Monthly Archives: May 2012

Moving on a pace: Casa San Jorge


So things are moving on with Casa San Jorge.  We’ve even made a bit of money back on it by selling some of the galvanised steel roofing sheets to a chap who’s building himself a car port.  (Only a few thousand to go!)  My husband and various volunteers have stripped part of the roof of it’s old and cracked tiles and taken down the ceiling on the bit of the house we lovingly refer to as the “Frodo” end.  It’s because that part of the house was an add on (not sure when, but it’s still ancient so we can’t call it new), and has no access from the main house except via a small red door, known as the Frodo door.  It comes complete with 3 hobbit sized doors and and a sloped roof that only the smallest of people are actually able to stand upright under.  Now the roof is off, perhaps we’ll have to rename it… who knows.

Anyway, the Frodo end is going to become home to my office, the master suite complete with en-suite and a staircase which will eventually lead to a new roof terrace.  Due to the fact that only hobbits could live in it at the moment, we need to bring in some builder types to raise the roof (literally), build a stair case and sure up the floors (and the ceilings below it).  We had a quote from a chap in the village which was waaaaaay out of our price range.  I admit we started to panic a little bit, but when we told Super Sonic Steve (readers of previous posts will no doubt remember him for his ability to speak Spanish and his possession of hearing akin to a hawk’s eyesight), he laughed and said we must have misheard.  He duly phoned the builder and queried the price explaining that as we were English, we must have misunderstood.  We hadn’t.  GULP!

By some minor miracle, we managed to knock €4000 off the price with my husband offering to be one of the labourers.  We’re still not sure how this happened.  There is no way on God’s earth that a labourer gets paid €4000 for 2 week’s work, but we are definitely not complaining.  At least it’s back within budget.

Another miracle has also transpired.  The Spanish way of life means that NOTHING happens quickly. Mañana doesn’t just mean “tomorrow” here.  No, it’s a way of life.  It lends itself nicely to the slow pace of life and the fact that there is no rush to anything.  If someone tells you something will be done mañana, it really means it’ll happen some time over the next few weeks, perhaps in a month.  Never, never does it actually mean tomorrow.  My husband went to talk to the builder today and nearly fell of his chair when the answer to the question “when can you start,” was “tomorrow.”  And it wasn’t in the mañana sense of the word either.  He really means tomorrow.  As in the day after today.  Bloody hell!

I’m having a little lie down to get over the shock!  I’m also having another ciggie to calm my nerves since this is when the real stuff starts and we start spending some real money.  EEEEK!  Wish us luck!

When is a curry not a curry?


Answer:  When it’s a Kebab!

What on earth am I on about?  Let me tell you.

Last night we took some friends out for a curry (readers of previous posts may sense a theme here).  The curry house we use is the only one in the vicinity and whilst it’s popular, it is never packed.  Bearing this in mind, we decided we didn’t need to book.  Silly us!  We got there and the place was heaving and we were told we’d have to wait at least an hour for a table.  Considering our friends had their young son with them, waiting an hour wasn’t really ideal.  So we opted for take away. Monday to Wednesday the restaurants offers a “buffet” menu of a starter, main, rice or nan and a pudding for €10 each, take away is an extra €0.95.  Well, at least according to the menu it is.  According to the not so friendly owner takeaway on the buffet menu wasn’t available; we’d have to choose from the normal menu and pay full price.   Strange since it clearly stated that the buffet menu was available for take away for a surcharge of €0.95.  When we questioned it, the chap got really shirty, told us he makes the menu and he can decide what we can have.  Charming.  He offered us the full menu (with much higher prices) or told us to get lost.  Well.  Just lovely.  We decided to get lost.

So there we are, in town with a hungry 4 year old in tow and nowhere to eat.  We went over to a local bar to weigh up our options.  On the counter are leaflets advertising all sorts of local shops and eateries.  One of the leaflets is from a turkish kebab house.  Instantly both men started drooling and doing Homer Simpson impressions.  Its seemed we were off to the kebab shop instead.  The problem of course is that despite having the address for the restaurant, none of us knew where it was.

We got in the car and as we debated which direction we should head in, a Guardia Civil 4×4 drives past.  (Yes that’s the branch of the Police you hear horror stories about).  Our friend leaped out of the car and flagged them down – the rest of us looked the other way and try to pretend that the English bloke asking for directions to a kebab shop isn’t really with us and we have no idea who he is.  Still, they managed to point is in the vague direction of the shop and sent us on our merry way.

A few wrong turns later and we finally found our oasis, down a side street next to the Geriatric Hospital.  Very salubrious surroundings.   Anyway, at this point I was so hungry I’d have probably agreed to eating a scabby dog, so we all head into the kebab shop.  It was light, bright, clean and obviously reasonably new.  We could even eat in if we wanted to.  So we ordered our 3 chicken and one doner kebab meals – which come with chips and a drink for something like €5 and settled ourselves at a table.

When the food arrived it was presented on proper plates (in England you’re lucky if you get a sweaty polystyrene box) and we even had real glasses for our cans of coke – which the boys quickly swapped for beer.  We even got a free plate of chicken for the hungry 4 year old!  And the food?  Well it was yummy!  I opted for the chicken since donner is frequently described as “meat,” not beef or chicken or whatever and I don’t like the thought that I may be eating donkey or something equally odd.  My husband had it though and said it was really tasty – so much so that he ordered another one to take home for lunch today.

So there you have it.  One door closes and a door to a kebab shop opens.  That my friends, is when a curry is not a curry!