Thursday, May 26, 2016

spring in sitges

I’m having a bit of time away after the winter, partly holiday and also a bit more of a nose into the possibilities in Spain.  I have mentioned my ideas in previous posts from last autumn.

For this trip I have decided to HelpX again, It’s been a while since I gave a hand to folk and decided that it would also be a better way of getting to know the area in a bit more detail.  Thankfully I had made arrangements in advance, as Percy was still in the garage, waiting for a new wheel bearing to be fixed, when I was due to leave.  

I am away in my new, old Golf, a great vehicle and a joy to drive.  Nippy, easy to park, more economical and much less stressful than the van for the journey I am making this time.

My first stop was in Sitges, with a german family who relocated to Spain many years ago.  It was good to hear the stories of settling in and integration into a new way of life and to marvel at the flexibility of languages, with the family speaking german or spanish together, the two boys tended to use catalan between themselves and everyone spoke amazingly good english whenever I was to included in the conversation.

I painted for them, firstly the front facade of the house, which wasn’t at all difficult, just the distance from the ground in some instances, the house is built into a steep hillside so it feels high up even before climbing a ladder.  It was great to make such a fast transformation to a property and the results were immediately appreciated.  Then, after, refreshed one of the guest bedrooms in the house.  I discovered quite how poor low cost paint can be, it was taking five or six coats to give decent coverage so it was soon replaced with a higher quality product and progress was much faster.  I easily got everything done within the week that I was staying.

I made full use of my free time, heading to the beach most days to soak up a bit of sun and for a glorious swim in the sea, I spent much time touring estate agents, checking property websites and heading out to visit potential properties.  It’s interesting to see how different planning laws have affected housing here and how the enthusiasm (greed) of the last property boom has changed the landscape, particularly as it was stopped in full flow when the most recent financial crash hit the shores.  There are unfinished estates of houses all over the place, strange zones of cramped housing where the city folk once had allotments and a tiny shed that have since been developed, often without permission, over the decades, leading to fairly smart, pricy properties squashed together with completely inadequate vehicle access and an almost shanty feel.  Not cheap either, until you discover that there is little other alternative in many places without being completely out in the sticks.  I found nothing that fitted my criterion during the week that I was there, so headed off, as planned to my next host an hour or so further south.
woody, my golf on holiday in the sun
the sun setting over the catalan hills

freshly painted facade 

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

a little landscaping project

Just been over to my good friend Vanessa’s for a few days whilst my van’s been in to get a wheel bearing changed.  The bearing still isn’t done, but that’s another story.  We’d skid a few times during the winter and thought it would be fun to spend a bit of time comparing notes and planing the future a bit considering that we are both single (now) and living in rural france.  Most of the time it’s great, though the long dark winter nights can be rather lonely and it takes huge effort to remain upbeat and sociable throughout the winter months.  We had a great time, the weather was fairly warm and sunny, there was a gardening project that had been discussed in the autumn to be completed.  the emphasis is still on internal renovations of the house, though they are coming to an end, vaguely, after four or so years.  (no thanks)  So i got on and tidied up a bit outside, around what used to be a cow shed and store room and is just outside the kitchen door.  Sorry, no other photos, still getting used to using my phone to take pictures and don’t always think!!  Anyway we had a great time and hopefully advanced our thinking on rural living for singles........