Note: Casa Real is now available to rent as a vivienda rural. The first guests arrive on 19 September and are staying until the end of the month. Thereafter, Casa Real is available from 1 October. You can contact Pablo via the Comments section of Eye on Spain.



Like 0




0 Comments


Only registered users can comment on this blog post. Please Sign In or Register now.




 

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse you are agreeing to our use of cookies. More information here. x