February Valentine….or is it?!

February 1: A brilliant pressie arrived this morning…..a TELESCOPE! We’ve seen a couple of the little villages opposite including one we didn’t know had a tower, the remaining snow in crevices of the mountain opposite us and the moon, seeing some of the craters so clearly!
Toasty in el Grande this afternoon 21o, clear blue skies and gorgeous hot sunshine. Almost wishing I hadn’t winterised the pool but as we know from Friday night, the wet weather is not long coming now. At it’s height, the temperature reached 25o!

February 4:  We hope your 2016 has started well. We’ve obviously been keeping abreast of the dreadful weather you’ve all been having plus the various ailments that some of you have been suffering; joking aside, it doesn’t give us any joy.

As you’ll know, our health was the prime factor in our move and the difference between now and 12 months ago is enormous. Then I’d had 2 or 3 occasions of days off work and a day in hospital being stabilised with IV fluids and paracetamol having been diagnosed with a chest infection, whereas this year I’ve had a couple of wheezy mornings when the dew’s been heavy and a slight cough. C was afflicted by S.A.D. brought on by the interminable damp and blanket of grey cloud and spent hours sitting with the S.A.D. light on – now thanks to the dry conditions and (predominately) blue sky, not a sign of it and he doesn’t even know where the S.A.D. light is! Obviously we’ve only been here for 3 months and we still have the heat of the summer to experience (and we’re informed by the locals that it can be very intense), but so far we feel that our hopes have been met.
The biggest surprise and one for which we were not prepared, is how cold the house is with marble tiles instead of carpets and without central heating! Throughout the day and into the evening, it is warmer outside than in. We have air-conditioning units which heat rooms very quickly thank goodness, plus an open fire which C does a fab job of getting going but they’re not the same and we don’t want to leave the aircon on continuously, so yes, bed socks have been worn! We were warned that electricity costs could be high so it was with some trepidation that we opened our first two bills from Endesa, the national Govt. run and only electricity company in Spain. Two months came to €154 TOTAL , roughly £115; we were paying £140 PER MONTH in the UK for gas and electric so we were very pleased with this! Admittedly we also keep being told that February is cold and wet so perhaps that’s when our electricity bill will be much higher. We will see.
Lily has settled in even better than we could have hoped and will often visit a neighbouring garden for a couple of hours, but always seems to return before we start to wonder/worry. We’ve also recently found out that she ventures into the house of one of our closest neighbours and new friend Jilly (who’s 73 but looks 60!), who found her in one of her 2 cats’ beds!  Bearing in mind that one of the cats, Carla, and Lily had an altercation in the communal garden behind our house, we were quite surprised to hear that Lily was even allowed into the house. Perhaps Lily worked a charm offensive on Carla and they tolerate each other now Emoji
Our new bathroom is underway, as is the installation of many more electrical sockets and then the decorating can start. Hopefully all will be finished by early March in time for the warmer weather and our first visitors (other than Ian who has already been able to visit twice thanks to his work’s shift patterns and being young, free and single!)
The house is full of dust and mess but I just keep in mind how it will look once everything is done.  We didn’t want to leave the décor as it wasn’t us and if we’d unpacked books and cd’s and dvd’s we’d only have to pack them up again.
We’ve also started calling the house ‘The Onion’ – you peel away a layer and find something else that need work/repairing. For example, the shower near the pool had stopped working so our pool chap thought we’d just need a new tap/washer arrangement – we have very hard water here. He took the shower down and it was like he’d struck oil!  A fountain of water spurted out with shouts of ‘turn the water off!!’  Our bathroom (which is being remodelled as I type) had hot water coming out of the pipe for the toilet cistern and the guest bathroom toilet pipe had been repaired with Bostick so when it was removed, the water just went everywhere. I had to sit on the toilet with my foot wedged on a bowl forced against the wall to catch as much water as possible – the guest bathroom floor had never been so clean!
For anyone who’s seen the Tom Hanks/Shelley Long  film ‘The Money Pit’ will know what I mean with all these issues!
 For those of you who are not linked via Facebook, we have been starting to explore the local restaurants and area in general. We are still amazed by the quality and price of very good restaurants here. As a rough guide if a 3-course meal in the UK would be £50 here it is the euro-equivalent of £33, and a lot of the local “ventas” (bars?) do a “menu del dia” of 2 courses and a drink for under 10euros. We haven’t ventured far yet as we are waiting for our work to be finished, but the scenery around here is magnificent – imagine viewing cherry blossom at 2000 feet with a pair of eagles circling above!!

February 5: It’s been rather chilly in el Grande today but all of a sudden the temperature’s increased to 18.5o and this little chap has appeared above our front door. He’s only about an inch and a half long bless!

February 6:  It’s 18o again!  I’ll be sunbathing before the England Six Nations Rugby match!

February 7:  There’s a rainbow over the Guadalhorce valley.  Forecast was for scattered showers we had a few spits but look at it now! 18.5 degrees again!

February 11: Damn strange weather! Freezing this morning then it rained. Windy. We’re now sitting out front in 21o sunshine and it’s raining across the valley! How bizarre, how bizarre!

Are we in Spain or the Yorkshire Dales?!

February 13: Swifts! The swifts are here! Saw a siskin this morning too!

February 14: Enjoying fabulous meal at El Fogon de Morales and all the lights went out! Still it’s a steak house so everything cooked on gas griddle and it’s quite romantic tee-hee!

Lights out! Blowing a hooley! Washing in the pool! Some now back in the washing machine! Sheet over the wall of the communal garden hanging on by a peg! Changed into England shirt…..all in time for the rugby! Come on England!!

Our internet tv provider has just flashed a note on our system that severe electrical problems in el Grande and a poem: ‘roses are red, some even hazy, the electricity in Spain, is driving me crazy’ ! Brilliant!

Still no tv. C suggested we go outside once the washing’s done and stand holding the washing in the wind – it’d be dry in 5 seconds!

Oh dear! The wind continues, it’s now raining for good measure. The pool cover and its housing is now IN the pool not on top of the pool where it should be! Have rescued some bits and hopefully can repair it tomorrow. We still have internet and tv so grateful for small mercies!

February 16: Well this is a first! Has turned really cold in el Grande 3o overnight, snow on the mountains and only 12o now bitingly cold wind but sitting outside dressed in black to absorb the warmth of the gorgeous sun. All I need is a windbreak and it’ll be really toasty!

February 17: Minus 2 in el Grande this morning – brrr!

February 18: 2o in el Grande this morning and grey! Was freezing overnight – I went to bed in amongst other things 2 thick pairs of socks and jogging bottoms!

February 19: The cold wet weather we’ve been promised for February has arrived and been in situ for 2 days now. So we’re indoors sorting out as decorating starts in earnest next week: lounge being transferred to second guest room where spare tv is so main lounge can be decorated first. Once that’s done, we can finish unpacking – yippee!

February 21: Saharan red dust covering everything! At least it’s turned decidedly warmer – 17o on veranda.

Just seen article saying that 1 in 7 properties sold in Spain in 2015 were to non Spanish (by Domus Venari)

February 22: Still as misty as it was yesterday but thermometer nudging 20o.

So far so good – our first Chinese in Spain at Restaurante Chino Hong Bin Lo in el Grande. Vast improvement on the terrible Indian we had a couple of weeks ago. Just the menu del dia but 2 starters, main course with rice, dessert or tea/coffee for 7.30euros can’t be bad!

February 23: The mist has cleared considerably today so much so that you can almost see the mountains on the other side of the valley. Thermometer nudging 20o again – lush!  And this beauty has flowered for the third time since we’ve been here!

18.32 Spanish time, 22o and still sitting outside! It’ll get chilly once the sun disappears though.

February 27: That be snow on them thar hills! It’s blowy today and very cold only 8o.

Decorating is coming on a treat thanks to the fabulous work of Fran and his young Padewan Jack!

That light glow is rain. The cloud above is black!

February 29: Better view of the snow. Not as cold it’s 10o but wind is not as chilly as it has been.





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