Several years ago we bought a place in Spain.
Now when you hear this, what do you think? “Villa” with terraces, a blue pool, views of the sea, sitting sipping wine in the hot sunshine? If this were a movie – there would be a screeching of breaks as the dream screams to a halt – and the real picture comes in to focus. Think “2-up-2-down basic house” with animal sheds “leaning to” on all sides – no terraces, no pool, no sea.
Why did we buy here? Our home is situated on the outskirts of a sleepy village which has a social centre, a bar and an olive oil mill. Our view is – well – stunning – miles and miles of olive trees – stretching away as far as the eye can see – with towering mountains in the distance. The olive trees are planted in rows – and the direction of the rows varies according to each individual owner’s design so it looks just like a patchwork quilt. More of the view later! Our “olive farm” comprises some 35 olive trees, plum, nectarine, apricot and cherry trees, and a walnut tree. Oh – and 2 wells.
When we first arrived I spoke a little Spanish but my husband spoke none. We discovered there was another English couple who had a house a little further down the “lane” from us – if we needed anything. Well, we actually found that our Spanish neighbours were so friendly and so happy to help that we did not need to go “English”. The Spanish folks were fascinated by us and enjoyed our attempts to communicate – and they went out of their way to speak slowly and to understand our halting Spanish.
For the first few weeks we “camped” in the house – using camp beds and sleeping bags for sleeping, a primus stove outside in the “car port” for cooking and hot water, and we borrowed a small round patio-type table and 2 chairs from the bar. When we had viewed the house we thought the kitchen and bathroom were functioning – but by the time the paperwork was all completed this proved not to be the case! For “bathroom facilities” we either went out in the campo or used the toilet at the bar – 7 minutes fast walk!
We quickly got our toilet working – even if we still had to fill the cistern with a bucket. Then we purchased a stove, fridge and bed. There was a log fire in the kitchen and our “sofa” was a straw bale covered with a throw. We felt like royalty in our “new” home.
(to be continued… Be sure to check back!)