Happy New Year …… and we have moved!
Yes, we decided to shake it all up and start a different chapter to our adventure in Spain. Of course we are still ‘chilled at sunset’ but a new location not so far away from Antas. We are back amongst people, bars and Spanish restaurants, plus a spa and a gym and all within walking distance. Still close to all our lovely friends and with stunning views, open spaces and can now add a sea view to the mix. In fact we are now just an 8 minute drive to the Mediterranean coast at Garrucha. Sounds good eh?
We will be at least six months here at Valle del Este, Campo de Golf. Renting for us, right now, is a good option and not being financially tied to Spain. Brexit is such a shambles but cannot be totally ignored, so we will sit back and see what pans out …… definitely do not feel like discussing Brexit in our blog!
Meanwhile, the immediate plan in our garden apartment is to relax more, finally get my easel set up and paint at home as well as at my weekly class. Steve will finally finish writing his book! And we want to travel more in Spain and visit family and friends more often back in the UK.
I still can’t believe it is three and a half years ago we arrived in Spain, a dream we finally made come true. We planned as much as we thought possible, after reading endless information, soaking up episodes of ‘Place in the Sun’ and taking Spanish language lessons before we arrived! Once actually living here day-to-day the dream and reality were so often different and I don’t mean in a bad or negative way at all but just different.
Firstly, making new friends, we found our new life soon became very sociable! But they also became our lifeline for advice in our first year. Everyone helped each other especially when being so rural in the campo. Just back in November, we had storms and small flash floods and with non-stop WhatsApp chats, we all checked who had flooded where and if help was needed? I admit, I did have one of those ‘I’m a Celebrity, get me out of here’ moments when one day we had no internet, intermittent electricity and no water indoors (plenty outside!). But then that lovely Spanish sunshine returned and the stormy days were quickly forgotten and all was back to normal.
‘Normal? now that is a word to give some thought to? We have had so many ‘firsts’ since starting our adventure here which are now considered our ‘normal’!
Speaking Spanish, sadly still poorly, almost everyday including texting in Spanish to couriers, builders and Spanish friends.
Pruned (and respected) the many different, often giant cacti we had in our garden without them attacking either of us!
We owned a swimming pool, learnt how to maintain, tough job, I know but someone had to do it!
Saw snakes (not poisonous) up close and personal on our patios and in the courtyard.
I still have a Spanish hairdresser who doesn’t speak much English, so those first few visits caused me the same anxious feelings I get when going to the dentist!
I’d peg out the washing and wonder at the fab views of rolling hills and seeing rabbits and partridges wandering in our garden …… OK, there were also a few ‘nasties’ crawling as well!
I started taking art classes and even hanged some of my finished pieces in our home.
We were recommended Felix, the four foot tall and wide, one eyed local Spanish gardener (bless him!) who arrived at dusk, a few months after we moved in, waving a saw and he soon pruned every tree and more!
We picked our olives and took them to the olive press in exchange for extra virgin oil, delicious and such fun!
It was so normal to go outside and pick a lemon from our tree to accompany our fish dishes …… Oh! OK, …… gin and tonics!
We had lived here 10 months, when we were invited for the weekend to Granada with our Spanish friends. That was a very intense Spanish lesson but we learnt so much about the Spanish lifestyle, really great. After a few wines, I really thought I could be fluent in Spanish but ……
Fiestas became an important fixture on our calendar and we still always try and visit a new one each year as well as being loyal to our dear Antas fiesta.
Honestly, so much has happened since we arrived here, too much to mention but our blog is a lovely diary of the highlights!
Having lived in a Spanish cortijo, it was wonderful in so many ways but they do need never ending TLC almost everyday of the week. The renovations improved our cortijo and were a true labour of love but often the work needed redoing every year due to the nature of the build and climate. We asked ourselves, did we really want to continue spending our savings and time working hard on the cortijo for a few more years? The answer was ‘no’. Nobody sees themselves getting older …… who bloomin’ wants to? But if something happened to us in our home, the emergency services would never have come out to us, it would have been quicker to drive to the medial centre, if you could! I guess, when Steve fell off his ladder and only injured his ankle, it made us look at the reality of where we lived a bit more. It is a tough balance, our dream house with so much space, potential, lots of land, swimming pool and surrounded by countryside with such privacy versus total practicality.
But we moved a month ago and it is so different here and impossible to compare, it really feels like a new exciting and happy chapter!
What are you planning in 2019 ?