A Moving Experience…


Surprises usually await me on return from trips abroad: one year a load of bullocks, another a pair of American Staffordshire pups.

This year, after – for me – an uneventful return from visiting my mother another surprise was on the books.

We were moving.

Not far…just up the hill behind our current house to the house which seems to have been in gestation forever.

It was being built by Danilo  in his spare time from looking after the finca, so progress was never going to be a sprint.

It turned out to be far from that as Danilo’s mother entered her final illness, so for several months he was able to do just the basics with the animals each day before going off to spend time with her.

She was younger than my mother, but worn out by perpetual childbirth – nineteen children – and a hard life with no mod cons and insufficient  food, despite the best efforts of her husband – who died in his fifties – and the older children as they grew up to provide.

I met her once, at a family get together: it was obvious how much she was loved and respected for her sacrifice – they all knew how often she had gone without food in order that the children should be fed; the backbreaking work of endless washing to keep the children clean to go to school in apple pie order; her determination that they would all have a better life.

Further delays were caused by our unpleasant North American neighbour. He tried every trick in the book to prevent construction from denouncing us for not applying for planning permission – a good try there as the fine for being caught is less than the fee for the application – to denouncing us for not paying Danilo’s compulsory insurance for construction work – ditto – with an attempt to obstruct our access to water as a sideline.

Whatever it is he is up to it is clear that he doesn’t like the idea of someone being able to see who visits his house and at what hour…

Still, he was duly stuffed and eventually work resumed. The basics were there, but all the finishing details remained to be done.

Which was where matters stood when I left for England.

Mother is coming up to her hundredth birthday this year but, uncharacteristically, had had a series of problems with a chest infection which was pulling her down so, as – pre Brexit – there was an incredibly cheap flight to London I took the chance to see how things were going.

She was down pin, off her feed and fed up with the miserable weather, but the application of a cattle goad to her doctor produced a course of better antibiotics and retail therapy did the rest….ill or well, mother can shop till I drop.

No sooner had we exhausted one shopping area than she was planning the next sortie…an entire summer wardrobe was purchased and once again I have to hail the staff of John Lewis for their customer service. Nothing was too much trouble to find the right fabric and style and to undertake alterations.

I took the opportunity to do my own shopping: Marmite, of course, and kippers in bulk from a superb fish shop in the town, hoping that for once Iberia would not lose my luggage in Madrid as otherwise the suitcase would probably swim home of its own volition.

Kippers managing to arrive at the same time as myself I relaxed, looking forward to a few day of cuddling the dogs and recovering from an overnight in Madrid airport.

No chance.

‘Oh, I forgot to tell you…we’re moving.’

This was, I admit, my own fault. I had waxed large before my trip on the idea that if we waited for everything to be finished we would be waiting until Doomsday but never in all my puff had I imagined that The Men would do anything about it.

They had.

Boxes galore encumbered the house….none of them marked….

Cupboards had been ransacked…provender recently bottled jostled with that of previous vintages…

Wardrobes had been attacked….kitchen appliances desecrated…

Never did I feel more in need of a sign:

‘Danger! Men at Work!’

So we moved.

Moving is always somewhat chaotic,so no surprises there…

I eventually found the soup blender and the potato peeler….the clothes hangers…

But there was one feature which defeated me…

Where were the interior doors?


Clearly there had been a hitch.

Julio -slated to produce the doors – had had a cashflow problem. His raw material supplier would not let him have any more wood until he had cleared his last bill, which he could not do as his last clients had not paid him.

His solution? As his last clients were gringos we would go with him to extract payment.

I put down my foot. Given that the gringos I see here are tighter  than a duck’s arse I could see no future in trying to extract payment in the foreseeable future unless armed with a machete and loaded for bear.

My solution was that we would pay for the wood and Julio would bill us for his work…

He has the wood…but until the finished articles appear the dogs are having a field day rushing from room to room and going to the loo involves a recce to see where The Men are working and  whence they are liable to appear without warning…

It has had decidedly deleterious effects on the morning George.






















24 thoughts on “A Moving Experience…”

  1. Hurrah, you’ve moved!! What are you going to do with the old house? Are you selling it?
    Sounds like it was pretty chaotic, and I really hope the no door thing gets resolved very soon!

    Did you freeze the kippers, pack them in ten plastic bags or what? They smell pretty powerfully at the best of times! Did the odeur de kipper pervade everything in your suitcase?

    1. Despite the chaos it is lovely to be here at last!
      One of Danilo’s sons is thinking about renting the old house and we have had other enquiries…so I’ll give it a general refresh in a week or so and see where we are then.
      I’d thought that the doors were all ready to go…but Julio had been keeping the problem dark – so as not to upset me! After a few words he is now producing them asap – so as not to upset me.
      I asked the shop to freeze the kippers for me, took them straight to mother’s freezer and then wrapped them in plastic bags – sealed – surrounded by absorbent tea towels and further sealed bags…I was lucky….the kipper smell did not persist!

  2. the end of this post is a bit odd – from . . ‘effects on the morning George.’ we have a great gap the depth of my screen followed by ‘or’ followed by another great gap.
    Anyway, ‘Hayırlı olsun!’, for the new home, as we say here in Turkey – may things go well for you!
    I’m reminded of the time, back in 1956, we had not long arrived in Malta on an accompanied tour with my father who was in the Royal Navy. Within a few days of setting foot on the place the excrement hit the fan and the Suez crisis was the headline news. Father and his ship were heading for the war. The air raid shelters under the streets were all opened up and the sirens wailed at unexpected times of the day and night. There was a deep sense of pessimism – everybody believed that the Soviets would step in and WWIII would go nuclear.
    In this gloomy mood our new landlord invited mother and me to his kitchen for a glass of wine and some prickly pears from the bucket. The old chap sat there, his unshaven jowls sagging onto his belly, looking rather like a slug that had been dressed up in faded blue PE shorts and a grubby white vest. The wine was passed and the conversation went like this, ‘Of course, I killed my wife!’ Mother froze and went deathly pale. Her eyes flickered around the room – she told me later that she was checking where the knives were kept. After an extremely pregnant pause the old man continued unaware of the mini-drama scene his words had wrought. ‘Yes, she had nineteen children, the last one killed her!’
    Of these nineteen, five had survived!

    1. Thanks, Alan…goodness only knows hat i was up to there!
      Your poor mother! Husband off to participate in WWIII and a maniac in the kitchen! I can just picture him from your description, too!
      All Danilo’s brothers and sisters survived – but how his mother did is beyond me.

  3. Clearly the men hindered finishing this properly.
    I particularly like the line:-
    “Boxes galore encumbered the house….none of them marked….”
    With your men that has a certain ring to it!
    At least you are in, doorless, and the Gringo with his secrets can be watched properly. I suggest setting up an old camera on a tripod aimed in his direction with an old radio beside it indicating communication with the outside world. He might like that.

    Doing the Great War memorial is was common to find women with ten or more children. The census then asked how many children? How many still living etc. The dead column was often filled in.

    Nice to see the dogs are happy and settled down beside you to help you write. That must be reassuring.

    1. I think that the little dogs are intending to keep a close eye on me in case I disappear again and their world is thrown into disorder…the big ones couldn’t give a hang…too busy running round the place exploring.

      How Danilo’s parents brought up nineteen children is beyond me…and all surviving!

      The gringo is very upset, apparently. He thought that bribing the appropriate movers and shakers would ensure that our planning permission would disappear from the files and Danilo’s special insurance likewise…Unfortunately said m and s just pocketed the loot and did nothing…

      I’m wondering about mounting a loudspeaker on the roof aimed in his direction and playing ‘Colonel Bogey’ at top volume – while i am out shopping. Or ‘The Laughing Policeman’….

      Yes, the unmarked boxes are giving me hours of pleasure….

      1. In the days of long ago I had one of those famous Record books.
        The record number of children were those born to a Russian lass in the days of the Czar.
        She had 67 if I recall correctly, they came in 2’s, 3’s, 4’s etc. I think most survived and she was presented at court. Think of the child benefit!

  4. I bet it feels good to have landed. Now to finish settling in and I hope that goes smoothly. Danilo’s family, particularly his mother really gave me pause. It was lovely of you to mention her. Have a good weekend with those unmarked boxes.

    1. Box by box we will get there….surprises at every turn…
      We have been so lucky that Danilo came to work for us, not just for himself, both honest and competent, but in meeting his family.

  5. I would have flipped out at all of those unmarked boxes…Glad to know your Mum’s on the mend and Danilo’s mother deserves a medal and then some!

  6. It just shows what men can do when they put their minds to it. What fun you are going to have unpacking the boxes, with the dogs running hither and thither, and no doubt the bell calling for service.

    Nineteen children – the mind reels in shock. I wonder if there were any multiple births, because if they were individual the poor lady spent more than 14 years of her life pregnant. Hopefully they have assured her the well-earned retirement that she deserves.

    Ha ha to the nasty gringo, and what happened to the evil neighbour? Did you finally see him off?

    I would have liked to have been there when you return to a load of bullocks. What a surprise that must have been. 🙂

    1. I wouldn’t mind so much if there were not anguished cries of …but where is the…? Don’t worry,he has found the bell…

      There were two sets of twins…she has died, but cared for at home by her family.
      I knew a couple in France who had had twenty kids…when they had a family reunion they needed to hire the salle des fetes…

      The gringo is about to get another nasty shock via the courts…..and The Neighbour has been remarkably quiet for a while…still paying off his debts to Mr. Big, I am led to believe, but no doubt he will surge back into action eventually.

      Yes, the bullocks did provide a nice surprise welcome home party…..I arrived at night and the first I knew of them was when I switched on the bedroom light and an indignant bovine chorus set up from the corral nearby…
      Ah,said Higher Authority, I’d been meaning to mention them…

  7. I am SO glad that you are moved and in … of course it’s chaos but you’ve done enough of it to be something of a professor emeritus (or almost emeritus) in the discipline, I imagine. YOur mother sounds amazing as does being allowed to bring kippers home. One of the things I hate about here is the paranoia about food. As for the north American neighbour – I hope you disposed of the kipper skeletons in his vicinity just near enough for the attendent rotting to get up his nose 🙂

    1. Leo’s reputation for itchy feet is such that already two friends have asked where he is planning to move to next…

      When some of the Belgian family visited they (rashly) came through the U.S. bringing vast quantities of smoked fish in their carry on luggage – to avoid the scent pervading their holiday clothes, I imagine…They came through unscathed!

      However, my next trip is a return via Mexico City where they are paranoid about everything edible -this from people who eat insects is beyond me – so I’m printing out a copy of their import regulations to carry with me in case of problems…

      The N.A. neighbour is a pain in the proverbial to everyone: after the failed development there had to be a new plan for the water supply in the area and he would not co operate. Apart from which he is – from what the taxi drivers who ferry young females to and from his abode have to say – a thoroughly nasty piece of work.

      1. When we fly in with The Bean they are only concerned with whether we are carrying food for her (we don’t) …. Ironically when I took her first to the vet he pointed out that her rabies shots were not in line with Massachusetts law (she will be erring a piece on this when she feels a bit better) and the DFA official had entirely missed the fact. Twice. At the animal entry point at Boston Logan Airport because she was so intent on outing fictional tons of chum!!!

        1. Short sighted jobsworths….never mind the point of the regulations just see if you can confiscate something…
          Mexico City collared my sandwich last time – even though I was only in transit – anything to make you use the restaurants…

          1. Bastards!!! That is super-low. As for your NA – it seems his kind are favoring robots to deliver lethal messages (Dallas, Thursday) … Just a thought 😉

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