Wet, wet, wet!

LAST UPDATED: 29 Dec, 2011 @ 00:14
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Wet, wet, wet!

Over the last two years Paul Whitelock’s relationship with water and wetness has been fascinating. From a flooded house in England to a leaking house in Spain; from a downpour on his wedding day to falling in the canal on honeymoon; from a flooded garden and sewage on the lawn to a sodden field and rising damp; from an overflowing storage tank, via a drowned horse, to contaminated well water. Then to cap it all his domestic water and heating system crashed!

Yes, it’s been quite a wet two years. After freakish low temperatures in the UK in January 2010, the pipes in my house in Warrington burst and gallons of water flooded a bathroom, landing, hall and cellar causing 1000s of pounds worth of damage. That took six months to dry out and renovate. See http://www.a1-solutions-spain.com/content/en/paul-whitelocks-andalucia-blog/180-wash-lane-awash.html. At least it won’t happen again – I sold the house.

In the meantime, unusually wet weather in the Serranía de Ronda for three years on the run caused leaks and damp in our house in Montejaque, which required repair, drying out and total redecoration. See http://www.a1-solutions-spain.com/content/en/paul-whitelocks-andalucia-blog/110-rain-rain-go-away-1.html .

In July 2010 it poured down on the day of our civil wedding in Germany, but two days later it had cleared up, leaving a day of hot sunshine for our church ceremony. But water reared its murky head again when, during our honeymoon in August, I took an impromptu dip in the canals of Friesland, northern Holland (http://www.a1-solutions-spain.com/content/en/paul-whitelocks-andalucia-blog/343-man-overboard.html).

When we moved in February 2011 to our new home, the first rains flooded the garden and turned our field into something reminiscent of the Somme in 1916. We also noticed damp and efflorescence at the base of our internal walls – no DPCs here, of course!

We drained the garden by excavating a stream across it leading into the arroyo below, but we still had the problem of several natural sources of water serving our field overflowing because of blocked underground pipes. Read about it here: http://www.a1-solutions-spain.com/content/en/paul-whitelocks-andalucia-blog/499-waterworld.html

In August a water tragedy struck. A friend’s horse, Perdita, which was living in our field, ended up in our alberca, the open air storage tank. The fire brigade spent five hours draining it and rescuing the poor animal. Although a vet checked her over, by the following day Perdita had sadly died.

In the summer our depósito, which stores our well water before being pumped to the house on demand, overflowed. The sondas, or probes, which are supposed to cut off the supply before it rises too high, had failed.

In the autumn, in anticipation of another wet winter, we got a new system of underground pipes and arquetas installed, which has brought all the water arriving unchecked into our field under control.  See http://www.theolivepress.es/spain-news/2011/10/26/spanish-irrigation-unravelled/

Our damp internal walls were re-plastered and repainted in the hope that all the water  that had ended up under the house in previous years would not return.

In November we noticed that our domestic water – from our own well – was yellow in colour. I got a sample analysed and we learned that it was contaminated with animal or human bacteria and should not be used. A treatment of concentrated Chlorine soon sorted that problem out and we thought our bad experiences with water were over…..

….. but in December, after a short trip away, we returned to a malfunctioning water and heating system in the house. Fortunately that was soon rectified by the técnico.

As I write, we now have a lack of water. It’s not rained for weeks, so I have to water the plants again. The lawn has turned brown.

Let’s hope 2012 brings some water but no more water problems!

10 COMMENTS

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  1. Sorry, reap, that you gave up so quickly – as the whole of the rest of the article is about problems with water IN RONDA!

    Apart from that, you really should visit Ronda. I think you might like it and we’d make you very welcome. There are plenty of other articles about Ronda, both on my blog and elsewhere on the OP site and on many other websites.

  2. Hi Paul, I did not read the article but I did spend 20 minutes looking at your web site. I liked your Ryan Air article. I normally fly to Almeria but they hardly go there any more so I use Easyjet but their flight times are not very good. The flight prices for the summer are quite high as well so although this does not save any money I am going to drive down again after catching the ferry to Northern Spain. I do not like The Terms and conditions of those car Companies either. I was reading Gold Cars yesterday and they state you are fully insured, subject to: reporting an accident within 48 hours on the correct form, as long as you did not do xyz and so on… It made it look like you were not really insured at all if thye wanted to take you for a ‘ride’, excuse the pun.
    Your web site looks very professional and the link to the local tourism web site was good. Ronda is probably three or four hours from me but I will get there one day. I think I could afford a Parador for two nights only! I have always seen the classic photo but I don’t know if the restaurants are any good, how many people live there and so on.
    The one thing I never found in any ‘living in Spain’ books or web sites is regarding health. Very few people in the UK would know that when they are amitted to a hospital in Spain that they have to be cared for by their relatives other than when in A & E. They have to be fed by them etc.

    I have saved your web site in my favourites. I think if you refer one potential buyer to an unbiased honest solicitor for their property purchase you would have done a worthwhile job. I have not met one honest abagado yet but there must be a few around.

  3. Ha ha,
    I do not know how much the first Abagado made when I purchased an apartment but he paid the management Company the last 18 months outstanding fees from the previous owners, received a receipt and then they never paid the 2 years owing before that. All those years ago only the last 18 months had to be paid off regarding the management fees. When I visited the management office they were pulling their hair out after making this mistake. That is not illegal but I suppose you could call it working the system.
    The next property, between the estate agent and the solicitor (both are still scamming), they had €20,000 left over to help themselves with. The best advice I could give would be to view the property without an estate agent, either before or after they have introduced you to the owner and then deal directly with a solicitor that is not tied to them, maybe recommended. You may have a fighting chance of buying a legal property and getting it cheaper! Bank owned repossessions must be the best bet at the moment.
    I just saw on the BBC that Spain is has announced another €8.9 billion in cuts for 2012. Hold on to your seats.

  4. Hi, reap. First of all, thank you for your kind comments about my website.
    On your other points:
    I absolutely agree about the shameful insurance situation with hire cars. Basically, unless you pay the extra so much per day for the “special/extra insurance”, you’re liable for tyres and all glasswork and there’s usually a massive excess for any damage.
    As for Ronda, the parador is very elegant and comfortable, but it has become pricey. There are several high quality boutique hotels which are more reasonable. As for restaurants, there are several top notch ones, for which you pay accordingly. The rest are all very similar, yet mostly good value, and of course there are cheap “ventas”. The tapas experience is excellent.
    Your health care warning is valid, although a tourist with an EHIC will be well looked after.
    As for lawyers, I tend to agree with you. I know two honest and fair ones in Ronda – the others I know seem to be semi-corrupt and overcharge foreigners shamelessly. With our last house purchase we dispensed with a lawyer altogether and seem to have come to no harm.

  5. Reap,
    your quite wrong about a stay in a Spanish hospital.

    One day in Galicia whilst out jogging I was very lucky not to be killed by an out of control car and got flipped over a bridge – only 3 broken ribs which meant a short stay in the main hospital in Ferrol.

    This hospital was notorious for two things – beds that felt like corrugated steel sheeting and fabulous food.

    After spending one night in a small ward where two guys died, I was moved into my own room which was right over the restaurant that made all the meals for it.

    Some of the best food I have eaten in Spain and when visitors came they were offered refreshments – tea/coffee/cakes and biscuits.

    I don’t think I have ever come into contact with a reliable lawyer anywhere or one that ever charged reasonable fees.

    I remember seeing a play once where it was mooted that the first thing to do after winning a revolution is to kill all the lawyers – splendid idea.

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