October 2001

Are you awake?
Yep. Can’t sleep.
Me neither.
Are you thinking what I’m thinking?
My God! What have we done?

Light on. 3 am. It’s mid-October 2001 in a tiny village in the Serranía de Ronda in Andalucía.  The house is cold and damp. Someone has disturbed the dogs penned in on the outskirts and all hell has let loose!

The evening before we had agreed to buy and had put down a deposit on an apartment in the nearby town of Ronda.

We viewed the place in the afternoon at the end of a long hot morning viewing totally inappropriate places offered by our Spanish estate agent.

Had we panicked?  At the time we didn’t think so, as we’d been looking for a bolt-hole in the area for over a year, but in the cold, damp, dark, sleepless early-hours of an Andalucían autumn morning, we had begun to question the wisdom of blowing most of our recently matured endowment on a jerry-built flat in a community of owners, all of whom are Spanish. What had we done?

October 2010

Fast forward nine years to 2010 …..and our little flat in the Barrio San Francisco has turned out to be a great thing to have done.  It has given our family, relatives and friends several years of fun holidays.

When we bought a run-down little house around the corner from the flat in 2003, it was an ideal base, as we set about renovating the house.

Forgotten a tool?  No problem!
Hungry? Just nip up the road to the flat for a bite to eat.
Loo out of action?  There was another 50 metres away.
Tired?  Take a siesta in the flat.

And the flat gave me a temporary home when I had nowhere else to live in 2007/8.

Five years later, the renovated house had to be sold, but the flat lives on and continues to be enjoyed by family and friends, as well as by me and the new missus, if we fancy a night out in Ronda and don’t want to drive home …..

Oh, and by coincidence I now live just round the corner from the place we stayed at in that cold, damp October in 2001.

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  1. Yes, We had that “OH MY GOD WHAT HAVE WE DONE MOMENT” as I expect many have when moving to a foreign land coping with a new language and beaurocracy.
    Olive Press could start a new column entitled “THAT OMG MOMENT”
    Back to our OMG moment.
    It was spring 6 years ago .We had purchased an old farmhouse bit of a ruin in places, but we had a builder who had contracted to restore it . It needed underpinning and the work was going well, but on this particular day the builder had removed a whole section of the back wall while he installed concrete and steel foundations.
    Then we had a tormenta – the stone walls were awash and then shouts of “run for it” from inside ,a huge crash and the back wall ,fist floor and roof came crashing down into the house narrowly missing the running workers.
    When the dust had settled there were tears!

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