The Transformation

When we came here first, the property had not been lived in for nearly 6 years. The olive trees were abandoned and the house was in bad shape. All wiring had been ripped out together with light fixtures, plumbing and who knows what else. Then, just before we returned from Ireland, all windows and doors were taken. This was done professionally, over several days before we bought the property. Naturally that all impacted on the price. So we had a big job on our hands to clean up, restore, rewire, replumb, and order new doors and windows as well as installing our very own, off-the-grid photovoltaic system for generating electricity from the very generous Spanish sunshine.

Before we bought the property:

And after our efforts:

The worst place was the en-suite bathroom. It was dark and sported an unfinished concrete bath. It seems it was built as an after-thought, as underneath the sides were tiles on the wall. As we already have a bath in the other upstairs bathroom we wanted a nice, generously proportioned walk-in shower. So the bath had to go. Nigel painstakingly chipped away at it and carried bucketfuls of rubble out. Then the floor and walls had to be smoothed out, plastered and tiled. It isn’t everybody’s dream bathroom, but for us it is a great achievement and it reminds me of the Gaudi-style. Why straight and even if you can play with form and colour? I even refreshed and painted up some tiles for the skirting board and these complete the look.

Step-by-step:

 

Our brand-new doors upstairs are now also painted and we had our first B&B guests, Bego, a very talented photographer who was here to take pictures of the ‘Saca de las Yeguas’, running of the mares (more about that in the next blog), and a very young couple.

Next up is my friend from Berlin with her two young sons, so this is holiday time and fun after all the intense time of work, frustrations and difficulties to get everything together.

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FEATHERED FRIENDS

IMG_20180401_162644The cuckoo has been here in the area from early March till the end of May, being insistent and pretty loud in his callings. There is a vast amount of chirping going on near the arroyo, the stream nearby, where a lot of high trees grow.

Other birds that are around here and we are able to identify are the European Bee-Eater, like a flying jewel he sports yellow, maroon and turquoise blue. The Eurasian Hoopoe with his head crest and barred feathers is unmistakable. The Azure-winged Magpie is also striking. And of course there are any amount of singing birds, day and night.

In May our falcon pair laid 5 eggs. The nesting site is the round window sill, that the female also used last year. Falcons, or in this case, the common kestrels use no nesting material. Three kestrel chicks hatched. But only one will make it to a fledgling. Maybe the first two were so old and strong that they did some harm to their sibling, when it finally hatched. Unfortunately it never lived. And one of the older ones was dropped from the nest. I found it on the terrace, still alive, and without touching it, slipped it onto a copybook and lifted it up to put it back into the nest. But sadly it didn’t survive. So now there is only one which is getting stronger each day. It has a big head and big feet and fluff rather than feathers. Hopefully it will grow up big and strong.

I have now started feeding it some meat and hope it will become friendly and trusting. It would be nice to tame our own falcon, as this is Falcon House.

Our eight hens are now also slowly getting more comfortable in their new place, taking dust baths outside and generally eating lots. It will be some time before we will be able to collect eggs but till then we make friends with Ruby, Rita, Blanche, Bianca, Maggie, Mollie, Grisella and Greta.

We have other exciting news. Yesterday the boys from Azimut installed three water filter and a UV tube to purify our well water coming into the house. It is now purest drinking water and will also benefit all plumbing as all impurities are filtered out before it even comes into the house.

 

They also installed the alarm system. A necessity when we are away as Sofie can be a bit sleepy on the job. When Nigel was on his own here, before we moved in, three men cut through the fence to have a look at the property. Luckily Nigel was just emptying the washing up water onto the lawn and spotted them, while Sofie was snoozing nearby. They took to running and disappeared in their car.

While Nigel busied himself with fencing and landscaping, I painted the old, stained plastic chairs to give them a new lease of life.

The holes along the driveway for electricity and probably planned for lighting, have been covered over by Nigel to prevent injury to the horses.

And this is Nigel’s Sunday project; a flower patio to enhance the now tidied up area beside the shed.

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