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Sólo ochenta más días de compras a Navidades!
Yet another local bank holiday Fiesta looms, this time it's for one of the largest travelling animal circus still in existence. But I know what some will say? Oh, those poor animals, how could you go and see them being treated like that, they wouldn't be able to do that in England!'
And that's why I'm going to go and watch it! Again, it's one of those things you either like or don't. I remember as a kid going to a circus and seeing real exotic animals for the first time outside of a picture book. And have you seen the way some of these animals are treated! Heated and air conditioned trailers, personal assistants, food bought from the supermarket, TV and DVD players, all found with lots of travel, can't be all bad, I mean come on, that's better than how some people live! I'd rather see them out and about mixing with people round the circus arena than trapped in a so-called, conservation zoo'. And at least the Tigers get a chance to maul the kids!
There are characters and individuals living out here that truly show the diversity of people from many different backgrounds. For example, entrepreneurs have arrived here seeking fame, fortune or just a living with some establishing a good name or reputation.
Others have hidden their past under a bushel, be it of exemplary or criminal fame. I have discovered that for some of these people, their stories are incredible, awe inspiring or admirable.
There are pop, rock and film stars, millionaires, billionaires, businesspeople and some unsung heroes of a by gone age whose story should never be forgotten. There are also however, down and outs, wasters and black cats' (sayers, not doers) who, having chose to escape a less than shallow or unfulfilled past, here strive to build an empire on mistrust, falseness or just plain lies.
I've been fortunate or unfortunate enough to meet some of these people though my only intent will be to show off the more positive and praiseworthy exponents of our new acquaintances. I hope you will be just as interested as I was when first coming across these people.
The Villa was very white, oh was it white, and clean, and bright, all apart from that broken, dirty, faded terra cotta tiled roof. It had to be fixed and although it wouldn't leak due to the tons of rubble under it, it looked awful. Now, let's see, what did I know about laying a tiled roof? Well, just about Bo diddly, in fact, until my arrival in Spain, I had never ever considered tackling half the jobs or tasks I now do with ease and experience. So how hard could it be? Loose tiles, not fixed, laid over consecutively to form a solid weather shield.
First things first, got to get rid of the old tiles and those wasps!
I was less than happy about getting back up on that roof, especially after pushing my luck during the painting process, but it was with a little more confidence and ease that I again shimmied up the ladder to begin to remove all the tiles either chipped, broke or discoloured, again before any bad weather arrived.
I had laid a large groundsheet on the terrace to catch the tiles that couldn't be used while Rose met me half way on the ladder to take away the displaced ones which could be re used. There are four different partitioned areas to the roof so it was slow going as I tried to attempt limiting the damage. After a few days we had piled up the unscathed tiles and counted up the amount of new ones required, about one hundred and forty in all with at least half of those being new.
Next it was a case of refilling the channels the tiles had to sit on which had been originally filled with inferior mortar of about a 1-7 mix, more like sand than cement. I had contemplated removing the whole roof and getting someone in to concrete all the new tiles in, though it was my builder who suggested it was unnecessary as long as the loose tiles were laid properly, and he was right.
It was at about this point that Rose found out to hers and my surprise just what a dab hand at cement mixing and a builders mate she was. I rarely had need to come down off the roof as she did most of the labouring, even on a number of occasions driving on down to the Bricolage' (Builders merchants) to get more sand, cement and tiles. What a star!
Getting the tiles to the roof was a job and a half though again, it was Rose who devised a way of loading up a bucket and hoisting them up to me via a rope where I would empty them in strategic piles and lower for the next load. (This only after our less than successful system of initially her throwing them up for me to catch. One, two, break a few, less than cost effective and very dangerous, especially for Rose!) After about a week, we had laid all the lines back and had recovered the roof totally, and although there were one or two uneven lines where the concrete had edged up, we had to admit, you wouldn't stop a galloping horse to look closely. No, for a first attempt, it looked great and we knew it would do for another ten years or so. It set the rest of the house right and at last we could appreciate how nice the Villa actually looked now it was fresh. (And remember, all this time my wife and I had repainted the house and laid a new roof while the kitchen company were still just fitting the cupboards! Amateurs!)
The sun was still hot and the weather extremely warm. The pool had taken a pounding every night cooling us both after a hot strenuous day's graft. It looked dirty even though the chemicals and solvents needed to keep the water clean were correct. It needed a proper clean so we chose to drain it immediately and give it a good scrub. My knowledge of swimming pools and their maintenance was about as good as my initial knowledge of roofing, so again, it was a case of phoning around and asking people what was required for such a job and just having a go while getting on with it.
It took a day to drain, a day to clean and a day to refill and with the hot sun doing its bit, within three more days we were back in the pool enjoying a well deserved indulgence in our newish looking surrounds.
Builders merchants here are everywhere, there's at least six of them within a kilometre of our home. Materials are very cheap here with bags of cement and sand no more than a couple of euro's' each. That and the fact that each also carries just about everything you require in the way of bricks, stone, gravel, tiles, slabs, cement mixers and all manner of building stuff, building DIY can be relatively cheap if you're willing to have a go like us. But even if you do get someone in, always have a check on the material costs and question them if you believe they seem a little high, it's easy to check. I for one always charge a cost price, that is, what I paid for it and only charge a nominal fee to pick up or deliver. But most Bricolage's will deliver and it's relatively cheap.
Law enforcement is on the up, especially against motorists. Lately there have been a number of high profile incidents with regard to accidents caused by drink drivers. Nothing unusual about that you may say, but remember, this is Spain, social drinking is a way of life and as I can testify, the police in the past have not been so hot on it.
But now beware! A new directive has been issued that means if you're caught behind the wheel of a car, moving or stationary with the engine off, and thought to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you will be liable to arrest and if positive on the breath or blood test, you will be imprisoned for at least two days or longer at the local police station. It's a twelve-month ban at the least with up to four years inside as a maximum, but this isn't soft old Blighty, you will get these penalties and you will go to jail. And remember, don't argue with the police on the roadside or give them any grief, they carry guns and once drawn you're on dodgy ground unless you're lying on the ground!
Bit of a worry I thought: the last earthquake to hit Spain was in Barcelona on September 21st 2004. It reached 6.7 on the Richter scale.
The most recent earthquake disaster was that of the Arenas De Rey earthquake of 1884 where 800 people were killed and 1500 injured.
The province of Malaga has been categorised as a High risk' tremor area in Spain. (Very high when the mother in law is over here stomping around!)
At least 24 Tsunamis, (Tidal waves) have hit the coast of Spain since 218 BC, the last was in 2003 after an earthquake in Algeria. (Surf's up!)
Some of my favourites; you should be able to pronounce it right by now, look back.
Una botella de vino tinto de la casa - a bottle of house red wine please
Otra botella de vino tinto, por favor - another bottle of red wine please
Dos cervezas por favor - two beers please
Agua natural por favor - some plain water please
Café solo - strong black coffee
Café con leche - coffee with milk
And don't forget, at the end of the night:
Puede la cuenta por favor - can I have the bill please
No tengo suficiente dinero pagar - I havn't enough money to pay
Enjoy your night at the local nick!!!
Welcome to Bahaus and Leroy Merlin!
In this section
- Signing out in the sun
- Looking to the future
- ¡Si usted mira hacia atrás con demasiada frecuencia, usted no jamás puede adelantarse!
- ¡Sólo cuatro semanas y Papá Noel estarán aquí con todos mis juguetes!
- Es el Lunes por la mañana, yo me desayuno en la terraza y el sol brill, qué
- Para que no olvidamos!
- That’s it, time to move further south!
- !Algunas cosas son enviados a tratarnos, aun el tiempo puede devolver aqui!
- ¡Aún jubilados necesitan para trabajar a veces, pero sólo por elección!
- Es siempre bueno volver en casa!
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In August 2007, Allan Davies and his wife Rose, having lived most of their lives in their beloved Dorset, gave up their careers, left behind friends, family, acquaintances and all that was familiar to start a new life in Southern Spain.