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Thursday, November 13


I cannot believe how long it is since I last put pen to paper, well OK, finger to keyboard. There is SO MUCH to share, So armed with a cup of coffee I am finally getting on with it.

but rather than overloading you with the, then we went here and then we did that and probably  becoming a total bore, I will break it all down into different sections.


Today I thought I would update you on the renovations.  Previously, as you may  know, we had the Solar Panels installed and the Borehole drilled. The Internet satellite system was next, this was vital  for me, as it meant I could keep in contact with family back in the UK, and it as been brilliant, being able to speak and see everyone on a regular basis has made settling in here much easier.   I  have no idea how people managed before such innovations and thank the Man who invented it and gave it away to the world for free

Central Control... our equivalent of EDF  energy, only more cost  efficient

Man Shed

Original Dining Room now our new kitchen
Solar Panels
The first project in the house was to relocate what was loosely called the kitchen, it was in fact a worktop in the corner of the lounge. We decided to locate the kitchen  into a room that  previous owners used for eating in.    We were aiming for a traditional Spanish country kitchen and I am very pleased with the results,  Although the process was fairly straightforward there were a few interesting issues that arose.
original position of kitchen, situated at the end of the lounge area 

There is a large cupboard,  Off of the lounge area,  when the house was originally built, it was at first used as a shower room. By the time when we arrived, the previous owners,  added another bathroom to the rear of the property and decided, with no thought to "elf & safety",  to put the batteries for the solar panels in this cupboard. 

A glimpse into the cupboard of doom
There was an odd aroma, emanating from said cupboard, which we originally put down to the lead acid batteries. Once our new solar system was installed, and the new batteries arrived, they were put into a small Casita.  . This was built for the sole purpose of battery storage.
Aha life was sweet, no more "toxic" smells for us.  At the same time our two  new Spanish dogs arrived, so we decided, as a temporary measure to store the large bags of dog food in the offending cupboard,    Life suddenly became a little less sweet.   Phew I would often say, that dog food sure does smell and so eventually, because he could not take the moaning anymore, husband moved the dog food  to a small outbuilding, where we can now store all foods for the animals now and in the future. Following on from this move, we both presumed the smell would dissipate, and once again my Incense Sticks would permeate the air with their sweet smell. Bliss


SO back to the large cupboard which was now devoid of batteries, dog food and any other foul smelling stuff.   It would, we decided, make a super little pantry to store all our food products, It was big enough to walk into etc so was ideal. Husband tiled it in nice new white tiles, (cheap and cheerful, is  our new motto), and we purchased some racking shelving from the local DIY shop, but something was not right, the smell seemed to come back, and then disappear again, some days it was there, other days nothing.  I then noticed that when we used the original kitchen sink (situated in the lounge, don't ask) ,  the smell came back, So husband did some chopping under the floor and we discovered that the sink was draining straight UNDER the pantry floor, not outside into the Pozzo Negro, at some point, a bright spark had decided not to bother connected the two together.  At least we had found the source of the problem. Some capping off of the pipes, Cement poured into the hole and once the new tiles were on the floor and walls no more smell.   However this meant that we had nowhere to drain the kitchen sink away too, but as the new kitchen was going in soon and along with new plumbing etc, it was decided that we would just drain the doings into a bucket under the sink, and empty it out into the finca when full, a temporary measure, and lets face it, some people live with far worse than that every day, Ho Hum,  What joy, living the dream we are here!.

So over the coming weeks the kitchen was renovated, constructed and finally finished. BUT when the new kitchen sink was all plumbed in and flowing out of the house into the new pozzo negro  for use as grey water at a later date, I was beside myself when the smell remained in what was the old kitchen but also part of our new sitting room.  We could not understand where the smell was coming from, and it was a worry, because we knew that there was no connection between the sitting room and the pozzo negro,  the new bathroom was the only drainage going out of the house. This, we feared,  could be a very expensive job and potentially could involve the digging up of internal floors.   Then one afternoon my husband had a eureka moment.

    Armed with  pick ax, shovel  and some very bad language, he started to dig between the Pozzo and the house.   Yep there it was, the original connecting pipe that ran from original kitchen and old shower room was still connected to the pozzo negro and still somewhere under the floor, but not connected in the house. It seems that when the previous owners had the new bathroom extension added, they connected that to the  pozzo via new pipework, but the  same bright spark who left the sink to drain under the floor and also just abandoned the old pipework, as you do, and so when ever we used the bathroom, it obviously caused a back flow smell ( is that a sentence?) up through the abandoned pipes and under the floor.

SO pipes were cut, capped and cemented into the ground, and finally after 4 months we do not smell any more! Jasmine incense sticks rule the way, and we are now definitely sweeter smelling.

The kitchen is just a set of curtains away from being completed, as we are 
sticking to the traditional Spanish campo kitchen set up using curtains as doors and I have chosen  a nice blue check. But I have decided to put off sewing those until the rest of the house is finished, which fingers crossed, should not be long now. 

There is not much left to do inside the house now, its is just a case of plastering where we removed the original  kitchen and then painting the ceilings and walls in the lounge and the other 2 bedrooms.  Our main guest room was completed first, in time for family visits earlier in the year and I am pleased with the results a light and airy room for guests to stay in.

We have a lovely warm wood burner in place, just in time, as the weather is starting to turn colder now, although it is the 10th November cannot really complain.  

A small section of the wood in its new house constructed out of half a garage door and metal legs. Miguel has the other half!

In recent  weeks we have also been busy outside on the finca.  A friend popped in with his tractor, as you do here, and kindly dug over a new vegetable patch for us,  We have decided to section an area of the finca off for vegetables and animals, animals being ducks and chickens, this way the dogs can not run off with our runner beans again or our chickens!

A herb and rose garden have also been constructed and we were lucky to be able to get hold of 2 fabulous Urns, used here in Extremadura for storing Vino, the are great.  We did not want a "flower" garden as such, as we feel it would not fit in with the the area, after all we are surrounded by farmland mainly cows and sheep,  but eventually will have lots and lots of pots on the terrace to add splashes of colour, BUT I am English and as such, I have to have some roses, so we have planted a rose garden as well, which next year should be a riot of colour, I have also planted Daffodils and Tulips in the same area, so spring should look a picture too. The odd looking bamboo fencing is to prevent the dogs running across and stealing the plants!

Rose and Spring flowers border - also has a Camellia and Hibiscus

We have planted some herbs, but will stock up after the wet and cold winter has finished

Various Herbs, Rosemary, Thyme and Mint plus some winter flowering pansies filling the gaps until spring for a shot of colour in the Winter gloom

I am going to put a seat in between the Urn and the Tree, as in the summer  months this is a  lovely shady area to sit and read

 We  have a redundant water container that was originally used for storing the house water!.  It would have been a major project to remove it as it is, high up on a rock and cemented in, so decided to fill it with earth -  and planted a Bougainvillea and a Plumbago, in the hope that it will eventually cascade down the rocks and look pretty!

Kind of like this............Lets hope

There has been some "water" incidents, after all this is Spain and this is an old house. This was water coming in through the rear door. But only some times so can live with this for the moment. A new door might be arriving next year, but we will see how the money goes.

The biggest problem we had with the rain was when in came through the bedroom ceiling, and at that time I thought maybe we should have bought an ark, because, when it rains here,  boy does it rain.  We THINK  we have resolved this issue and believe, it was where the Solar Panels were fixed to the roof, the correct sealant was not used. Tomorrow we are expecting HEAVY rain so we will see. It amazes me now, how some events in life just wash over you ( pardon the pun), in the UK a leak in the roof would have tipped me over the edge, now its just OK whatever, get the buckets.   Must be getting Spanish!

Next on the list is fencing, which we started yesterday, having had a visit from the Junta's Forestry Man, who has given us the go ahead to chop chop chop, We have many oak trees here on the Finca  and a great many on the Borders, some of which will stay, but some of which need to be removed to enable us to put in new fencing, which we need to prevent dogs escaping and other animals coming in.  We are allowed to start on the minor trees but next week the big boys can come down. This will also provide us with  a great deal of wood for the coming year. 

 The other outstanding job is the guttering  which again we have started,  and once the fencing is done will finish it off.

So that it is.... so far so good.  Actually,  on reflection and having written this piece, it is clear that we have achieved a lot since we moved her in April. Pretty amazing really Then again, we live in an amazing place

Leave you with some pictures from around and about.  Next time, Fiesta's, family and Visitors

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