Author Topic: But Daaaad, you said you weren't going to buy another "project"!  (Read 31111 times)

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Offline JohnF

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Re: But Daaaad, you said you weren't going to buy another "project"!
« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2017, 19:23:43 pm »
A back to the future post...

Organising an international move can be easy and straightforward or it can be a an absolute bloody nightmare, especially when  its effectively staged between a small rental apartment and your actual property which unfortunately isnt ready to move into.  Storage is the only option, but then comes the question, what do you store and what do you take with you?

We did consider doing a Bernie, as in turning up at Glasgow airport with four hundred and thirty seven pieces of excess baggage, but ruled that out pretty quick! 

Option two was to fill up the car with what we need initially, drive over and I'd drive it back in September (got a project in Glasgow to finish off) and sell it.  Everything else goes into storage, ready to be shipped over when the house is habitable.

Problem.  As Spanish residents we cannot (officially) insure our car with a UK based insurer. Ok, you can change the address to a friend or relative, but thats not an ideal situation and in the event of a claim could prove problematic (e.g. policy voided)

The solution was a lot easier than I thought.  Arranged a fully comp policy through a Gibralta company who were happy to insure a UK reg vehicle at a Spanish address, and at €300 or so for a year, including full international breakdown cover, didn't break the bank either.  I've now got an actual Green Card for use in mainland Europe and the UK, havent seen one of those for years! 

Also means that effectively we've got transport for the next six months as, here's another Turkish similarity coming up, the price of secondhand cars in Spain is crazy.  Folks want stupid money for cars with hundreds of thousands of kilometres on the clock and more dents than you can count.  We're not even sure we'll even bother with a car once installed in Casa JF, so we're reluctant to buy either new or secondhand until we know exactly what our needs will be.

A few drawbacks to driving a RHD car in a country where everything is geared up to LHD.  You need five foot long arms at car parks and toll booths if you're driving on your own.  Its a pretty undignified scramble across the passenger seat, and if you've made an arse of it and not got close enough to the machine/booth then its out the car, pay/insert ticket, jump back in, scramble across seats again or take the direct route round the front of the car while the queue behind you gets even more impatient with all your fannying around.

The really tricky one is getting into our garage. We have a car lift to negotiate and the control buttons inside the lift are positioned for LHD - if you dont want to do the passenger seat scramble the only way is to punch the button as you pass it, while still moving.  I tried stopping to do it and the doors started to close with the car half in and half out! Ok, they stopped before doing any damage but I had visions of dents on the car or a damaged lift door - landlord would be well chuffed with that one...

We got some really interesting news about our house today, but thats for later.

More witterings when I can.

JF



Offline mercury

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Re: But Daaaad, you said you weren't going to buy another "project"!
« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2017, 20:03:06 pm »
ooohhh... was waiting to read about the house... I never thought about the difficulties of RHD or LHD when it comes to barriers and toll roads.. Thankfully and hopefully I will never have to worry again... Not going to Turkey saves us  a fortune in car hire and petrol costs.. We can't manage without a car there but it is so easy to get about everywhere else...

Offline JohnF

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Re: But Daaaad, you said you weren't going to buy another "project"!
« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2017, 11:03:03 am »
Arriving in Spain in the middle of August is a little bit like turning up to a party two hours early - nobody's about but they will be later.

Almost everyone we know in this area headed off to cooler climes at the beginning of August for a month, and watching the thermometer climb into the high thirties by lunchtime, then nudging into the low forties by mid afternoon who can blame them.  Its been an exceptionally hot summer in the south of Spain this year and until you acclimatise, its pretty uncomfortable.  Our apartment is a new build so has the ducted style of air con, aesthetically pleasing but nowhere near as efficient of controllable as nice big Samsung 24,000btu sitting on the wall.  Used it for a couple of days at the beginning, but fortunately we've been back and forth enough times that we got used to the heat fairly quickly. 

The 15th August is a public holiday - they seem to have a lot of them in Spain.  Any holy day in the Catholic calender seems to warrant the downing of tools and partying.  Our estate agent informed us the day before we arrived that they were on holiday that day but the owner of the flat would meet us there at 6:00pm.

She seemed a bit odd and talked at us in such rapid Spanish we hadn't a clue what she was saying.  Couple of signatures on the rental agreement and off she toddled.  Ten minutes later off we toddled in search of food and alcohol.  Got back a few hours later and went to take a shower - waited for the water to heat up...  and waited... and waited.  Ok, there's obviously some switch needing switched or tap needing turned.  Five minutes later we were cursing our new landlady - the water heater runs off bottled gas and both fecking bottles were empty.  Cow.

Its an easy fix, but not at 11pm on the evening of a public holiday when you'd both had a drink so couldn't just jump in the car and get one from a 24hr petrol station.  Welcome to Spain, the land of cold showers. 

Day one as a Jerezano.  Quickest shower ever and a trip to the local garage, €21.75 for a 12.5kg tub of butano.  It got us discussing how so few places have solar here, madness when you consider the climate - we already knew the answer though, taxation is the issue.  More about this later.

Next stop the bank. Our Spanish is OK, but not yet good enough for dealing with the level of complexity involved getting our cards and asking the questions that need to be asked.  Result - our account manager used to work for Barclays in London.  After a shaky start we got on well with him and he went above and beyond to sort a few things out. 

On to the Orange shop.  No point in putting fibre into a rental apartment so the Orange 4G is our best option.  After a marathon Google translate session with a very pleasant young lady we exit 40mins later with a couple of new SIM's and an Orange MIFI router.  Not cheap and a limit of 50Gb a month, so we'll need to be careful with streaming.  Mobile contracts fairly expensive compared to the UK, not sure about compared to Turkey as Ive had a contract phone there.

There's not a great deal we can do now until we complete the purchase of the house, so we decide to go into holiday mode for a couple weeks! 

After a week or so our lawyer gets in touch to say sorry, the notar is on holiday so we cant complete on the 31st August, earliest date is the following Wednesday. This was a real bummer as we'd been looking forward to getting started on the house.  Getting a bit bored with holiday mode now.

Until now we'd been under the impression that our house had been constructed sometime during the middle of last century, 1940/1950's or thereabouts.  There are some very old buildings in our street, but we were under the impression that our end was far more recent (no idea where this came from!).  While arranging building insurance to kick in on the 6th I was asked if I had an exact construction date - 1940's I said but I will try and confirm the exact date.  No point asking lawyer as he's on holiday in Canada, no point in asking estate agents are they're simply clueless about everything, so on to the internet to do my first bit of research wholly in Spanish.

First thing I found was an old estate agents ad from last year which stated that the property had been constructed in 1850.  It must be an error I thought, so next step is to find some old maps and see what I can get from them.  Net result is that it looks like our property was built sometime around 1829, with the possibility it could be as early as 1775.  Wow!

Fortunately, the insurance company are ok with this and actually made some amendments to the policy to give us a higher level of cover while carrying out the refurbishment... or is now a restoration?  Bottom line was €276 for building cover and they removed any clauses about reduced cover due to unoccupancy.  Thanks guys.

Still bored though, so we decided to start sourcing materials.  One of the major jobs is replacing the horrible green tiles that surround the central patio.  They'd have to be replaced anyway as the render behind them is bossed due to damp (house been unoccupied for eight years).

We've used a lot of Spanish tiles on projects over the years, but they were always expensive - this'll be interesting to see what sort of price good quality tiles are when buying direct from the source.  Armed with our sat nav and a list of tile companies we headed out to the industrial estates.  We had a rough idea of what we were looking for, either a Moorish influenced tile or a Sevillana style.  This is what we came up with;





These are the real deal - hand finished and with a beautiful texture.  Truth be told, we doubted if we could afford to run these all the way round the patio, but I asked the bloke for a price anyway.  Couldn't belive it...  €24.75 per linear metre       :)  what a result!  Ok, it means somewhere in the region of €1,500 worth of tiles, plus the labour to fit them, but it does mean we can have something that closely resembles what would have been there in the first place.

More later...

JF

Offline BernieTeyze

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Re: But Daaaad, you said you weren't going to buy another "project"!
« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2017, 13:00:54 pm »
Yuk..pick the top one please else I might have to withdraw my self made invitation..The other one looks like christmas trees..tut. Im intrigued about the age of the building..what materials will you use to renovate..How old are the green tiles you are removing?
Anyway I didnt know I was visiting an archealogical site, I,ll bring me hiking boots, paintbrush and a trowel.. ;D ;D :-*

Offline BernieTeyze

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Re: But Daaaad, you said you weren't going to buy another "project"!
« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2017, 13:10:26 pm »
Thought I best get in quick whilst we are still at the planning stage..thought something along the lines of this for my balcony  : :)

Offline mercury

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Re: But Daaaad, you said you weren't going to buy another "project"!
« Reply #15 on: September 08, 2017, 16:29:12 pm »
Brilliant blog... Nigel and Ian from The Kismet are setting up in Spain as we speak... They are doing a huge renovation project but we're lucky to find English builders.. Their blog is on Facebook... Episode one just completed.. I will point them in this direction to see if there are any similarities.. Carry on John you will get there in the end.. It can't be worse than starting off in Turkey.. Can it?

Offline JohnF

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Re: But Daaaad, you said you weren't going to buy another "project"!
« Reply #16 on: September 08, 2017, 18:20:37 pm »
Yuk..pick the top one please else I might have to withdraw my self made invitation..The other one looks like christmas trees..tut. Im intrigued about the age of the building..what materials will you use to renovate..How old are the green tiles you are removing?

The Christmas trees are Moorish and the other Sevillana style - you see both everwhere down here.  We've got a few different styles in different arts of the building, I'll try and put up some images of them for any tile fetishists who happen to be about.

No idea how old the green ones are, they are quite pretty but not our taste - plus they clash with with all the others throughout the building.

The age of the building is interesting, and when i get enough time I intend to research it further.  I do know now it was owned by one family for well over one hundred years as we've met with them and got on really well.  Common bitching point being the uselessness of estate agents!  A major plus is they've endorsed us within the street and pointed us in the direction of several helpful neighbours.  That is worth more than money can buy in this neck of the woods.

Brilliant blog... Nigel and Ian from The Kismet are setting up in Spain as we speak... They are doing a huge renovation project but we're lucky to find English builders.. Their blog is on Facebook... Episode one just completed.. I will point them in this direction to see if there are any similarities.. Carry on John you will get there in the end.. It can't be worse than starting off in Turkey.. Can it?

Ach it's not really a blog Anne, just a way for me to jot down some bits and bobs before I forget them and save me having keep folks updated by PM or email  :)

There aren't many British builders down here, and to honest I'm not sure I'd use one if there was.  With a building of this age you want local knowledge in respect of building techniques and the best materials to use when making repairs.  We've got three potential candidates but need to do a fair bit of exploratory work ourselves to find out the extent of repairs needed.

I'd say there are lots of similarities to doing the same in Turkey - the petty officialdom, the level of invasion into everyday lives by the government, the high and far reaching taxation...  our phrase of resignation whan confronted with this kinda stuff is no burasi Espagnol!  I even managed to confuse my Spanish teacher with that one  :)

Ian & Nigel are in a village I believe, that itself brings a whole load of issues we dont have here - it does however have advantages over us doing the same in a city, albeit a small one.

JF

Offline Anne

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Re: But Daaaad, you said you weren't going to buy another "project"!
« Reply #17 on: September 08, 2017, 20:31:53 pm »
Looking forward to the next instalment John.
I'm with Bernie though, they do look like Christmas trees but my bet is they will look fabulous when on the wall

Offline BernieTeyze

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Re: But Daaaad, you said you weren't going to buy another "project"!
« Reply #18 on: September 08, 2017, 21:56:56 pm »
I did google some tiles from that era. Found some lovely old ones with yellow in. Cant find the pic now. So what about the building materials? Are you going to replicate the original materials or are you going to use more modern methods. Im glad the estate agent is earning his fee, its good to have some local connections. Please moving away from the Christmas tree wrapping paper, now ive said it, that's all you will ever see it as  ;D ;D

Offline JohnF

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Re: But Daaaad, you said you weren't going to buy another "project"!
« Reply #19 on: September 10, 2017, 09:32:20 am »
They look like Christmas trees to me as well, but they do look fabulous in the properties I've seen with them.

No idea Bernie, we'll be guided by our builder on best choice materials for each part of the house.  As it stands, in the older section it's mostly just a case of removing render and replacing with suitable 'antihumedad' materials.  In the sections which have refurbished in later years it's modern materials all the way.  At the end of the day we don't want it to turn into a bigger money pit than it is just now, we need to achieve a balance between sympathetic restoration and the practical (and budgetary) aspects of bringing the house back to life, so to speak.

JF





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