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An Old Fool in Spain

Day to day ramblings of an old fool living in a tiny mountain village in Andalucia.

Nag, nag, nag to get what you want...
12 March 2010 @ 20:29

Why move to Spain? Why live in a tiny mountain village, with only six permanent residents, no shop and half an hour away from the nearest big town?

For my first blog post for EOS, I thought I'd shoot back in time, and explain how Joe and I ended up leaving England for the village of El Hoyo, tucked away in the Alpujarra mountains.

It was my fault, of course. Joe was about to retire and already dreaming of a tension-free life, lounging in his dressing-gown all day, writing his masterpiece and perhaps diverting himself with the odd mathematical problem.

But, no, I had other ideas. I had plenty of reasons, some vague, some more solid.

So one particularly cold, wet Bank Holiday, I broached the subject. I gabbled on about the weather, the cost of living being cheaper in Spain, the pace of life slower, etc, etc.

 “Why don’t you write one of your famous lists?” Joe suggested, only half joking.

 I'm well known for my lists and records, I can’t help myself. I make a note of the weather every day, the temperature, the first snowdrop, the day the ants fly, the exchange rate of the euro, everything. I make shopping lists, separate ones for each shop. I make To Do lists and ‘Joe, will you please’ lists. I even make lists of lists. My nickname at work used to be Schindler.

So I set to work and composed what I considered to be a killer pitch.



Sunny weather

Cheap houses

Live in the country

Miniscule council tax

Friendly people

Less crime

No heating bills

Cheap petrol

Wonderful Spanish food

Cheap wine and beer

Could get satellite TV so you won’t miss English football

Much more laid-back life style 

Could afford house big enough for family and visitors to stay

No TV licence

Only short flight to UK

Might live longer because Mediterranean diet is healthiest in the world


When I ran dry, I handed the list to Joe. He glanced at it and snorted.

“I’m going to make a coffee,” he said, but he took my list with him. He was in the kitchen a long time.


When he came out, I looked up at him expectantly. He ignored me, snatched a pen and scribbled on the bottom of the list. Satisfied, he threw it on the table and left the room. I grabbed it and read his additions. He’d pressed so hard with the pen that he’d nearly gone through the paper. 

Joe had written:-




Well, to cut a long story short, after weeks of nagging and grinding him down, Joe finally came up with a compromise. We'd move to Spain, but as a Five Year Plan. We wouldn't sell our English house, and we'd live in Spain and decide whether we'd make it permanent at the end of five years.

But it was Joe's fault we ended up in El Hoyo. We both wanted to live inland where the property was cheaper, but it was Joe who fell in love with our crumbling ruin of a house. And I'm very glad he did.


 Overgrown garden  Our overgrown garden                  Mud walls   The house walls - made of mud and stones

The house had no kitchen, no usable bathroom. The walls were a metre thick and disintegrating. Electric cables sprouted out of walls, unprotected and lethal. But Joe saw the potential, and I warmed to the idea.


No, we didn't have a proper shop in the village, but we could buy fresh produce, fish and bread from the vans that delivered daily. Yes, we had to learn Spanish very quickly. And the villagers welcomed us with open arms.


Of course, we didn't know then how hard it would all be. We didn't know about the snow in winter, or just how hot and fly-infested it would get in summer. We didn't know we'd become reluctant chicken farmers or get rescued by a mule. But that's all another story.


What we did know immediately, however, was that we'd made the right decision.

Like 0


Sue Gilkes said:
14 March 2010 @ 23:06

How very interesting, I'm really looking forward to following your blog.

Justin said:
15 March 2010 @ 10:51

Great to have you blogging on here. Can't wait to read your posts.


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