Pre-move musings

I’m sitting here gazing out at Swansea bay. removal menInternational removal men been and gone! House is empty (ish) and Im looking out at our magnificent view wondering why I haven’t done more of this; just sitting and watching the tide go in and out! Our views in Orgiva are spectacular but I will really miss our views of Swansea. Within a thirty minute drive we can visit amazing beaches on the Gower, fantastic mountain walks, resevoirs, rivers, canals, and waterfalls. National Botanical Gardens of Wales and a shed load of castles!

Why are we moving again?

Ah yes, be able to live the life we really want (and be able to afford it), to be able to live off grid and become self sufficient! And the weather helps too! Plus we are exchanging good views with a-ma-zing views!

Wales is my home and always will be! I love it! I am Welsh through and through! And so are all my family! I speak Welsh and speak it every single day! I want our (currently non existent) children to be able to speak Welsh.  I will miss my friends and family so much but we really won’t be that far away! Plus, everyone wants free accommodation in the sun right?! So I’m sure we will get plenty of visitors!

Bryn house empty
It’s OK Bryn!

We will be sad to leave our house too! It’s been a happy three years living here! It’s been a really chaotic three years, but we have overcome so much here that we are also happy to be moving on. It’s bitter-sweet! It looks so empty at the moment that I now can’t wait to get moving!

As much as I’ll be sad to leave Wales, I am so excited to be diving head first into a new culture, country and language! I love that this is an adventure all of our own; just me, Matt and the dog! Its all ours! And so, if it all goes wrong then we only have ourselves to blame. Ha! On the other hand, we can claim major glory points WHEN it all goes well! I’m a glass-half-full kinda girl so I’m going with the latter option and all the glory points!

We have so much to do between now and getting to Spain, that our new home in Spain seems so far away (sigh!) I suppose I’d best get back to packing! It seems the story of my life at the moment. I think I’ll just finish my cuppa before getting up from this view though! I will miss this view!

 

When all your plans change…

 

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….kind of!

So we have many many changes to our original plan which was; get the builders in, we would fly down in February once they had done their basic work, we put in a kitchen, bathroom and tile the whole house and then its pretty livable. Then we were going to get our stuff delivered, then bring the dog down!

This isnt quite how things have worked out!

Best laid plans and all that….!

We’ve decided to drive down, through France and Spain with the dog and take 5 days over it. We’ve bought a small van to drive down with; and use for building materials when we are working on the house and I can get back and forth from work in it. We are hoping to rent a yurt for a month or two until the house is habitable.
I’ve given up on chasing buiders, im OK with the relaxed spanish attitude but I think we just need to be there to get anything done…which in hidsight is a much more sensible idea!
burnt windowSo we have decided to start clearing the upstairs ourselves when we get there. This involves, clearing the upstairs of burnt rubbish! Taking the render off the walls, pulling up floor tiles, cleaning the ceiling and getting rid of the burnt polystyrene thats stuck to the whole ceiling after the fire. While we are battling this we want to get in touch with our builder to do the downstairs work while we experiment with insulating with Hempboard and attempting to render upstairs. We are also going to tile the floors ourselves using natural terracotta tiles. We have chosen these tiles for a few reasons; they are the traditional flooring used in the area, they are ‘easy’ (ahem!) to lay and are more forgiving of a first time tiler. We will also seal the floors and so will be easier to keep clean. We are going to use the same tile throughout the house (upstairs and down) except in the bathroom where we will use decorative tiles.

Something like this?
Something like this?

We are not really intimidated by attacking the work ourselves, but there are some elements that we need skilled people to do for us. Like laying sewerage pipes and plumbing after removing the concrete floor downstairs, and cutting a hole in the ceiling to accommodate the stairs. I say we aren’t intimidated by the work but we haven’t got there yet so I’m sure it will be a shock. I am sure we will get there though. It will be slow work but actually it means we have greater control and can experiment with environmentally friendly materials other than the cement which was the only option given by the builder.
We are happier doing it this way, plus we will save some money (which is always good!) and be imensly satisfied with ourselves when we complete the project!

So, these are our plans. We still have to pack up our house here in Wales (we are very nearly there!!!) and be out of our rental house soon. So, as much as we can dream about our Spanish plans, we have a lot of work to do before we get there. This moving country malarkey is like a full time job!

Let the adventure commence!

After much to-ing and fro-ing we finally own our home in Spain!

We are so excited that the adventure is moving forward after many a set back. The Spanish law of ‘one more document’ couldnt hold us back! No sir-ee!

It’s now all systems go with getting the builders in….although the mañana mañana relaxed attitude (which I love) is probably going to drive me crazy when dealing with builders as we are kind of against the clock.

The basic building work needs to be completed by the end of February at the latest so that we have a month to get a bathroom and kitchen in, as well as receiving our (not yet) packed up stuff from Wales, before I start work in April.

I have been really lucky in getting four weeks work not far from where we will be living. It’s a good start, and a definite step forward from where we thought we would be work-wise!

So now all that’s left to do is pack up our home in Wales!
No easy task!
It’s not just a case of throwing everything in boxes because we don’t want to take most things with us! We have muchos crap! So we need to declutter our large three bed semi into 250 cubic feet (about the size of a quarter of a single garage) hmmm!!! This task is made even more difficult in that I cannot throw anything away…we will have piles for donation for refugees (SHARP in Swansea), piles for the local charity shop, things that don’t belong to us that have ended up in our house that need to be returned, and I’m sure I have friends who need my old crap…yes? There will also be a (hopefully) small pile for the tip. And we will need to sell some furniture and sellable crap.
I am not looking forward to this mammoth task. The problem is starting. I have spent hours looking on Pinterest on ‘how to declutter your home’ and ‘reorganisation hacks’. I am queen procrastinator. I know exactly how to declutter my home, I dont need pinterest to tell me. But the pictures are so pretty and its much easier to visualise the house being packed up rather than actually packing up the house. Hmff!

Well, I suppose there’s nothing for it but to get going on the ol’ packing!
Wish me luck!

Volunteer on our eco project in Orgiva, Spain!

We will be accepting volunteers from about April 2015 to help in whatever aspects of the project you fancy or have specific skills in (or whatever we need help with at the time).

Upper terrace of our land
Upper terrace of our land

Initially, there will be clearing the land of long dry grass and experimenting with the asequia system and creating irrigation trenches. We will (hopefully) have set up a makeshift green house by then and started off seeds for the coming summer. We will also need help with emptying the ruins as well, also help in the house!

We will be creating a permaculture garden as well as a rocket stove for outdoor cooking. Building humanure toilets and redoing the outside shower room. There are also plans to build a community room from cob on the lower terrace. There really is so much to do that if you have a specific interest or ability in something, I’m sure we can accommodate. There are too many planned projects to list at the moment, but as we progress I’ll update what we will be looking for on a month by month basis! Just get in touch and let us know what you fancy doing and when.

You can get in touch via our workaway page, link below, or by leaving a comment at the bottom of the page:

Come and help us be self sufficient in Orgiva, Spain!

Church on main street through town
Church on main street through town

In exchange for your help we will offer you somewhere to stay and breakfast and dinner each day. As well as a fun and relaxed atmosphere. We like music and dancing and like to dance while we work.

To begin with we will only be able to offer a tent in the land, or, if you have a camper, there is space to park up on our land. But once we get a little more sorted, there will be a yurt on the land as well as a room in the house with us, and eventually, the ruins too.

IMAG3275The town itself has about 6000 residents and over 67 nationalities. Orgiva is the capital of the Alpujarra region in the south of Spain. About an hours drive from Malaga airport or an hour and a half bus journey from Granada. We live about a ten minute walk from the centre of Orgiva. Even though its so close, we live in rural heaven.

Baraka
Baraka

There are lots of bars and restaurants in town that cater for a range of diets. Our favourite is Baraka, serving a range of middle eastern food and a huge range of teas. The staff are awesome and there is free internet. What more could a girl want?  Oh…a glass of wine! For this we like Albertos. He has excellent red wine by the glass (or bottle).

IMAG2428On a Thursday, it’s market day! And the town comes alive and you really get to experience the alternative vibe of the town. Many people who live in the area (Beneficio) come down from the mountain and sell their various lovely things in the market. I have seen, jewellery, soaps, oils, perfumes, and scarves. I have also tried some homemade sushi (which was delish). IMAG2438The market also has a lot of vegetable and fruit stalls, people selling nuts, olives and sweets, as well as a large amount of stalls selling really big knickers!!!!

Local advertisments
Local advertisments

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Orgiva is a pretty alternative place. If you need a massage, reiki, soul healing, reflexology…I could go on. You won’t have to look far. There’s all sorts advertised on little pin boards around the town, offering horse healing, or silent retreats in the mountain. There are even a group of parents opening an alternative school for their children. With all of these things being offered, you can imagine it gives the town a special ‘feel’. Its a pretty lovely place, you should come and experience it for yourselves. Oh, and the sun shines a LOT. Need I say more?

We hope to hear from you soon.

The ruins!

There are old animal shelters adjoining our house. They are about ten meters long and three meters wide. Currently single storey (ish). We want to renovate these into holiday accommodation and offer holidays for families with children with autism. As well as havingIMAG3377 a space where friends and family can come and stay.

As the space is small we were worried that they wouldn’t be big enough to house a family. But after looking on Pinterest (my favourite place for house porn) and playing around with design software, we have worked out that we just need to be canny when designing the inside space. There is so much inspiration online now about designing your ‘tiny home’ or ‘narrowboat renovations’ that its easy to see how we can make this work.

There will be a small kitchen and seating area with a sofa bed, a bathroom, a double bedroom as well as a single bedroom.

Realistically, this isn’t going to get done for quite a while. We need to renovate our house first aIMAG3379nd at least get some basic planting done in the garden, as well as our veggie garden before even looking at this project! But, we won’t be waiting too long; oh no, no rest for the wicked; as we will need to have some kind of income in order to live.

We will be entertaining work aways/volunteers to help with our project. We are unsure how the walls of the ruins will hold up against being meddled with, and as much as we would like to keep as much of the original building as possible, we do have a congiency plan. If the walls need rebuilding, we will rebuild using cob or sand filled bottles. We are learning as we go. We have no experience of building in this way (or building generally, to be honest) so any help from volunteers who have experience in cob or alternative building will be greatly welcomed.

For now, the ruins will make excellent storage sheds!

Fire!!!

So, we received news that no first time buyer wants to hear! “There’s been a bit of an accident” – Oh God!

The sorry tale goes like this…

We’d had an offer accepted on the house after completely falling in love with it in the summer. It had lots of work to be done, but we were OK with it. We figured we could take our time with it while living in the upstairs flat while doing downstairs; the house is split into two flats but had been left half done.

Inside; before fire
Inside; before fire

But then we get an e-mail from our agent saying there’s been a fire!

A what now? A FIRE!

I won’t go into the ins and outs of how it happened, just know, that it definitely happened! After much inner (and outer) turmoil over what the bloody hell is going on we decide to go back to the negotiation table. New price settled, we book our flights back to Spain to asses the damage.

upstairs burnt main room

Yep, there was definitely a fire, but do you know what? We still loved the place, so we decided to carry on with sale. We must be bloody mad. Matt asked if I thought he was actually going crazy, but we concluded that if he’s crazy, then I’m crazy, so let’s go and be crazies together in Spain!

The damage is actually cosmetic. There was bare polystyrene on the ceiling and fabric on the walls so when the fire started it literally just went up. It didnt burn for long so the damage is cosmetic; even though it looks horrific! There are four rooms upstairs, they all look like this. But downstairs was untouched (as the flats are still separate) so that’s still as it was. Phew!

upstairs burnt view from bedroom into main room

So this is our new home. Isn’t she a beauty? It’s a shame about the fire, and I have been a little bit concerned about bad juju, but we’re going to make such happy memories here that any bad juju won’t stand a chance!

Just need to start the MAJOR cleaning operation now! That should be a few days of epic fun times!